Sun, Sea, and Science

Dylan - Golden Gate Bridge

As part of ITL’s commitment to encouraging all of our employees to develop themselves personally and professionally throughout their time here. Dylan Sumner, a member of our Research Team travelled to sunny San Francisco to attend an industry conference.

As you may imagine, I was more than content to swap whatever passed for summer in the UK this year for a nice, little Californian holiday. The conference was centered on machine learning and data mining, and despite its idyllic location, it was a great opportunity to build up my knowledge in this area of Data Science.

I flew over in the second week of August and settled in for five days of Sun, Sea and Science at one of the most prestigious conferences in the field. The conference took place at the San Francisco Hilton and featured talks from a huge number of major players in the industry including Microsoft, Google, Uber, DeepMind and Amazon. In addition to speakers from the corporate world, there were guests from the world of academia, from such renowned institutions as the University of Oxford, Stanford University and MIT. This mix of academics and practitioners gave a well-rounded perspective on the topics discussed and actually opened my eyes to ways of thinking that I wouldn’t have previously been aware of.

The conference featured a big focus on the most recent cutting-edge algorithms and techniques in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Statistics, and Mathematics. The great thing about attending a conference like this, is that you get to get to experience the unveiling of all these brand new concepts for the first time before anyone else.

Now you may be thinking “Dylan, how can these algorithms be interesting and relevant to a normal non-maths geek like myself?” Good question! These algorithms are crucial to exciting innovations such as Uber’s self-driving car and Amazon’s impending drone delivery army. Maybe it just appeals to my scientific side but it truly is fascinating to see how these technological advancements are developed. Not all the talks were so technical, there were various discussions on the impact of technology on society, and other ethical considerations.

For me, the aspect of the conference that was the most pleasant surprise was just being able to meet industry peers and chat about what they were up to. There were workshops and tutorial opportunities outside of the keynote speeches, where I was able to delve slightly more deeply into the subject areas that interested me and network with top industry figures.

It was a great experience to immerse myself in this area of research and I’m sure it will continue to provide benefits to my future career.

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The Interns: Part 1 “The Start of a Beautiful Internship”

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Innovative Technology (ITL) is delighted to have three new ‘Year in Industry’ (YinI) university students on board this year, whilst they undertake a placement year as part of their respective courses. The three students, Phil Forster, Ashwin Varughese and Josh Whibberley will be recording their experiences at the company in this blog and we will be catching up with them throughout the year. All three join us from the University of Liverpool, however, they had never met before their first day at ITL! This first post will serve as an introduction to the new YinI recruits.

Phil Forster

As my year in industry was approaching, I decided to look for companies offering a placement year in the Manchester area and I came across ITL’s website. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Liverpool and I’m hoping that my time at ITL will provide me with some insight into how engineering theory is practically applied in the real world. I think that university is a great platform to learn about the foundations of a subject but to really understand something in detail, you need to work in that industry. Furthermore, this is my first experience in a real office environment and I’m just hoping to learn how to get along with Electrical and Software Engineers!

It’s not often you get the chance to follow a product’s life cycle from start to finish and it’s encouraging that I may be able to see something that I’ve helped design go through the internal testing stages and possibly even onto field trials. Outside of work, I’ve been making use of ITL’s very own gym located within Innovative Business Park. It’s hard to come up with excuses for missing a workout now since the gym is located five steps from my desk!

In addition to starting a new job, I had the added stress of finding somewhere to live in Manchester since I am originally from Barrow-In-Furness in Cumbria. I braced myself for a gruelling, months-long search for an over-priced flat in the middle of nowhere. To my surprise, the whole process was actually easier than I imagined and I ended up moving into a flat in the centre of Manchester.

It’s been a busy first few months at ITL but I’ve enjoyed every second so far and I’m hoping the fast pace continues during my time here.

Z

Phil Forster, Industrial Placement – Mechanical

Ashwin Varughese

Like Phil, I’ve also been taken on in the Engineering department here at ITL, however, I’ll be working in Electrical Engineering since I’ve been studying Electronic Engineering & Computer Science at University. I’m hoping my time here will improve my knowledge in electronics as that’s something I’m interested in pursuing in my future career. I also expect the time spent in the office to improve my confidence and ability to work in a team.

On the first day I arrived at the office and I was pleasantly surprised by how new the building was. When you first start at a new job, the little things can really affect how you feel about the company in general. It may seem silly but drinking a coffee from a nice, new coffee machine in a nice new canteen really does brighten your day.

Being from Liverpool originally, I decided to relocate to closer to the ITL office so I didn’t end up facing a two hour commute each morning. The perfect way to start the day! I found a place in Oldham, which means I can get home while there’s still daylight!

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Ashwin Varughese, Industrial Placement – Electronics

Josh Whibberley

I’m currently studying Computer Science at the University of Liverpool and so for my year out I was looking for something in that particular field. I came across a job listing at ITL for a Software Industrial Placement which suited me perfectly. Although the three of us are at uni in Liverpool, we didn’t know each other at all before we started working at ITL, so it was a nice surprise when we met each other on our first day. In terms of what the placement entails, I’m mainly involved in the writing of code in order to communicate with validators. The opportunity to write code in a working office was a real incentive to do a year in industry since that sort of atmosphere cannot be replicated in a university computer lab. I’ve really enjoyed having this new challenge and I’ve already learnt a new programming language during my short time here, so I can’t wait for what’s to come.

I’m no stranger to long work journeys, having commuted from my hometown of Chester to university in Liverpool. The thought of nearly doubling the length of that journey to get to Oldham in the morning made me question my original decision to stay at home. I found a flat in Chadderton and at first it was a bit daunting living by myself in a new town but I’m viewing this as an opportunity to become a bit more independent and accepting of new challenges.

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Josh Wibberley, Industrial Placement – Software

The next instalment of ‘The Intern’ will be coming soon!

Innovative Minds

ITL’s Summer work experience placement program was profiled in the second Autumn 2015 issue of Oldham Business EdgeThe article has been reposted here in the format that it was originally published.

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Innovative Technology, a leading global provider of cash handling technology, has opened its doors to 21 school, college and university students – the largest group ever to join its student summer programme. Five of the group talked about their experiences of working life with Robbie MacDonald.

Now in its fourth year, the Innovative Technology structured work experience scheme offers students valuable paid experience through the summer and is part of the company’s continuing commitment to regional science and engineering skills development.

Responding to record levels of interest and strong growth in products demand meant the programme grew by over 60% this year, almost a third of whom were returning students.

