In Times Of Uncertainty, Make the Most of your Assets

It’s safe to say that there is a great deal of uncertainty at the moment; something which is being felt not just in the UK but in many countries across the world.

In these circumstances, the best thing that businesses can do is protect their existing assets. It’s fundamentally important to ensure that all assets perform at an optimum level during their entire service life, and for an organisation to continue its journey towards increased efficiency and reliability so that it can remain competitive in a changing marketplace.

In the industrial space, a company’s lifeblood is its machinery and all machinery has critical components such as its electrical drives, motors etc. without which any very expensive robotic arm is nothing but a very elaborate statue, collecting dust. So it’s imperative that electrical equipment is housed within a protective environment, to ensure it operates to it’s full potential. 

A protective environment takes the form of both high quality enclosures and correctly prescribed climate control equipment. The two items work together to safeguard your equipment from the following:

High Temperatures Impact the Lifespan of Equipment

Prolonged high internal temperatures reduce the lifespan of your equipment. This will mean an increased chance of unplanned breakdowns, increased costs and reduced production output.

Furthermore, your equipment cannot work at 100% output once its maximum operating temperature has been exceeded, which means you will experience an overall reduction in your machine’s efficiency and reduced manufacturing output.

To prevent high temperatures being reached within the enclosure, correctly sized enclosure cooling products should be installed. This could be fans and filters, cooling units or air-to-water heat exchangers, dependant on both the amount of heat produced by the electrical equipment and the ambient temperature in the surrounding environment.

Rittal Blue e+ Roof Mounted Cooling Unit

Low Temperatures Can Also Damage Equipment

Equipment needs protecting from low temperatures as much as high ones. In winter, when ambient temperatures drop, any equipment that has been idle over the weekend can be damaged as soon as it’s turned on from cold.

In addition, motors or compressors can experience problems when oil contained within sealed systems begins to increase in viscosity. This can damage the seals/components, again causing failures.

To prevent this happening, you should fit a correctly sized enclosure heater inside the enclosure.  When connected to a thermostat, the heater will maintain an acceptable minimum temperature preventing any damage to electrical equipment caused when the low temperature minimum is exceeded.

Condensate Poses Safety Risk

Condensate can be a real issue when it forms within the enclosure and on critical equipment in high humidity environments. Condensate poses a real safety risk to the electrical devices and can cause catastrophic failure if left unchecked.

You can combat this problem by using a high quality industrial enclosure with a minimum of an IP54 seal to prevent humid air from constantly entering the enclosure. This can be combined with a cooling unit featuring an integrated condensate evaporator; the cooling unit acts as a de-humidifier and removes excess condensate from the pocket of air within the sealed enclosure.

Dust, Dirt and Corrosive Substances

Many industries suffer from dusty or dirty environments, which can impact on electrical equipment and its optimum performance. For example:

  • Carbon dust in the steel or manufacturing industry
  • Yeast or vinegar extract in the food and beverage industry
  • Salt water vapour in the air in a marine or coastal application

The above contaminants will attack the wires and electrical connections within your enclosure. In time, this can corrode or (worse) short connections, which in turn can cause excess heat and/or a panel fire.

In highly contaminated environments, the best advice is to use a cooling product which does not allow dirty ambient air to constantly enter the enclosure, so fans and filters are a no-no. Air-to-air or air-to-water heat exchangers and cooling units are best solutions, dependant on the heat load as they will only treat the small pocket of air within the enclosure, but they will also reduce the level of contaminants entering the space.

Summary

Any change or upheaval that impacts on a company’s trading environment brings with it challenges, but also opportunities. The trick is always to optimise your business for success, reducing costs wherever possible, while maximising productivity and efficiency.

Rittal can provide you with a free inspection of your current cooling equipment regardless of manufacturer, age or condition. This will then allow us to advise you of any recommended improvements and (critically) confirm whether you are using the correct equipment.

The long term benefits of maintaining a protective environment and allowing your equipment to perform to its optimum will help your business to flourish.


Written by Karl Lycett, Rittal UK’s Product Manager for Climate Control. For further information see the Rittal range on our website or call
01254 685900.

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Generation X Was Here – Rittal Launch New AX and KX Enclosures at LC Automation

Rittal brought their brand new demo bus to LC Automation’s head office in Blackburn last Thursday. Titled ‘Generation X is here’ it was the first chance to see the new AX and KX enclosures which were recently launched at Hannover Messe. We are excited to share our partnership with Rittal and can’t wait to supply the new enclosures later in the year.

