NPT to Attend Inductive Automation ICC 2017

As Premier certified integrators for Ignition SCADA, North Point personnel are attending the Ignition Community Conference (ICC) again this year.  As always, ICC is held in Folsom, CA, where Inductive Automation is headquartered.  The theme of this year's ICC is "Transform".

It's a great conference that brings together integrators and end-users of Ignition.  There is a strong educational program for attendees, a showcase of amazing Ignition projects and presentations by their creators, and a social program allowing attendees to make a lot of connections in this fast growing community.

It's being held again at the Harris Center on the campus of Folsom Lake College.  You can view the website for the conference here.

If you are going to attend, please look for the North Point Technology logo.  We will be there and would love to talk to you.

AWWA Show Pictures Redux

Found a couple new pics from the AWWA conference in Philadelphia earlier this summer, and thought we would share.  Thanks again to Inductive Automation for inviting us to join them at the show.

IMG_2348.JPG

Shoutout to Innovation Associates

Our friends and neighbors here at the Columbia Business Park, Innovation Associates, stopped down for the ice cream truck during our 15th Anniversary celebration last week.   This week, they sent us a really nice flower arrangement.  It brightened up the office very nicely.  Thank you, Innovation!   That was very nice.

IMG_0144.jpg

Innovation Associates provides pharmacy automation systems and machines.  It is very impressive, and rather than try to explain it myself, check out their website here.

Ignition EDGE

ScreenShot 2017-08-26 at 3.21.24 PM.png

As we've highlighted before, North Point Technology, LLC is a Premier Integrator for Inductive Automation Ignition products.  We can't say enough about Ignition- it is a powerful, game changing SCADA system, and much more.  The pricing model for Ignition makes it fantastic alternative to the other platforms.  But to date, it has been hard to compete with panel-level software- without naming names, the simple, hardware-based OIT systems common on the factory floor. 

That changed with the release of EDGE.  EDGE is a stripped-down (but still incredibly powerful) version of Ignition that is priced and designed to compete favorably against those OIT systems. Plus, they can be expanded in the future to add more of the features available to full Ignition.  Finally, we can cost effectively apply this great platform from a single-screen machine display panel to a full blown multi-facility SCADA.  

Another version of EDGE is targeted to run in MQTT type systems as edge data collectors.

Call us for more information about Ignition and Ignition EDGE.  You can also check out the release webinar for EDGE here

 

15th Anniversary Recognition

We celebrated our 15th anniversary this past Thursday with a ribbon cutting, cake, balloons and an ice cream truck- more about that in a later post!  We also received recognition for the anniversary from our local New York State Senator, Fred Akshar.  Thank you, Senator Akshar, for the recognition and for the great job you do for our area.

Fred Akshar Anniversary.png

North Point in Belgium

NPT personnel were fortunate enough to be called to visit Belgium for work the last week of May and first week of June this year.  We worked on a water filtration machine that was treating collected rainwater for use in bathrooms for a large bank building.  See below for a few pictures from Brussels.

NPT Travellog

Just some catching up- North Point engineers did work in the wine country north of San Francisco in July, and paid a first- time visit to the Winnipeg area of Manitoba in Canada this month.  The area I was in was a sea of huge farms- incredible farming country.  A few pictures of California and Manitoba below.

 

NPT joins Inductive Automation at the AWWA ACE17 Exhibit

Lisa Lee (CEO), Bob Lee (CTO) and Brian Middaugh (Project Manager) traveled to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday 6/14/2017.  We were exhibitors at the American Water Works Association's Annual Conference for 2017- AWWA ACE17 for short.  

We were proud to be the sponsored guests of Inductive Automation, the makers of Ignition SCADA and software platform, who had a booth in the Expo.  Ignition is one of our major partners, and we are a certified Premier Integrator for their software.

Lisa Lee, CEO, participates in Endicott Proud Village Clean Up Day

Lisa Lee, CEO and Principal at North Point Technology, participated in the Endicott Proud Committee's Village Clean Up Day on March 20, 2017.

Over a hundred people helped out on Saturday morning to clean up portions of the Village of Endicott, including the Washington Avenue shopping district, areas along Main and North Streets, the Union District shopping area in West Endicott, and the Northside Park in the Little Italy section of the town. Lisa Lee was lead for the Little Italy section's volunteer crew as they worked on tasks such as garbage removal, landscaping, weeding and planting flowers.

The Clean Up Day was organized by the new Endicott Proud Committee, which was formed by the Board of Education for the Union Endicott School District, as a community group aiming to improve the appearance and perception of Endicott as a vibrant community.  The committee, which is made up of over 100 business leaders, secondary school and university teachers and administrators, as well as community residents,  has been working on various economic revitalization initiatives including attracting new businesses and young professionals to the area.  In addition to building community pride, the efforts were also directed at beautifying the Union- Endicott High School campus for the upcoming New York State Track and Field and Baseball Championship tournaments to be held at the school in June.  