The group – school leavers, college and university students – began work in early July and completed their programme at the end of August, gaining insights into the practical application of their studies and obtaining real work experience. The group worked across all parts of the business from recruitment and IT, to operations and mechanical engineering and were coached and mentored by the firm. Innovative Technology believes more businesses should follow its lead by offering meaningful, paid work placements.

David Gregson

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DAVID (18) from Middleton, was on placement at Innovative Technology for the first time. He recently finished a course at Bury College and is a friend of Colm Hayden, also from Middleton, who is an apprentice at Innovative Technology.

David worked on parts for a new automated checking line, i-Flow, which tests cash validation equipment units before they are shipped to customers. David used CAD  to design parts before creating the physical parts used on the new line.

“I’ve been using a different CAD package than I’m used to,” he said. “It was a bit difficult at first, because some of the commands are different, but I was soon able to master it and produce CAD drawings of a quality good enough to send out to manufacturers”

Having recently finished college, David is looking for an apprenticeship and has applied to several businesses for fabrication and welding roles. He explained “A friend told me about summer placements at Innovative Technology. He studies Mechanical Engineering and has had a couple of bad placements at other firms, but he recommended this one. “It’s great to get paid for the placement and we get a reference at the end, which is important for future job searches.”

“I enjoyed the time here. The atmosphere has been relaxed and there was a greater emphasis on working things out for yourself, expanding on skills learnt at college. For me, it’s been good to be in a workshop environment. I enjoy practical work and my tasks have been split 50-50 between computer-aided-design and practical testing. I had a good overall view of how the whole system works and was able to develop techniques I had only touched on at college.”

He concluded: “I’ll be having a good look round for apprenticeships”. “The opportunities are there – but I’ll have to really explore what’s available.”

Abby Camilleri

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 ABBY CAMILLERI (18) from Milnrow was on her third placement with Innovative Technology. Abby had just finished A-levels in Physics, Maths and English language at Holy Cross College in Bury and her mother, Karen, works in the company’s accounts department.

Abby said: “ In the first year I started on the shopfloor, repairing units”.

“My second placement was with IT, setting-up and fixing computers. That was really good because if I wasn’t working here, I wouldn’t really be using a computer and don’t really have that much experience with them. At home I mainly use my phone.”

For this third summer Abby worked with the science team, using maths and computer coding to develop validation machines, which receive and pay out coins.

Abby explained “I’m working with probabilities and making the machines self-learning – correcting errors as they work.”

“It’s good experience and will be useful for university . At school you are taught a syllabus to pass an exam, but here you are taught to really know a subject. You were encouraged to use your initiative but help was there if you needed it.

“Though school pupils go on work experience during Year 10, I think it’s pretty rare to get a really good experience, like this one was”.

.Abby was mentored by Dr Matt Strong and Peter Appleby, and she readily admits the placement has greatly helped her confidence, personal development and communication skills.

“At meetings we were encouraged to put our opinions across”.

“We had to give a presentation to managers and directors at the end of the placement which was a challenge, but also a really good experience – good for your confidence.”

Abby eventually hopes to study Physics at university before a career in teaching.

“I’d encourage other girls and young women to follow careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths” (the ‘STEM’ subjects), she says.

“Men are often seen as discoverers, but these subjects need more women.”

Richard Anderson

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 RICHARD ANDERSON (30), from Morecambe, is a former soldier and construction labourer, now studying mechanical engineering at Liverpool University.

This was his second summer at Innovative Technology, and each day Richard made a 140-mile round trip to the company’s HQ in Derker – that’s dedication for you.

“Last summer I worked in machine test development, helping to design and build units alongside the engineers,” he explained.” I could apply some of the things I learned at university and I found it very interesting.”

“This summer I was in the development team working on product improvements, updating assembly drawings, modifying existing parts and making test rigs.”

“Working as a labourer became really tiring. I was travelling up and down the county and sometimes had 12-hour shifts or night shifts. It was inconsistent too. I became interested in mechanical work and started looking for engineering courses and did some distance learning and went to night school, while working day shifts to get the required entry qualifications.”

“I’m optimistic about the future as a mechanical engineer. I’ve told people about Innovative Technology. It’s a good business to work for. I’d come back again if I could.”

“To any younger person who wants to become an engineer or designer, I’d say the most important advice is don’t skimp at school. Get good GCSEs and think about college, university or an apprenticeship. And don’t be put off by university fees. There are good careers in STEM subjects and there is plenty of work.”

Helen Tainsh

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HELEN TAINSH (20) from Glossop, Derbyshire, was on her second placement with Innovative Technology in two years. She attended Audenshaw School in Tameside and is now studying maths with computer science at Edinburgh Heriot Watt University. A friend, Kat Vincent, works in the company’s development team and recommended the initial placement.

Helen spent that first summer in the test department and was given tailored tasks linked to her maths and programming interests.

Her second placement was in the science team, using mathematical estimations and computer coding on a banknote verification project.

“I’ve done coding projects at university but it’s good to practise it here”.

“University summer holidays are three months long so it can be easy to forget some processes when you’re not using them each day. The placement is excellent for keeping my brain ticking along – and I like problem-solving. Some problems can be solved in an hour but I’ve been working on this particular one for two days.²

Helen’s dad is an electrical engineer and also codes for computers while her mum has a computer science degree and works in system development at Tameside Hospital.

Both have supported Helen’s interests and she added: “Families can play an important role in encouraging girls to consider STEM-related careers.”

Kaine Chapman

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KAINE CHAPMAN (17) from Derker, Oldham, was on his first placement at Innovative Technology and is studying A-level Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Computing at Oldham Sixth Form College.

Kaine’s placement in the science department focused on material sciences and the non-destructive testing of plastic components used in the company’s cash validation products.

“I’m researching different polymers and analysing their properties and defects that can arise from moulding, such as warpage. I am looking at wear-and-tear on polymer products, to develop products that last longer. I love it – it’s really interesting.”

His mentor, materials scientist, Afqad Arshad had a big influence and developed a summer internship plan tailor-made for the sixth-former.

Kaine explained: “When Afqad realised I had a chemistry background, he changed the entire plan to base it around my interests. I’ve got a week-by-week plan, which Afqad and I keep updating. When I got to the end of one research phase quicker than expected, he set me 20 more parts to investigate!”

“And I mentioned an interest in 3D printing, so that was added into my plan. This is the best work placement I’ve ever had.”

