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|RS Components wins ninth consecutive RoSPA award||03/05/2022|
RS COMPONENTS has been awarded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Medal for Occupational Health and Safety, making it the company’s ninth consecutive Gold Award.
The RoSPA Awards are one of the most prestigious and recognised schemes in the world with almost 2,000 entries every year. Organisations that are awarded the RoSPA Gold Award demonstrate well developed occupational health and safety management systems and culture, outstanding control of risk and very low levels of error, harm, and loss.
RS' key achievement over the last year has been an all-accident frequency rate down by 57% in 2020/21. The company has an ongoing focus on safety and avoiding all preventable accidents, as well as a 2030 action plan for zero accidents within the business.
"We are thrilled to have been awarded our ninth consecutive RoSPA Gold Award and to be recognised by one of the most prestigious schemes in the world," said Debbie Lentz, president global supply chain at Electrocomponents. "The health and safety of our team has always been our top priority and we are continuously working to ensure we have the highest health and safety standards implemented across our organisation.”
|Thermal imaging improvements aid industrial maintenance||04/05/2022|
Thermal imaging technology has become a valuable diagnostic tool in the industrial sphere, helping identify heat fluctuations which can be very useful in preventing downtime from failures, says Allen Boney
It is widely recognised and accepted that a combination approach to industrial maintenance is key, and with an array of technology now available - much of it under the umbrella of Internet of Things (IoT) - there’s no shortage of ways to prevent and predict failures, minimising downtime in any industrial setting through early identification of potential issues or faults in equipment.
Thermal imaging is a great diagnostic aid as so many physical objects have properties that have heat signatures - whether they be buildings, electrical circuits or mechanically moving parts - which can be displayed using thermal cameras which have sensitive infrared sensors built in, opening a whole new world of information.
As electrical and mechanical equipment has a tendency to get hot before it fails, identification of heat fluctuations can be very useful in preventing downtime from failures. Using thermal imaging equipment is also an efficient way of getting information – it’s very easy to scan a building or piece of production equipment and quickly identify problems that would otherwise only be detected by 100's, or perhaps even 1000's of point measurements. Or, only when parts fail.
As sensors become more affordable, these can increasingly become the eyes for automated systems that can fine-tune processes, give early warning of breakdowns, and flag up where energy is being wasted. They have the potential to provide more comprehensive and permanent condition monitoring of all aspects of production line equipment and of produced goods for quality control purposes - or for optimising the line to minimise energy consumption.
Thermal imaging technology merges with other instruments
At RS, in the handheld test and measurement arena, we’ve seen a real price reduction over the last five years, with products that may have been in the region of £2,000-£3,000 now being available as a smartphone attachment for around £200 – bringing it within reach of maintenance engineers.
And the smaller and more affordable these sensors become, the more flexible the opportunities for integrating them into new devices to address new applications. We have seen common engineering maintenance tools now feature the addition of thermal imaging capability, such as within inspection cameras, multimeters, clamp meters and production line monitoring equipment, as well as attachments to smart phones. Examples of this include the Fluke 279 FC Handheld Digital Multimeter and the FLIR ONE Pro LT Pro-Grade Thermal Imaging Camera for Smartphones.
This trend towards the technology being built into other instruments is making the technology more accessible. Furthermore, many of the manufacturers of the sensors are offering the technology to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to design into their products, including FLIR, which offers its tiny Lepton device to OEMs.
Today, products such as the FLIR AX8 fixed camera can be mounted onto production lines to monitor individual lines and keep an eye on those pieces of machinery that could present reliability challenges. But as the cost comes down further, we’re sure this will be built increasingly into machinery as an element of condition monitoring.
Not only are the latest additions in this area really opening up this technology to the industrial sector, but with further miniaturisation, such sensors could even be included in eyewear - providing easy, hands free maintenance monitoring in the industrial space. The future of thermal imaging certainly looks exciting and will be one to watch.
Allen Boney is product marketing manager at RS Components
For more information:
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|RS appoints new Regional Managing Director for UK and Ireland||27/11/2020|
RS COMPONENTS (RS) has appointed Emma Botfield to the role of Regional Managing Director, UK and Ireland. Botfield will report to Pete Malpas, who is now President EMEA at RS.
