Speed dating, is it the worst idea ever or the best? That depends sat in a room full of potential partners that don’t look promising – worst idea ever. Sat in a room with ten technology pioneers and companies that only have five minutes to tell you about their latest innovations and solutions – ingenious. That is exactly what Anna Flockett from Engineering Specifier experienced last week, and here is what she found out:
Engineers Without Borders:
A charity that recognises that engineers play such an important role in society. If you take a look back through history, engineers have created the world around us and we see their influence in our everyday lives. As we look to the future, engineers are going to play an even bigger role in the challenges that we face as ten million people try to live on the same planet. As an organisation Engineers Without Borders promotes the social and environmental side of engineering, and aims to bring engineers together.
The organisation wants engineers to use their skills and talent in a way that benefits the global community. Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Chief Executive at Engineering Without Borders said: “We want to say to engineers, whatever you do you will have an impact but choose to make a difference.”
Working in two ways, the organisation goes out into the public space and into schools to bring this social impact narrative into the engineering landscape. “We know that it’s a really powerful narrative, in terms of inviting and encouraging a more diverse lot of engineering talent,” Cresswell-Maynard added.
Yes there is a skill shortage, but we need to tackle the diversity issue as well, and Engineering Without Borders feel it is doing something really positive to address that. Mainly by helping the engineers that come to the charity to better understand the social and environmental impact they have and provide them with those education opportunities to get the skills that they need.
Working in nine different countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, Engineering Without Borders delivers projects which for example, gives access to water and access to clean sanitation. “We essentially use the skills we have available to us and off of that we can really push addressing these issues.”
The drylin W Exchange from igus:
igus had two new innovations at the event, the first one being a very simple but effective idea. The concept behind the drylin W Exchange is taking a small practical assembly tool to push the old liner out of the drylin W linear system housing, clip the new one into the shaft and push it into the housing for a flush fit.
This simple but clever maintenance tool can save engineers time and money, as it maximises up-time. Robert Dumayne, Director at igus said at the event: “When changing the liner on a linear guide rail, for example where extremely abrasive sand or glass dust is present, the entire linear slide has to be pushed off the rail. For linear axes or multi-axis gantries with a toothed belt drive, this requires significant effort in assembly and lengthy machine down-time.”
The new bearing housing for the drylin W linear system ensures easy changing of the liner directly on the linear rail. The side cover of the bearing housing on the linear slide can be removed easily with a screwdriver. With the tool supplied free of charge, which can also be 3D printed, the liner is pushed out of the carriage and removed.
Eaton - Machinery export to North America:
Stuart Greenwood of Eaton started our ‘date’ by explaining that 22.4% of all UK exports are to North America. However the export market to that region actually requires a special focus in view of region specific product standards and regulations.
By just using the standard components symbol like we do in Europe is not enough.
In fact, without the particular attention to the various standards, codes and conventions, it is possible that many OEM equipment installations will not be regulation compliant or approved. Suppliers such as Eaton, who have a major operating footprint in North America and IEC markets, are fully aware of global regulation updates.
There are a huge number of approvals and certifications worldwide, but US certifications have special requirements because, in addition to the North American codes and standards, market practices must be complied with and applied to. These differ substantially from the IEC standards in use in most countries.
So how can Eaton help?
As the company is a global player it wants to help exporters meet the right requirements. So on its website it has provided a number of tools that can help you through the process. On there you can find whitepapers, instructional videos, design guides, project consultations and training courses.
Everyone is aware that there is a skills gap, so what do you do when you look at your company and you can see people starting to retire and few candidates coming through to replace them? You could fix the problem yourself, which is exactly what Mitsubishi Electric did.
The Diamond Link Training Academy (DLTA) has brought huge success for both the company and its graduates with an 80% success rate for just its first run, which took three years.
The aim of the DLTA is to create jobs, train people, fill important positions and provide excellent employment opportunities. Mitsubishi knew they were looking for sales engineers so as part of its three year programme, allocated mentors who aided the candidates along their journey and although reluctant to start with, has seen how the people and the programme has advanced.
Three years into the project, what Mitsubishi know now is that it has worked extremely well and for the people that have progressed through it.
At the end of the three years the outcome was that nine young people were being put into the industry, whether they chose to stay and join the business, or leave, they had the skills and experience that they required.
Jobs have been created, people trained and important positions filled, giving them great employment prospects and investing in the future of Mitsubishi Electric UK at the same time. The aim, now it has an established programme, is to promote the benefits and highlight how it is different to other paths into the industry.
The programme did not just look for your standard graduates and young engineers, instead it took a range of people with different qualities at different levels, with different skills.
Full IoT solutions conventionally require significant upfront investment, despite, according to industry studies, success rates for such projects only reaching 26%. So in response to this ADLINK decided to introduce a digital experiment as a service concept for customers who are thinking what the IoT can do for them?
The DXS approach is built on the experience of building military grade solutions – optimised for real-world limitations such as security, latency and power. Solutions are designed to take maximum advantage of cloud, data centre and edge processing.
ADLINK DXS provides all the resources required to get digital experiments up and running, including pre-validated hardware, client asset connection, data movement consolidation to bridge the IT/OT gap, enterprise sharing, endpoint management, and field and professional services.
