Listening to customers results in new lines

polymerA year of growth has resulted in a larger factory, new offices, warehousing facilities, factory lighting, an analytical testing and R&D lab and two new lines for Polymer Compounders.

Exhibiting at Southern Manufacturing 2016, the independent engineering thermoplastic manufacturer, based in Durham, bought two new extruders, both twin-screw and based on German technology. This increases total manufacturing capacity by 2,000T/year. Both lines are fully operational. In parallel, one of the existing production lines was entirely refurbished, increasing its throughput. A computer-based production programme was also developed to support the production team and allow operators to optimise processing conditions, reducing waste and delays between production lots.

“The two new lines show that we are listening to what our customers need”, says Stuart Hurst, site manager. “The Silver line is for all the market sector projects we’re now taking on; the Purple line allows us the versatility to effectively service both moulders and end-users”.


Handheld scanner reads 1D and 2S codes

TalliScan Stock Management_tmbShowcased at Southern Manufacturing 2016, handsets for the TalliScan inventory handling systems support a built-in laser barcode scanner, capable of reading both 1D and 2D codes and a 5-inch screen. As a result, says the company, the system is faster and easier to use than ever.

The Talliscan system also tackles everyday physical stock management tasks. As data errors introduced into MRP systems that use a traditional, process-driven model for stock handling, can cause uncertainty surrounding stock levels, stock handling is approached from a physical perspective. The rapid perpetual inventory tool quickly corrects handling anomalies and omissions, says the company.

From booking stock into stores, kitting for production build or dispatch, to bin-filling for Kanban, the system’s instant counting efficiently records the physical transactions. The mobile and wirelessly connected system is always on hand to record the transactions as they happen and effectively plug the holes in MRP records.

TalliScan operates as a standalone tool, or via cloud services, and can be incorporated into existing systems through its API.

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Wireless technology is for global tracking

Trak365 editGateway and endpoint devices can switch on other devices in response to alerts, using a LoRaWAN (Long Range Wireless Area Network) communication gateway and LoRa endpoint devices. EveryComm combines the latest wireless protocol technology with mobile GPRS to provide robust, global tracking for high value assets. At Southern Manufacturing 2016, Track365 announced initial installations, followed by full production deliveries of gateways and endpoint devices.

The LoRaWAN is connected to the Trak365 Back Office, which is the collection point for all messages and data received from the gateways and endpoint devices. The Back Office is also a business rules engine that works in conjunction with the messages received from the gateway and endpoint devices to provide communication back to the endpoint devices. This bi-directional capability can be used to switch on other devices in response to the alerts received.

Two types of tags are available, both of which are powered by standard AA or AAA long-life alkaline batteries. The wireless connectivity communicates to the gateway while in range and then automatically falls back to operate using the GPRS connectivity when out of range. There is also the LoRa Wireless two-way wireless communications device which has embedded LoRa communications. It has a microprocessor-based PCB which provides multi-function I/O, and optional GPS, temperature sensing and accelerometer motion sensing.

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All-in-one supply chain saves automation costs

radwellWith an inventory that stocks over 13 million parts, Radwell International is an all-in-one supply chain for factory new, repairs, surplus and obsolete equipment. It supplies new factory equipment parts from over 20,000 manufacturers and boasts competitive rates.

Its exclusive surplus range can providing savings of up to 70% on automation and obsolete equipment on over 18,000 manufacturers. A two-year warranty is standard. For repairs, the company says it can provide cost savings of up to 50%, and offers a free evaluation on all repairs, a two-year warranty. Its in-house repair capabilities are supported by over 2,200 test fixtures. There are over four million repairs pre-priced online. To liquidate excess automated or electronic inventory, the company buys stock to optimise warehouse space and reduce maintenance costs.

Downtime can be reduced and reliability improved with Installed Base Evaluation (IBE). An engineer will visit your site to conduct a thorough review of installed equipment, determine current and future plant risks and MRO inventory levels and deliver a full detailed report.

All customers are offered a field engineer service with 24/7 call out; on-site repairs and servicing as well on-site back up.

Mini PC operates IR cameras

optris-pi-netbox-with-ir-camera-IRback_tmbShowcased at Southern Manufacturing this year,  the Optris PI NetBox is a mini PC that can operated all infrared (IR) cameras in the PI series. It operates as a standalone system or as a cable extension via GigE. In addition, the mini PC, along with the IR camera, can be integrated with the company’s CoolingJacket Advanced for high-temperature applications.

The PI NetBox can now be used with all PI series models, from the PI 160 infrared camera (160 x 120px) at up to 125Hz to the PI 640 VGA camera (640 x 480px) at up to 1kHz. The standalone system has the major advantage that individual user software can be used alongside the camera software. Set-up and configuration is quick and easy via NetBox Utility and the ControlCenter which is installed on the NetBox ex works. The internal watchdog function guarantees failsafe – and therefore cost-effective – operation, says the company. The computer has a robust, aluminum casing and measures 113 x 57 x 47mm.

