Meet the Team – Karen Hicks

Hi!

A lot has changed since I first did my ‘meet the team’ in 2002 at the tender young age of 22, I started working at Micromech when I was 17 in 1996. Today I’m still working in the marketing department mainly taking care of our many excellent websites.

In February 2004 I married Adrian in Grenada with just a few family members and friends. Then in October 2005 I gave birth to my beautiful son Thomas who appeared a staggering 5 weeks early the very day after my maternity leave started. This put pay to getting the nursery ready and everything else organised, such as we didn’t have a kitchen as we were in the middle of one of our many house renovations. But of course all these things are what make our life interesting – I guess!

Karen HicksAfter having Thomas I took the decision to go part time and work from home, which I am very lucky to be able to do. I didn’t want to miss out of any of Thomas’s growing up years but at the same time (as is the case for many family’s) needed to continue working.

We then decided to move from Writtle in Chelmsford, to Jaspers Green which is a lovely little village outside of Braintree, it was much closer to both of our work places, and all of my family. We then started our biggest renovation yet, and again I become pregnant midway through our project, but as the bungalow was completely gutted we moved into a rented house. I then gave birth to my second beautiful son Harry. I decided when Harry came along that I would have to leave Micromech to devote all of my time to the boys before they started school.

Thomas is now five and just started school while Harry is two and going to start nursery next year when he turns three.  In October 2009 I started working on the marketing and websites again for Micromech, part time and from home.  I’ve really enjoyed getting back into it again and now the Thomas is at school and Harry soon to start nursery I felt it was the right time to start working again.

In my spare time I enjoy taking the boys out to different places, twice a week I go Jazzercise, and I enjoy socialising with my
friends and family. I now have 2 lovely sister-in-law’s and a gorgeous nephew Ethan who 1 years old.

I have been on lots on holiday to lots of amazing places, Dominican Republic, Grenada, America and Australia as well as the closer destinations Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, Portugal just to mention a few. I can’t wait to take my boys exploring in the big wide world, Thomas came with us to Australia, Cyprus and Spain, but Harry has only been to Spain. I think until he gets a little older we will stick to holidays in the UK, so maybe next year I will venture on a plane with the two of them.

Well that’s all from me although I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me soon as one of our many interesting and informative ‘emailshots’ pop up on your computer.


Previous meet the teams –

Ros Greene, Jon Harding, Clarissa Snowsell, Sarah King, Simon Burrows, Richard Matthews, Joe Marshall, Alisia Cherry, Phil Farnworth, Mick Stone, Peter Searle, Cara Woods, Mark Hall, Alan Spinks, Sarah-Louise Parrish, Dave Whitmell, Gina Warwick, Trevor De Wilde, Stirling Morley,

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More success stories from the most diverse applications which partners Micromech Systems and Parker has been supporting for food processing equipment and packaging machinery manufacturers.Palletising robots

Turnkey palletising robots as a complete system

In today’s fast moving world there is a rising demand for complete packaging lines and manufacturers are turning to turnkey automation systems, in particular palletising robots. These are not only of interest to end users in say the pharmaceuticals and food processing industries, but also for machine manufacturers wishing to complement their product portfolio.  This is in order to offer turnkey packaging lines where the end customer doesn’t want to spend time and cost intensive integration or customisation changes, which is a common demand packaging machine manufacturers often have to face.

The Parker’s excellent linear actuator guiding systems are lubricant free and feature optimal hygienic properties thanks to their lifetime lubricated bearings. They are even available for instance able to provide turnkey palletising system to manufacturers of pharmaceutical packaging machines. These systems features a multi function gripper with rotary module which bundles the secondary packages coming out of the case packer into a buffer area to form a stack following a defined pattern. At the same time the multi-function gripper ensures the feeding of new folding cartons into the case packer.

For one particular factory the building had a clearance height of only 4.5m therefore a special telescopic linear actuator provided the ideal solution. The result was a compact packaging line with a minimal footprint. The result of this robust and flexible machine meant the manufacturer was able to deliver a packaging line within the shortest possible time to market to its customer.   

The outcome is a highly satisfied customer so pleased with the system they have already ordered additional lines. The successful introduction of the palletiser means higher production, less maintenance and of course reduced costs.