Aidan Towey, Managing Director of Innovative Technology said: “We’re delighted to have been able to expand the programme this year. As a global leader in technology we recognise the importance of high quality education at all levels, but that is just part of the equation. Young people need real experience of work too. Business leaders continue to complain that young people aren’t prepared for work, yet very few actually offer it themselves. Properly structured paid work experience is a win-win situation. Young people bring new ideas and a different perspective which can inject new life into projects. As an employer, we benefit from the opportunity to harness and develop any young talent we spot. I just wish more businesses would give it a go and open their doors to students of all ages. Meaningful, paid work experience needs to become the norm.”

Extracted from Oldham Business Edge Autumn 2015 Issue 2

ITL Asia Pacific one year on!

The last year has gone by so fast. Since joining ITL last August life has been very busy in the Asia Pacific office. It has been exciting to take the lead in the start-up phase of our business growth in the region. We are currently focused across all channels of our business and each day continues to bring us new opportunities and challenges.

For those that don’t know the geographic territory classified as Asia Pacific, it covers Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the rest of Asia (excluding India & China) so we do a lot of travelling. With a population base of over 600 million people, the Asia Pacific territory holds huge opportunity for any business willing to invest time and energy.

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I am very fortunate to hold the position that I do. I am, to many, the face of ITL out in Asia Pacific, but I have a strong global team behind me.  I remind myself frequently that without the help of my colleagues it would be impossible to do my job.

When I was asked to write about what’s happening in our part of the world I was enthusiastic to report back! We are working hard to tell everyone the ITL story, our global colleagues and showing the innovative products that we can offer.

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We have established our Asia Pacific Head Quarters in Brisbane Australia, which is a good geographic location providing excellent access to all markets (take a look at the office above).

Like many people on a typical day I have to complete various administrative duties to clear my messages/emails/leads and follow-up on customer visits. With travelling so much I have to plan my day, week and month with future meetings and appointments.

I get to talk with many people from different backgrounds from a small vending guy to CEO’s. Painting a picture of the great range of products delivered by a very passionate team of people.  My role takes me to many places in our region – some not so idealistic and then some places that I wish I could stay a lot longer.

As I write this I’m in Cambodia for 3 days which is still very much a third world country. My first trip here was back in 2006, and I myself can see the country has improved massively in terms of investment and development.

With a scarred history like Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos are now emerging as a must do on the business calendars of many corporations wanting to expand in South East Asia, with huge investment over recent years, they even have a Rolls Royce showroom here now a taxi driver proudly told me.

Like much of Asia, technology, investment and growth is coming to these regions so the timing of the Asia Pacific office for ITL to get into these important markets was spot on.

We have lots of good projects on the horizon that we are actively striving to secure, if successful these opportunities offer our company more than immediate revenue – they will open up broader opportunities within the markets we service. ITL has been very well received with a solid portfolio of products to offer and is well suited to these markets. NV200, SMART Payout and SMART Ticket, to name a few, are all making solid inroads into a variety of applications and continue to impress potential customers at every meeting.

We have established a number of new business relationships and Trading Partners in many countries, in particular Thailand, The Philippines, New Zealand and Vietnam and have strengthened existing relationships. We are continuing to grow our activity through our proven model of business and are more easily accessible to this side of the world and the different time zones.

Recently we had Andy Bassam (Customer Support Manager) visit our shores in Australia so we could attend a number of key meetings together. Andy picked the coldest month to visit and was seen, to many peoples horror, walking around Sydney and Melbourne in his short sleeves while the rest of the country braced against the cold 14 degree chill!

It was great having Andy here and the technical support that he was able to provide. To better service the region we have recently appointed a dedicated Customer Support Engineer for Asia Pacific, Mark Chui who you can read more about here.

Thanks for all the support in year one!

Cheers,

Kerry

Kerry Cowan

Kerry Cowan, Sales Director Asia Pacific. 15/09/2015

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk

The Graduate Adventure – The final edition

For the last twelve months we have been following three graduates Mia, Jean Gilbert and Michael, gaining an insight into their working lives at ITL. In this, the final instalment of the graduate blog, they have all reached the end of their first year – find out what they have been up to recently and how they have found their first year at work.

I have now passed my one year milestone at ITL and can safely say, my first year out of uni and in a ‘proper’ job has been really enjoyable and has given me a real insight into the world of work.

Since my last blog in April, I have been especially busy helping to arrange the opening of our new head office building and our TITO events alongside ITL’s subsidiary, InnoPrint.

We have been in our new building in Oldham since October and held an official opening on 12th June where we were joined by colleagues from our European offices.

The day of celebrations was fun filled, activities began at 12 with a short speech and the official unveiling of the plaque (which I designed and had made) by our Founder and Chairman, David Bellis MBE. Once the official opening had taken place, over 150 of us enjoyed a buffet in our new canteen and after work at 2, a football match took place. The UK vs Rest of the World match was entertaining to say the least and I managed to put my new photography skills to good use. Unfortunately Dayna and I had to leave early to set up for the evening party, although I was happy to leave before the ROTW team became victorious.

The evening party was held at the Victoria Hotel, not far from work and was a great night. As ITL requires many specialist roles, our colleagues come from far and wide so it’s not very often that we have the chance to socialise outside of the work environment and I for one really enjoyed this aspect of the evening. It was also a nice touch for Aidan to give Dayna and I a special thank you for all of our efforts to make the day such a huge success.

Since the opening celebrations, my main focus was the TITO events, held at our offices in Oldham and Milton Keynes to raise awareness of our subsidiary, InnoPrint. As with any event, there was a lot of planning to ensure everything went perfectly to plan and all of the delegates left feeling enthusiastic about InnoPrint and its products.

I was heavily involved in the events, designing adverts and pull up banners, creating and sending emails to delegates, ordering products for demonstrations, designing the layout of the event, ensuring everyone was well fed and being on hand to assist all of the delegates. For the first time since joining ITL I was allowed to travel and I went to our Milton Keynes office, helping the InnoPrint team to set up and ensure everything ran smoothly.  I enjoyed the travel as it gave me the opportunity to get to know all of the InnoPrint team who I don’t see on a daily basis.  All in all, I think the events were really successful and I believe that we achieved everything that we set out to by holding the events.

As you can see I have spoken a little more than usual, or than I should in a blog but the past month or so has been incredibly busy and I’ve only been able to tell you about two aspects.

Reflecting on my first year at ITL I would say, joining straight from uni was slightly daunting as most people had been with the company a while or had previous experience but everyone is always friendly and willing to help with anything that I might not have understood. I have thoroughly enjoyed this past year and am looking forward to many more with ITL, continuing to challenge myself and broaden my learnings.