She will be responsible for leading and accelerating performance within the UK and Ireland, as well as defining and implementing the strategic direction and growth strategy for the region. Her aim is to focus on developing strategies that strengthen the position of RS to achieve the ambition of creating and implementing innovative technology-based solutions, transforming customer and supplier experiences, becoming a trusted partner for customers and suppliers, and creating an environment where the talented teams within the organisation can continue to flourish
Botfield joined RS in 2014 as Director of Sales and Customer Operations. Prior to this role, Emma held a number of various commercial and transformation roles within BT Global Services where she spent the majority of her time leading teams to significantly improve services to extract and deliver value, and developing talent agendas, including several award-winning initiatives. She is a Six Sigma Black Belt and Executive Level Coach who has a passion for raising the bar to deliver outcomes.
Commenting upon her appointment, Botfield said: “I’m looking forward to continuing the great work that RS has accomplished over the last few years under the leadership of Pete Malpas. We will continue to focus on driving value for our customers, identifying crucial strategies that assist them with resilient solutions in the current economic climate. We will continue to introduce new technologies and innovative solutions as well as invest in our digital infrastructure to understand varying customer demand and changes in buying behaviour.”
“As a woman in a leadership role, I have a responsibility to encourage, role model and nurture everyone to have belief in themselves, push the boundaries and seize every opportunity for learning to help them grow.”
Pete Malpas, President EMEA at RS, said: “Since joining RS over six years ago, Emma has gone from strength to strength, leading and transforming our customer service team and our RS Local branch network, establishing our value-added service infrastructure and capability, and recently taking responsibility for the UK Internal Sales team. Emma is always positive, has built a high level of respect internationally, and has been one of our biggest evangelists for the customer. I am confident Emma is the right choice to take the reins and continue to move the business forward. I wish her every success in this role.”
|Online event calling for greater diversity in UK engineering roles||23/07/2020|
RS Components has partnered with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to host its second annual REflect event and National Day. The event, which will be hosted online this year, calls on engineering and technology companies and professional engineering institutions to take action to engage with under-represented groups of young people across the UK.
With a particular emphasis on highlighting the innate technology skills of 18- to 25-year olds in BAME communities, this initiative has been created to stimulate industry peers into doing more to address the ethnicity imbalance in UK engineering positions, where statistics from the Royal Academy of Engineering show that employees are currently 94% white. According to an IET survey carried out last year, just over 12% of engineering organisations in the UK have committed to actively recruiting from minority groups. This reflects a 33% increase in engagement over the previous two years, which is a step forward, but reveals that many companies are slow in their efforts to embrace diversity and are missing opportunities to attract talented young people into their workforce.
The Grass Roots Engineering and Technology Youth Empowerment team at RS has worked in collaboration with the IET to devise a thought-provoking programme of discussion sessions for REflect 2020, which will be hosted online on Friday 31 July 2020. The business-focused morning session will be opened by Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President of techUK, and will feature talks by representatives from RS, the IET, AFBE-UK, INvolve-The Inclusion People, GSK and the EY Foundation. The speakers will draw attention to the shortfall of engineering skills from under-represented groups, suggesting positive steps that can be taken to mitigate this and effect change.
In the afternoon, the platform will be handed over to a series of talented young professional engineers and entrepreneurs representing and actively working with these groups. Each will give an account of their first-hand experiences and air views on how the industry can act differently to make engineering more appealing to minority groups.
The full agenda, along with speaker details for both sessions, is available here.
Isabella Mascarenhas, VP Grass Roots at RS, said: “The ability to be skilled in STEM subjects has no boundaries, and we have the collective capability within our industry to inspire and embrace young people from any background into a rewarding career in engineering and technology. REflect 2020 will provide an insightful window into how and why companies should take action to help young people realise their potential, and ultimately play their part in addressing the UK’s engineering skills shortage.”
For more information about REflect 2020, and to register for the event, which will be hosted on the Zoom conferencing platform, please visit http://reflectchanges.co.uk/.
