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AUTOMATION UPDATE

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Issue 77


Power Security & Back-Up

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AUTOMATION UPDATE Editorial Assistant Laura Sharpe 01843 580 460 laura@automation-update.co.uk Publishing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 jodie@jetdigitalmedia.co.uk Sales Director Tim Johnston 01843 448 443 tim@automation-update.co.uk Advertising Exec Jamie Simmons 01843 580 460 jamie@automation-update.co.uk

Automation Update is an engaging, editorially led publication & directory giving the reader news and updates on new products and services to our ever Progressing industry.

Publishing House Jet Digital Media Ltd The Forge, Spratling Court Offices, Manston, Kent CT12 5AN

www.automation-update.co.uk

Forerunner Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. The Sensor People have been setting technological standards in industrial automation for more than 50 years. In the field of safety at work, we convince right from the start with trend-setting inventions, such as the development of the first protective sensor ever, to our latest safety innovation, “Smart Process Gating” – the space-saving solution for access guarding on conveyor lines. This is how we ensure the success of our customers in an industry that is ever evolving.

www.leuze.co.uk Automation Update - 3


Using Automation to stock Electronic Components A good system for managing electronic parts is essential, no business wants to waste time hunting for components which are required for production projects.

T

he requirement to manage thousands of individual electronic components and manage customer expectations means that smarter solutions are required by the industry. Running high-mix production is labour-intensive. Time is required to manage the flow of components needed for frequent setups and changeovers within the industry and this means high costs in relation to hunting down missing components. This is no mean feat and clarity is required on how best to store, locate, and manage stock. Traditionally storage cupboards were used to stock small components such as Chips (ICs), and other semiconductors in plastic bags. Larger stock such as passives THT capacitors, SMD resistors, THT resisters and SMD reels need a more optimised solution. One of the reasons storage space is such an issue for the electronic industry is the speed of change and keeping up with constant technological evolution. Most electrical component failure is caused by excess temperature, excess current, mechanical shock, or impact. A static charge can impact electronic components to the point of failure. It’s important to have full control over humidity and temperature levels to protect sensitive components. Unit temperatures may range from -25 °C to 60 °C and unit humidity can be reduced by up to 5 %, when necessary. When working with electronics, automation can give you the security to implement solutions that meet industry requirements such as Fire protection, EDS protection, and clean, dust-free storage which in some cases is required.

4 - Automation Update

BD Sensors is a manufacturer of electronic pressure measurement devices and they wanted to modernise their environment and increase productivity. The company moved to an automated model to stock their components and operate a pick and pack process at their production plant. They purchased five automated Kardex Shuttle vertical lift systems which are built across several mezzanine floors for speedier access for storing and retrieval in parallel. They now have a faster picking and retrieval process for their mixed sized/weight components and it’s all controlled by a WMS (Kardex PPG) software system. Today BD Sensors has reached nearly 100% accuracy and the company has increased their number of picks by 50%. They also massively reduced their footprint and were able to reduce the number of operators to two-thirds. The combined solution delivered automated order assignment, batch picking using a multi-user picking strategy with dedicated colour picking and KBS indicator lights for ease of use as well as LED pointers to show exactly where the component to be picked was located. They also utilised special Picking trolley’s with integrated colour picking technology. The move to automation increased their productivity, it released space and the software gave them performance data which is delivering transparency and understanding on their orders and transactions. To learn more about how automation can benefit your production click here and down load the free white paper. Or contact Kardex at info.remstar.uk@Kardex.com


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Lamonde Automation Limited Quality Products: Expert Advice


ALRAD Instruments Limited (established 1970) has been serving the Industrial, Automation, Scientific, Medical and Instrumentation markets for five decades and has a wealth of experience in all aspects of Automation Imaging, Machine Vision and Photonics. For the Automation Market we have an extensive range of both Area and Line Scan camera systems with a full range of interface options including: Gigabit Ethernet (10, 25, 50 and 100 GigE), Cameralink, CoaXPress and USB. The following are some of the products we are supplying for Automation applications:

The Code Reader uses a CMOS sensor to acquire image data and provides a high-quality image. Various trigger modes and image acquisition modes are supported, the unit includes both Software trigger/Hardware trigger/Free run modes and has a1Gbps Ethernet industrial interface with max 100m transmission.

