Manufacturing Update - June 2023

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MultiMark: the smart all-in-one solution

In Weidmüller, you have a trusted and reliable partner with years of experience in cable preparation, processing and systemised marking. Our THM thermal transfer printer integrates cutting and perforation tasks into the printing process; it can divide endless materials into arbitrary lengths. The result is a noticeably simpler production of custom cuts with a respective inscription assignment.

Using the Mulitmark printer, you reduce the potential sources of error with complete data consistency. You will streamline timeconsuming work processes and increase your productivity.

Weidmüller UK

Klippon House, Centurion Court Office Park Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1TP

Tel: +44 1162 823470

Fax:+44 1162 893582

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Publication & Managing Director

Jodie Little 01843 595818

Editorial Assistant Laura Sharpe 01843 448

Editorial Assistant Leigh Little 01843 448 443

3 Manufacturing PDATE
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from June 2023
Independent Pump Training

Aston launches

Masters degree in smart manufacturing

Aston University in Birmingham is launching a Masters degree in smart manufacturing which will cover technologies such as digital twins and will teach hands-on skills needed to solve complex manufacturing problems. The postgraduate course will include topics such as production scheduling, predicting equipment failure and improving maintenance.

Central Scanning Expands 3D Printing Capabilities with New Fortus 450MC and Raise3D Pro 3 Plus Printers

“This is a course for those who want to be at the forefront of technological growth,” says programme director, Dr Muftooh Siddiqi. “Smart manufacturing is of tremendous significance in the field of manufacturing and is a way to the future.

“This programme will embed the technological revolution deep within the mindset of engineers and teach the skills to design and develop new technologies that embrace the challenges of future manufacturing.”

The degree, based on the research expertise in the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, will start in September2023.

Central Scanning, a leading provider of 3D printing and 3D scanning services, announced today the addition of two new 3D printers to their existing fleet. The Fortus 450MC, supplied and supported by Tri-Tech 3D, is an upgrade of the Fortus 400MC and allows the company to print a wider range of materials and increase their printing capacity. They have named this new printer ‘Rachel’.

The second printer, the Raise3D Pro 3 Plus supplied by SolidPrint 3D, is a large-volume FDM printer. The printer is yet to be named by the team! This expansion of their 3D printing capabilities is a clear demonstration of the success and growth of Central Scanning’s business and future goals.

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of these two new printers to our fleet,” said Nick Godfrey, Managing Director of Central Scanning. “With Rachel and ‘not named yet’, we can now offer our clients an even greater range of 3D printing services and meet their increasing demands. This is an exciting time for our business and we are confident that these additions will help us to continue delivering high-quality results for our clients.”

Central Scanning is a leading provider of 3D printing and scanning services, offering a range of solutions for a variety of industries, including architecture, engineering, and product design. With the latest technology and a team of experienced professionals, Central Scanning provides accurate and reliable results to their clients.

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Alfa Laval releases new condition monitoring software with built-in analytics. Using AI, the new Alfa Laval Analytics for online condition monitoring helps hygienic industries prevent unplanned downtime, extends lifetime of valuable assets and helps reach sustainability targets.

Alfa Laval releases new condition monitoring software for intelligent pump

“This is a big step for the hygienic industries. Our new Alfa Laval Analytics solution detects potential machine faults before they occur and helps diagnose the root cause. In close dialogue with our customers, we have developed an easy-to-use and reliable solution that brings peace of mind and keeps equipment at peak performance at all times, says Torsten Pedersen, Head of Connectivity and Monitoring at Alfa Laval Fluid Handling.

Alfa Laval Analytics can be added to all new and existing pump installations from Alfa Laval. The solution includes a one-year subscription, including online installation, training in use of the dashboard and ongoing support.

Always by your side 24/7

Alfa Laval Analytics collects and analyses pump vibration data around the clock. The philosophy behind the development of the AI-based solution has been to create peace of mind for plant operators and management. Analytics provides a clear and intuitive overview of the health condition of the equipment through a simple dashboard. Green for OK, yellow for pay attention, orange for warning and red for immediate action.

“No matter where they are and regardless of time, operators and plant managers can check plant status in their pocket. All it takes is a brief glance on the app dashboard to check the health status of the pumps and take action if needed to prevent costly downtime”, says Pedersen.

He explains that Analytics not only detects faults, but also pinpoints the likely causes of the problem, which can for instance be related to misalignment of pump installation, potential process improvements or mechanical faults.

“The diagnostics capabilities of the Analytics tool make it much easier for operators and technicians to locate the

problem fast and fix it before any damage is done. When running Analytics, we can even extend the warranty on equipment if the pumps are monitored continuously and if recommendations to inspection and repair are followed”, says Pedersen.

Enabling predictive maintenance

With its ability to predict failure and identify parts that need repair or replacement, Analytics paves the way for implementing predictive maintenance strategies that eliminate extra cost and prevent unplanned downtime.

At the same time, Analytics supports the sustainability agenda by allowing plants to do more with less. By keeping assets running, Analytics enhances energy efficiency and helps reduce carbon emissions.

Alfa Laval Analytics is a cyber secure solution. All data is transmitted via mobile network and requires no connection to the plant’s Internet.

Analytics is part of the Connected Services programme from Alfa Laval. New services are added on an ongoing basis to leverage the potential of Industry 4.0 technologies.