The success of the UK's National 3D Printing Society’s initiative allows RS to refocus its efforts on the international need for 3D-printed face visors during COVID-19 pandemic
RS Components is broadening its focus to help frontline healthcare workers around the world access 3D-printed personal protection equipment (PPE). The company’s DesignSpark engineering community has been very active in supporting the National 3D Printing Society’s (N3DPS) UK campaign, which has now officially drawn to a close.
3D printing has played a key role in the UK, helping to keep medical staff and key workers safe since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Enlisting 3D printers to manufacture PPE provided the vital fillip needed until more conventional manufacturers were able to ramp up production.
Mike Bray, Group Vice President of Innovation and DesignSpark at RS, said: “We are proud to be continuing to assist in the 3D printing effort. The UK was hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19, with global supply chains for PPE stretched to breaking point. Every volunteer who has given their time and effort across all of these initiatives should be very proud to have played their part."
In April, RS set up a 3D printing farm in Corby, Northamptonshire, to support the collective effort and has since printed hundreds of visor frames. Fellow Northamptonshire company igus was responsible for assembling the face visors, with staff volunteering their time to add the plastic sheets to the community printed frames for distribution. Part of the company’s Northampton facility was quickly repurposed as an emergency production line, which at the peak was turning out 1000 pieces of PPE per day.
Matthew Aldridge, Managing Director of igus UK commented: “When we became aware of this project, we volunteered to help with the assembly of the face visors. Within hours the production line was set up, within days PPE was being delivered to frontline workers, all using igus people, usually working in their own time to make it happen."
Thousands of other volunteers, schools and businesses across the UK have also supported not only this initiative but many others, including 3D Crowd UK and Makers 4 the NHS. Collectively these groups have helped to ensure that over 250,000 visors have been produced in just two months.
This period of support through 3D printing relieved the sudden pressure on injection moulding companies around the UK, including igus, allowing them time to build production to thousands of visors each day, using a much more efficient and sustainable method of manufacturing. Injection moulding not only produces the visors in larger quantities, but also increases the product consistency and quality.
Stock levels of traditional PPE are also returning around the UK. RS now has over 140,000 PPE Class I certified face shields in stock and available for free next working day delivery, along with a host of other equipment including disposable face masks.
As a result, there has been a significant reduction in the demand for auxiliary PPE prints. This, coupled with a recent UK Government guidance document which required some significant changes to be made to current processes being used by voluntary organisations, has led to many initiatives pausing or ending production completely.
With thousands of assembled visors remaining within the National 3D Printing Society’s network which have not cleared the new guidelines set by government, these will instead be diverted to countries outside of the EU that are able to use them, working with the Red Cross. RS and igus are also working to explore support for other initiatives in Africa and Moldova respectively.
Any remaining funds from the £14,472 crowdfunded for the N3DPS campaign, are being donated to MedSupplyDrive UK, an organisation run by volunteer NHS doctors and medical students to purchase PPE for frontline workers. MedSupplyDrive UK has been a key partner in the initiative, alongside igus, RS Components, ByBox, the Gap Partnership, SHIELD and the Nottinghamshire Community Foundation.
Bray said: “Whilst not all of the visors will be heading to the UK frontline workers as originally intended, they will still be helping to save lives across the world and that is no small achievement.
“The increased number of injection moulding companies now producing large quantities is helping to ensure that the demand within the UK will be supported. We are continuing to work with the Office for Product Safety and Standards to clarify guidance, specifically around the inclusion of heat testing in the CE Marking process and the liability for volunteer groups. This will enable 3D printing solutions to step up again in the UK as and when needed.
“As our focus moves towards supporting health-care workers from across the globe, we would like to thank everybody who has been involved in the initiative to-date, including members of our own DesignSpark engineering platform. The community spirit and resolve to help has been a huge positive during this time, and we continue to urge people to produce emergency equipment for frontline healthcare workers wherever it’s needed. We are one community, supporting each other in facing the same challenges from COVID-19.”