Micromech is Parker’s motion partner and can offer a bespoke solution to meet all of your motion control needs, for more information contact Alan Spinks on 01376 333333 or alan@micromech.co.uk

‘Micromech Systems and Parker are forces in motion’

Micromech becomes a Kollmorgen Silver Partner

Micromech becomes a Kollmorgen Silver Partner
On 23-11-2010 in Ratingen, Germany, Kollmorgen Europe GmbH appointed Micromech as a  “Silver Partner”. A contract agreement provides for extensive technical and commercial cooperation for both companies. The agreement targets issues such as regular training sessions on products and applications for the employees of Micromech. This provides customers of a Kollmorgen Silver Partner with the assurance that they will receive solutions that are perfectly tailored to meet their specific requirements.

With its new Silver Partner programme, Kollmorgen Europe plans to provide core competencies of their partners in the areas of sales, development, implementation, systems integration and support of its solutions. Extensive knowledge of the product range of motor, drive and software solutions, and comprehensive range of options, as well as an in-depth understanding of the underlying technology guarantees equipment that meets the highest of demands. This in turn allows manufacturers engineers and operators to realise design advantages compared to their competitors.

Dietmar Kammer of Kollmorgen: “Our new sales partner programme with its in-depth classification system is intended to create ‘best practice’ for sales partners such as Micromech, with whom we already have a long-standing successful relationship. This close cooperation is further enhanced through the programme – with a positive outcome for all participants.”

Kollmorgen is a leading provider of motion systems and components for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the globe. With over sixty years of motion control design and development expertise, Kollmorgen delivers breakthrough solutions unmatched in performance, reliability and ease-of-use. Through world-class knowledge in motion, industry-leading quality, and deep expertise in linking and integrating standard and custom products, Kollmorgen provides OEMs with the competitive advantage they need to succeed.

Micromech, established in 1982 are the UK leading experts in positioning and speed control supplying a wide range of motion control products plus associated equipment to industry, research, defence and manufacturing. These products, which include the re-branded PacSci (Pacific Scientific), Slo-Syn® (Superior Electric) and Thomson ranges, can be supplied as components, or complete packages or put together as sophisticated multi-axis systems.

For more information about these exciting products contact Alan Spinks on 01376 333333 or alan@micromech.co.uk

‘Micromech your Kollmorgen Silver Motion Partner’

Delta Tau tales of motion control……Episode 17: Research, life sciences and nuclear organisations welcome the new GeoBrick LV-PC products designed for complex multi axis motion control

 Introduced by Micromech the Delta Tau release of the GeoBrick LV-PC product range, aimed specifically at high-end applications (in 19” rack format), is an ideal fit into the most testing of applications.

GeoBrick LV-PCThe multi axes format incorporating drives that are software configurable for any type of motor technology is the perfect match for synchrotron and FEL beamlines, adaptive optics on telescopes, etc. They offer easy control of DCM’s, goniometers, slits, hexapods (any non cartesian mechanical device), and multiple feed back devices, which can be averaged or incorporated into, cascaded filters for force loops etc.

This state-of-the-art product includes multi axes motion control engine, capable of simple single axes point to point motion up to extremely complex multi axes, co-ordinated motion incorporating forward and inverse kinematics calculations. Advanced built in math capability ensuring ease of control for the most demanding applications. Flexible feedback interfaces for many device types from standard Quadrature, Analogue, serial (SSI, EnDat, Hiperface, Yaskawa, Tamagawa), Sin/Cos with 4096 interpolation, Resolver, LVDT etc.) in many flexible configurations. The bricks include eight built in amplifiers individually software configurable to control many types of motor technology including, 2 phase stepper, ac servo, and dc servo in any mix. The GeoBrick is a 5 Amps continuous 15Amps peak at 60Vdc Bus input or 90Vdc bus input control. The on top all this there is also a full function integrated PC.

There is fibre optic interface port (MACRO port) enabling expansion of the onboard 8 axes to a further 8 motor axes (16 in total) devices that can be connected onto the MACRO ring. This arrangement includes:

GeoBrick LV-PC

  • Higher power amplifiers in ranges from 240V 1.5/4.5A up to 460V 30/60A both single and three phase. Analogue +/-10V axes interface for controlling third party amplifiers such as Piezo or 5 phase stepper. Pulse and direction interface for controlling existing installations where amplifiers already exist. User Digital I/O expansion and Analogue I/O.
  • All devices connected to the macro ring run at servo update frequencies closing additional servo loops over MACRO possible.
  • High speed digital Capture and high speed digital outputs make data capture and control easy. Typical applications are laser modulation at servo frequencies.