Neil Battery demonstrates the latest new developments from Rittal

Over 35 Million Units Sold

Rittal has rethought and redesigned the new AX compact and KX small enclosures, providing simpler, faster assembly and component installation, greater flexibility and enhanced safety. This launch marks the digital transformation of a standardised product that has been made by Rittal for more than 50 years: Over 35 million units of the AE have been manufactured, making it the most popular compact enclosure in the world.

Rittal Alliance Partner

We have been a Rittal Alliance Partner for many years, so it was a big deal to get the brand new AX and KX enclosures to our Blackburn head office before (almost) anyone else. It was a great opportunity for our staff and customers to see some of the main features such as; more space, easier installation and modular design, for themselves. They are going to be incredibly popular when we get them in stock.

The brand new Rittal AX and KX enclosures

The AX and KX enclosures won’t be available till the autumn but as Rittal Alliance Partners we can be sure that LC Automation can supply Rittal enclosures for any industrial application. If you’re looking for a high quality enclosure for your project, give us a call on 01254 685 900 or take a look at our website
https://www.lcautomation.com/Page/Our_Suppliers/Rittal.aspx

The Top 5 Ways Manufacturers Can Implement IIoT

With all the acronyms in today’s tech landscape, executives are finding it seemingly impossible to keep up. IIoT is no exception. Manufacturers are beginning to sort out how they can make IIoT a reality in their organisation as a way to gain granular-level insight, save costs, extend equipment lifetime and improve process visibility.

According to an Accenture report, IIoT help companies “capture new growth through three approaches: boost revenues by increasing production and creating new hybrid business models, exploit intelligent technologies to fuel innovation, and transform their workforce.” By implementing IIoT into their facilities’ processes, manufacturers can be poised to increase growth while reducing costs.  

While there is no single framework to fit all organisations, manufacturers can follow these five steps to successfully implement IIoT technology in their operations efficiently, effectively and safely:

Connect and Communicate

One of the benefits of IIoT is the ability to access data from machinery around the facility to gain insight, but this information is not available without the proper communication capabilities. Whether the equipment was deployed 50 or five years ago, integrating new or existing sensors with wireless, Ethernet, serial or fiber cables is the first step in collecting data. Once sensors are properly connected, the machinery can then communicate locally and relay information back to manufacturing teams.

Monitor

After ensuring that all machinery is communicating, manufacturers need the ability to continuously monitor the data flowing around the facility. If the facility includes remote locations, then a 3G or 4G/LTE network will help manufacturers monitor equipment without actually being there. Separate Internet connections or cellular routers will help push the data into the cloud, giving manufacturers the ability to view the data remotely at all times.

Secure

Introducing innovative technologies into the manufacturing facility requires reevaluating existing security protocols. In an era that is full of data breaches, manufacturers need to ensure all sensitive data being transmitted –  both inside and outside the organisation – is fully protected and out of the hands of wrongdoers. Special consideration should be paid to any older equipment that is being exposed to networking through the use of protocol conversion, as security may not have originally been designed into the equipment.

Analyse

With the introduction of IIoT-ready technologies, there will be more data than ever before, which can be counter-productive if not analysed correctly. Manufacturers need to know how to properly gather and analyse data from each machine to gain actionable insights that help streamline processes in the plant, not make them more difficult. Protocol conversion, data logging and visual management will provide ways to collect, monitor and analyse real-time data to provide more visibility into operational conditions revolving around productivity within the plant.

Train

Implementing IIoT means there is more advanced technologies than ever before, which can be overwhelming for a manufacturer. The best way to ease into the new data-driven facility is to offer training to better understand IIoT-ready technologies and demonstrate how automation and networking can help them succeed. 

IIoT will become an inevitable and integral reality within every manufacturing facility, enabling companies to cut costs while maintaining growth. By following these steps, implementing new technologies will be a smooth transition, not a cumbersome and counterproductive burden. Manufacturing will soon thrive with increased visibility and access to the insights they need to remain innovative, productive and ahead of their competition.

This article was previously posted on the Red Lion blog. Check out http://content.redlion.net/TheLionsDen for the latest Red Lion news.

20 Years Partnership

Tray sealing specialist Proseal and its supplier LC Automation are celebrating a successful 20-year partnership during which the two companies have risen to become leaders in their respective fields. LC Automation provides Proseal with a reliable supply of quality electrical components that form a key part in the manufacture of its market-leading tray sealing machines.