To learn more about Endicott Proud find us on Facebook at:  Facebook.com/EndicottProud or contact us on email at: EndicottProud@uek12.org.

 

Lisa Lee, CEO of North Point Technology, LLC (left) helps plant flowers during the Endicott Proud Village Clean Up Day  on May 20, 2017. 

Lisa Lee, CEO of North Point Technology, LLC (left) helps plant flowers during the Endicott Proud Village Clean Up Day  on May 20, 2017. 

NPT Takes Part in Pin Crushing Classic

On March 25th, 2017, staff of North Point Technology and a member of the ACHIEVE family participated in a yearly fundraising event called the Bob Warner Pin Crushing Classic. The bowling tournament, named after former Assemblyman Bob Warner,  benefits ACHIEVE which is a non-profit organization serving over 2,200 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in the surrounding counties.  In its 22nd year, the tournament was sold out and raised over $20,000.  Our team had a great time as always!

The Team

The Team

Lisa and Bob Warner, for whom the tournament is named.

Lisa and Bob Warner, for whom the tournament is named.

 
Department of team cheerleading-founding members!

Department of team cheerleading-founding members!

Resting between frames.  It's exhausting throwing all of those strikes.

Resting between frames.  It's exhausting throwing all of those strikes.

Lisa concentrating on yet another strike!

Lisa concentrating on yet another strike!

Here's to Good Luck!

A double-rainbow was spotted over our office building yesterday and several more throughout the region late in the day.  Here's to some good luck for the rest of the year!

FIRST Robotics Team 2053

North Point sponsored Tigertronics Team 2053 has completed their robot design for the upcoming competitions, and per FIRST rules, the robot is not accessible until the competition next month.  Fortunately, the team built a near twin robot (as they always do) so they can continue driving and practicing and even testing mechanisms, so that when the competition robot is unwrapped, they are ready to make some last minute improvements in the competition pit area.  '

Designing, building and testing this robot is a huge undertaking- kids and mentors put in a lot of hours to get it done.  It is truly impressive, and if you want a quick look at how impressive, see if there is a competition near you.  The entry is free, the events are a lot of fun for everyone.  You can walk the pit area and be truly stunned by what these teams of kids from around the country and around the world can do, and watch the exciting competition rounds concert-style, with a lot of entertainment thrown in.  Especially if you have kids, GO to a competition.  At minimum they will be entertained, and just maybe they will see something awesome they want to participate in.

Here is a list of regional competitions...check it out!  And remember FIRST is not just for the high school kids...click below for the FIRST website and more information.

Inductive Automation Ignition Certifications

North Point Technology is pleased to announce updated certifications for Inductive Automation Ignition SCADA.  Our engineers passed the version 7.9 certified and Gold certified tests, maintaining our Premier Integrator status with Ignition.

In case you missed it, v7.9 is the current version of Ignition introduced this past October.  It brings some significant new features to this already feature-rich platform, including:

  • Substantially expanded and improved system diagnostics pages.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • Extensive communication options between nodes for large deployments.

Contact us for a no-obligation discussion of how Ignition might work for you.

FIRST Robotics Club season kickoff

North Point has been a sponsor of the local FIRST Robotics Club- Team 2053- for several years.  This year, we join the team as official mentors, too- advising and helping the high school student members on topics ranging from the technical to fundraising.

For any reader unfamiliar with FIRST, check it out here.  FIRST teams design and build robots to compete in tournaments held around the world each Spring.  The tournament- the rules of play, the objectives, etc- are established by FIRST in secret and released to all teams around the world simultaneously in early January each year.  Once these specs are released, the teams enter into an intense 2+ month sprint to conceive, plan, design, build, program and test a new robot that will meet the challenges of this year's game.

FIRST is a well designed program that not only generates excitement in the important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, but teaches kids through experience about the realities of their future careers- they must employ strategic thinking, data collection, negotiation and other soft skills in order to succeed.

Plus, they have a lot of fun in the process!

Team 2053 is named Tigertronics, and is made up of students from Union-Endicott and Vestal high schools, and their mentors (like ourselves) that come from local industries.  The team's website can be found here.  Check out the videos of last year's competitions, and if you have a chance to just go to a competition and watch with your kids, GO.  It is a lot of fun.  A couple thousand smart kids in a friendly competition- being kids and having fun, and lots of sound and lights and live competition.  It's worth seeing!

NOW FOR THE MYSTERY!  FIRST has called given only the name and logo's for this year's game, and this teaser video.  What could it be??  Team 2053 and all the other robotics teams around the world will find out on January 7th!

The View from the New Office

The new office has a great view from the hilltops overlooking the Susquehanna Valley and the towns of Johnson City, Vestal, and Endicott.  The sunsets and scenery give a nice distraction from the computer screens once in a while, too.