The PC is equipped with the Windows 7 Professional OS and includes a COM Express mini embedded board and an Intel Quad Core processor running at 1.91GHz, and 2Gbyte RAM. The 16Gbyte solid state hard drive can be expanded with Micro SHDC or SDXC cards. Three USB ports allow for the connection of keyboards, mice and other processing modules. Voltage supply is 8 to 48V DC or via PoE.

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Customers feedback adapts software

mie_tmbLearning from customers ensures that MIE Solutions is continually adapting to industries’ needs. The company applies advanced technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and quality in the field of manufacturing, it says.

The Worcestershire-based company has over 25 years’ experience in the sheet metal, engineering and fabrication industries, has a worldwide presence and has developed manufacturing software made by manufacturing professionals for manufacturing professionals.

MIETrak Pro is industry-specific software, specialising in the sheet metal, engineering and fabrication industries. It can support a business as it grows and develops. Once installed, the customer support team will be committed to offering a continued, professional experienced training and support network.

So what is included? The MRP/ ERP capacity planning software incorporates RFQs, estimating software, works order, purchasing, MRP, stock control, costing, production scheduling, planning and tracking software, reporting, shop floor data capture (optional), delivery notes and invoicing. The company also offers links to a range of external accounts packages.

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Far East focused CEM offers prototype support

loomSpecialising in Far East based manufacturing of electronic assemblies and PCBs,boards, GEM UK is a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) offers a product range from the simplest, single sided, bare board to complete unit assembly.

It has been working with its main assembly partner since 1999, and is ISO9001:2008 and UL-approved.

For prototype support, it does not have a fixed framework but will build a small quantity in-house with no charge for labour or overheads. The intention is to prove circuitry and component selection and should not be regarded as a substitute for pre-production small batch builds. The company prefers to build these at its factory using components purchased for subsequent bulk build. Benefits include bulk pricing for pre-production samples. The company says its lab, although small is well equipped for prototyping and rework.

Apprentices supply skills locally

Emsea-Welding_tmbIn answer to the much-publicised shortage of skilled engineers, Emsea, welcomed two new apprentices ahead of February’s Southern Manufacturing show.

“Historically we found it difficult to find the volume of appropriate skills locally so we have looked to students as a long term solution,” commented Chris Sweet, director at Emsea.

The new starters are studying NVQ Level Two in Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing, in association with Heart of Worcestershire College.

“The Press Brake, Laser cutters and Waterjet cutter all require a high degree of proficiency and by employing apprentices we have the opportunity to train them to our own exceptional standards, ensuring we continue to meet strict in-house quality control,” says Sweet.

Apprentices bring a fresh pair of eyes to a business, he continues. “They look at things differently, ask questions and challenge the status quo,” he said.

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Interlocking system guarantees strain relief

Yamaichi Electronics_reviewA new model in the Y-Con line of industrial RJ45 connectors from Yamaichi Electronics provides a special IP20 locking for the CAT6A version. Called Y-ConProfix, both plug and jack are available. The stainless steel locking mechanism can easily be assembled to the connector without the use of tools.

Both clips in the IP20 Lock plug engage with no force when plugged into the mounted holding frame of the jack, which is screwed onto the application’s housing. The interlock in the holding frame prevents mechanical strain on the plug connection, protecting it from damage and unintentional release. According to the company, reliable strain relief is guaranteed, and any possible economic damage is prevented.

The locking mechanism is suitable for use under strong vibration and in applications with tough requirements for mechanical safety and reliable holding forces.

The housing frame is available in a single, double, quadruple and, upon request, octuple, version and can be combined with the IP20 Lock for the Profix plug (CAT5 and CAT6A) or with the existing plastic IP20 Lock.

All RJ45 plug and jack versions suitable for the IP20 Lock can optionally be provided with power contacts, fully integrated into the plug and jack, for the supply of electrical power.

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3D desktop printer increases speed

Q300 small_tmbBoasting 30% faster operation than previous models, the Q300 from Quant 3D, was shown by Solder Connection at Southern Manufacturing 2016. According to the company, print quality is outstanding in both PLA and ABS plastic, with an automatic levelling platform and a functioning HEPA filter. The desktop printer can be used by both 3D print professionals and manufacturers to print fixtures or prototypes.

LED was also a key aspect at this year’s exhibition, with Electrolube and Alpha’s ranges. With products from solder paste to conformal coatings there is something to satisfy all LED requirements, says the company.

Product lines are from brands including Alpha Metals, one of the world’s largest solder and associated chemistry providers. Solder Connection is the UK and Irelands sole distributor. Other partnerships include Electrolube, manufacturer of electro-chemicals; BOFA a British company within the field of fume and dust handling and Metcal, providing soldering systems.

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