Aldridge added: “The mantra at igus is ‘everyone is a manager’. Our people have total autonomy coupled with total responsibility, this gives a very flat company structure, and it means that work gets done, very quickly. We are proud to have been part of this community effort and believe that it is very important that we are able to help people around the globe who are fighting COVID-19 using the remaining visors.”
RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), a global multi-channel distributor, has started production of its second comedy podcast series following the 5-star rating of its popular History Makers series, released last year.
With a brand new title for 2019, to reflect its originator, The DesignSpark Podcast will feature a cocktail of fun facts, exuberant stand-up, outlandish sketches and foot-tapping songs, giving a comedic look, in the style of BBC Radio 4’s Now Show, at some of the hottest topics in technology.
Robot Wars judge Dr Lucy Rogers, and award-winning comedians Bec Hill and Harriet Braine, will return to explore the ludicrous side of modern technology over six 25-minute episodes set to be released in spring 2019. The live-audience format takes influences from both BBC radio and traditional podcasts, with a mix of informal conversation, scripted comedy and spontaneous banter.
While the first series delved into the lives of great inventors from the past, Series 2 –The DesignSpark Podcast – will explore the humorous side of a range of talked-about topics, from AI and robotics and space exploration to augmented human experiences and big data.To catch up on Series 1 – History Makers – download from www.designspark.com, www.designspark.podbean.com or the iOS Podcast app by searching for DesignSpark.
|Preparing for change: The evolution of MRO procurement||28/08/2018|
Rapidly evolving technology is set to dramatically impact the indirect procurement supply chain, according to Peter Malpas, managing director - RS Northern Europe
According to recent research conducted by RS and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), 74% of procurement professionals anticipate ‘some change’ or ‘a great deal of change’ to their indirect procurement strategy over the next five years. Procurement teams know they need to stay ahead of the curve to avoid drifting into obscurity – but what are some of the key considerations for them?
Embracing ‘disruptive’ technology
The pace of change is a daunting prospect for procurement teams, and the fear of adopting ever-evolving new technology is proving a key barrier to adoption for many procurement professionals. Planning in an evolving landscape can be very worrying, so ensuring flexibility and adaptability in the face of change will be vital to any future planning for any organisations.
Not moving with the changes isn’t an option. When competing with other factories making similar products globally, the ability to produce as efficiently as possible from a cost perspective is a key factor, and those businesses that adopt new technologies to improve their operating efficiency will ultimately have a competitive advantage in the market.
Many organisations have adopted eProcurement purchasing systems, which makes searching, ordering and paying for items quicker, simpler and traceable. This lowers procurement costs as a result of the reduction in the amount of time involved in processes, which ultimately reflects on an organisation’s bottom line. Another benefit of this kind of system is order chain transparency to remove risks involved in the supply chain, such as counterfeit or substandard goods from unapproved suppliers.
RS’ own independently verified research highlighted that procurement cost outweighed product cost by 2:1 – so for every £1 spent on product, the cost to the organisation is actually £3. Multiply this in large organsations or multi-site operations and the cost savings to be made from using an intelligent procurement system could be staggering.
Ditching reactive unplanned maintenance
Procurement teams and engineers across various industries face numerous challenges regarding the maintenance, repair and operation of their organisation’s assets and facilities. The supply chain for indirect parts, materials and tools is complex due to the number of stakeholders involved, a fragmented supply base and the number of products split across multiple categories. In addition, there is constant pressure from senior management to reduce costs. These are issues that need addressing if they are to capitalise on efficiencies that will lead to cost savings.
When it comes to ageing assets and the risk of unplanned maintenance, a major challenge is terms of lead times and availability of parts - a big factor driving downtime. Using suppliers that can create a dynamic inventory profile to support their customers will help in this area. Longer-term, companies should start to think about retrofitting machines with sensors to help them to move along the predictive maintenance journey. In the future, more companies will start to deploy smart asset management technologies, allowing them to monitor ageing assets and to start to predict failure more readily.
When organisations move away from a reactive unplanned maintenance environment and towards planned and preventative maintenance, it’s possible to reduce inventory costs by working with a smaller group of suppliers who can provide products quickly when needed, reducing the need to hold items on site.
