National IT Professionals Day

National IT Professionals Day

Office Switch

It’s National IT Professionals Day.  Let’s hear from our internal IT specialist about their career and the day-to-day workload.

“How did your career start?”

Like many brought up in the 1980’s, my first experience was at school and saving birthday/Christmas money to purchase a Sinclair ZX81.  I moved away from the “Wobbly 16K RAM Pack” and upgraded to the full colour Sinclair Spectrum 48K where I learned the craft of hacking games to bypass copy protection devices, making mods for infinite lives cheats and so on!

Without the structure (good or bad) of any formal training, I have always looked at I.T. from an “every day is a learning day” perspective.  I always try and look at the desired outcome and work backwards, learning as I go.  Trial and error is your friend here!

“What are your responsibilities at deegee?”

Job one was to bring in-house the hardware support.  In cost terms alone, the company’s hardware contract had been more expensive than replacing the IT estate every 18 months.  With a three-year life cycle of a PC, this was an immediate cash saver.  However, with more careful planning and ongoing management, as well as re-deployment of equipment as it comes out of its initial primary use, we really do extract every ounce of value out of our kit!

Moving away from the hardware aspect, I’m fundamentally lazy!  By that I mean, if a certain dataset is requested from me more than a couple of times, I will find a way to automate it.  My first breakthrough came in presenting a daily sales figure to the Directors; it had been taking a member of the team around five to six minutes to produce and record a sales total for the day (every day!).  I worked on interrogating our ERP system to splat that figure on a screen in a fraction of a second, so that the Directors could keep a track of what they needed pretty much in real time.  What I learned from that opened up opportunities across the business; the availability of real-time information generated a demand for more, actionable, figures.  Probably my biggest ever time-saver was translating a bespoke commission report that was taking thirty-five minutes to run, into a web-based report that presented the same data in under five seconds.

Today, we are about fifteen months into a product data digitalisation project; classifying data to ETIM standards as well as capturing bespoke data points, product images, technical drawings, …  We are already benefitting from on-demand product datasheets that pull from this constantly up-to-date data.  No more regenerating hundreds of .pdf sheets as products evolve, just click and print/email!  This is great for new products as the datasheet can be available moments after engineering have confirmed the data is valid, often in advance of even ordering production quantities of component stock.  We currently syndicate our data to two UK data pools, making our product data potentially available on the Trade Counter of nearly every Electrical Wholesaler in the UK, and provide, via our overseas distributors, exports for their systems.  We have great plans for exploiting this central, structured, “single-source-of-truth” dataset into many other areas.

“How did you support the company during the Pandemic?”

We were extremely lucky, to be honest.  Some years earlier I had moved away from hosting our email server (MS Exchange) in-house and migrated to the Microsoft 365 cloud.  This alone took a management headache away, allowing business email outside of the building without resorting to personal email accounts.  I then, for cost reasons at the time, migrated all our telecoms to a VOIP infrastructure.

For some considerable time, as a company we had been kicking-around the possibility of moving our ERP system online mainly as a server license cost saving.  With news of the impending Covid-19 pandemic in the media, I finally signed the contract to commit to the move on the 12th of February 2020.  Thanks to the professionalism and commitment of our partners at Smith Cooper and Infuse, we completed data migration and went live with our new platform on the 26th of March 2020 – just ahead of the Government’s stay at home order.

The final piece of the jigsaw was to quickly source laptops for the team – which, as you can guess, was tricky at the time.

Taken all-together, it was possible for the team to work from home as if they were in the office – totally as it should be.  Looking back, like many other companies we found that many of the reasons to not allow working from home were nothing more than managerial excuses; excuses that were taken away when forced to make the change.  We are a better company for having come through this.

“What’s next?”

We continue to look at ways to eliminate printed paper in as many forms as possible; often, it is the existence of a core piece of paper that prevents a given task from transitioning well off-site.  Our product digitalisation efforts have taught us a lot about central storage and data re-use and I’m using those lessons to move us forward.

Energy consumption within any business is a constant cause for concern and I.T. equipment that is “always-on” has a real impact on this.  I am implementing seemingly insignificant changes that will have large impacts over the long-term.  Being able to decommission a single server that isn’t actually contributing much to the business can save hundreds of pounds each year.

“Last words?”

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time” – Steven Wright.  No matter how big or challenging something is, do whatever it takes to move towards it.  Small incremental movements over the long-term will get you there.

Remember – Every day is a learning day!

Going for Gold!

Going for Gold!

We are delighted to announce that we have achieved EDATA Gold Standard and are now listed within the Electrical Distributors’​ Association (EDA) EDATA data pool. We are immensely grateful for the help and guidance of the teams at the EDA and NG15 Ltd in working with us to reach this milestone.

