28/04/2021

Newsletter April 2021 SMEMA Hermes Adaptor Pre-Orders

It’s been a little over a year since our last Newsletter and hasn't it been an eventful year!

From the Bad, we should reflect on the Good and the need to WFH (Work From Home) may have just pushed us one step forward towards the Smart Factory but before we can achieve that we must first acknowledge Industry 4.0 which is still a confusion to some. Our definition is the welcoming of people who work within the Digital Economy into our Manufacturing world.

Those that work within the Digital Economy have helped the world continue through the COVID Lockdowns, from Zoom calls to Cloud based back office systems, we wouldn't have done it without the lean approach to work life conducted by the Digital Economy over the last 15 years.

There seems to be a generational divide between those that want to get back to the office and those that feel more productive working from home. It took me by surprise after attending my first online Hermes Standards meeting in March when it was suggested that we should return to the costly business of attending trade shows at the end of the year to talk about a virtual data standard.

A strong memory of working at the coalface in the industry is the feeling of making progress and then suddenly taking two steps back.

We shall see.

The Hermes Standard Rollout

Previously averaging around 3 a week, inquiries regarding the Hermes Standard fell off the cliff when COVID hit and recovered quickly in the fourth quarter of 2020, when most countries unlocked to some degree.

We in Britain are just coming out of our third Lockdown with many limbo periods in between. Being able to enter factories within this period has been mixed and testing the Adaptor with a multitude of equipment has therefore been limited, it’s certainly not something we can do from home. However, much effort has been put into making sure the control software can be easily upgraded by customers using our tutorials.

At the online Hermes Standards meeting there was little report from other vendors of Hermes deployments, apart from our Adaptor launch, so this confirmed our suspicions that many Hermes Standards projects have been put on hold. This slow down has given us the opportunity to work on more improvements of the Adaptor and it seemed from the many YouTube videos published during COVID, many equipment suppliers also used the time to work on tidy up activities. Unlike a Financial Recession where businesses stop and panic, COVID has given them time to reflect and invest for the future.

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SMEMA Hermes Adaptor Development Progress

The Miniaturisation project detailed in our last Newsletter was completed promptly and it has resulted in a much leaner product that can be easily integrated into any spare space inside or outside any legacy equipment. This has also meant we have met our aim of creating a low cost solution.

Most of the hardware of the Adaptor has been outsourced locally to contract manufacturers so the lockdown was an introduction to the world of supply chains with one supplier focusing on NHS ventilator work and another limiting production time. Development resulted into a slow ping pong over the year. Then as we were ready to press go on our first batch of Adaptors, the world wide component shortage hit. Thankfully after a longer lead time than we would have liked, substitute components were sourced but this seems to be an ongoing challenge.

Open for Pre-Orders

We are finally pleased to announce that with the final assembly underway we are open to pre-orders.

Due to a few reasons we are limiting orders of the first batch to 2 per customer which we hope will give customers enough to conduct their own trials. You may be able to strong-arm us to supply more if you have a good reason.

The main reason for the limitation is the first batch is being partly financed by a EU Development Fund R&D project, so will require a Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) to be agreed to and part of that is the requirement to give us your experience feedback. Therefore the more customers who sign up, the more the project is seen as a success.

Once it is certain the Adaptor is fulfilling your needs more can be ordered and the second batch is already underway.

The Adaptor has been seen by us as a side project as it has had no customer backer and we normally focus on developing MultiPlug solutions for equipment suppliers.

However as the Adaptor launches we have cleared our calendar and will be on call to give customer support and software improvements as more Adaptors are switched on.

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A dedicated product website is available from: www.the-hermes-standard-smema-adaptor.info

To place a pre-order visit our eStore: store.4IR.UK

A Big Thank You from the Team

I finally would like to thank those who have reached out to us over the years and have waited what seems so long to get their hands on an Adaptor. To receive enquiries from all over the World has been very warming and has given us the encouragement to keep going through recent tough times.

I would love to mention you by name but I can’t but one enquiry I can mention is a call from Naim Kapadia representing The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, UK who was keen to use their government backed demonstration facilities to showcase how their legacy SMT equipment could be upgraded for a Smart Factory.

I would also like to give a special thanks to Nick Morilla at CT Production, Lucy Devall at the Arts University Bournemouth, Sharon Jones of Barclays Eagle Labs, Michael Burnford of Smartboxx and Web Developer Chace Teera to which none of this would be possible without.

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David Graham

David is the Chief Technology Officer at 4IR.UK