Systems integrator selection: How to pick the right one for your automation project

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In the UK, there are many companies that specialise in automation projects. Some design and provide the technology, components or sub systems – these are usually called OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Others provide the full turnkey applications. Then there are system integrators – people or companies – that are specialists in crafting solutions, overseeing the engineering of automated systems, ensuring all the elements on a manufacturing and packing line work harmoniously together to optimise productivity, reduce waste and address rising manufacturing labour costs.

Report launch: Engineering UK 2017: State of Engineering #EngUK17

The Engineering UK 2017: The State of Engineering report launched today with a joint letter from Malcolm Brinded (Chair of EngineeringUK) and Professor Dame Ann Dowling (President of the Royal Academy of Engineering):



J D Neuhaus (JDN) will use the forthcoming LogiMAT exhibition (Stuttgart, Germany 14-16 March) to present visitors with examples from their extensive range of materials handling equipment. Among the highlights on stand 9C51 in hall 9 will be a light crane system, being shown for the first time, along with a Mini 250 hoist. A team of JDN experts will be on hand to discuss any specific questions from visitors regarding their materials handling requirements.

Applied Motion Products stepSERVO™ now available with EtherCAT®: Innovative new servomotor technology expands further


AMP (Applied Motion Products Inc.) has launched EtherCAT® communications versions of its innovative StepSERVO™ closed loop stepper technology products. Available with full support from Mclennan, AMP’s

European distribution partner, the range covers three EtherCAT network intelligent drives with continuous output current of 3, 5 and 10 Amps together with 14 matched StepSERVO stepper motors from NEMA size 11 to 34. This combination offers automation systems and machine builders an unprecedented range of high performance intelligent drives with greater torque, acceleration, and throughput than traditional step motor systems and also enables highly precise axis synchronisation through EtherCAT – the leading real-time communications network for industrial Ethernet.

TE Connectivity Thermoplastic Docking Frame Assures Alignment for Heavy Duty Connectors


DARMSTADT, Germany – February 7, 2017 – TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, is launching the HDC Thermoplastic Docking Frame for the company’s HMN series of heavy duty connector (HDC) inserts. It enables blind mating of the inserts in drawers, allowing the connectors to guide themselves into the correct mating positions in environments where direct visibility or access is limited. No tools are needed to unlock the modules either. Applications include motor control centers, medium voltage switchgear, and power rack systems in such areas as energy storage.

Retrofitting production line machinery with HARTING’s MICA ‘open source’ industrial mini-computer extends lifetime, improves process efficiencies, saves cost

HARTING MICA retrofit injection moulding

Central machine monitoring and process optimisation is the best way to ensure that production lines and their associated constituent part machinery operate more effectively and economically.  Many machines in well-established production lines, which may be between 15 and 30 years old, can still perform their main functional tasks successfully, however they do so much less efficiently than their modern day counterparts.  For example, they don’t have the same level of computing power, enough memory capacity to record and store the relevant data, or ability to communicate with their modern equivalents.  In many cases, these machines also use data formats and protocols from the 80s and 90s, which are no longer used by today’s PLCs and industrial PCs.


Steve Schofield

In August 2018 the WEEE2 Directive (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) will come into force in the UK.  Under the existing WEEE Directive, pumps (other than garden pumps) have NOT been included within scope.  However, this first revision of the Directive has now brought into play many products that were previously out of scope, including pumps.

Durable and precise rotary angle measurement: Contelec’s Vert-X 79 rotary encoder suits heavy-duty applications


New from Contelec A.G. and available exclusively in the UK from Variohm EuroSensor, the Vert-X 79 magnetic rotary encoder is designed for high accuracy angular measurement on construction machines and heavy-duty mobile vehicle applications where extreme conditions call for the highest levels of durability.

Mobile EMC fleet – completely renewed


EMC measurement now plays an important role. Anyone who wants to bring their electronic devices to the customers needs a CE approval. SCHURTER takes this into account and has completely renewed and strengthened its fleet of mobile EMC measuring laboratories.