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Mia Harding, Graduate Marketing Assisstant

 

Time goes so fast! I can’t believe it’s a year since I joined ITL!

I have enjoyed every day of the past 12 months since joining the company; learning our products, improving my skills, overcoming challenges, getting to know the people I have been working with, and not forgetting, enjoying all the after work events organised by the company!

The past three months have been my busiest time here as I’ve been working on various projects; still working with my previous project team as well as my new. The project was in the early stages when it was handed over to me. This has been an interesting challenge, with lots of features quite new to me; hence I have had to research and seek guidance from senior members of the electronics team.

I’ve just completed a circuit diagram and board layout; samples boards have also been ordered. As these can take between two to three weeks to arrive, I’ll be going back to my previous project to assist in testing the revised issue of the motor controller board. The board has to undergo various testing stages before it can be approved and released.

I’m really satisfied with the progress I have made during this past 12 months with the company, and am looking forward to many new challenges in the months to come.

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Jean Gilbert Nzeye, Graduate Electronics Design Engineer

 

I have been continuing work on a new project and will soon be working with Gilbert to introduce electronics to provide sensing and control capabilities to the prototype I’ve constructed.

My first year at ITL has provided experience in designing for mass production.  The products ITL make are primarily injection moulded, this method of manufacturing requires specific design features to ensure the parts can be made as specified.

The assembly process must also be considered when designing parts and where possible screws are replaced with features on the plastic moulded part itself.  Removing screws from an assembly saves on parts and time.

I started at ITL with knowledge of, but no experience of designing for this manufacturing process. I have learnt enough to propose modifications to moulds and to design entirely new plastic mouldings.

Regarding the new project, I am looking forward to getting the prototype tested and moulded parts manufactured in the near future.

Last month was also a good month for the social side of ITL as I was invited to my first official ITL party. I am led to believe that they try to have one a year but I missed out on the one last year by a week or so. Table seating is pre-arranged to allow everyone to mix; I was sat with some of the InnoPrint team, two ladies from the shop floor and two colleagues from Germany. I really enjoyed the night and am looking forward to the next one already!

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Michael Tilson, Graduate Design Engineer

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

A year in Development

Simon joined Innovative Technology (ITL) in the summer of 2014 for a Year in Industry as part of his university course. Coming to the end of his placement here, he’s given us a brief overview of his time spent at ITL.

Starting in September 2012, I enrolled in a Mechanical Engineering Degree (Bachelors) at Nottingham University. The course attracted me as it’s always been a dream of mine to see a product I’ve designed in situ and feel proud knowing that I helped make it. That goal, alongside my natural mathematical abilities, seemed to make my university course choice almost too easy. At the start of my second year I decided I would like to go on a placement, and used the Engineering Development Trust’s (EDT) Year in Industry scheme. I interviewed with around half a dozen companies, and accepted the role with ITL as this was the job that I was most interested in.

When I moved to Oldham from home in Lincolnshire and began my placement at ITL, I was confident in my CAD modelling abilities, but outside of university they were quickly proven to be lacking. To help develop them, my manager John Robinson, initially gave me a series of smaller tasks to be distributed within ITL only, which ranged from a PCB holder, to a motor tester which had to accommodate different sized motors and a range of gear ratios. After using CAD almost constantly for a year I feel that these skills have improved significantly.

The main project I have been focussed on over the past year is still unreleased and therefore highly confidential, but over a period of around eight months I have finished my design, tested it to achieve the desired security rating and ensured everything was ready for mass production before my placement comes to an end. The product is intended to be mass produced by the end of 2015, delivering an estimated turnover of £0.5m per year, in addition to providing an incentive to buy the units that it complements.

All students that complete a Year in Industry with EDT submit a project summary of the work they have completed as part of the Contribution to Business Award. Having successfully submitted my application, I am through to the regional finals, competing with six other students. The finals take place next week in Warrington and I will have to do a five minute presentation of my project, which I’m a little nervous about.

Throughout my Year in Industry with ITL, my modelling skills have improved dramatically. In addition, my interpersonal skills, understanding of sheet metals, plastics, and the way a business is run have all improved significantly. The things I’ve learnt here are very relevant to my degree, as a lot of them are things I’ve glanced over at university in a lecture or two, whereas during my time here it’s been covered in more depth. The work ethic instilled from having a full time job will also improve my study habits at university and I’m hopeful that my learnings will help me improve my overall classification that I will graduate with.

Working at ITL has been great, the projects have all been very interesting and the people a pleasure to work with. I’m glad to have chosen to spend my placement at ITL, as I was warned that some placements involve a lot of coffee-making, and I’m proud to have enjoyed responsibilities above that.

In future, I’m planning on finishing my course at Nottingham, focussing on control engineering as it’s the area I find most interesting to study. After university I’ll likely look for a job involving varied disciplines, as I would like to learn as much as possible while I’m still able to pick things up easily.

All at ITL would like to wish Simon good luck in the Contribution to Business regional finals next week!

Simon

 

Simon Taylor, Year In Industry (Mechanical) 10/07/2015

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

SMART Coin System – A View from Unidesa

The SMART Coin System is revolutionising coin handling, but don’t just take our word for it. A member of the R&D Team at Unidesa has taken some time out to answer a few questions.

 

Why did Unidesa originally request the SMART Coin System?

The way we manage and handle coins in Type B machines has been virtually the same over the last 25 years, new technologies have evolved considerably in recent years and Unidesa needed a system to suit the times.

What benefits/ key features of the SMART Coin System first interested Unidesa?

The SMART Coin System is the only closed device able to payout with all denominations of mixed coins. It really is ‘smart’ and knows exactly how many coins of each kind are available for payouts.

How did Unidesa get Innovative Technology on board?

We have always had a very good relationship with Innovative Technology and have worked together on many other projects so we knew their great ability to innovate and their commitment. Although Innovative Technology’s Research and Development team is in the UK and we speak different languages, we have always had direct access to the people responsible for the product and this helps us to develop new projects.

How were the SMART Coin Systems trialled?

A trial of 50 machines was undertaken with the installation of the devices performed in the field, in bars without having to bring any machines to our workshop. In tests the SMART Coin Systems worked well and we had no big problems.

In what products is the SMART Coin System used?

At the moment the system is used in all Type B machines that we produce for Spain and we are adapting it to other markets and types of machine.

What are the benefits to the operator/ customer?