In-Line Angular Spectral Measurements of Displays with the New CubeX-150 from ELDIM

iRAYPLE - 2K, 4K and 8K Line Scan Cameras for Automation Applications: iRAYPLE is the new brand name for HuaRay (A Dahua company) and ALRAD Instruments is pleased to distribute their comprehensive and competitive range of Line Scan Cameras. The Linescan 5000 Series includes 2K, 4K and 8K resolutions with image sensors from CMOSIS, with others under development and features GigE, CameraLink and CoaXPress interface options. The key features of the Linescan camera series include: Support for a wide range of power supplies:12V~24V DC, GigE Vision protocol and Gen<i>Cam standard, 256MB onboard frame buffer, Software trigger / External Hardware trigger / Free run mode, brightness enhancement, gamma correction, LUT, flat field correction, multiple image data format output, ROI and binning. The cameras are fully CE, FCC, UL and RoHS certified. Applications Include: Agriculture sorting, PCB inspection, Paper and Textile surface inspection, Rail track inspection and Postal sorting.

iRAYPLE - 7000 Series Code Readers The iRAYPLE 7000 Series Code Reader uses a built-in code reading algorithm and deep learning algorithm to read a variety of barcodes. 6 - Automation Update

ELDIM’s multi-angle s p e c t r o ra d i o m e t e r CubeX-150 is ideally suited for both R&D teams and mass production lines due to its speed, accuracy and multi-application use. The CubeX-150 is based on completely new technology patented by ELDIM. To understand this technology, imagine that you are moving a spectrometer around the DUT (Device Under Test) and taking a measurement every 2.5° in a viewing cone of +/-60°. The CubeX-150 provides emission data, including flicker information, at all these angles. The measurement takt time of the equipment is less than 2 seconds, and all of the acquired data can be transferred by ethernet cable or WIFI. This equipment operates in the visible wavelength range and is used to measure displays including LED, OLED, uLED and Micro Displays in a wide range of sectors including Automotive, Avionics, General displays, Military and Mobile phone applications. For more information on the above items and our range of Automation and Machine Vision products, please call the ALRAD Sales Team on +44 1635 30345, or visit www.alrad.com we will be happy to help and advise on your requirements.



Leaders in Scotland’s electrical contracting solutions In the recent issue of Industry Update, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited has been selected as their Electrical Solutions Company of the Month. You can read the full article below. “We officially started in February 2021 after a new partnership was formed through Quantum Controls acquiring Lothian and Borders Electrical, which has produced 43% year on year growth to date.” Lyall Colvin, Managing Director. Known formerly as Lothian and Borders Electrical Ltd, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited boasts over 40 years of experience in the electrical industry and through its merger with Quantum Controls, benefits from its over 25 years’ experience as the UK’s leading supplier of variable speed drives, electric motors and support services. Streamlining its services, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited is one of Scotland’s leading NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation) accredited, electrical contractors. The company offers a wide range of electrical services for all electrical installation projects including industrial panels and domestic distribution boards, bespoke control panels, installation services, electronic repairs, maintenance services, PLC programming, harmonic survey, EV Charging Installations, inspection and testing, emergency call-out services, power factor correction and much more. “We offer electrical installation industrial services and we are environmentally and safety focused.” Lyall continued, “We are a one-stop-shop solution. We can assist our customers through any stage of a project electrically. From start to finish, design and manufacture of control panels, installation and commissioning, software and programming – we provide a fully comprehensive service.” A notable service the company provides, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited is offering Harmonic surveys. Since the 17th June 2020, the new implementation of the Engineering Recommendation G5/5 came into effect setting the limits to be valid at the Point of Common Coupling (PCC). Through Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited Harmonic Survey service, the company carries out checks for compliance with these stand8 - Automation Update

