Helping to demystify industrial
digitalisation in UK manufacturing

Smart access system

26 February, 2020

DT Engineering is developing a smart access system for industrial machinery to allow or deny access to it through a set of user-friendly operator interface modules. The system connects a machine’s control systems with a secure cloud-hosted database, sophisticated interrogation software and a web portal for system administration. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

DT Engineering North West Ltd says it is often asked to provide lifting solutions that fit customers’ needs and production requirements, but also have an absolute focus on safety.

The company believes it is a common oversight across industry to allow untrained and uncertified personnel to use lifting equipment and cranes, and there are too many ways to circumnavigate procedures designed to ensure the safe operation of potentially dangerous equipment.

It also highlights that there needs to be a stronger set of controls for authorised staff and competent, trained personnel, to gain access to potentially lethal lifting machinery.

As a result, DT Engineering is developing a smart access system for industrial machinery to allow or deny access to it through a set of user-friendly operator interface modules. The system connects a machine’s control systems with a secure cloud-hosted database, sophisticated interrogation software and a web portal for system administration.

It means whenever someone wants to use the machine, access using an RFID or Biometrics is scrutinised for authorisation. The system records all human interaction with the access panel and machine in a live, real time reporting environment.

It also prompts management when a user requires refresher training or recertification in their competence to operate specific machinery.

For the past two years DT Engineering has been developing the smart access system architecture with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.

Now through a successful application to Made Smarter, DT Engineering can now pursue the technology solution for its design. Tom Coyle, managing director, DT Engineering, said: “In heavy industry production is king. Businesses are under pressure to get jobs done at all costs. Add archaic attitudes regarding health and safety, and you have the potential for catastrophe.

“I’ve heard hundreds of horror stories of tragedies and near-misses across the heavy manufacturing industry.

“At its heart this is a system which makes health and safety the boss by preventing the mis-use of potentially dangerous machinery by unauthorised or untrained personnel.

“We think that by bringing machines and IDT together we can eradicate accidents and save lives.”

The expected impact

Although at prototype stage, DT Engineering hopes that the system that may subsequently be productised and sold into global markets for use at all levels of plant and across all sectors.

Adoption in the UK, and exports, could see an almost 50 per cent increase of staff over the next three years.

The proposals will also see a benefit to the region, with GVA expected to increase to £320,230 by 2022.

Tom added: “Success of this project will completely transform our business, allowing the company to grow and become far more profitable as we anticipate the integration of digital technologies and systems to complement our current core business.”

DT Engineering has also identified the potential of using Virtual Reality as part of the installation process after it has been exported.

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DT Engineering

In the last decade DT Engineering North West Ltd has gone from a one-man engineering enterprise to a specialist manufacturer of crane and lifting equipment with 16 staff.

Based in Widnes, Cheshire, the company has developed in-house expertise in steel fabrication, mechanical engineering, welding, hydraulics and electrics, and boasts leading clients in the manufacturing, maritime, automotive and construction sectors.

DT Engineering recognises that in order to grow, it needs to diversify and embrace industrial digital technologies (IDT).

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Made Smarter helps makers keep their competitive edge, with digital tools that let people make an everyday difference to their business.

The Made Smarter North West pilot works with makers with facilities in Cheshire & Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region. The Pilot is delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, North West Local Enterprise Partnerships and North West Business Growth Hubs.

For further information please visit: www.madesmarter.uk

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