Thanks to the SMART Coin System and our own GIM software, there are four big advantages for the operator:

  • Real and accurate control of cash in the machine. The operator doesn’t need to audit the cash on the playing machine and it brings greater control over the cash.
  • Main machine operations are automated, this reduces operation time and minimises errors over the collection, cash audit, deposits and cash exchange.
  • Reduction of coin starvation and minimising the initial fixed cash deposit in the machine because the system is able to pay with all denominations. It also optimises the note:coin ratio for payments to maximize the overall cash efficiency in the machine.
  • Security is becoming more of a key factor as in Spain we are experiencing increasingly sophisticated frauds. The SMART Coin System gives greater security – it has encrypted communications, there is no access to coins without opening the system and if it is opened, even with the machine off, it is registered, plus there is no possibility of “fishing” coins from outside.

For the player, thanks to the new coin entry, FAST COIN designed by Unidesa and the SMART Coin System, coins enter at up to 10 per second so there is more playing time.

Finally, have you received any feedback from operators?

The operators quickly saw the advantages of the SMART Coin System and the GIM software. Initially collection staff were reluctant to change, since it was a change in the way they work, but after a few weeks, everyone agreed that it is a breakthrough that simplifies their work and avoids easy mistakes at the coin collection point.

Unidesa-blog

SMART Coin System on the road

Pere Camprubi , Technical Sales Engineer is based at Innovative Technology’s Spanish office in Barcelona. Here he provides us with an insight into his experiences with the SMART Coin System.

Innovative Technology officially launched the SMART Coin System (SCS) at ICE, London during February of this year. However, it was first presented during Spain’s FER Interazar 2014 show, on display inside one of Unidesa’s machines.

Development of the SCS first started a couple of years ago, when Unidesa challenged our Research and Development Team to design and build a brand new coin handling device that would meet all of their present and future requirements. The aim was to create a bulk coin validator, hopper and recycler, allowing them to make a much more advanced playing machine with new features and advantages for the manufacturer, machine operator and gamer.

At that moment of time, I wasn’t aware how much this new innovative idea and design would change my working day. For example, I started to give presentations with the members of our Support Team to explain about the dedicated software system that manages the SCS and describe the unique range of new features and benefits from installing the SCS. Presenting in almost all major Spanish cities, I had the chance to meet more than 1,200 technicians from Spanish gaming operators and listen to their opinions on our SCS. I have been able to explain to them the benefits of the SCS and its features, such as; 80% faster refill time, faster machine cash audit, more resistant to fraud and higher security, to list a few.

These road shows also gave me the opportunity to visit parts of Spain that I have never been to before, for example Valladolid, Alicante, Oviedo and Canary Islands (I had a lot of colleague’s proposals to come and help me out with that presentation!), some of them may not be so touristic places but are nice to see and visit. The truth is that taking a couple of planes and staying a few nights out of home in different hotels can be a bit tiring when one does it every week, but also it is a great opportunity to meet a lot of people, learn a lot from the customers and not to forget the publicity that all these presentations gave us.

Before the SMART Coin System, I had never been involved in the development and testing of a product so there were many task that I was required to do more intensively than in the past to ensure the SCS fulfil Unidesa’s production quality needs. I had many customer factory visits to understand their needs and requirements and passed this information to our great Development Team in Oldham to modify.

In summary I can say that it has been quite entertaining, the SMART Coin System has kept me busy and I am grateful to the company for allowing me to be a part of the process that has permitted me to grow as a professional and learn a lot of new things.

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Pere Camprubi , Technical Sales Engineer. 17/04/2015

The Graduate Adventure – Part 3

This blog continues to follow three graduates through their first year at ITL, now six months in Mia, Gilbert and Michael will give you an insight into their working life since their last blog in December.

The past three months have been my busiest yet with ITL, having come back from the Christmas break and going straight into our biggest exhibitions of the year.

As I have not been with the company long, I had to make the long journey to London and back in a day, which was very tiring but it was great to see the exhibition and our stand. Prior to EAG and ICE I did not really know what the exhibitions would hold as I have never had any experience in the industry, although I think visiting the exhibition will prove incredibly beneficial to me for future plans and stand designs.

2015 is our busiest year to date events wise exhibiting in London, Dublin, Madrid, Moscow and Shanghai to name but a few. So much effort and organisation goes into EAG and ICE, it is great to be able to redistribute elements to be used again during other shows. This proved to be quite a challenging task as we have numerous shows in different countries at a similar time. Although Dayna and I do not attend exhibitions in other countries, fingers crossed this might be in the pipeline in the future!

As I explained in my previous blog, I designed the stand graphics for our main shows with the help of Dayna, and I have since designed shell scheme posters and pull up banners for use at exhibitions and by the sales team. With a lot of my work being used around the globe by our other offices, I don’t always get to see the end results so it was great to actually see something that I designed at the London exhibitions that I was able to attend.

Dayna and I regularly receive requests for images; these can be all kinds of images, ranging from products to staff and even building photos. As a photographer’s time is quite costly and the time between the request and having the final image can sometimes be weeks apart, I enrolled on a photography course and bought a camera. The course I attended was for beginners as I had never taken a photo on a professional camera before; I enjoyed the day and learned loads and have even booked on for a Photoshop course next! It is great to receive support and encouragement and learn new skills.

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Mia Harding, Graduate Marketing Assistant

 

Following on from my last blog back in December, my Product Development Team has completed the circuit layout of the next generation banknote validator and samples boards ordered before the Christmas shutdown.

Since January, the team has been working hard in all areas of the project; from mechanical adjustment, software development and sample board testing. I have been assisting in testing various functionalities of the product; making modifications where required and recording all of the changes made so they can be traced back later.

In parallel with the current project, I have been assisting with testing for CE accreditation of some of our products, by taking them to the testing laboratories for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Product Safety Assessment testing. I have never been a part of the product testing process before and I am really enjoying this new challenge.

I have also been introduced to what will be my next project once the current one is complete; therefore I have been using my spare time doing some research related to this future project.

I am very well settled at ITL now, confident and happy with my job. I am looking forward to getting started on my next project and will be updating my blog in the next few months with how it is going.

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Jean Gilbert Nzeye, Graduate Electronics Design Engineer

 

Since my last post supporting the operations team, I am now firmly back in my development role and have been assigned to a brand new project that will ultimately see the release of a new product.

I have attended meetings with the Development Managers to gain an understanding of the product and an overview of the typical specification required. The aim of this project is to achieve the high payout speed set out in the specification. After initial experimentation with the existing design, work quickly began on creating a prototype with a new drive mechanism; the prototype provided a significant increase in speed and initial testing exceeded all expectations.