ards and utility regulations to ensure its customer’s sites are fully compliant and not at risk of receiving fines for noncompliance. Not only necessary for ensuring compliance, but this service is also vital for preventing harmonic issues which can cause deterioration and damaging of equipment, equipment failure and underperforming energy efficiency. By using Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited’s Harmonic survey service, the company provides customers with a detailed assessment of their sites compliance and overall performance. Through the company’s in-house team of expert engineers, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited analyse the data and carry out a further report summary with recommendations. Best of all, the report provides a no-obligation quote and a discussion with one of its engineers on what recommendations can be carried out on site. In terms of recent developments, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have faced challenges and a slowing or halt of services/production. Able to not only establish itself through its merger but to have grown its business, Q Electrical Industrial Services Limited has been able to continue providing its

services and has seen an influx of new business. “We have been busier than ever as we have been providing services in key industries.” Lyall continued, “Unfortunately, we did have to furlough half the staff for six weeks initially, but since then we have been busier than ever and have managed to grow from it. We’ve created 9 new jobs in the first 3 months of trading and we continue to recruit Electrical Engineers in Scotland.” Indeed, the company has been showcasing its wealth of expertise through its services, proving to be a successful merger of the two leading companies. In regards to the company’s plans, Lyall told us that, “We want to continue to be the go-to people in Scotland for that turnkey service in electrical installations.” For any more information, pleases see the details below. T 01875 816 302 sales@qelectrical.co.uk www.qelectrical.co.uk


Q ELECTRICAL INDUSTRIAL SERVICES Scotland’s leading electrical contractors with over 40 years experience in the electrical industry and engineering.

NICEIC Approved and Accredited contractor 24/7 team of fully qualified Electrical Engineers 2x Winner of Electrical Industrical Contractor in Scotland Part of QCH Group with premises and engineers UK wide

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Error Free Retrieval of SMD Reels Rhode and Schwarz an electronics group working across 70+ countries needed to improve their setup processes for populating electronic assembly groups for Surface Mounted Devices (SMDs) with an average of 200 setup processes per hour. The focus was on the availability of the SMD reels to ensure that the changeover went smoothly on populating lines with buffering times avoided during production. To ensure flexibility in the production process they installed automated vertical carousels that were able to ensure fast, simple, and error-free automatic storage and retrieval of the SMD reels for production. This allowed the company maximum flexibility in the production process, which is necessary for the wide range of products and changing batch sizes during production. The vertical carousels allow them to quickly react to changing market needs without any downtime. A total of twelve automated vertical carousels were installed to help organise SMD reel logistics and ensure the smooth set up and removal of the assembly groups during the production process. Two or three employees work on the units at the same time and put the SMD reels into storage i.e. retrieved and returned them after use. As an added benefit, the process was completely paperless because of the pick-by-voice system. Each operator works at their own pace through individual items of an order. The total fill level of the automated vertical carousels is 90-95%, which is achieved by the flexible way that storage space is allocated depending on space availability. This high-density storage method made it possible to supply four production lines with 10,000 reels per day and populate around 441 million components per year. The automated carousels also connect their warehouse management system software to the company’s inventory management of SMD reels in real time to maintain a permanent inventory without stopping production. The advantages were clear for Rhode and Schwarz with a simple, clearly structured picking process and their throughput increased by more than 50% with same number of employees. With 100% error-free retrieval of SMD reels for setup and removal process, storage space fill level at 90-95% storage density and permanent, real-time inventory they achieved their goal. 10 - Automation Update

Based on the paternoster principle the Kardex Megamat RS is an automated vertical carousel that provides quick and precise access to stored goods and is especially suitable for frequently accessed goods, because it conveys the right carrier to the access opening via the shortest possible path. The design of the Megamat RS offers maximum storage space on a minimal footprint. This facilitates efficiently designed work processes and also significantly raises productivity. Read the case study or if you want to learn more about the MegaMat Vertical carousel go to our website www.kardex.com or contact us locally at info.remstar.uk@kardex.com


