Part-system build service for OEMs: MiniTec’s full service (supply chain management) capability benefits Cobalt Light Systems
Abingdon-based Cobalt Light Systems develops products and technologies for non-invasive sub-surface chemical analysis and produces its INSIGHT100 table-top screening device for evaluating the chemical composition of liquids, powders and gels in glass or plastic containers. Used widely at airports, high security establishments and other passenger hubs, it employs an exclusively developed technology called SORS (Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy) which was invented at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and through technology transfer initiatives has successfully found its way into very beneficial use. The machine is part of a range of screening, analysis and characterisation products that Cobalt Light Systems market for security, pharmaceutical and biological applications that rapidly and accurately measure materials without touching or altering the sample.
MiniTec UK works closely with Cobalt Light Systems as a manufacturing partner, supplying its profile system for the INSIGHT100’s console frame in addition to managing a part-build programme that includes purchasing and sourcing third-party components as well assembly and testing for the part-assembled device. Major components such as the control panel, main PCB boards, power supplies and cable harnesses are purchased from Cobalt Light Systems preferred and other MiniTec selected suppliers, and held in CANBAN stock before pre-testing and assembly into the console frame. Dedicated test rigs verify operation of the part-assembly before shipping for final assembly which includes PC and SORS instrument installation, programming and interfacing; external covers are then fitted to MiniTec profile system frame and final testing takes place. Transportation packaging that is used for the final assembly is included in the scope of MiniTec’s supply. The partner arrangement extends to managing cost reduction initiatives with suppliers as well as providing a pro-active responsibility for component/product improvement and obsolescence.
After working with MiniTec at the design and development stages of the INSIGHT100, the two companies collaborated on the part-system build programme in a close relationship that benefits Cobalt Light by sub-contracting the manufacturing cycle management and a large proportion of the assembly effort for the device – to concentrate on its core capabilities in non-invasive sub-surface analysis. The INSIGHT100 has achieved ECAC standard 3 – the highest standard for European airport security equipment – and is in use for liquid screening at Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton Airports as well as Amsterdam Schipol, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly Airports and many more.
MiniTec provides its part-system build service for many customers through its own in-house design and production capability based around profile system. This modular aluminium profile based machine building system includes thousands of components such as links, hinges, handles, locks, feet, wheels, panels and more – as well as control system and motion components for electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic automation. Varying levels of part-system build and management include simple structures such as work trolleys for mail order companies to complete automated turn-key projects; for example, pick and place systems for production lines and parts handling conveyers for OEMs across many market areas that typically add and optimise their own specialist processes and technologies.
Customers can design their own systems and structures using MiniTec’s free of charge iCAD design software which is available for standalone design development as an on-line tool or as downloadable versions that may be integrated with the customer’s preferred software system through interfaces with all common CAD packages including Mechanical Desktop, ProEngineer, Solid Works, Solid-Edge, MegaCAD and more. MiniTec can provide separate components for customer assembly, build to customer requirements in-house or on-site – for MiniTec and its valued customers, flexibility is paramount.