I have been working closely with a Lead Mechanical Design Engineer and it has been very useful to be able to discuss ideas and hear numerous opinions on how problems might be overcome.

I am really enjoying the new challenge so far and can see myself developing both my skills and knowledge. In my next blog I will let you know how the product is evolving and my participation during its development.

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Michael Tilson, Graduate Design Engineer

 

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

Looking forward to a new chapter

The end of 2014 saw Alun reach the milestone of his 60th birthday, and after seven years with Innovative Technology, he has decided to step down from his role as Financial Director. Today is his last day in this role, although he will be staying with ITL as Company Secretary.

Back in 2007 Alun was looking for a new challenge when his wife, Pat, came across an advert for the role of Financial Director at ITL; which arose following Aidan Towey’s promotion to Managing Director. Having previously held several positions as Financial Director in other companies, Alun felt he had a wealth of experience to bring to the role at ITL during a period when many strategic changes were planned. The ITL Alun originally joined is very different from the Company today. At that time ITL had a product portfolio of just two products, two European offices and had only just moved manufacturing abroad.

During his time at ITL, Alun has taken on many roles outside of the finance function and was the project leader when the Group decided to establish the Bellis Technology manufacturing plant in China. Throughout 2008/2009 this project was Alun’s main priority. Over the past six years, Bellis Technology China has gone from strength to strength and they now manufacture around 90% of ITL’s products.

Much of ITL’s remaining manufacturing is now carried out at Bellis Technology in Brazil and Alun has found his involvement there especially rewarding. During 2009/2010 the Brazilian office was a major loss maker for the group. Following local management changes in 2010, Alun helped to rebuild the company and team, and is especially pleased that from just seven staff then, Bellis Brazil now employs 18 people. The business finally moved into the black in 2013 and improved profit significantly in 2014 to produce its best ever year.

Alun recognises that ITL is rare in that it reinvests so much of its resources into new product development and innovation. For example in 2010, at the height of the recession, ITL developed and launched the NV11 note float to meet the needs of the Spanish gaming and amusement market. The product was a great success and helped to open up many more opportunities across Europe, boosting sales and profit.

Whilst the role of the finance function is to maintain sound financial control of the business, Alun recognises that it should not stifle the development of innovative ideas and for ITL this has always been, and will continue to be, key to its success. Subsidiary companies InnoPrint and Image Capture are good examples of this, with both companies being conceived to address gaps in the market. Extending the group’s global footprint is vital as well; the decisions last year to open new offices in Italy, Australia, America, Milton Keynes and of course our new Head Office in Oldham, show the group’s continued commitment to this and Alun was heavily involved in all of these.

The last 18 months have been especially busy for Alun and he believes establishing the new international offices will play a major role in the next phase of ITL’s growth. 2015 has begun very positively with the general release of the SMART Coin System and a major push into retail markets, which he is sure, will be successful. But, for now, Alun is looking forward to having more time to travel with Pat and is aiming to take a few shots off his golf handicap!

Managing Director, Aidan Towey said “On behalf of everyone at Innovative Technology and its Group companies I would like to thank Alun for his enthusiasm, hard work and the alternative ideas that have always been put forward. I look forward to working with Alun in his new role as Company Secretary, I’m sure he will still contribute to the Group. I’m just a little jealous that he will end up playing more golf than I will. Good luck Alun.”

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A welcome return to The Irish Gaming Show 2015

John Wade, Senior Support Engineer heads up our Technical Support Team in Ireland. Based in Dublin, John didn’t have far to travel for The Irish Gaming Show…

The Irish Gaming Show, previously known as AMEX takes place in Dublin, the first week of March every year. After a gap of a couple of years, Innovative Technology returned to the show this year with a number of new innovative validation and print products.

Paul Curley, Senior Business Development Manager, travelled over from the UK on Monday, and we spent the afternoon setting up our stand in the Red Cow Hotel, making sure everything looked good and worked as planned, ready for the exhibition. This was a good opportunity to meet some of our fellow exhibitors, make new acquaintanceships, as well as build on existing relationships. There was a good atmosphere of comradery amongst the exhibitors; most were looking forward to the show and were hopeful that it would be better than the previous couple of years, which had suffered due to the recession.

The doors opened at 11am on Tuesday and Paul and I didn’t stop talking to customers for the first two hours. Normally, the show starts off quiet as people slowly arrive, but this year we were flat out from the off, which was brilliant. The hall filled up in a few minutes, despite there being overnight snow and very poor driving conditions.

As in many other countries, the Irish gaming industry is starting to consider various ticketing options and the benefits these bring in terms of lower service demands and improved income. So, we had a lot of interest in our TITO compatible products and spent a lot of time discussing our SMART Ticket, Flatbed Printer and Coupon Printer. Our new SMART Coin System also drew a lot of interest as customers could see the practicality, and reduced collection costs in having a bulk coin validator and recycler combined with a mixed coin hopper in many of their applications.

With our NV9 USB/+ and NV10 USB amongst the most common note validators in Ireland we had quite a bit of interest in the SMART Update procedure for these due to the impending release of the new €20 on November 25th.

On Tuesday evening, exhibitors were invited to a party, arranged by the show organisers. We took the opportunity to chat with our customers in an informal setting and build relationships over some finger-food…and the occasional pint of Guinness! It was agreed by our industry colleagues that it was the best and most promising Irish show in years.

Wednesday was again incredibly busy, in previous years the hall would start to wind down after lunch, but this year the hall was busy right up the finishing bell at 4pm, which was very welcome. Paul and I then spent some time packing everything away carefully, ready to be shipped back to Head Office. I dropped Paul back to the airport for his return flight and we both agreed that it had been a very good year to return to the Irish Show and exhibit our products.

John Wade, Senior Support Engineer. 13/03/2015

Innovative Technology

(John Wade & Paul Curley)

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

National Apprenticeship Week

Throughout National Apprenticeship Week we will be introducing you to Colm and Ashley, who are both current apprentices at Innovative Technology.

Colm Hayden (18) joined ITL in July 2014 as a Workshop Apprentice while Ashley Griffin (20) is an Electronics Apprentice and has been with the company since August 2014. Both Colm and Ashley are full time employees and study at Oldham Training Centre one day a week as part of their apprenticeships. We hope to give you a real insight into their working life over this week and discover why they chose apprenticeships, what they are studying and what a normal day entails.

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Why did you decide on an apprenticeship and what are you studying at college?

Colm “I’d tried college previously and it just didn’t work for me. Family members recommended apprenticeships, and the promise of a secure salary and a permanent job convinced me to pursue the apprenticeship route. I’m currently in my first year of college studying City & Guilds Mechanical Engineering, with a view to carrying on my studies to HNC/ HND within the same field of engineering.”      