“ADLINK DXS IoT digital experiments as-a-service allows organisations to think big, start small and work fast when integrating IoT-based functionality within new business models or processes,” said Andy Penfold, Director of Offering Management, ADLINK IoT Solutions and Technology.
He added: “As successful digital experiments are completed, stakeholder confidence grows, supporting the investment needed for large-scale roll-outs. However, unsuccessful experiments can also provide significant value, whether uncovering design issues or revealing where to avoid further investment.”
New QR-codes from igus:
Justin Leonard, my second ‘date’ from igus, was there to explain all about QR-codes being integrated onto the company’s e-chain systems to make original part identification easy. Leonard explained as he demonstrated: “All you need to do is locate the code and then take an image using a smartphone QR-reader app camera and it takes you to our website.”
From here you are directed to the online igus portal which provides you with all the information you could possibly need, including being able to reorder the parts with just one click.
“For maintenance engineers who work with a lot of different energy chain systems or designers with a product sample on their desk, instant access to all the relevant information available on the individual component or the particular e-chain system is crucial,” Leonard added.
The new solution gives you the ability to identify the part, check prices and select to order for fast delivery. General information about the e-chain, including CAD drawings, is also available, as well as step-by-step assembly instructions and videos.
Western Business attended the Give Me 5 event to talk about its upcoming show Maintec later this year, which is the UK’s premier event for the maintenance engineering and asset management community. However this year the show is under new ownership and therefore promises exciting development, content and new features.
Tim Else, Director at Western Business Exhibition commented: “It is our principle aim to ensure Maintec remains pertinent to the UK’s maintenance and reliability engineers. For 2018 we have made sizeable changes to the event and its seminar programme to make sure it remains at the forefront of industry and delivers value for the engineers who attend the event.”
Some people can be quite reluctant to accept Industry 4.0, especially with open arms, so WEG has developed a very simple and easy Motor Scan Condition Monitoring system for Industry 4.0 and a whitepaper to go with it: ‘How digitalisation transforms the role of the maintenance professional’.
Marek Lukaszczyk said: “This is the first step in helping maintenance engineers do their job.”
What WEG has found a lot of people are scared of Industry 4.0 - they know what it is, but not necessarily how to implement it into real life. So what WEG are proposing is the WEG motor scanner, which is a performance monitoring solution for electric motors, ensuring a level of excellence via condition monitoring.
The data is extracted and sent to the cloud allowing preventative actions and avoiding risks of unplanned down-times.
It works by measuring the vibration, temperature and running hours of the electric motor, through data transmitted from a sensor mounted to the motor fins, diagnosing any faults. With a smartphone or tablet, information is collected by the app – available in Android and iOS – and sent to the cloud via Bluetooth or gateway. The stored data can be analysed on the smartphone screen immediately and later in greater detail on the WEG IoT platform.
The world’s largest manufacturer of air compressors is aiming to reduce energy consumption in its products. Historically the company would do this with a single motor with two elements, one gear and a fixed ratio, which does provide efficiency but not to the maximum. So to optimise efficiency what Atlas Copco has done is enhanced the elements, just slightly but are now using two separate single magnet motors to directly drive the two elements.
Mark Ranger, Business Line Manager for Oil-Free Air at Atlas Copco UK explained: “Two variable speed drive control systems, again designed and developed by Atlas Copco, are now independently driving these two elements, and by independently driving them and controlling them we are optimising them to get a straight line of efficiency between the two.”
In doing this, and with the enhancements made to the elements, Atlas Copco has managed to achieve up to a ten percent more flow, and as much as a 15% reduction in energy compared to current machines available by Atlas Copco and its competitors.
Ranger added: “Putting this in context, the standard life of the compressor is typically 15-20 years, which is a substantial saving in energy, and if you think about the actual cost of that, it’s simple.”
Atlas Copco believe this Full Feature package will offer users true peace of mind, reduced installation materials and a through-life cost of ownership investment lower than any comparable oil-free compressor available today.
Atlas Copco’s data monitoring program ‘SMARTLINK’ is also integrated as standard in the new range. This remote monitoring system provides analysis of the whole compressed air system, advises users on how they can reduce energy costs and can predict preventive maintenance interventions to avoid potential down-time.
A connector manufacturer that makes it easy for engineers to design their connectors, GCT works in many industries but plays a big part in the consumer and lifestyle industry – there are a lot more connectors within this field than you may first think.
A lot of the work GCT do is with PCB style connectors but now the company is really keen to highlight product and service innovation. So the company is releasing a new 3D model builder to allow engineers to build the connector they want tailored to them.
GCT wants to make it easy for engineers, when they have their design and want to push it through the door to meet that last minute deadline. GCT has all its connectors online which are downloadable and will be delivered to them as quick as the next day – with its express service.
David Luu, Marketing Manager at GCT said: “Connectors are non-standard so everyone will want something different, with the pins and all sorts, it can be tricky, so we want to be able to offer that unique design.”
There is good demand for GCT connectors in industrial applications and this is likely to continue with the drive for Industry 4.0 and M2M capabilities for IOT technologies.