The technical set-up of Alfa Laval Analytics

• Analytics is enabled by the CM Connect Gateway and comes with a 12 months subscription.

• Installation and commissioning is simple, carried out by use of an app that guides the user in easy to follow steps.

• The subscription gives access to dashboard, provides notifications with recommended actions, and support from Alfa Laval.

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Protecting electromechanical interfaces against liquids is one of the basic requirements for industrial electronics in automation and process technology. However, the term ‚waterproof‘ is a matter of interpretation. Depending on the respective application, for electrical connection technology, different degrees of resistance to liquids are required.

Waterproof: the colloquial term suggests the total resistance of an object to the effects of humidity – for example in the form of fog or rain – and to immersion in liquids. However, it is already known from everyday experience that there is usually only relative protection, for example of a watch, a camera or a smartphone, whose specifications only permit submersion to a limited depth or a maximum hydrostatic pressure. For users of industrial electrical connectivity products, it is obvious to transfer this experience to the application scenarios for connectors, for example in process technology. Protection of the interfaces against liquids is an essential requirement here, both from a functional and a safety point of view.

In order to ensure the tightness of the overall electromechanical system, connectors are of particular importance in industrial electronics. On the one hand, they must be able to be plugged and unplugged several times; on the other hand, depending on the particular application, the connection must reliably prevent the ingress of liquid media when plugged in.

The degree of resistance required – and thus the correct interpretation of the attribute ‘waterproof’ – is inseparably linked to the circumstances of the application in question: While connectors are not in direct contact with humidity in many automation tasks, there are special applications where they are exposed to splash water or even have to withstand temporary submersion. Particularly in hygienically demanding environments, connectors may be treated under high pressure for cleaning purposes. In such cases, special design considerations are essential to ensure reliable signal and power transmission.

Standardized labelling: protection degree and IP code

The degree of resistance to humidity and liquids is indicated in the product data sheets of the connector manufacturers. The relevant technical specification refers to the so-called protection degree; it determines under which environmental influences – physical touch as well as ingress of particles and water – the respective connector can be used. In accordance with the DIN

EN 60529 and ISO 20653 standards, the protection degree is specified by means of an IP code (International Protection), which for connectors is generally valid only when these are mated. The above examples therefore correspond to the protection degrees IP67 – protection against temporary immersion – and IP68/69K – protection against permanent immersion or exposure to high pressure. Since the standards do not define criteria such as ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ in a clear and mandatory manner, it is advisable for manufacturers to provide more precise information in practice.

In practice, insufficient knowledge of DIN EN 60529 or ISO 20653 often results in the misleading assumption a high number in the IP code necessarily means better protection. It is therefore important to know that the first digit of the code refers to the ingress of solid particles, such as dust, while the second digit indicates protection against humidity and water. Thus, a product rated IP64 cannot be considered ‘better protected‘ in general compared to an IP55 product. The former may be more exposed to particles, i.e. it is dustproof. However, it can only withstand splashing water, while the second can be exposed to jet water from any angle.

The two digits for particles and humidity/water can be followed by code letters in the third and fourth positions to indicate the protection degree more precisely. For example, a K (as in IP69K) stands for road vehicle equipment; a B for access to hazardous active parts with a finger.

It is important to emphasize that the IP protection degree refers to the protection of equipment and its components only. It does not make any statement about the protection of persons who interact with this equipment. Measures for the safety of users are defined in the so-called protection class, which is not the subject of this article.

Waterproof in an industrial context

In addition to electrical parameters such as rated current and voltage, surge voltage or contact resistance, installation-relevant parameters such as integration density and degree of miniaturization – and consequently the design of a connector – are general selection criteria. Beyond this,

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however, it is necessary to evaluate the special features of the respective application environment. Is the interface exposed to mechanical loads such as shocks or vibrations? Are precautions to be taken against the influences of adjacent high-frequency electronic assemblies, against the risk of fire or explosion? Or does a connection that has to be mated and unmated frequently require special design considerations in order to endure many mating cycles? The answers to these and similar questions lead the user to product features such as locking system, electromagnetic shielding and contact materials, which necessarily influence the purchase decision.

The fact that connectors must – in an initially undefined manner – withstand the ingress of particles and humidity or liquids is a standard requirement in the industry. But as explained above, the necessary protection degree depends on the details of the application. As these range from interfaces in measurement and control in factory automation, through the Food & Beverage industry, to clinical use of medical instrumentation, the requirements for ‘waterproof’ connectors can vary considerably. Especially in the latter two areas, the products are exposed to a particular humidity load resulting from the cleaning and sterilization processes required here.

Product examples featuring IP67 and IP68/69K

All M12 connectors from binder are resistant to moisture and water in accordance with IP67 standards, and many are also resistant to IP68/69K. Corrosion-resistant variants are equipped with stainless-steel or plastic threaded rings (Figure 1). While IP67 ensures application safety in occasional humidity – without higher requirements – the more resistant products, depending on the protection degree and material, can also withstand weather conditions in outdoor use as well as immersion in greater depths, high-pressure water jets and aggressive cleaning agents.