Ashley “I decided to choose an electronics apprenticeship because I really enjoy electronics and found myself repairing/modifying all kinds of electronic items in my spare time. I wanted to gain knowledge within electronics engineering whilst working, so what better way to do that than an apprenticeship! I am studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma and NVQ Level 3 in Electronics Engineering.”

How do you find Innovative Technology? What does a typical day at work entail?

Colm “ITL is a very welcoming and understanding company. I’d heard of apprentices being rushed into work and just being used as cheap labour but ITL have helped me at every stage of my apprenticeship, helping me decide how best to move forward and asking for my opinion. On an average day, I liaise with the workshop engineers and the design team in the development of new products and prototypes. I learn more every day and feel part of the wider development team. ”

AshleyITL was my first real job so I was quite nervous when I started. All of my colleagues were very welcoming, which helped me feel at home in no time. Friends who were apprentices warned me I would be making the tea and really bored but they couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m designing and building circuits to test real products – no two days are ever the same. New challenges arise all the time and working with such knowledgeable colleagues helps me learn so much.”

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Workshop Apprentice Colm is being mentored by Manual Machinist, Jon Seddon.

Jon: “This is my first experience of mentoring an apprentice and I’m enjoying the experience. Colm is very keen, hardworking and is always on time (something that is not always easy for young people who have to rely on public transport). We have regular meetings with Colm’s course tutor to review his progress. Colm is a great worker and it’s a pleasure to be able to mentor young talent.”

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Electronics Apprentice Ashley is being mentored by Lead Electronics Engineer, John Tillson.

John: “Ashley has been on a steep learning curve in terms of both technical and practical skills since joining the electronics design team. He is steadily improving his understanding of a wide range of electronic components, and is now able to design and prototype simple circuits. Ashley will become more involved in new project work and begin working on more complex designs, with lots more to learn over the coming years.”

After completing your apprenticeship what career progression will you have?

Colm “I will be a fully qualified Mechanical Engineer with options to continue in a workshop role or move in ITL’s Development Team.”

Ashley “I will have vital work experience as well as the qualifications that will enable me to attend university if I want to.”

National Apprenticeship Week  9th – 13th March 2015

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Our Founder and Chairman David Bellis was an apprentice himself. Read his blog – The story of David Bellis MBE here.

David

ICE ICE Baby

Dayna Patterson, Marketing Executive, is responsible for planning ITL’s busy exhibition calendar. Here we get an insight into ICE from an exhibitors perspective.

ICE is our biggest exhibition of the year and colleagues from our international offices travel to London to man the stand and meet their customers. The week starts on Sunday for me with the journey south to Excel, London to meet the stand builders and begin the set up.

Monday, the final set up day is my favourite part of the exhibition. It is always a very long day and the exhibition hall is freezing, but it is great to see all of the planning take shape and the stand come to life ready for a busy week. It is amazing to see how the exhibition hall changes from a building site to the glamour of the ICE show on Tuesday morning.

While we are completing the final set up all of my colleagues arrive into London ready for the show. Before the show starts, we always arrange a team meal on the Monday night at a local pub near our hotel in Greenwich. It is great to have the opportunity to socialise with my UK and international colleagues before the exhibition gets underway.

Usually ICE starts slowly on Tuesday morning as visitors travel across London to the Excel Exhibition Centre, but this year from the word go the stand was busy with visitors eager to see our latest products.

There was a real buzz at the stand as we launched a brand new product, SMART Coin System. Prior to the show we created a simple demo program to enable the unit to pay out coins all day at the show to demonstrate the units’ potential. It was great to see the SMART Coin System in action, attracting so much attention. As well as the new product launch ICE 2015 saw us display printing products from our subsidiary InnoPrint for the first time, making the stand our largest ever in terms of product offerings.

By day 3 (Thursday) I think I speak for all exhibitors when I say you are glad the finish line is in sight! I never sleep properly in hotels and the show is always a tiring week with long days and nights out (although it is great to catch up with colleagues and industry friends that I don’t see very often.)

The journey back home to Manchester took 5 and a half hours on Friday because of the bad traffic. I was glad to be back home for a rest and to sleep in my own bed after a tiring week.

Planning for ICE 2016 starts next week!

Dayna Patterson, Marketing Executive. 19/02/2015

dayna

 

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

Opportunity knocks

2014 has been a great year for ITL. As well as winning industry awards, releasing new products and opening new office locations, we filled 43 permanent vacancies.

It’s great when a company shows its appreciation for hard work and here at ITL we were treated to a catered Christmas lunch in December. Along with other festive activities like Secret Santa, bowling and a night out, staff were definitely ready for the well-deserved 11 day break over Christmas. We’ve returned in 2015 well rested and a few pounds lighter (in the wallet, not the waist) ready to do it all over again.

Planning is currently underway for recruitment in 2015, with student opportunities and 8 graduate positions to be filled this year we are pleased to be able to continue to help students gain valuable work experience and graduates take the first step onto their career ladder.
We also have some exciting new opportunities throughout the rest of the business; with roles in R&D, Manufacturing and Customer Support across our sites in Oldham and Milton Keynes, 2015 is looking to be just as busy and rewarding as 2014.

If you’re looking for a new career this year then take a look at all of our current vacancies, including graduate/student opportunities for 2015, here.

Recruitment Tip for Grads:
Gain as much work experience as you can. As well as a big 6 week holiday in the summer, the school term is littered with half term and end of term breaks. Take these opportunities to spend time in relevant companies; a candidate who has spent their spare time furthering themselves and their knowledge of a chosen subject will really stand out to a hiring manager, which will work in your favour when it comes to applying for graduate roles.

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 09/01/2015

Karen Holloren

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

The Graduate Adventure – Part 2

I have been working at ITL for almost six months now and am gradually getting to grips with all aspects of the marketing that we undertake.  Next year, I am looking forward to making a real contribution to ITL’s global marketing strategy for 2015.

As we are an international company, we have customers all over the world and due to final posting deadlines, Christmas cards are thought about very early. This year, Dayna and I decided that I would attempt to create a Christmas card bespoke to ITL. A few alternative designs were created; you can see the actual card we sent out here.

The coming three months are our busiest time of year with preparations for the London exhibitions well under way and the exhibitions themselves taking place upon our return from the Christmas break.

As a global and ever expanding organisation, it is incredibly important for ITL that we have a presence at exhibitions as it allows us to communicate with both customers and stakeholders all under one roof as well as showing our existing product range and launching our innovative new products.

