About Germaine Systems
Germaine Systems is not typical of automation companies, it is an association of people and skills working together on a project. The company's ethic and goals remain consistent but the components and the people are chosen as appropriate. This way of working is efficient and extremely satisfying. Because the personnel work in a variety of industries, the solutions are different and creative. The system works, there are many projects working well, in many industries, in many parts of the world to prove it - maybe you've got a project, let's talk.
May 2014I have had my Galaxy TAB1 for 3 years now and it has been great. I decided to upgrade a bought the TAB 3 even though it is the same size and doesn't do anything different. It didn't take long however to see that it was different, after less than 24 hours It fell from my pocket, no more that 30 cm, the screen smashed and it ceased to function. I realised that I wouldn't be able to use anything so fragile so it went in the incinibin - wow the magnesium burns well :) It turns out that 1 in 4 of these end up with a broken screen in six months, poor show Samsung, especially as the TAB 1 has been dropped, soaked and stood on and still looks and works fine.
The new V20 drive from Siemens, Designed and made in China.
It looks great and is 75% of the cost of a comparable EU drive. It also has a built in operator panel, so there's a saving there too!
Finally a goodbye to Farnell, who, I suppose, have been losing their way for years. I had to close my account (after 25 years!) over problems with their administration. I think that there has been a problem with management, investment, and a really bored workforce. Still RS can more than take up the slack, They've never let me down, and their website is an example of how it should be done, (and they really do look after small business).
I formed Germaine systems in 1991 to allow me to work while I cared for my children. Now that all the children are grown (my youngest became 18 last year), it is time to close Germaine Systems and go out into the world for the rest of the time I have left. I have no definite plans but I could restart my promising music career, so cruelly cut short by parenthood. (The world still needs glam rock right? :)
Germaine Systems will cease trading from midnight 2014-07-31 , to coincide with my 56th birthday and my tax year.
I will communicate with all current customers with a plan to ensure a smooth transition of service and support.
It's been a lovely ride, I've met some really nice people and made some good friends. We’ve learned a lot, built some great machines, made some really good music and fed a lot of people.
February 2014February is usually quiet, So I'm taking time to clear my desks and service websites and servers :)
All the best for the new year, one part-finished panel in the office and two more to build before March. A machine upgrade for a machine which is to be exhibited at the Fruit Logistica in Berlin.
I've all but completed the email server job. The company has expanded and needed a new email system. Specifying and building the system went according to plan, it even coped with the multitude of 'phones, tablets and laptops that the customer wanted to connect to it.
It took, on average, one hour per user to talk them through setting up their clients. ("what do you mean, drop down box?) The biggest problem though turned out to be the many different names that various platforms default to for IMAP folders - Deleted, Deleted Items, Deleted Messages, Trash usw. and I have to hold it all together with imapfilter scripts :-O I need a hug.
Finally installed and programmed the grinding control system. It uses Allen Bradley PLC and drives. Unusually I got to specify the enclosure, so there was lots of room...
Out of my office window I can see the three local squirrels that visit the garden. I've started feeding them. (Well, as you asked, they really like peanut butter sandwiches.)
While everyone else is relaxing, I can do all the work needed on the Germaine Systems server. Which include a large update to a SQL database and moving email servers.
Two machine panels to build before year end :) Both with Siemens G110 drives and Lascar displays.
I upgraded my main PC to OpenSuse 13.1 After downloading it took 15 minutes for a new installation, it even configured the two monitors for me.
Busy month so far, I went to the CBI conference in London and was amazed as the prime minister talked for fifteen minutes about the future of industry and didn't once mention the internet. The question and answer section didn't go much better as he'd obviously been told to choose questions from women and minorities (and the BBC). Politics has indeed outgrown its use.
I went to a fund-raiser at the Lowery Hotel. I have no idea why this is a five-star hotel, the building and décor is bland, the bar service was amateurish and the function room was cold. No concierge or taxis were available afterwards - very weak.
Just as well I have lots of work to keep me busy. I am completing a design for automated centre-less grinding, there are two big project looming.
When I first started designing and building control systems thirty years ago, we laid out components or cardboard 'space models' on a backing sheet to see if they all fitted.We used this method to check for minimum clearances for air cooling and connector access. Now CAD has simplified this operation and allows us to maximise the space usage, as in this current project to control a small machine where we use 22.5 degree cuts in the trunking to allow best use of the backplate space.
You may also notice the TDK Lambda PSU which are proving to be capable little units.
September 2013I ended last month with a strange repair. The customer reported the machine suddenly not working. I got there to find a large machine with many loose wires and a remote IO unit with not much connected to it!!
The documentation was not 100% but there was enough to get all but two wires back into their homes, with the manufacturer on holiday, I had to best guess those :) Anyway within three hours the machine was up and running again, this is the sort of thing I enjoy, and a pleased customer at the end is nice too.
Every now and then I get to wear my white coat and work on clean products. here's me in the wash-room of a large food manufacturer, looking like a doctor :)
I am updating the Germaine Systems Accounts system which has run happily under dBase III for 25 years, so if you don’t get paid this month - that's why :)
New systems this month include a small filler using a Siemens LOGO!, and a small machine using a Siemens S7-1200 and Micromaster drives.
The Siemens Logo! has come on since its birth as a programmable relay. I use them when customers don't want a PLC. They can be programmed from the front screen at a push, but the programming software runs happily under Linux, and is a dream to use. it now allows expansion to the IO and the OBA7 series has an Ethernet port!
Two new control systems this month, one, of course, using the Siemens Logo! and the other using S7-1200 and Micromaster inverters.
Building control systems this week. One system using Siemens G110 inverter drives, and a smart little display from Lascar. The second panel uses Siemens s7-1200 PLC and touch screen for pumping and mixing.
I am in the design phase of a small control unit using the latest LOGO! I'd actually forgotten what fun these are to use.
At last some free time, I finally managed to install the fire safe that I bought six years ago, only to discover that I already have everything backed up on three continents via cloud storage, still if the planet explodes, I still have it all on CDROM :) Who'd be a prophet in this game?
I'm having a clear out here at Sinclair towers, and I decided as we have no floppy disc drives, we may as well get rid of all the floppy discs we have. I cut them all up for security purposes, and to recover the metal for recycling :)
Two new panel orders, one for a simple, single motor machine using a Siemens G110 inverter drive. The other using the Siemens S7-1200 PLC to control chemical mixing.