The IP67 portfolio also includes M12 plugs and sockets that can be assembled. Connection technology with IP67 protection, such as the binder NCC (Not Connected Closed) series 770 (Figure 2 ), are recommended, for example, for use in handheld terminals, medical equipment and LED lighting assemblies. Equipped with a bayonet lock and designed for more than 5,000 mating cycles, these products are characterized by a special design feature. A spring-loaded plastic cover inside their housing encloses the contacts – when unmated – so that they are safe from accidental touch. They are thus protected against particles and splash water, and are also protected against mechanical impact from the outside.

The so-called subminiature and miniature series 620 and 720 – when mated – also meet the IP67 criteria (Figure 3 ). For this purpose, they are equipped with an O-ring on the female end as well as with a seal in the clamping area. Despite their sensitive snap-in elements, the connectors withstand more than 1,000 mating cycles. They are also suitable for medical equipment; other possible applications include metrology equipment, industrial lighting or the seat heaters in sports stadiums.

All molded cable connectors of the 763 series (Figure 4) featuring signal and sensor cables as well as threaded rings made of media-resistant and temperature-resistant plastic are waterproof to protection degree IP68 when mated. Protection to IP68/IP69K is achieved by the outdoor connectors with bayonet quick locking of the HEC series (Figure 5 ). Application examples include tunnel lighting for very humid environments, underwater metering probes and supply lines for submersible pumps. HEC connectors are also widely used in agricultural machinery and in portable handheld welders. The outdoor and stainless-steel versions of the 713 series (Figure 6) also comply with protection degree IP68/69K. The outdoor versions are made of plastic suitable for this purpose and are equipped with protective caps that preserve the signal connectors from the effects of weather in outdoor use. The stainless steel products are particularly resistant to aggressive agents.

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Figure 1: The M12 design is widely used in the field level of automation, for example for sensor-actuator cabling; field-wireable male and female connectors provide flexibility during installation. Photo: binder Figure 2: Not Connected Closed – thanks to a spring-loaded plastic cover, the NCC connectors of the 770 series are protected from particles and splash water even when unplugged. Photo: binder Figure 3 : Miniaturized and waterproof to IP67: The 620 and 720 series with O-ring on the female side and seal in the clamping area. Photo: binder

Particular Food & Beverage versions of the binder 763 series and the stainless steel variants of the 713 series are protected to IP69K. The M12 connectors are suitable, for example, to connect sensors that monitor process parameters in bottling plants. In general, they are intended to be installed in machines and systems that are cleaned with high-pressure cleaners and aggressive cleaning agents.

Conclusion: application determines the degree of protection

Protecting electromechanical interfaces against the effects of liquids is a fundamental requirement in industry. The degree of resistance required always depends on the specific environmental conditions of the respective application. In the product documentation of the component manufacturers, it is represented by the protection degrees or IP codes. binder offers connection technology in accordance with IP40 to IP68/69K, with a large part of the connector portfolio meeting the requirements of IP67 and above. The binder products are thus recommended, for example, for use in the fields of automation, building, agricultural, food and medical equipment technology.

Waterproof connectivity solutions from binder: special features

The circular connector specialist binder from Neckarsulm, Germany, offers waterproof connectors for harsh environmental conditions that have been developed for protection degrees IP67 to IP69K. UV- and temperature-resistant material is used in selected products, and some of the connection technology is suitable for demanding hygiene requirements. In detail, the design has been optimized to prevent dirt deposits on the housings; IP69K connectors can be cleaned with high-pressure jets, special stainless steel variants are resistant to aggressive cleaning agents, and overmolded connectors for the Food & Beverage market segment are also certified according to the specifications of the test service provider Ecolab. A selection of different locking systems and materials is available for various application scenarios – such as M12 threaded rings made of plastic or stainless steel, or bayonet or snap-in mechanisms optimized for applications that require fast and frequent mating. The balance of function and design in product development is worth highlighting. Thanks to special coloring, the connectors meet typical market design specifications, for example for the Food & Beverage segment or for medical technology.

About the author:

David Phillips has been the managing director of binder UK since it was established in 2009. In January 2022 David Phillips was also appointed as international sales director and is now responsible for the nine binder group offices worldwide. An experienced sales and marketing professional of 30 years he’s spent the last 20 years in the connector industry. Prior to binder he was the sales director for an independent distributor. He says “binder is focused on markets which require high-performance, high-quality interconnection solutions”.

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Figure 4 : IP68-compliant 763-series cable connectors in different versions. Photo: binder Figure 5: HEC series of outdoor connectors according to IP68/ IP69K. Photo: binder Figure 6: 713 series, IP68 – protective caps keep the contacts safe from the weather in outdoor applications. Photo: binder
your specialist for
circular connectors

Flow Measurement of High Viscosity Liquids

Positive Displacement flow measurement devices, such as Titan Enterprises’ Oval Gear (OG) flowmeters , are one of the most widely used types of flow meter for measuring the flow of petroleum liquids and petrochemical additive injection fluids. They remain a solid choice for many applications in today’s modern process control environment, due to the OG’s suitability in harsh environments, high-pressure capability, and long-term reliability with minimum maintenance. They are also ideally suited for viscous fluids.

High viscosity liquids, such as fuels, thick oils, bitumen, resin and tar, require devices that are precision engineered to provide highly accurate flow measurement. The teeth in an oval gear meter are used to drive the gear and seal the central path, with the differential force being developed by the shape of the ovals rather than the gear teeth on the lobe. Oval Gears vary in size and shape depending on the resolution and flow requirement of the process application.

