Power Engineering

– Some career highlights
Roger J Arthur – 9th December 2008

Roger’s presentation centred on the highs and lows of a career in electrical engineering, partly spent in tropical climes, was warmly received on a cold December afternoon. Like his talk, his working life was in two halves, the first involving challenges of an extension to an existing power plant in Malaysia, the second his work in the Banking Sector.

Specifications and statistics were presented demonstrating the demands of the power plant project, which was carried out under the influence of local politics, the signs of the zodiac and even physical threat.

One of the lows, of this particular project, was the loss of a generator transformer from an unloading barge into the sea with a 3-knot tide running and a crane inadequate for the job. Costs were in terms of millions of dollars and a resultant six-month delay in obtaining a replacement. The original transformer is still buried securely in silt in the sea near Penang Harbour waiting for the archaeological divers of the future.

Happier recollections were of his two sons playing in the warm sea and interesting modes of transport.

The second period of this working life he described was when working for a household name major bank in the UK. This required the engineering and installation of secure power supplies for a Data Centre handling 25 million transactions a day. The requirement was for an extremely high degree of reliability where a 50 milli-second interruption of supply was unacceptable.

At the close, those present responded enthusiastically with a series of questions and some further discussion.