“This is just the first batch of products to be listed.”, said Jon Whiten, “The initial upload represents our core stocked ranges and work continues to add new & existing lines over the coming weeks – watch this space!”

Gold Quality Data is increasingly vital in supporting B2B sales, particularly in the Electrical Wholesale sector, providing a seamless Manufacture to End-user experience.

deegee @ Indumation.be 2022, Kortrijk, Belgium

deegee @ Indumation.be 2022, Kortrijk, Belgium

Indumation.be is Belgium’s most comprehensive trade show for Factory, Process and Infrastructure Automation (technologies, components and solutions), supported by the federations Agoria and Indumotion.

At Indumation.be, you will find solutions for any efficiency or automation problem,
from the smallest to the most complex one.

Innovation and Automation go hand in hand with all that is connected to digital and smart: from the component or device to complete hi-tech systems and solutions that are offered through this platform, for all branches of industry (factory & process), large infrastructures (ports, terminals, toll roads, bridges and roads…) and all industrial processes (manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, SCM, logistics and warehousing, assets).

The show will be held at Kortrijk Xpo, and runs 18 – 20 May 2022. The deegee range will be represented by Inelmatec, which can be found at Booth 638.

Aviation Light Signals

Aviation lighting is essential in keeping everyone safe; it ensures that building and objects can be seen in low light as well as helping both the pilot and air traffic controller communicate on landing in the form of light signals. In case of communication failure or when an aircraft isn’t equipped with a radio, light signals are used using a signal lamp. Signal lamps have focused bright beams that can generate red, white and green lights which can be steady or flashing. Each of these colours and patterns are instructions for aircraft pilots and have a specific meaning, depending whether the aircraft is in flight or on the ground. The aircraft pilot must recognize both the colour and pattern (steady or flashing) to properly decode the message from the control tower. Aircraft pilots can acknowledge these instructions by rocking the aircraft wings, moving the ailerons, or by flashing their navigation lights.

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Aviation Light Signal Colours and their meanings

Just like a traffic light, aviation light signals use three different colours. However, instead of red, green and amber, used by road traffic signals, the Air Traffic Control light signals use the colours red, green and white. As mentioned above, each of these colours have a specific meaning and vary depending whether the aircraft is in flight or on the ground.

Aviation Light Signals on the Ground

Steady Green Light – The steady green light signal on the ground means the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the pilot may proceed for takeoff.

Flashing Green – The flashing green light signal on the ground means that the aircraft is cleared or authorized to taxi.

Steady Red – The steady red light means the aircraft must stop immediately and hold their position.

Flashing Red –The flashing red light means the aircraft must taxi clear of the runway in use or get off the runway. The air traffic controller wants the aircraft pilot to find the nearest taxiway and get off the runway to allow other aircraft to use the runway.

Flashing White – The flashing white signal means the aircraft pilot must return to their starting point. The air traffic controller wants the pilot to return to the airport parking apron.

Alternating Red/Green – In countries such as the United States, the alternating red/green signal light means an important warning to the aircraft pilot to exercise extreme caution.

Aviation Light Signals in the Air

Steady Green – Green signal lights always indicate a GO. This means the aircraft is cleared to land.

Flashing Green – The flashing green light signal to an aircraft in flight means the aircraft should return for landing and is essentially a Go-Around command. The aircraft do not have a clearance to land, so the aircraft must return for landing via Go-Around.

Steady Red – Red light signals always indicate a stop command. However, an aircraft in flight is impossible to stop. So red light signal for an aircraft in flight means, the aircraft must continue circling and give way to other aircraft until the air traffic controller indicates that you are cleared to land by giving a steady green light.

Flashing Red – A Flashing Red light signal to an aircraft in flight indicates danger, the airport is unsafe and do not land.

Alternating Red/Green –Alternating Red/Green light signal applies to both aircraft on the ground and in flight. It indicates the aircraft pilot to exercise extreme caution.

Light signals are rarely used today by aircraft pilots because of the presence of radio for communication. However, radios are not always reliable and sometimes stop working. In times of communication failure, this will come in handy and is really important for aircraft navigation. An aircraft pilot will have the need to fall back on Aviation Light Signals for communication in order to avoid accident and ensure safety.

Communication is also key between the pilot and obstacles along his flight path – such as high buildings, masts, towers etc. To alert the pilot to the danger of these, warning beacon lamps are added to tall objects. The use of such lighting is intended to reduce hazards to aircraft by indicating the presence of obstacles.

The presence of objects which must be lighted, should be indicated by low, medium or high intensity obstacle warning light, or a combination of such lights.