The pressure drop is essentially the limiting factor when it comes to metering high viscosity liquids within an application. The Oval Gears within these flow measurement devices provide a larger surface area generating a much greater driving pressure across the gears. This results in a wider flow range capability and lower pressure drop (see graph below) compared to other positive displacement meter types.

Neil Hannay, Titan Enterprises’ Senior Development Engineer, says: “The higher the viscosity of a liquid, the more pressure will be required to ‘force’ the liquid into the flowmeter and around the oval gears. It’s important to bear this in mind when selecting the correct size of oval gear flowmeter for your application. For example, more pressure will be required to push through resin than diesel.”

Almost immune from the effects of varying liquid viscosity, density and temperature, the measurement accuracy of Titans’ Oval Gear (OG) flowmeters improves as liquid viscosity increases, from a nominal 1% to around 0.1% of flow rate at higher viscosities. Titan’s standard OG models provide high accuracy up to 1000 cSt; for viscosities above 1000 cSt Titan’s specially profiled gears are supplied to facilitate additional flow of the liquid.

Titan Enterprises offer special options and adaptive designs of its Oval Gear meters to meet specific highpressure requirements, aid chemical compatibility, and ensure safe operation in potentially explosive atmospheres. Titan’s Oval Gear range of meters include ATEX compliant IP65/NEMA 4 protection models, and devices that offer intrinsically safe options for processes that operate within harsh environmental conditions, such as explosive or corrosive atmospheres, where flowmeters are required to withstand tough environments whilst maintaining accurate and reliable measurement.

Titan’s Oval Gear meters can be pressure tested in-house up to 950 bar for custom-designed models and calibrated against diesel upon request. In the chemical industry, oval gear flowmeters are often used in conjunction with a batch controller to allow for the automatic dispensing of pre-set volumes of chemicals.

For further information on the full range of Oval Gear flowmeters or to discuss your specific OEM application, please contact Titan Enterprises on +44 (0)1935 812790, email or visit our website

There are few industries as demanding as the chemical and petrochemical industry when it comes to liquid flow measurement and control.
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EASY PRODUCT HANDLING with Vacuum Belt Conveyors

Belt conveyors with vacuum function for conveying goods in fixed positions without gripping or pallets.

Do your products tip over or float on the belt conveyor at high accelerations? Do your short cycle times not allow you to stop and handle the products with a gripper? Do you want to coat, scan, label or laser your products on their base? Do your products have to be continuously elevated or bridge a gap?

When transporting with a vacuum belt conveyor, products are fixed to the belt conveyor by a vacuum. This means that the products can, for example, be accelerated quickly or transported vertically, overhead or alongside the conveyor. Intermittent handling tasks can also run continuously with vacuum belt conveyors.

Vacuum belt conveyors are typically used to secure lightweight/largearea products at high accelerations or speeds. Goods of this type are often transported in the packaging, consumer goods and paper industries, or in battery production.

mk offers all of its belt conveyors and timing belt conveyors as vacuum belts. Only the conveyor frame and

the belt are modified to implement the vacuum function. Unlike the belt conveyor, the timing belt conveyor has a positive drive mechanism that allows it to run without slippage. If an image processing system is used, the individual images can be matched to a specific distance travelled.

Our engineers will design all the necessary components, from the belt conveyor and suction line to the pump. Alternatively, you can request a complete vacuum belt conveyor that you can integrate into your production environment.

Benefits of the vacuum belt conveyor

• Fixed position transport without gripping or pallets

• Secure transport of lightweight products at high accelerations – no tipping over or floating

• Products can be transported overhead or alongside the conveyor

• Products can be processed or checked while moving

Basic structure of a vacuum belt conveyor

The conveyor frame is equipped with suction fittings for a vacuum pump (e.g. industrial vacuum cleaner or side channel blower). This creates a vacuum inside the conveyor frame. The conveyed products are gripped through holes in the slide bed and in the belt located above it, and then conveyed with the belt.

To find more contact mk Profile Systems on (01949) 823751, email or visit

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Vacuum Belt Conveyor

Easy Product Handling with Vacuum Belt Conveyors

Fixed position transport without gripping or pallets

Secure transport of lightweight products at high acceleration

Products can be transported overhead or hanging alongside the conveyor

Products can be processed or checked while moving

mk Profile Systems Limited a company of the mk Technology Group

3D printing and cleaning solutions

As capabilities and applications advance rapidly, 3D printing is a key element of the manufacturing process for many industries, often rivalling the traditional manufacturing process for both speed and cost.

Industries including aerospace, automotive, healthcare are commonly utilising this kind of additive manufacturing, but as the process becomes more accessible and the long term efficiencies outweigh the initial costs, an increasing number of businesses are turning to 3D printing. Although many of these businesses will factor in the costs of the materials and start up costs when considering investing in a 3D printer, some may be less aware of the upkeep and maintenance required.

In order to offer a full supply and maintenance package, two companies are working together to make both the technological and cleaning applications available to customers within Europe.

Fraser Technologies, which provides world-leading cleaning chemistries and equipment solutions, has been working with Markforged, a US-based manufacturer of industrial 3D printers, materials, and software.

Markforged produces printers that work with metals like stainless steel, and with composites such as carbon fibre, fibreglass and Onyx. Fraser Technologies provides expert advice and solutions for cleaning printed parts.