Another key challenge on the horizon for organisations’ procurement and supply teams – and one which was highlighted in RS and CIPS’ research – is Brexit. The procurement team will have a vital role to play both in the run up to the deal and the aftermath, and there should already be plans underway focusing on best and worst-case scenarios for individual businesses, to help deal with the impact of changes once a Brexit deal is in place – whenever that may be.
The message is clear – ignore change in MRO procurement at your peril. Rest assured, the support will be there to help those organisations that are willing to embrace new technology to use it to their best advantage.
For more insights into MRO Procurement, visit www.rs-connectedthinking.comhttp://www.rs-connectedthinking.com
|Visitor experience celebrates digital world||20/07/2018|
RS Components (RS) has transformed the reception area at its Corby headquarters in the UK into a visitor experience and innovation hub.
The space has undergone a complete overhaul and offers visitors a chance to experience RS’ history from inception in1937, and explore cutting edge technology and innovation focused on customers’ changing needs, and differentiated product and service solutions. The hub celebrates changing culture in a digital world, illustrated using engaging digital and physical demonstrations, which are available to view and interact with. As the content will be continually refreshed, there will be a bespoke and varying experience for visitors on each visit.
Visitors can discover new worlds in the Design, Build, Maintain and Protect Zones, demonstrated through physical displays including an Igus robot, 3D printer and miniature robotic conveyer model. Displays provide inspiring content, including stories from inventors such as ‘flying man’ Richard Browning of Gravity Industries, as well as a VR time travel experience and a demonstration of how RS has been supporting engineers for more than eight decades.
There is also the opportunity to have a virtual walk-through of RS’ Global Logistics Centre based in Nuneaton, where the company ships over 55,000 parcels daily, as well as the new RS Local branch in Bermondsey, which has helped inspire the reception refurbishment. Visitors can also learn about RS’ evolving value added services and solutions portfolios including Digital Procurement Tools, Calibration, DesignSpark and ScanStock, through touch screen presentations.
The ‘Ideation Room’ provides an inspiring and dynamic environment for visitors and teams to hold blue sky thinking sessions within including modular digital and physical tools and enablers.
RS MD Mike England, says: “Innovation is at the very heart of everything we do, and we wanted this to be clearly communicated to all visitors to our Corby headquarters from the moment they step through the doors. Our commitment to innovation and to continuously improving the products and services we offer to our customers is something we are passionate about. This has been demonstrated by the transformation of two of our RS Local branches and through our work to promote engineering and new technologies on our Titan II truck, which is currently touring the UK, visiting various educational establishments, customers and suppliers.”
RS is building a network of company ‘avatars’ - specialists in different areas of the business who will be able to offer visitors bespoke and varying experiences of the new visitor and innovation hub. Displays and content will be continuously refreshed to reflect evolving technology and customer requirements.
Mike added: “We operate in a fast-paced digital industry, and we want visitors to our UK headquarters to see that we’re at the forefront of new technologies and are leading the way with innovative solutions, to support our customers and inspire them to achieve the impossible and change our world. A huge amount of creative thinking and work has gone into the transformation and we’re delighted with the result – we hope our visitors will appreciate it and learn new things about RS and new technology and innovation during every visit.”
|Tools and accessories: Special promotion||03/07/2018|
RS Components (RS) has announced a special promotion on a range of Facom limited-edition tools and accessories as part of the centennial celebrations for the French brand.
Now part of Stanley Black and Decker, the Facom brand began in 1918 and sits at the high end of the market, targeting tradespeople and maintenance professionals in the construction and other industrial sectors. The Facom limited-edition products will be available to the market from RS while stocks last.
The 100-year anniversary limited-edition tools and accessories on offer include: long-nose clamp pliers; a 38-piece socket and bit set; a 12-piece spanner set; a nine-piece hex-key set; a 29-piece toolset; a hacksaw; a stainless-steel knife; a six-drawer tool trolley; and a three-drawer ‘ToughSystem’ storage module.