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TF

Automation have just completed the build of a repeat machine of one produced some 15 years ago for Intersurgical’s plant in Lithuania. Intersurgical is a global designer, manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of highquality medical devices for respiratory support. TF Automation revisited the original design and have basically produced the same machine using the latest technology to laser mark the manufacturer’s logo and product reference on their Hydroguard Mini medical oxygen filters. The filters are autoloaded by robot onto a step-feed conveyor and into the Gravograph Laser Marker which marks both sides of the filter simultaneously with the two pieces of information. The feed-in and output are both to pre-determined amounts, with a filter being laser marked every 5.3 seconds. The new machine was required because of an increase in demand for these types of products in relation to the COVID pandemic. TF Automation worked effectively and quickly with the team at Intersurgical and were able to recreate the existing machine, which incidentally is still in use to support the demand. Intersurgical provide flexible patient solutions for airway management, anaesthesia, critical care and oxygen & aerosol therapy, for use within emergency care, hospitals and also in the home. They adopt an integrated approach to provide the highest standards in design, manufacture, quality and customer care allowing them to respond quickly and effectively to their customers. Tony Hubbert, MD at TF Automation, comments, “We were delighted to build a second laser marker for Intersurgical and also that our original machine is still working well! We are seeing an increase in projects incorporating laser marking for general part identification but also for more specific tracking and traceability requirements too.”

12 - Automation Update

TF Automation build laser marker for medical devices


DESIGN | ENGINEER | MANUFACTURE | DESIGN | ENGINEER | MANUFACTURE

Supporting a wide range of manufacturing industries from automotive, aerospace and defence to medical, printing and packaging, we design and manufacture process automation solutions focusing on improving output and productivity.

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M16 connectors - The “go to” connector for high pin count applications binder, one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of industrial circular connectors, has recently made key additions to its M16 connector series. They are versions that meet the very high data speeds required by the latest sensor-based automation systems and an ASIGcompliant model used in wireless networks including 5G.

binder has been at the forefront of M16 connector development since the 1970s working to widen the range of applications for these versatile circular connectors. Today’s models can accommodate up to 24 contacts – with or without EMI shielding. With mainly metal housings and a robust screw locking system, M16 connectors provide environmental protection up to IP68. The combination of a high pin count with the compact size of nominally 18.5mm diameter and 60mm in length means M16 connectors offer an excellent alternative to more expensive connector systems. M16 connectors accommodate cables ranging from 4.0 to 10mm diameter, are rated to 250V and can withstand an impulse voltage up to 1500V, with current handling of up to 7A (at 40ºC).

Suitable for 5G roll out The latest applications for M16 connectors include the impending roll-out of 5G networks where binder’s ASIGcompliant connectors have been designed to provide high international protection for selected outdoor installations. The AISG (Antenna Interface Standards Group) defines standards for the control and monitoring of antenna line devices in the wireless industry. binder’s Series 423 and 723 M16 connectors are available in 8-pin DIN variants, of which four to five contacts are used. The products are AISG C485 compliant and available as male and female shielded cable and panel mount connectors .

Data transmission up to 10Gbits/s Another addition to binder’s M16 offering is an X – coded connector capable of handling the data speeds demanded by today’s sensor-based automated production facilities. 14 - Automation Update

Data transmission figures are up to an impressive 10Gbits/s. Versatility of application is assured as a range of alternatives are available for cable mounting with straight or right-angled connectors terminated by soldering, with screws and crimp. Pre-moulded cables are available and the options are equally comprehensive when it comes to the panel receptacles with front or rear fastening as standard for solder bucket versions and front-fastening for dip solder and pre-terminated flexible PCBs. To sum up binder’s M16 product offering, Product Manager Sascha Döbel comments “At binder we have found that the flexibility provided by our comprehensive range of M16 connectors with the seemingly endless options at relatively low cost compared to other connector systems, has led to its popularity continually increasing and its range of applications becoming ever wider.” www.binder-connector.co.uk


M16 FAMILY

Screw Solder Crimp With single wires Data Transmission up to 10 Gbit/s

www.binder-connector.co.uk


Ixxat Smart Grid Gateways enable IO and Wi-Fi sensors to be connected to energy networks HMS Networks is now expanding its Ixxat® SG-gateway series for networking of energy components. Two new multi-IO versions allow traditional IO-sensors as well as sensors or devices in Wi-Fi networks to be connected to energy systems using IEC 61850 and IEC 60870. Users benefit from direct and seamless access to sensor data from the control room, as well as IIoT capabilities for monitoring, maintenance and forecasting purposes.