Graham Fraser, Managing Director of Fraser Technologies, explains: “Any components produced by a 3D printer require rigorous cleaning. In some cases – depending on the materials used to create the component - the contamination may not be visible to the naked eye, but they will still

need cleaning prior to assembly. Our solutions offer bespoke chemistries that are applicable to a variety of component materials to ensure all cleaning standards are upheld.”

Working closely with customers to understand their challenges, Fraser Technologies provides expert advice and a wide range of worldleading chemistries and equipment solutions for component cleaning, electronics soldering, and heat transfer and carrier fluids. It offers an independent range of new generation products; comprehensive aftersales service; and a commitment to improving performance, productivity, environmental performance and operator safety.

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Comprehensive data logging for easy reporting The Cygnus 1 Ex Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge is a rugged, intrinsically safe instrument designed for taking thickness measurements in Zone 0 explosive atmospheres. LNG/LPG TANKERS STORAGE

ABB Robotics is continuing to close the global education gap in automation and prepare students for the future of work with the launch of a ready-to-use education package. Comprising a GoFa collaborative robot (cobot), teaching materials and a globally recognized technical qualification, the package is part of ABB Robotics global campaign to help workers thrive in a new era of automation.

The ABB Robotics Education Package has been created to ensure educational establishments can provide highly skilled young people for companies looking to benefit from robotic automation. Although some 80 percent of global educators see automation shaping employment in the next 10 years, only one in four education institutes incorporate robotics into their curriculum*. Barriers include the lack of teachers trained in robotics and automation and the difficulty in incorporating robotics training into the curriculum seamlessly.

“With robotic automation increasingly embraced by multiple sectors, from manufacturing and distribution to retail and healthcare, companies are looking for people with the skills needed to handle robots and automation,” said Andrea Cassoni, MD, General Industries Business Line for ABB Robotics. “By enabling schools, colleges and universities to easily create and run robotics training courses that are recognized by industry, ABB’s Robotics Education Package is closing the technology skills gap by preparing students for the automated workplace.”

ABB Closes Automation Skills Gap with New Robotics Education Package

• ABB Robotics launches complete robot training to prepare students for the future of work

• Package includes easy-to-use GoFa™ collaborative robot cell, 56 hours of teaching materials and globally recognized STEM certification

• Latest in global campaign to work with educators to close the automation skills gap

The heart of the package is the Education Cell, which features a fully functional ABB GoFa collaborative robot. Mounted on a compact tabletop, the award-winning ABB GoFa is an easy-to-use cobot that helps students learn real-life industrial applications such as pick and place and 3D printing. Students as young as 15 can use the robot, with no need for any prior engineering knowledge thanks to ABB Robotics’ lead-through and ABB’s Wizard Easy Programing.

A comprehensive suite of material gives teachers everything they need to guide students through 12 lessons at basic and advanced levels, taking them from the fundamentals of robotics to more advanced applications and programming. Industrial level training material has been adapted by teachers into a studentfriendly format, enabling them to easily grasp robotics concepts. A total of 56 hours of content is provided, including videos, interactive online exercises, 400 test questions, and lab exercises with ABB’s RobotStudio® offline programming tool, which is used by companies worldwide to plan, simulate and develop real-life robotic solutions in a virtual environment.

The third part of the package is a unique, globally recognized STEM certification for both teachers and students supported and authenticated by educational research and credentialing organization This allows teachers to be certified by ABB and then certify their students as competent to use robots. It also provides students with an accepted qualification that can be shown to employers in over 80 countries as proof of their ability to work with robotic automation.

The launch of the Education Package marks the latest step in ABB’s ongoing drive to help students develop the skills they need to thrive in a world where robots will be as common as laptops in the workplace. ABB currently works with educational institutions in over 40 countries to ensure that students are able to learn the fundamentals of robot programming and operation.

For more information about the education package, as well as ABB’s network of training facilities, partnerships, and training courses, please click here

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Fluregiene 200™ provides protection for hygiene conscious parts and surfaces • Excellent corrosion resistance • Low friction anti-fouling and anti-stick properties • Durable and easy to clean/wipe down • Permanently applied to metals, alloys and plastics • Built-in antimicrobial technology actively reduces microbes on the surface of the coating. • Reduces fungal growth and surfaces stay fresh longer Low friction PTFE based coating containing BioCote® antimicrobial technology Fluregiene 200™ Protecting your surfaces for longer. For more information about Fluregiene 200™ call us now on +44 01386 425755 or email Easy cleaning of hygiene conscious parts Reduces microbial growth Permanent coating protection


C.K Tools, the trusted choice for trade professionals, has launched a range of cable strippers designed to tackle low smoke zero hydrogen (LS0H) cable. Use of LS0H cable is increasing as specifiers bid to improve fire safety, but stripping this much tougher material is a challenge.

Now widespread in Ireland and the USA, use of LS0H cable is on the rise in the UK. While PVC cable jacketing may be fire resistant, it can generate around 50 per cent its weight in smoke when exposed to high heat or flames. This thick, acrid smoke is highly toxic, corrosive, and can damage electrical equipment. Toxic smoke inhalation causes more fire-related deaths than fires themselves. As such, many specifiers are opting to replace PVC or other cable jacketing with LS0H, and –with the legacy of the Grenfell Tower tragedy looming large – it is expected that regulations to this effect will soon be introduced.

