Two internal websites and production servers for control systems and robotics engineers, Contron
Contron designs, builds, installs and supports control systems, robotics, safety systems and bespoke software solutions in a wide range of industrial sectors. In particular, the company is involved with developing manufacturing processes for an automotive industry that is looking forward to offering new generations of technology for electric cars.
In practice, this means Contron is developing two automated production lines for:
- New-generation electric motors to be used in hybrid powered vehicles
- Advanced battery packs for electric motors
Each conforms to the principles of Industry 4.0, the 'next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector' (McKinsey), where industry leaders are shaping the 'smart factory' of the future.
“James was recommended to us because his abilities and experience proved to fit our needs precisely”
Contron’s Steve Hilliard, explains how James came to be involved in the projects: “We needed some specific software and business skills. James was recommended to us because his abilities and experience proved to fit our needs precisely”.
Quality and traceability
The test production lines automatically manufacture assemblies. Contron needs to track quality and traceability. If a component fails, it’s rejected. Its ID and fault details are posted to database system. Initially, access to the database was through a C# app running on an engineer’s laptop. Contron realised that a web app (internal website) would be a lot easier to update and manage than all those laptop apps.
A Management Information System for a Proof-of Concept price
If these were live production plants, full-blown Management Information Systems (typically SAP) would be installed. For these proofs of concept, an MIS is overkill. James built the required functionality to a specification provided by Contron. The two internal websites provided:
- A traceability portal for automated production
- Easy test result upload
- Search and download test results
- User account management
“The web apps were built to Contron’s specification,” James relates, “and delivered in short sprints, so Contron could see the progress and learn the installation steps. As Contron would only have access to the final installation, I designed a simple and easily followed deployment process”.
From Contron’s point of view, “James demonstrated a quick understanding of the project goals and technical details at the start of the project, along with a fast turnaround of our changes after delivery. We’re very happy with the way he handled the project from beginning to end”.
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