E

nabling digital energy controlDigitalization of energy technology is important for mastering the future challenges of sustainable energy supply. With Ixxat SG-gateways, device manufacturers, system integrators, energy suppliers and network operators get instant status information into the control room through direct access to plant data from various sources. This enables efficient system operation, fast reactions to network disturbances, as well as remote monitoring and maintenance of devices and systems. The compact Ixxat SG-gateways are especially suitable for retrofitting plants and digitalization of substations, and are used in many areas of energy automation, e.g. in power plants and at large energy consumers.

All-in-one solution with all the needed connectivity Thanks to the wide range of interfaces and protocols supported, Ixxat SG-gateways remove the need for installing several separate gateways, such as fieldbus gateways, sensor gateways, IoT gateways and firewalls. Adding to the existing support for IEC 61850, IEC 60870, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, MQTT and 4G, the two new SG-gateways feature Multi-IO and Wi-Fi capabilities (WLAN according to IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n). With this, traditional as well as wireless sensors can be easily connected to control rooms and cloud systems. 16 - Automation Update

Besides RS232/485 and Ethernet, eight digital inputs/ outputs (24 V DC) and eight analog inputs (0-20 mA or 0-10 V) are available for direct sensor connection, all switchable via software. Example applications are temperature monitoring of highvoltage lines via Wi-Fi using Modbus TCP, pressure and density measurement of cooling liquids using Modbus RTU, and room temperature or humidity measurement in buildings using analog or digital IO.

Efficient and secure access to all data The acquired data from sensors, fieldbuses and energy protocols is made available by the SG-gateway in control room applications, SCADA and can also be integrated into the user´s cloud system of choice. For direct use in a targeted system and protocol, the data can be preprocessed by the SG-gateway using the integrated WEBPLC. Data security is ensured via a local firewall, access management and via encrypted data transmission. Depending on the used protocol, this is done either with openVPN or TLS 1.3.

Learn more about Ixxat SG-gateways at www.ixxat.com/energy


The demand for stainless steel clamps is especially high for the bottling, packaging and processing technology as well as for outdoor appliances and equipment bearing thermal loads. We work constantly and with great dedication on innovative products and solutions for our customers. The range of linear, lifting column, profile and connecting technology products include catalogue as well as tailor-made products, system solutions such as platforms, work stations and special projects. We are happy to advise you in choosing a product or to develop a tailor-made system solution with you from our extensive modular product range. RK Rose+Krieger 26 Faraday Road Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP19 8RY 01296 611660 www.rose-krieger.co.uk www.phoenix-mecano.co.uk

Forerunner Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. The Sensor People have been setting technological standards in industrial automation for more than 50 years. In the field of safety at work, we convince right from the start with trend-setting inventions, such as the development of the first protective sensor ever, to our latest safety innovation, “Smart Process Gating” – the space-saving solution for access guarding on conveyor lines. This is how we ensure the success of our customers in an industry that is ever evolving.

www.leuze.co.uk

Automation Update - 17


Advanced Engineering is back with a bang in 2021 The UK’s leading annual gathering of engineering and supply chain professionals, Advanced Engineering, will return to the NEC, Birmingham on November 3 and 4, 2021. Here, the UK’s talented and vast engineering industry will come together again to begin generating business for 2022 and beyond. Bringing together thousands of attendees from OEMs, tier 1 manufacturers, and supply chain partners, Advanced Engineering is the UK’s leading annual advanced engineering and manufacturing event, promoting supply chain business and technology transfer across any sector that involves high-value manufacturing, R & D and innovation. Building on the success of the 2019 show, which attracted over 15,000 professionals from the manufacturing sector, Advanced Engineering 2021 is the place to present exciting product launches that have been waiting to be revealed for over a year. The show focuses on all aspects of engineering, from materials and production, design, test and measurement and inspection across a wide range of sectors including aerospace, automotive, composites, marine, medical and more. This year, there will be an exciting new Space and Satellite zone, supported by ADS and UK Space, with innovative feature exhibits and headline topics in the Aero and Space and Satellite Forum. For the first time ever, Advanced Engineering will be co-located with its sister show, Lab Innovations. A long-awaited opportunity, this means that visitors can move between the two shows without even leaving the hall. With pilot events successfully being carried out across the UK, Easyfairs, the organiser of Advanced Engineering, is currently working on making sure that the event will be 18 - Automation Update