Faced with LS0H, many electricians have reported challenges in stripping the cable, as standard cable strippers fail to meet the strength of the thermoplastic material. C.K Tools’ new LS0H cable stripper, however, has been designed specifically for the task.

Compatible with round, flat, and LS0H cabling, C.K Tools’ latest strippers make light work of all cable types thanks to their two titanium nitrade coated blades and four cable brackets. The range includes a 10mm flat and LS0H bracket, a 6mm flat and LS0H bracket, a 2.5mm flat and LS0H bracket, and an 8-28mm round bracket.

The stripper itself boasts a self-locking switch, automatic blade protection, and keyless blade adjustment, alongside the titanium nitrade coated blades. The range is available as a set with the stripper included, and LS0H brackets can also be purchased as a set of three.

Brinley Buckley Roberts, brand manager at C.K Tools, says: “There is a very real problem in the industry of electricians finding themselves ill equipped to tackle LS0H cable. The rising prevalence of LS0H is necessary and will undoubtedly save lives. We must prepare for it to become the norm. Our new cable stripper has been precision engineered to take on the challenge. Users can also expect the quality, durability, and ease of use that we pride ourselves on at C.K Tools – always ready to meet the most demanding needs of trade professionals.”

Universal Robots and Labman Automation partner to help bring pharmaceutical products to market quicker

Labman Automation, a UK-based company creating laboratory automation solutions, has partnered with collaborative robots (cobots) manufacturer, Universal Robots, to develop the MultiDose powder dosing system.

The MultiDose system will enable pharmaceutical companies to rollout much needed products for testing, bringing them to market faster. A highly-accurate, automated solid dispensing instrument, it will save technicians up to six hours per experiment, compared to manual processes.

The system requires virtually no training, is user-friendly and intuitive for technicians to use. Increased throughput of a lab is enabled by the ‘walk away’ nature of the MultiDose system, which allows experiments to be performed automatically out of normal working hours.

The MultiDose powder dosing system enables pharmaceutical companies to rollout much needed products for testing, bringing them to market faster

The MultiDose powder dosing system enables pharmaceutical companies to rollout much needed products for testing, bringing them to market faster

“With medicine shortages ongoing across UK, EU and US supply chains, the pharmaceutical industry is under pressure like never before. That’s why it’s crucial for pharmaceutical companies to have access to outof-the-box automation solutions that can be used right away,” says Adrien Poinssot, Global Director for OEM at Universal Robots. “We are proud to have played a role in Labman’s MultiDose to create turnkey solutions that will allow the pharmaceutical industry to be more flexible, reactive and efficient in these challenging times.”

Labman’s MultiDose addresses the rising need from a number of laboratories for a bespoke solution to automate powder dosing with a greater level of usability, while offering the versatility to integrate the system into larger workflows.

A key part of the MultiDose system requires a cobot. Having collaborated with Universal Robots on previous projects, Labman saw Universal Robots as the natural partner. Labman selected the UR3e – a highly flexible cobot arm – which can be easily integrated into an established lab process, without compromising safety, while adhering to strict industry regulations.

When compared to running manual processes, MultiDose saves lab technicians up to six hours on an experiment by improving efficiency. The system requires virtually no

training and is very user-friendly and intuitive for technicians to use. Increased throughput of a lab is also enabled by the ‘walk away’ nature of the MultiDose system, which allows experiments to be performed automatically out of normal working hours.

“Having a trusted partner such as Universal Robots has helped us shape and finesse MultiDose to make it the best it can possibly be,” says Matthew Smith, MultiDose Project Lead at Labman Automation. “The Universal Robots arm works out of the box with virtually no training, meaning lab technicians can almost instantly reap the rewards of increased efficiency. The MultiDose automated dosing platform is a solution that hasn’t yet been matched in UK pharmaceuticals and it’s great to see it already being used like any other piece of lab equipment.”

You can read more about the MultiDose case study at

June 2023 20 Manufacturing PDATE
The MultiDose powder dosing system enables pharmaceutical companies to rollout much needed products for testing, bringing them to market faster

Otto Motors launches new ‘mid-sized’ autonomous mobile robot

all-metal body, Otto 600 offers a superior ability to withstand dust and fluids with IP54 construction.

Fast and safe around people and objects: Otto 600 works quickly and safely alongside people thanks to advanced sensors and Otto’s proven autonomy software.

depends significantly on effective fleet management, which is why we are continuously evolving our fleet manager.

“In this software upgrade, we are introducing new traffic management functionality that enables users to create different rules of the road for groups of different Otto AMRs in the facility, resulting in faster traffic movement and improved safety. As our customers continue to deploy a variety of models from Otto in complex environments, this is a game changer.”

Software release features include:

Otto Motors, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), has unveiled its newest AMR, Otto 600, which the company describes as “the toughest and most nimble AMR in its class”. With the launch of Otto 600, Otto Motors now offers the most comprehensive autonomous material handling fleet on the market.

Otto 600 unlocks important new workflows with its ability to move pallets, carts and other payloads up to 600 kg (1,322 lb). With an all-metal construction and IP54 rating, Otto 600 follows the Otto Motors legacy of AMRs built to deliver results in the most demanding of factory environments.