New Chairman for UKIVA


Paul Wilson, Managing Director of Scorpion Vision Ltd has become the new Chairman of the UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA), taking over the reins from Ian Alderton. Wilson took up his new position at the recent UKIVA Annual Members’ meeting held at Arena MK.

Triark Pumps Shortlisted for Two Industry Awards


Established in 1984, Triark Pumps is one of the leading independent suppliers of air-operated double diaphragm (AODD) pumps in the UK.  Whilst striving to be more than just a trusted supplier of pumps and spares, the company has built up unrivalled technical expertise over the decades.  Today, in addition to helping customers find the best product for the job, at the lowest possible price, it also offers engineered solutions and guidance.

Intepro’s Procyon Test Systems Combine Open-Source Integration with High-Efficiency Sources and Regenerative Loads

045 - Intepro Procyon Test System

Fully integrated, scalable systems from 1W to over 1MW combine Intepro’s auto-ranging programmable power sources and regenerative loads in modular rack-mounted configurations

Touchscreen Software Added to Altair Partner Alliance


SENSE is now available for use by HyperWorks® customers

TROY, Mich. – Feb. 15, 2017 – The Altair Partner Alliance (APA) is pleased to announce the addition of Fieldscale’s SENSE to its software offering. Sense is an intuitive and highly advanced touchscreen design and simulation tool. The cutting-edge algorithms provide accurate results up to ten times faster than any other simulation software. As a result, engineers save effort and time and products are launched sooner and with increased profit margins.

£9.7m manufacturing support package launched to unlock SME potential

ESG Launch (P)

SME manufacturers have been given a major boost this week with news that a new £9.7m business support initiative is officially live and looking to support over 3000 companies. The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), which is funded by ERDF and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), is promising to fill the void left by MAS by providing access to specialist assistance to help firms grow and improve.

Expanded circular connector family meets the growing demands of the railway sector

HARTING has expanded its family of M12 PushPull circular connectors with a number of new versions designed to meet the growing needs of today’s railway sector.

Engineering Update interviews Semta’s Chief Executive Ann Watson @SemtaSkills

Ann Watson (approved)

Engineering Updates Tim Johnston meets Ann Watson to discuss the future of UK Engineering. 

Fashion Logistics Perfection


A new logistics center by SSI Schaefer has recently become operational for omni-channel distribution by the Finnish Stockmann Group, one of the leading retail companies in Scandinavia and the Baltics. A combination of hanging and flat goods and a design concept based on Schaefer’s 3D-MATRIX Solution® facilitates the order processing of both over-the-counter and online trade from one single distribution facility.

Highly specified I/O rich KINO-AQ170 SBC supports 6th Generation Intel processors


The KINO-AQ170 from BVM Limited, is the latest addition to the company’s family of Mini-ITX motherboards. It supports Intel’s 6th generation Skylake 14nm Core i7/i5/3, Pentium and Celeron processors, which offer enhanced performance at the lowest power levels ever, delivering up to two and a half times better computing performance than previous generations and outstanding graphics.


ish2016.161 Propak 2016 CHW-210 full view (PR shot) (MR)

Weighing solutions that enable African food manufacturers to become more competitive will form the highlight of the Ishida Europe stand at Propak East Africa.  The company says the accuracy, speed and reliability of its new value-for-money CHW multihead weigher and DACS-EL checkweigher models help to eliminate product giveaway and increase throughput, allowing more packs to be produced and delivering higher yields for each production run.

Expansion at Specialised Imaging Ltd.


Specialised Imaging Ltd., market leader in ultra high-speed imaging technology, announces a move to new larger business premises following a very successful 2016.

Commenting on the move – Mr Wai Chan (Managing Director) said “ Our move into new custom built premises not only offers us improvements in workflow efficiency but also the 300% increase in floor space accommodates our planned workforce growth and investment in better testing and manufacturing facilities”.