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Month: April 2023

‘It’s a Controls Engineer’s dream’

Variety is the spice of life at KAON.

There are very good machine building companies out there that specialise in certain sectors where all their clients might, for example, come from the pharmaceutical industry.

At KAON, we like specialisation too – like all engineers we value expertise – but we also like diversity.

And the fact that our clients come from across many sectors – including the pharmaceutical, automotive and consumer electronics worlds — means that no two projects are ever the same. When you are finished designing, programming, and building a fully-automated machine to make life-saving inhalers, for example, your next project will be something entirely different.

Different customers from different sectors means different requirements and different processes. In truth, it’s a Controls Engineer’s dream.

The spectrum of work is very broad, and there’s large variation in what we do. We have robots on our floor that are picking bags off conveyors and packing them into boxes at 60 parts per minute and then we have machines that make foam. In terms of the processes, there’s a huge amount of variation there.

We know controls engineers are used to programming cameras and robots but what the camera is looking at and what the robot is doing is wildly different from one project to the next at KAON – making foam is completely different from picking up a bag and putting it into a box. The learning never stops.

At any given time, there are 15 projects on the go at KAON. All different. All demanding. All stimulating. For one of our current projects, we have had to programme 40 unique processes!

Of course, it comes with stress. There’s a lot of customer expectation, but if you are a controls engineer, you would expect that. You know it’s worth it, because you’ve experienced the special rush of making a cutting-edge machine come to life. You know that delivering that to the customer is a huge source of satisfaction for an engineer.

KAON Automation specialises in not specialising. That’s what keeps us on our toes. That’s what makes us tick. All our builds have one thing in common though – they challenge you to be the best you can be every time you come to work.

If you like the sound of working with complete autonomy on complex and challenging projects, get in touch today. We have openings for senior controls engineers in Sligo and Cork.

It’s all about the processes – the more the better!

As technological advances continue to push the boundaries of manufacturing engineering, modularity and more flexible systems are fast becoming the norm.

Technology is increasing the complexity of engineering challenges while simultaneously simplifying manufacturing operations.

This means that we are getting to build even more exciting machines using an array of cutting-edge technologies.

At KAON, we are currently in the final stages of a machine build that from a technology viewpoint is one of the biggest projects we’ve ever delivered and perfectly demonstrates the rapid changes in the sector.

Due to confidentiality, we cannot name the client we are working for, but we can say that we are doing full end-to-end automation on a production line for assembling a standard inhaler device.

However, it won’t be assembling standard inhaler devices for long. The machine must be able to handle different generations of products, including a new iteration of the inhaler which will be a smart device.

This has involved working with a broad mix of technologies, and our controls engineers have had to program for a remarkable 40 distinct process steps. By any standards, it is a significant piece of automation. As well as the smart device, the machine will be able to handle different generations of products. Building it has stretched our creativity, but it has been good to show that we have the capability.

The 40 process steps involved in this build include the following technologies:

  • Servo Pick & Place with vision guidance
  • 3 x 6 axis robots
  • Multiple vision systems
  • Tray handling at pack out
  • 2 colour pad printing with plasma treatment
  • Laser cutting
  • Ultrasonic welding
  • Spring forming
  • Various feeding systems including vibrator feeders, spring feeders and strip feeders
  • Integrity testing using vision, flow and force checks

For any machine building engineer that is a mouth-watering array of technologies to work with.

The finished machine can assemble the inhaler (which involves fitting it with 10 parts), print the artwork and inspect the finished product at a rate of 30 parts per minute.

That is the beauty of working in manufacturing engineering at the moment, technology is driving the industry to ever more flexible manufacturing systems and challenging our engineering capabilities in the process.

For people who like a challenge, this is a gift that keeps on giving. We are creating solutions for our global clients that will enable them to deploy standardised, cost-effective solutions at all their locations around the world.

We are at a stage now where engineering theory becomes engineering reality in a heartbeat. Use cases are now starting to emerge for the machines we build to be linked directly into business intelligence systems as opposed to just manufacturing systems. This direct feed of better data will make for better business decisions.On a daily basis, we are creatively exploring new possibilities.

If you are excited by the sound of all that, we currently have open positions in Cork and Sligo for engineers who like a challenge.

We’d love to tell you about our exciting projects, but…

At KAON, we know we are hiring at a difficult time – there are far more vacancies for engineers than there are engineers to fill them.

When candidates have such choice, they can hone in on what really matters to them for their careers. The salary, the culture, the career advancement opportunities, continuous learning opportunities, the working environment – all of these must be right to attract the right person.

At KAON, we firmly believe we have got them right. We pride ourselves on our culture, our working environment, and the way we reward our employees, but so do some other companies.

So, how do we differentiate ourselves among companies that offer good conditions, stimulating projects and a good working environment?

We believe a key differentiator is the range of exciting, innovative projects our engineers get to work on, and the fact that they sometimes get to adapt cutting-edge machinery in ways that even their manufacturers did not foresee.

We are using advanced technologies to solve complex engineering challenges.

What makes our work more challenging, and therefore more rewarding, is that no two KAON projects are the same because no two KAON clients are the same.

We work for clients across multiple sectors including pharmaceutical, consumer electronics and automotive. The range of industries we draw our clients from, and the distinct sector-related requirements they have of the machines we build, is directly linked to the exciting challenges our engineers get to tackle.

For that reason, we would love to be able to describe some of the transformative work we have done for our clients using incredible technology on projects that require the best of our creative minds.

Unfortunately, we can’t name names! These projects are so transformative for the business operations of our clients that they, quite rightly, don’t want their competitors to know about them, so we must sign non-disclosure agreements.

However, over the next few weeks and months, we plan to showcase – through blogs and videos – some of the projects that we are working on without breaking confidentiality but giving you a glimpse into the great work we are doing here at KAON.

In the meantime, if you want a peak behind the scenes and to get to actually work on these exciting projects, then get in touch and advance your engineering career in a company that specialises in exploring the art of the possible.

Click the link to view our current openings