Matt Rendall, CEO and co-founder of Otto Motors, says: “In 2015, Otto 1500 defined the heavy-class AMR category. In 2017, Otto 100 quickly became responsible for the industry’s largest AMR installations.

“In 2022, we launched Otto Lifter, the world’s first truly autonomous forklift. Today, we’re proud to announce Otto 600, a mid-range AMR offering the perfect balance of strength and agility. Powered by our industry-leading autonomous software, Otto now offers an unmatched material handling portfolio.”

Maneuverable in tight spaces: Otto 600 offers capabilities of larger AMRs with the maneuverability needed to get around in constrained spaces like work cells. Durable build for demanding environments: In addition to a rugged,

Versatile to get different jobs done: Capable of moving carts and pallets, as well as connecting islands of automation, Otto 600 unlocks limitless workflows including lineside delivery, work cell delivery and palletizer to stretch-wrapper transport.

Key specs:

• 1,322 lb (600 kg) payload capacity

• 4.5 mph (2 m/s) maximum speed

• 1050/700/320 mm footprint

• IP54 rating

Otto 600 is available through the existing global network of Otto Motors system integrators and material handling solution providers. Otto’s award-winning software is used by some of the world’s most recognized brands and Fortune 500 companies.

Otto’s latest software release, 2.28, delivers faster and safer traffic movement and a new facility configuration interface for quicker workflow setup. Otto Motors invests heavily in software development to constantly evolve and deliver the smartest AMR software. This marks the sixth software release in the last three years.

The Otto AMR software-suite is the most proven solution in the industry with over four million hours of production driving experience and is trusted for large-scale deployments by the most reputed brands like Toyota and GE.

Jay Judkowitz, VP of product at Otto Motors, says: “The success of largescale, deeply integrated deployments

• Team-Based Traffic Control: Customers can create traffic zones for specific robot types. For example, operators can specify lanes where larger AMRs cannot enter, ensuring smaller AMRs remain unblocked and are able to keep moving for higher throughput.

• New and intuitive facility configuration interface: Customers can now save up to 50% of the time required to set up facility maps and workflows. It is also easier for customers to use, learn and adapt to the system.

• Interoperability: Otto Motors says it was the first AMR vendor to support the well-known AGV standard, VDA5050, empowering customers to manage dissimilar types of material handling solutions from a third-party master controller interface.

• New pallet types: Otto Lifter now supports BulkPak 4845 HDMP series bins, enabling customers to move more pallets of their choice.

Since its inception, Otto Motors has helped customers achieve throughput improvements as high as 600 percent and return on investment in as little as 11 months in different industry verticals.

This launch of Otto 600 and new software enables Otto Motors to help manufacturers automate a larger part of their material handling operations and “achieve higher return on investment”, according to the company.

June 2023 22 Manufacturing PDATE

Worldwide Fruit Automate Quality at Scale with AI

OAL is proud to announce its latest project with Worldwide Fruit to stop packaging errors with artificial intelligence and automation. Worldwide Fruit has scaled and improved its quality control processes, resulting in happier customers and reduced operational risk. Automation has helped find and prevent “hard-to-spot errors” whilst reducing the time it takes to complete quality control checks. They have also removed substantial paperwork from the business helping meet and surpass sustainability goals.

Previously manual human checks of product labels, date code and country of origin were undertaken, but these methods are susceptible to human error, especially in a high-complexity business like Worldwide Fruit. Their complex operations handle thousands of different product, grower, and packaging combinations. For one category like apples, there are many varieties of apples from different countries with different packaging and promotion requirements from each retailer.

For a production run, Worldwide Fruit must ensure the right product (apple), is in the right packaging with the right date code and country of origin. Any mistake in the process could result in a product recall and a fine from retailers. To address these challenges Worldwide Fruit turned to automation.

After a review of suppliers, Worldwide Fruit chose to work with OAL because of recommendations and previous experience implementing the OAL system. Furthermore, they wanted to work with a business that could integrate with their existing ERP system, which OAL could demonstrate.

The priority was implementing an “online” label and verification system across its packaging lines to accelerate its digital transformation. Online meaning, every product is verified as opposed to “offline” where a sample is verified.

Fran McNally, Quality Manager at Worldwide Fruit described the project: “The team at OAL are easy to work with, working together we have implemented a robust automated label and date code verification system. By introducing cutting edge artificial intelligence technology

we’ve futureproofed our packaging lines, enabling further automation. Crucially we’ve been able to customise the system to meet our unique requirements. The 247 support is quick, friendly, and efficient!”

The OAL solution has a number of elements to automate the process. A digital master product database was created containing all critical SKU information. OAL Line Terminals were installed on every line for operators to start and finish jobs and conduct quality checks related to the job. This includes online cameras to scan and verify packaging to ensure the right packaging is applied to the product. Each online printer was connected to the OAL system. The OAL system controls the printer and tells it the date code to print based on the date code rules in the master product database.The offline print room printers were also under the control of the OAL system to ensure offline printed labels were also correct.

Finally, the site chose to add an extra layer of assurance with APRIL Eye date code verification. APRIL Eye gives the OAL system the functionality to read back and verify printed date codes in an image. This ensures the right date code is applied, it’s legible and in the right location.