In addition, as part of the special promotion, RS will be holding a competition on its engineering community site – DesignSpark – where it will be giving away some of these limited-edition Facom products.
|Technology and Open Standard data enabling smart maintenance||18/05/2018|
Taking care of maintenance in an industrial or building setting involves many considerations for maintenance operators – from sourcing the right products to creating cost and energy efficiencies. However, the space has been revolutionised thanks to an array of smart maintenance products, reports Allen Boney, local product manager, Electrical and Test & Measurement, RS Components
From retro-fittable smart sensors to detect wear and tear and plan life-cycles of parts, to test and measurement devices to pre-empt maintenance, being smart in this area saves on both costs and downtime. Another development is manufacturers working collaboratively in the open-standard of IO-Link when it comes to creating a universal data structure for usage information. Extra data can be streamed from intelligent sensors to maintenance teams, enabling pre-emptive, timely and smart maintenance decisions to be made based on solid and accurate data.
Sensor connectivity and communication
Production processes rely heavily on sensors providing basic measurement data for their ongoing, satisfactory operation, especially in terms of process control. However, the arrival of IO-Link – a powerful standard used to communicate with sensors and actuators – means new data about the process can be captured and unlocked, generating further information for better decision making. Being manufacturer agnostic, IO-Link allows sensors to provide operation management and maintenance teams with more information on the performance of the sensor or actuator.
IO-Link allows process variables, identification information, parameters and device status to be sent – helping avoid replacement with the wrong device model. It also allows for sensor parameters to be stored in the controller and automatically transferred when the unit is replaced. It simplifies equipment replacement, reduces the level of training required, reduces maintenance costs through better diagnostics and prevents downtime.
Upgrade with minimal cost
One of the major benefits of IO-Link technology is its use of existing wiring. It transmits the additional information via the 3-wire connection used by the sensor or actuator without affecting its basic operation. This means IO-Link is invisible to the system unless a gateway is used to interface with this data, which allows IO-Link enabled sensors to be implemented into existing machines or designs with minimal re-work – saving on upgrade costs.
Some maintenance operators might choose Ethernet enabled sensors such as thermal imagers and vision sensors, which are mounted in the process and transmit data via open Ethernet standards such as Modbus/TCP. Vision sensors such as the Telemecanique OsiSense XUW easily integrate into machinery and are dedicated to the inspection of manufactured parts. They allow checking of high production rate operations, ensuring high repeat accuracy, and can be used to manage objects' flow.
Connected test and measurement
IO-Link and sensors are effective for predictive maintenance, but it’s worth using a combination approach. Both portable and fixed test and Measurement instruments allow engineers to share and log data via open standards such as Bluetooth and Wireless Ethernet (IEEE 802.11). Permanently installed test and measurement equipment is ideal to help identify issues and for use when a need arises to assess a piece of equipment in a part of a plant that may be unsafe to enter. It is also useful for sending information from one engineer to another, when giving guidance on a particular issue.
RS works with CorDEX, which offers the MN4100 dual vision thermal imaging camera that captures fully radiometric data every second, and provides continuous temperature monitoring and alarming for critical electrical and mechanical equipment. Manufacturers such as FLIR offer a way to streamline hand-held thermal inspections and simplify data collection and reporting: its InSite Inspection Management Application is a professional workflow tool for electrical contractors and thermographers, allowing the streamlining of thermal inspections and simplified data collection and reporting in one location that's easy to access, manage, and share. This gives the maintenance team high-quality data on which to make decisions, schedule repairs and maximise uptime.
Negating product and parts wastage caused in scheduled preventative maintenance, whilst managing risk of downtime arising from product failure by facilitating predictive maintenance is a balance that the latest products help maintenance professionals achieve. Whilst IO-Link has become established and has a high level of manufacturer support, there needs to be similar support available from machine builders and integration partners to ensure operational benefits are fully realised.
RS Components and Allied Electronics are the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. With operations in 32 countries, we offer more than 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping around 44,000 parcels a day. Our products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, include electronic components, electrical, automation and control, and test and measurement equipment, and engineering tools and consumables.
Electrocomponents is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the last financial year ended 31 March 2015 had revenues of £1.27bn.
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