All posts by Martin

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 (otherwise known as connected manufacturing)was developed in Germany as a proposed way for SME manufacturers to remain competitive and relevant in the future. German business leaders recognised that their factories could not compete with low-cost manufacturing abroad, so they decided to develop new and innovative techniques to stay competitive. Key Features of Industry 4.0: Digitally connected production systems Paperless factories with fewer overheads More responsive manufacturing businesses Process automation that speeds manufacturing processes Supply chain automation to integrate with customers and suppliers Key Results: Software, Hardware, Integration & Support Service 30% boost in productivity, as a result of increased […] Read more

Connected Manufacturing

Connected Manufacturing is a factory automation system where manual and automated manufacturing processes are connected together. As a result, this allows the automation of entire manufacturing processes and production planning. Key features of Connected Manufacturing: Manual and Automated processes connect to business planning systems. Immediate feedback on the current production status. Improved maintenance and machine usage. Automated control of the manufacturing process and flow. Key Results: 30% boost in productivity as a result of increased machine uptime and usage. Reduced time for marketing new products. Competitive advantage as a result of meeting customer demand with ‘make to order’ products. Increased production quality and reporting as a […] Read more

Smart Tools in Manufacturing

Smart Tools are a low-cost investment that can transform manufacturing processes and save costly rework or product recalls. This article will outline their basic operation and the strategies for using them in assembly and manufacturing operations. Smart tools can be used in advanced manufacturing processes to put automation directly into the hands of operators. They eliminate manufacturing mistakes, speed up production time and automate data collection and manufacturing traceability. A good example is an electric torque wrench, which is basically a smart torque wrench. It can be programmed to tighten to various torques and number of turns. Tightening programs can […] Read more

LabVIEW Sub VI Design

Any large LabVIEW application should be using well-designed sub vi’s to build reliable, manageable software. To ensure that a LabVIEW sub vi design is consistent across projects and developers, we like to use some standard design principles. This means that when looking at sub vi’s across the entire project, they all conform to a standard design. Thus, making it easier to focus on the specific function. LabVIEW Sub VI Design – Block Diagram Alignment I always try to ensure that my input controls and output indicators are horizontally and vertically aligned on my block diagram. Horizontal alignment of Controls and […] Read more

Metis Automation Joins The Northern Automotive Alliance

Metis Automation has recently joined the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA). The NAA supports companies throughout the North of the UK, that work in and also supply to the automotive industry. Joining the Northern Automotive Alliance This has been important for Metis Automation. We are strongly focused on software and technology for the automotive industry across OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and SMEs. Our goal is to help improve the manufacturing capabilities of all involved in the automotive industry and as a result, help bring better quality products to consumers. Connected Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry We are working with several Tier […] Read more

LabVIEW Libraries

In my opinion, LabVIEW Libraries are one of the biggest productivity improvements in LabVIEW. Consequently, most of our template code is organised into LabVIEW Libraries (.lvlib) or Packed Project Libraries (.lvlibp). These, therefore, allow developers to easily package, distribute and organise code modules. For Metis Automation, a typical library is a fully functional code module. That is, a queued message handler that does one specific task e.g. acquire DAQ inputs, log data to disk, or communicate with a hardware device. It may also just be a group of sub vi’s that do a specific function. Once packaged into a library, […] Read more

Managing Large LabVIEW Applications with LabVIEW Projects

At a recent North West LabVIEW User Group, I presented my experiences of managing large LabVIEW applications. I covered how to help keep your LabVIEW projects organised and manageable, using a series of tools within LabVIEW. Firstly, let me answer the question of what the challenges are that developers are facing when creating large applications. Also, how are these are different to smaller applications? With a small application, there is typically a limited set of inputs, outputs and logic within the program. This can be managed by a single developer, in a simple structure like a state machine or event […] Read more

Transformation of the Automotive Industry

The current state of the UK automotive industry is extremely healthy, with vehicle manufacturing at its highest level since 2005. Vehicles built in the UK now have 15% more UK content than they did in 2012. However, there are dramatic changes happening in the industry. Cleaner, safer and more efficient and technologically advanced vehicles are being developed. The main objective of the UK automotive industry is that it must remain globally competitive. The opportunity presented by Connected Manufacturing is to reduce manufacturing costs and respond more effectively to customer demand. This will, as a result, help UK automotive manufacturers remain […] Read more

Fully Connected Factories Predicted by 2022

Zebra Technologies’ recently published “2017 Manufacturing Vision” predicting that by 2022, the majority of manufacturers will have fully connected factories. It has also identified that manufacturers are currently connecting operations to gain greater visibility and improve quality assurance. They are expecting up to 5% growth in revenue year after year and cite the flexibility to adjust to fluctuating market demand, as being a top business strategy. The Rising Importance of Connected Factories One of the reasons manufacturers are implementing Connected Manufacturing in their factories, is to keep up with increasingly complex Bills of Materials (BoM). These are driven by customer […] Read more

Metis Automation Joins LCR4.0

The North West is the largest manufacturing region in the United Kingdom. It has been selected for a new and innovative strategy to help SMEs in the Liverpool City Region, to implement Industry 4.0 (I4.0) in their companies. Metis Automation joined this programme in June 2017 and are optimistic about using LCR4.0 to expand our range of services and software, for Industry 4.0. How Industry 4.0 is Changing the Manufacturing Landscape The internet enables a change in shift for how manufacturers reach their customers. For example, suitcase manufacturer Trunki gets 90% of their customers directly through their website. This has […] Read more