We Are Moving!

That's right-we are moving our office location on Friday, October 21, 2016.  We heard the coffee was better at the new building, so we decided to change things up a bit.  The short move down to the new building allows us to freshen our look, focus our goals and strategies, and improve our work space collaboration.  The first day of operation in the new office will be Monday, October 24th.  Our phone number will not be changing, but please take note of our new address below:

520 Columbia Drive
Suite 105
Johnson City, NY 13790

 
Moving-clip-art-animations-free-free-clipart-images-2-image.jpg

A good sign for our first day in the new office- double rainbow in our new view!

2016 Made in New York Expo

North Point will have an exhibitor booth at the upcoming Made In New York Expo, organized by the Business Council of New York.  This is our second year attending this Expo.  Last year it was held in the Buffalo area; this year the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is hosting the event at their Center for Excellence in Advanced & Sustainable Manufacturing, on the campus.

 

The event will run from 8AM to 2PM on Wednesday October 19th.  In addition to exhibitors like ourselves, there will be a series of speakers addressing topics of interest to manufacturers.

Panel Discussion topics include:

Advanced Manufacturing Resources

The focus of this panel is on federal and state programs and partnerships focused on helping manufacturers gain competitive advantages through advanced technology and innovation.

International Business Development Resources

The focus of this panel is on international sales, export assistance and business development resources as a growth strategy.

Manufacturing Workforce Development Resources

The focus of this panel will be on manufacturing job recruitment and best practices in manufacturing workforce skill development.

Access to Capital

Visit the Expo website here for more information.  We hope to see you there!

North Point earns MWBE Certification for the City of Albany

North Point Technology, LLC is proud to announce our official certification by the City of Albany, New York as a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE), as a supplier of Industrial Automation and Control Systems Engineering services.  We look forward to working with the City directly and with its vendors as a subcontractor on upcoming projects!

Acronym Translator: OEE

If you are in a manufacturing business, you have probably heard of or read about OEE.  You might even know what OEE is and what it stands for.  If you do, this post is covering old ground and you can skip to the pictures.

If not, we are here to break it down- what does it mean, why do you need it, what will it do for me, and how do I get it?  

OEE is an acronym for Overall Equipment Effectiveness......ok, but that didn't quite break it down, did it?  In short, OEE is a singular measure of the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of your production line or entire factory, or possibly your entire multi-factory organization.  One simple, easy to understand number that tells you how you are doing today versus yesterday, versus last week, or versus last year.  Moving that number up means you are making positive changes in the workings of your business- you are making more money!  

So, clearly, just publishing a number doesn't make your line or plant more effective all by itself.  What is key is looking deeper to see the processes that feed into that number.  Those varied and layered processes measure key data from your machines and lines, and extract from those machines and production cells the causes of productivity loss.  OEE works along the principals of "Big Data"- it collects masses of information and by analyzing it along with all the other factors it has access to, it can detect patterns that would be hard to detect manually.  Perhaps it may find the unnecessary extra 5 minutes for job changeover that is inconsequential to a single machine but is huge when you have many machines.  It could find that a machine or process is 20% more likely to suffer a breakdown when running at a certain speed, or when the ambient temperature is higher than 80 degrees.  Or, it may find that isolate quality problems to raw materials from a certain supplier.

The point is that the business process applications that contribute to the calculation of the OEE number isolate and identify problems with the three factors that impact your bottom line- AVAILABILITY, PERFORMANCE, and QUALITY.  

AVAILABILITY measures how much of the scheduled time each machine/cell/process/line/plant is ready to run.  Downtime tracking and cause identification is a key component- is it down because there is no product to run?  Because of a changeover?  Because of an unplanned downtime event?  What are the extenuating factors surrounding the unplanned downtime?  How long did it take to get resolved?

PERFORMANCE compares the speed or production rate that should be possible for the product being run with the actual rates or speed.  Do you have a bottleneck in your process?  Has wear and tear or maintenance issues caused systems to not perform as expected?  Are expectations reasonable?

QUALITY measures what percentage of the product is acceptable or 'good'.  If your quality numbers are low, does it correlate to a particular product line?  Or, does it correlate to the temperature or humidity in the facility?  Or, do quality issues correlate to certain operators or machines?

These are only examples. OEE works best when you can collect large amounts of contemporaneous data that it can analyze and sort, to seek out the ways to improve operations and therefore drive that single OEE number upwards.  And when that number goes up, so does your profit. 

OEE projects can have very short ROI's.  Contact us to discuss and explore how OEE might work for you!  Our software partner, Inductive Automation Ignition, provides a flexible, powerful platform upon which we can build your OEE one area or cell at a time, in a cost effective manner and in accordance with the needs of your organization.  There is no obligation to talk and brainstorm ideas.