Systems Integration (Trading) Ltd (SI) has supplied enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to the food industry for over 25 years, specifically for organisations working in the logistically complex and high-speed perishables segment. The firm helps food manufacturers to maximise efficiency, increase their profitability and exceed customer expectations, by ensuring smooth and fast-paced inventory and robust traceability of products.
SI develops proprietary modular software and also supplies the hardware on which these applications run, including scanners, scaling units for measuring weight – and crucially, industrial touchscreens PCs.
Food production facilities require specialist hardware manufactured to handle harsh processing environments. Commercial PCs are not built to withstand elements such as high vibrations, temperature changes, dust or water ingress rendering them unsuitable where, reliability and longevity of the equipment is essential to process continuity. While they may be more cost effective in the first instance, they would inevitably cost more in terms of time and money on replacement parts and regular maintenance.
With Distec at the forefront supplying industrial hardware, SI asked them to supply a portfolio of industrial computing solutions suitable for its customers’ in the food industry.
SI’s ERP solution is comprehensive, working from floor-level data capture up to the enterprise level, so the touchscreens PCs would need to be able to support this. They would need to be able to collect a variety of information from throughout the food production line – including cold and wet conditions – and enable operators to quickly and easily complete a range of different operational processes.
Distec supplied SI with hundreds of customised fully cased IP68/IP69K multi-touch client PCs. These are stainless steel PCs with hygienic casings suitable for the strict health and safety requirements of perishable foods environments. They are hugely flexible and adaptable, with the added benefit of connecting attachments for accessory devices such as barcode scanners and weighing machines; the perfect fit for SI’s Modular ERP system, and the wide range of deployments required for a typical food production line such as quality assurance (QA), weighing and packing.
The touchscreens PCs deliver seamless operations and resist ingress of high temperature (steam) and high-pressure water used to sanitise equipment throughout SI customer’s production facilities, including in cold and wet conditions and areas which are regularly washed down. Their rugged casings and easy-to-use features mean they remain robust, reliable and easy-to-use in a wide range of contexts, so SI’s customers can undertake quality control, sorting, packing and distribution of everything from meat and fish to cereals and dairy products.
John Graham, Business Development Manager at SI said: “We have a longstanding relationship with Distec, and the company has always been responsive, accommodating and communicative. We were sure they would be the right choice for supplying us with rugged touchscreens and we haven’t been disappointed.
“The touchscreens enable us to provide our customers with a truly comprehensive ERP solution, fit for the 21st century. Our customers have the peace of mind that their technology will continue working perfectly, even in the harsh conditions you find in many perishable food environments.”
Noel Sheppard, Director at Distec added: “We pride ourselves on providing bespoke technology that fits the specific demands of our customers’ environments. The perishable food sector faces some unique challenges – hygiene is obviously paramount, so any hardware needs to withstand being regularly washed down – and conditions are often wet and cold. We’re delighted to have maintained a strong relationship with SI and provide touchscreens to suit their needs.”
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