Other features further include 64 user PLC’s for asynchronous tasking. (32 compiled and 32 interpreted) there are 2 high speed PLC’s that run at servo cycle speeds for time critical monitoring and control. Individually selectable 5V/24V axes flag control (Home +/- Limit etc.) with brake control and general purpose relay output facility. There are USB, Ethernet, RS232 and DPRAM Comms ports and Field Bus Communications including Modbus over Ethernet, Devicenet, Profibus, Ethercat, Canopen, and CC-Link.

And if that’s not enough, there are up to 32 user digital inputs and 16 digital outputs. This I/O can be used by the motion control programme or any of the 64 asynchronous PLC’s built into the system making seamless blending of applications possible with minimum of external system wiring.

Micromech Systems is an authorised systems integrator for Delta Tau high level, multi-axis control products, if you wish to find out more about these exciting products then contact Stirling on 01376 333333 or stirling@micromech.co.uk

Are your bearings causing you problems?

  • Insecure mounting
  • Need a minimum footprint
  • Assembly difficulties
  • Excessive Wear
  • Misalignment
  • You want minimal maintenance

We have the answer!

OUR SPYRAFLO BEARINGS DISPENSE VALUE AND EFFECTIVENESS 

A Robotic Dispensing System is the fastest, most productive and accurate retail robotic dispensing system in the World. The system automates dispensing pharmaceutical transactions with 100% accuracy at the rate of over one hundred and fifty transactions per hour. This is the benchmark the system has set in the industry.

The challenge facing designers was to develop a unit which was operationally fast, compact but with high capacity, was very quiet to suit its environment, of course reliable and could show a proven gain in productivity. These demanding criteria made them look closely at bearing selection; the Self-Aligning feature on the 6mm and 12mm Spyraflo Delrin flange mount bearings technically and economically contributed to their needs perfectly.

Spyraflo

This amazing RDS can handle up to 65% of a pharmacy’s total prescription volume with a process that selects and labels a vial, then counts, caps and sorts prescriptions from a patients last name.

In addition to the wide range of standard flange mount designs available Spyraflo have produced many special flange design solutions for a wide cross-section of industries and applications. The designs incorporating various flange materials, flange profiles, mounting variables and positioning features. In addition the Spyraflo engineers incorporate the unique self clinching, self aligning bearing features into meeting many special designs.

Micromech is the UK and Eire distributor of these amazing bearings, if you would like more information about them, then contact Alan Spinks on 01376 333333 or alan@micromech.co.uk

‘A revolution in Bearings’

Food for thought – Slicing machine for meat portioning

More success stories from the most diverse applications which partners Micromech Systems and Parker has been supporting for food processing equipment and packaging machinery manufacturers.

Slicing machine for meat portioning

In order to open new markets in the fully automated high power segment of meat processing equipment a manufacturer of cutting machines for the production of bacon rashers was planning a new generation of machine. At the same time they wanted to reduce their engineering overheads and in order to reach this goal they decided to use electromechanical standard actuators instead of in-house engineering solutions. Their standard products were however not suitable for the environmental conditions and the wet cleaning procedures.

To conform to regulations Parker was able to offer a food grade solution by providing an IP65 electro thrust cylinder. The cylinder pushes the bacon parts through a fixed multiple grid cutter then after a stroke of 30 mm a cross cutting unit cuts the rashers. The electro thrust cylinder supplies an amazing thrust force of 10,000 N.A where a new stroke is advanced every 0.2 seconds. After twenty strokes the cylinder returns to its initial position. The solution works in conjunction with a servo drive and control technology perfectly matched to the mechanical system, all from one source therefore there are no interface issues.

Thus the customer was able to quickly develop and introduce an advanced new cutting machine into the market delivering over 350 cuts per minute. Not only did this development open up new markets but the successful introduction of the new machine to existing customers also produced additional sales.

Micromech is Parker’s motion partner and can offer a bespoke solution to meet all of your motion control needs, for more information contact Alan Spinks on 01376 333333 or alan@micromech.co.uk

‘Micromech Systems and Parker are forces in motion’