Fixed obstacles of 45m or less in height, width and length are normally lit by a single, steady, red light, placed at the highest practicable point. Obstacles of greater size are normally provided with additional red lights in order to outline the extent of the building.

D.G. Controls offer a range of Type-A and Type-B Beacons that meet ICAO Annex 14, Chapter 6 requirements for Low Intensity Obstruction Warning and can be found at:

https://beaconlamps.com/products/visual-warning-signals/i.c.a.o.-warning-signals/

The roles of ICAO & FAA in Aviation

Blog Post

Rules and regulations are crucial to avoid chaos and danger. They help outline what a person can or cannot do. They exist to sustain equity, protect people from each other, promote certain values and to provide goods and services. It also offers protection to victims of crimes and punishment to those who violate laws. Without them, we would not have any guidelines to help keep society functioning day-to-day.

In aviation, there are also certain and specific rules and regulations that every individual must follow to ensure safety and avoid unnecessary accidents from happening. The ICAO and FAA are two organisations in charge of enforcing air navigation rules and regulations which are crucial within the industry. This week, we will look at their retrospective roles in more detail and where D.G Controls can help to play a part in providing warning signals in aviation.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is a specialised agency and an aviation technical body of the United Nations. Its headquarters is located in Montreal, Canada. It was created after the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of which was signed by 52 countries in 1944 and was sanctioned and founded in 1947. ICAO’s primary role is to provide a set of standards which will help regulate aviation across the world. It classifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation, as well as the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safety and security. Furthermore, it oversees the US Government’s International Group on International Aviation (IGIA). The international aviation standards were provided to the 191 member states of ICAO around the globe through a global forum in which the member states are expected to adopt and implement these standards. However, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) only provides the fundamental guidelines or SARPs (Standards and Recommended Practices). It is possible for each member states/countries to modify and adjust these regulations when necessary under ICAO’s approval. Despite slight variations from different countries based on the actual implementation in national regulations, civil aviation standards and regulations are still consistent all over the world. These local differences are then reported back to ICAO and published.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or formerly “Federal Aviation Agency” is a national aviation authority of the United States formed in 1958. The FAA is primarily responsible for the advancement, safety, security and regulation of civil aviation. FAA ensures that every aircraft pilot understands their role as air navigators and that all aircraft in operation follows a strict set of guidelines in order to ensure safety and minimise danger. To accomplish these things, FAA created an effective set of aviation regulations known as the Federal Aviation Regulations.

The Federal Aviation Regulations or FAR is a document which consists of tens of thousands of sections covering every details of aviation. It gives detailed instructions such as aircraft maintenance, pilot requirements, hot-air ballooning and model rocket launches, covering almost everything that is needed in order to understand how, when and what to fly. Aircraft pilots and air carriers are very much required to be familiar with the rules and regulations outlined in the FARs.

Aside from its regulatory role, the FAA is also responsible for research and development of aviation related systems and technologies, air traffic control system, maintenance of air navigation facilities infrastructure, airspace and development of commercial space travel.

Primary roles of ICAO and FAA

Some of the major roles of ICAO and FAA in aviation are already mentioned above. One of their primary roles is of course to ensure security and safety by regulating all aspects of civil aviation which includes the construction and operation of airports, the management of air traffic, the certification of personnel and aircraft, enforcing rules and regulations for obstruction lighting, aeronautical charts, search and rescue standards and many more aspects pertaining to air navigation.

ICAO Approved Warning Signals

ICAO Annex 14 Chapter 6, visual aids for denoting obstacles, recommends that: “Low-intensity, Type A or B, should be used where the object is a less extensive one and its height above the surrounding ground is less than 45m.” At D.G Controls, we can provide obstruction warning beacons that meet these requirements and comply with the ICAO standards should you need them. See link below:

https://beaconlamps.com/products/visual-warning-signals/i.c.a.o.-warning-signals/

Here at D.G. Controls we offer a range of Low Intensity ICAO Beacons:

SBB/Type-A

Low Intensity, certified to ICAO Annex 14, Chapter 6 regulations.

Has a 360 degree viewing enclosure and can be found at:

https://beaconlamps.com/products/visual-warning-signals/i.c.a.o.-warning-signals/sbbled-typea-series/

SBG/Type-B

Low Intensity, meets ICAO requirements for Low Intensity Obstruction Warning Type-B.

Its heavy duty enclosure makes it more suitable for industrial/obstruction use and can be found at:

https://beaconlamps.com/products/visual-warning-signals/i.c.a.o.-warning-signals/sbgled-typeb-series/

VPL/Type-C

Exceeds requirements of both CAA (Vehicle Obstacle) and ICAO (Low Intensity Type-C) regulations.

Available with or without magnetic base.

Click here for more information.

For further information, please call us on 01283 550850.