Queens Award for International Trade

Since the beginning of the companies’ relationship in 1998 – the year Proseal was founded – Proseal has established itself as the UK’s leading manufacturer of tray sealers. This recently culminated in the company winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade 2018.

During the same period, LC Automation has grown to become one of the UK’s leading technical distributors of automation, control and safety products. The company supplies Proseal with a range of electrical components from PLC’s, servos’ and a.c. Inverters, to sensors, power supplies and even the cables.

“LC Automation supplied the Mitsubishi components for our very first machine, the Proseal PR30, and we’ve been using them ever since,” explains Steve Ballantyne, Purchasing Manager at Proseal. “Their first-rate service and innovative components are essential to the smooth production & consistently high standard of our products – we count on them to continue delivering our leading-edge Proseal machinery.”

Fully Integrated Supply Chain

An important benefit of the relationship is that LC Automation is fully integrated into the Proseal supply chain, receiving a regular forecast of their machine requirements. This allows LC Automation to predict usage and ensure the components are always available when required, meaning there is no disruption to Proseal’s production schedule. In addition, Proseal receives expert technical support on all the products it purchases from LC Automation with additional support from a Key Account Manager.

Stronger Together

“LC Automation plays a vital but unsung role in what we do, and as we mark 20 years of partnership, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank the company for their continued excellent service,” says Steve Ballantyne. “We look forward to the next 20 years of working together, which I am sure will be even more successful!”

“On behalf of everyone at LC Automation I would like to congratulate the Proseal team on 20 successful years and winning the Queens Award to Industry. I believe Proseal’s success is down to three factors; excellent customer service, outstanding engineering which meets customer needs and just being nice people to deal with,” says Malcolm Chadwick, Managing Director of LC Automation. 

If you want to know more about the range of machines Proseal offer click http://www.proseal.com or call 01625 856 600.

Christmas Opening times

Christmas 2018 Opening Times & Deliveries.

We’re closing for a well earned Christmas break on Friday 21st December.
Last orders for pre-Christmas delivery will be 3pm on Thursday 20th December and we will re-open bright and early on Wednesday 2nd January 2018.

LC Automation Christmas

Everyone at LC Automation would like to thank our customers for their business in 2018. Have a great Christmas and we look forward to working with you again in 2019.

You Can Rely on LC Automation to Deliver.

I know it doesn’t look very festive. there is no tinsel, no Christmas tree or even a Santa hat. In fact, you wouldn’t realise that Christmas is just around the corner.

There are Christmas tunes on the radio (We work hard, but we’re not Scrooges!) It couldn’t look less like Christmas, but this is the picture from our panel building workshop at the moment. 

Busier than ever

Our panel builders are busier than ever as more customers want to outsource their excess workload to LC Automation, especially when other companies might have already started winding down for Christmas. When I asked our Production Manager, Marc Wheeler when he can start thinking about his Christmas holiday, he joked; “11:59pm on Christmas Eve!”

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We don’t have long white beards or a reindeer, but you can always rely on LC Automation to deliver high quality control panels to your design – any time of year.

Looking for more information?

Click here for more information about the Engineering Services we can provide or give Marc Wheeler a call on 01254 685900.

 

 

 

Why have we created a blog?

Here at LC Automation we have created a blog that is dedicated to sharing and discussing latest news from LC Automation as well as related topics in our industry. We plan on getting the whole team at LC Automation involved so employees can share what they are most passionate about.

Creating a voice for LC Automation.

The blog will be a great place for LC Automation to create a voice for the company and share our company personality and values.

Place to provide useful information and resources.

This blog will be a place for us to provide our customers with a range of useful information and reliable resources. Our customers depend and rely on us for accurate information.

Trust and Relations.

But it’s not all about us. We also have created this blog so that our team can connect with our customers personally, allowing us to build stronger relationships and build up trust.

What LC Automation is all about.

If you’re not familiar with LC Automation, this is the ideal place to discuss and share information about the products and services we supply. We will also discuss company initiatives and strategies to show customers what we are all about and who we are.

Why choose LC Automation?

By having this blog, we hope to create an online community and have a place that customers can rely on for information and resources. We hope this blog allows us to show who we are and why customers should choose LC Automation.  

If you’re interested in starting a blog here is some great inspiration; https://www.sproutcontent.com/blog/19-reasons-why-your-business-should-be-writing-a-blog