executed safely and in line with any recommended requirements in place at the time. Advanced Engineering is set to bring together engineering professionals from all sectors and industries. The show offers a diverse range of exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their expertise, and offers engineering professionals the opportunity to source new products and solutions, as well as hear from a wide range of speakers in the free-toattend open forums. Advanced Engineering runs a series of online events throughout the year, AE Talks, giving exhibitors and visitors

the chance to stay connected, learn from key industry leaders, and stay up to date with the newest developments. For those interested in attending, regular updates will be shared on the Advanced Engineering website. Register your interest at www. advancedengineeringuk.com/ register-your-interest We look forward to having you at the show in November.


3 & 4 November 2021, NEC Birmingham The UK’s leading annual gathering of engineering supply chain professionals

SAVE THE DATE I found the event a great networking opportunity to meet industrial professionals from different backgrounds with different products. Kat Clarke, Wing Manufacturing Engineer, Airbus

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REGISTER YOUR INTEREST www.advancedengineeringuk.com +44 (0)20 3196 4358 | aeuk@easyfairs.com


Significantly increased line efficiency and productivity at Potato Processor A major capital investment is now paying big dividends at a leading East Anglian veg packer. With multiple lines and manually driven packing and palletising, a decision was made to increase bagging rates, increase flexibility and remove all manual handling.

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he project required the installation of 6 new automated bag packing lines handling a variety of plastic crates for the private label sector. These crates or RTPs were both folding or so-called bale arm types, which required careful and precise packing of product up to 20 kg in weight, with bale arm closing and checking, at up to 13 crates per minute, per line. The nature of the product, the crates and the weights made for a challenging solution. After careful assessment of the solutions offered, the customer chose Scott as one of the three partners required to work together on this project. Bag handling, orientation and packing was delivered by BPA, crate bale arm closing by Autarky and crate handling, buffering, palletising and wrapping by Scott. With factory floor space tight, and access to each line required for empty crates and operators, the customer opted for the proven “multi-line” solution, where packed product is elevated up onto a mezzanine floor and buffered on simple, low maintenance, modular belts. The buffering has the benefit of “disconnecting” the packing and palletising processes, which significantly reduces minor stoppages and increases line efficiencies. Once a full load is ready, it passes to a queuing system and is then, in turn, conveyed directly into the warehouse, dramatically reducing handling and fork truck activity. The palletising is carried out on a latest generation Alvey PL8000 model layer palletiser. Importantly, the palletising process guarantees that these crates, which must be lined up exactly one on top of the other to avoid toppling, can be handled accurately, reliably and at high speed. Crates like these do tend to sway when stacked, so clamping the load as it is built up delivers this accurate repeatability. Additional benefits of the Multi-Line solution are: • Minimal pallet conveying hardware on the warehouse floor. • Immediate delivery of the required empty pallet to the palletising position. • Extremely small factory footprint. • Immediate delivery of the full load to the wrapping position.

