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History of the Rotating Machines Working Group.

About forty years ago, the CSIR had a research institute called the National Electric Engineering Research Institute [NEERI]. There was considerable interest in high voltage research at universities, industry and in NEERI itself. Hence a committee was formed to coordinate this research in South Africa, the HVCC. Initially the interest was in lightning and switching surges that affected transmission lines and HV transformers. The committee was funded by the CSIR

At that time considerable problems were occurring with windings of motors of 11kV and 6.6kV. This also became of interest to the HVCC. It was soon realised that firstly, the research workers in HV phenomena were not experienced in rotating machines and secondly, problems with HV motors could not be considered apart from LV motor problems.

Thus a working group under the HVCC, the RMWG, was formed. This arrangement worked very well for some years.

Changes were, however, occurring in the policy of the CSIR which lead to the closure of NEERI. The HVCC then also decided to continue with support from Eskom. As it was then looking at research topics wider than high voltage, the name was changed to the EPCC, [Electric Power Coordinating Committee]. This was always in difficulty due to lack of funding and eventually wound down.

The RMWG had however, gained a momentum of its own and now continues to hold its meetings with a tenuous link to the SAIEE. As far as it is known the EPCC has not been officially disbanded.

By: A. Meyer

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