At Worldwide Fruit, as part of start-up, interval and end-of-run checks the operator takes a picture of a finished pack with the OAL line terminal hand scanner. The system checks it’s correct and legible against the current job.

Finally, every check, scan and data point is recorded providing a complete digital audit trail to ensure BRC and retailer code of practice compliance. 23 Manufacturing p DATE June 2023

£Multi-Million green opportunity for PP C&A as machine builders and ‘early disruptors’ target Net Zero gains

One of the UK’s leading strategic manufacturing outsourcing specialists has seen a surge in demand from clients looking to gain ‘early mover’ advantage in the low carbon economy.

PP Control & Automation (PP C&A), which employs 230 people at its world class manufacturing facility in the West Midlands, has started working on projects worth more than £2million in the last year alone, projects that are all involved in renewable energy, energy storage and building machines for electrification across a myriad of transport sectors.

This has involved working with OEMs building new machines and ‘early disruptors’ that are looking to bring new technologies to market that will both modernise the existing National Grid infrastructure and support the move to Net Zero, through the development of new and exciting technologies.

All are turning to outsourcing as a way of reducing manufacturing costs, overcoming recruitment

challenges and accelerating time to market, the latter so crucial when trying to secure competitive advantage with new opportunities.

Tapping into specialised expertise to overcome design and build issues has also been a key consideration, as management teams struggle with the balance of being an ‘early mover’ with ensuring the technology delivers the required performance.

Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation, commented: “The trend towards renewable energy is driven by several factors, including environmental concerns, government incentives, and the decreasing cost of renewable energy technologies. As the demand grows, machine builders are playing a key role in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

He continued: “We are definitely seeing this shift on our shopfloor, with numerous projects in development that will play a role in renewables, energy storage, smart grids and electrification, as well as hydrogen powered systems. The latter is not just in transport, but in the wider ‘agri-tech’

solutions that are looking at hydrogen as an important, future green energy source.”

A member of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN Group), PP Control & Automation is one of the most experienced outsourcing specialists in the country, helping build machines that robotically milk cows, provide everyday packaging solutions, protect your phones from water damage and cut parts that are used in F1 cars and the world’s airlines.

In addition to established machine builders, the company is increasingly supporting ‘disruptors’ through its innovative PP+ offer, which offers an ‘ecosystem’ of support that will help them scale quickly.

This gives clients access to a trusted network of experts in business growth, sales, marketing and PR support, as well as a clear pathway to academia, legislative bodies, engineering groups and investors.

Tony went on to add: “Whilst the Net Zero journey presents significant challenges for OEMs, it also creates new opportunities for those who can be innovative, be agile, and have the ability to scale at pace. By working in collaboration with partners like PP C&A, the chances of success are increased. What is undeniable is that the UK will play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon future for us all.”

For further information, please visit or follow @ppcanda on twitter

June 2023 24 Manufacturing PDATE

MPW Precision cuts a short path to success with day-one MRP system implementation

Burton-on-Trent based precision engineers

MPW Precision reached a six-month traceability goal in just four weeks, earning the ISO 9001 without a single non-conformance.

About MPW Precision

MPW Precision was founded in December 2020 by father and son entrepreneurs Maurice and Paul Watson, who between them have over 60 years of combined experience in precision manufacturing. The company specialises in producing high-precision quality engineered components for use in larger fabrications and power generation.

A lot of prior experience with MRP systems

With years of previous experience leading a manufacturing company, Paul knew that complex manufacturing needs a capable MRP system for efficient and well-organised operation.

Since all of MPW Precision’s clients require ISO 9001 and other quality assurance certifications, an important functionality that Paul required was end-to-end traceability. Being located over three manufacturing sites and two home offices, it was also important that the software be web-based and able to run on off-the-shelf PCs and tablets. A final determining factor was affordability.

After trialling several MRP systems, Paul demoed MRPeasy and felt it ticked all the boxes and seemed easy not just in name but also for day-to-day use and crucially – to implement.

Up and running in one month

Having prior experience with implementing manufacturing software, Paul decided to go at it himself. “I had a target to install MRPeasy and become ISO 9001 approved within 6 months,” he says. Using the wealth of resources on MRPeasy’s website he got the system up and running in just about 4 weeks.

“After 6 months of using MRPeasy, SGS (an industry-leading certification company) came in to undertake the certification audit and we passed without a single non-conformance. On the report, SGS also commented on how good MRPeasy was with traceability”, Paul explained.

Workflow efficiency raised by 70%

Since MPW Precision opted for a day-one implementation, there were no metrics on how MRPeasy affected efficiency after going live. However, comparing with the MRP solution that Paul and Maurice had previously used, Priority Software, they can now do things like taking an order and getting it to the shopfloor in around 25% of the time. “There was approval and other stages involved and we had 40 employees instead of 8 but all-in-all, it’s around 70% more efficient.” says Watson.

Today, MPW Precision uses MRPeasy for pretty much everything, except for some ISO-specific QC processes, and benefits from having business-critical information all in one place and accessible from the shop floor, office, or any internet-enabled external location. The owners have also been praised by their customers for the speed at which the system makes documentation available to them. Meanwhile, the seamless QuickBooks integration ensures the accounts are well taken care of.

MRPeasy is a cloud-based ERP/MRP system for small manufacturers and distributors. For more information and a free trial, visit

25 Manufacturing PDATE June 2023
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