20 - Automation Update

Upwards of 50 crates a minute are being handled and up to 50 pallets per hour secured and delivered to the despatch bay. All parties in the project worked together successfully, and supportively, with the in-house project team managing successfully the unenviable task of maintaining full production whilst installing all of this multi-million investment. When asked for comment, the Operations team said, “it’s good kit and we like it. It was a great team effort”. “In these difficult times, we now have a robust production process and can guarantee continuity of supply to our key customers.” www.scottautomation.co.uk


Does Automation Always Deliver its Objectives? Our 5 decades experience has been almost, but not entirely, within the food and drink industry. During that time, we have seen many changes but, sadly, not enough to keep all manufacturers viable. This has been partly, but not always due to a lack of or slowness to adopt automation. Whilst we certainly do not support the continuation of paper-based recording and unnecessary manual processes, we do believe that all processes need to be professionally evaluated to determine those that would benefit from full automation and those that require semi-automated input, still under operator control. We have seen so many manufacturers who have spent £millions on automation, only to find that they failed to achieve the expected Return on Investment. Some years ago, we had the opportunity to evaluate a whisky bottler who had just spent several £millions installing a state of the art 600 bottles per minute filling line. When we visited the factory, the line was only producing about 300 bottles per minute. A simple investigation showed that they could not run at 600 bottles per minute because they couldn’t get the empties onto the line quickly enough, nor the filled bottles off quickly enough to enable the desired filling speed to be realised. There is perhaps a surprising amount of automation which fails to achieve its objectives, mainly because many companies expect to achieve far too much from too little investment. Many projects require re-engineering in order to see objectives realised. Successful re-engineering needs all 5 of these components to be aligned to achieve lasting success: Strategy, Process, Technology, Organisation and Culture. Leave out, or fail to properly address any one of these components, and the automation project will fail or fail to achieve all its key objectives.

This is precisely the kind of experience and response when not all five of the vital components are aligned with the re-engineering/ automation objectives.

A few years ago, I visited a cake manufacture, who was very proud to show me his end of line robots. When we went to the lines the output had been just 400,000 bite sized cakes. When the Manufacturing Manager asked ‘Why so few, when we should have produced two million during the same period?’ The production manager replied ’Dunno, must have had some downtime, I suppose’.

Automation or not, it is critical to reduce the transformation costs from goods inwards to despatch (Cost of Sales). We have found that a reduction in these costs of as little as 1% can double Net Profits. See graph

There is a far better way to ensure a successful outcome for reengineering/automation projects...begin with the end in mind, determine the objectives, then find a professional partner who fully understands your objectives and how best to achieve them.

We are here to help. Automation Update - 21


RENOVOTEC TO DRIVE WHITWORTHS WAREHOUSE MODERNISATION WITH VOICE PICKING AND WIRELESS NETWORKING TECHNOLOGY One-year payback led by a 35% increase in voice picking productivity “The company is transforming its operations for 21st century warehousing and smart manufacturing” says Whitworths supply chain director Claire Aldred Renovotec, the UK’s fastest growing rugged hardware, software and services provider for supply chain companies is to drive Whitworths’ planned warehouse modernisation with new voice picking and wireless networking technology it was announced today. The agreed project ROI is less than one year for the new systems and infrastructure investment, led by a 35% increase in voice-driven picking productivity. Based in Northants, Whitworths is the UK sector leader in dried fruits, nuts and seeds and a 130-year-old, 350-employee, family-run business with its factories, warehousing and head office located on a single 22-acre site. “The company is transforming its operations for 21st century warehousing and smart manufacturing” says Whitworths supply chain director Claire Aldred. Whitworths’ new voice-driven picking environment will replace its paper-based predecessor, giving the company the speed and flexibility it needs to respond to changes in consumer buying habits and retail needs - notably an escalation in picking-intensive e-commerce. Whitworths has 173,880 pick assignments per annum; its goal is to reach 99.8% picking accuracy. 22 - Automation Update

“Renovotec are a good partnership choice because they have the ability to work at pace and are professional” Claire Aldred observes. “Going forward we also plan to work with them as a strategic partner for smart manufacturing”. Whitworths’ voice picking system The Renovotec Voice Manager system being deployed by Whitworths is wearable, hands-free and eyes-free and driven by unique middleware that generates a guided workflow, telling the user which area of the warehouse to go to and what product to select. In addition to picking the system will also be used by Whitworths to drive other warehouse processes including put-away, stocktaking and replenishment. Renovotec Voice Manager’s analytics provide indepth performance and productivity data that allow management to optimise warehouse workflows. www.renovotec.com


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