With the first exhibition taking part in January, the stand design has been my main priority. I was provided with a scale drawing of our 9×9.5m² stand by our stand builder. I spent time honing my Photoshop skills and worked with our stand builders to create the perfect stand layout.

I am really looking forward to visiting these shows for the first time and will let you know in our next blog how they all went. Fingers crossed the stand design is our best yet!

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Mia Harding, Graduate Marketing Assistant

 

Over the past 6 months, since joining ITL at the end of June, I have been working within a team designing the next generation banknote validators.

My first major task on the project was to define new components on internal systems. I have had to familiarise myself with a few of the systems used at ITL; Teamcenter, PADs and Live Part Library to name a few. Although new to me, it was quite an easy learning curve as I have used similar programs during University and at my previous job.

I have also worked closely with the team leader (John Tillson) in developing the circuit diagram which was later put together in an internal system. Presently I am almost half way through developing the PCB layout; this has been ongoing for the past couple of weeks since the completion of the circuit diagram.

My MSc program was based on Electronic product development and this project is helping me to put into practice the skills gained from University. Of course there are more real world challenges here, but the MSc program helped me to be more prepared for these various challenges.

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Jean Gilbert Nzeye, Graduate Electronics Design Engineer

 

Over the past month I have been providing technical assistance to our operations department in the production of a brand new product that is yet to be released.
I have gained valuable knowledge of the product through exposure to the assembly and repair of units, something that has been very useful as recently I have been fault finding and identifying where improvements might be made in the production process.
Seeing the production of the units has shown me how products are designed for easy assembly and where it is appropriate to use certain design features.
At the moment I am part of a team designing and prototyping the next generation of ITL’s cash handling products.  I designed the mechanical components of the product using 3D CAD software and produced a prototype shortly after using the 3D printer in our onsite workshop.

I am looking forward to working with electronic and software engineers to develop the product further and provide solutions to any mechanical problems that might arise.

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Michael Tillson, Graduate Design Engineer

 

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

A month in the life of an ITL Customer Support Engineer

Coming up to a year at ITL, Dan Humble, Customer Support Engineer, gives us an insight into working life at ITL.

The day to day role of a technical support engineer can vary drastically and you can be required to travel to the far corners of the earth at the drop of a hat, all to ensure our customers receive the best service possible.

The month started off with me preparing for a week in Barcelona, the aim of the visit was to train two new repair technicians at our Spanish office. It is always good to spend time with our overseas colleagues who we do not get to see every day. This was my second trip to the Spanish office in as many months and it went very much like the first; long working hours during the day, followed by relaxing alongside my Spanish colleague with a few beers in the evening!

After a successful week of training and siestas I returned to the UK for no longer than a couple of days, before a trip to Colombia was on the cards. A few days and a 17 hour flight later, I landed in Bogota for the very first time. Again, the main focal point of the week was product training and definitely not the local export! The customer really appreciated the effort in travelling over to visit them which is always great to hear – they even took me to the Museum of Gold!

Another 17 hour flight and I was finally home – ready to spend a few nights in my own bed before rounding the month off with a day in exotic…..Wales – this time for a catch up meeting with a customer. Visiting our customers gives us a great opportunity to discuss outstanding issues whilst also building relationships with them face to face.

As an international company, we have customers all over the world and being part of the support team, you have to be ready to travel to any one of these locations… even if that means Stamford Bridge (I’m an Arsenal fan) – the location for the London Autumn CoinOp show. I travelled down to London with the UK Sales team a day before the show, to help set up the stand and the products we were exhibiting.

This just details a few examples of a wide range of duties that support engineers at ITL fill on a day to day basis. With Innovative Technology growing at the current rate, it is only going to get busier! Who knows where support will be in the near future; seeing as we have just recruited an Australian Sales director, I know where I have my eye on.

Dan Humble, Customer Support Engineer. 08/12/14

Dan Humble

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk

The Story of David Bellis MBE. Part 5. Industry figure, honorary fellow, but most of all, our David

Our previous four blogs have seen us follow Davis Bellis from a young boy, to an airman, an entrepreneur and finally a retired gentleman. In this, the final blog, we bring you right up to the current day.

With many years of experience in the industry, David recognised a gap in the market for banknote validators and in 1992, upon his retirement from Coin Controls, thirsty for a new challenge, David founded Innovative Technology Ltd.

A small facility in Royton was the operating base for ITL, whose main aim was to produce low cost multi-currency banknote validators. The NV1 was born, known as the ‘Smiley’ due to the note entry looking as though it is smiling.

It was not long until the demand for the NV1 banknote validators outgrew the facility on Park Street in Royton and David and his team decided they needed to expand, building a bespoke facility on Derker Street in Oldham, where we remain to this day.

A remarkable number of employees from the earlier days at Innovative Technology still remain today, including Tim Beswick who remains at the company today as our longest serving member of staff, and our Managing Director Aidan Towey, who was promoted from Finance Director, and is quickly approaching his twentieth year at the company. This loyalty is testament to David as both a person and a chairman, having gained so much respect during his lucrative career. Now David, who spends the summer at his house in Spain, knows that the company is left in good hands while he is away, however he likes to remain involved; often inviting the directors to his holiday home there for updates.

1998 saw David honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), for his significant achievements and outstanding services to businesses in the community. This is one of many occasions in which David has met with a member of the Royal Family, having previously and since won Queen’s Awards. Although a major achievement, David will forever remain down to earth, “I can’t understand what I could have done to deserve this, but it’s very nice to get a pat on the back and it certainly spurs you on”.

In 2003, Oldham College announced a prestigious accolade and opened a new building named after David (The Bellis Building); this building was a tribute to a previous student who “has gone on to become one of the borough’s most successful businessmen”.

Having celebrated twenty years of innovation in 2012, ITL were this year recognised by two nationwide awards; the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade (our third of its kind) and for the first time we were recognised by the Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, being named 13th on their list of Britain’s fastest growing privately owned companies in 2013, a much coveted prize.

ICE 2013 saw David celebrate a big milestone, his 75th birthday. Industry colleagues from over the decades were invited to the stand to celebrate with cake and champagne, along with colleagues from ITL.

Over 22 years, David has grown his initial ideas, from a small village on the outskirts of Manchester, into Innovative Technology; a market leading brand with office locations around the world. As a group, ITL currently has offices in nine worldwide locations and trading partners in many more, ensuring our product range is easily accessible no matter the customer’s geographical location or native language. As an innovative organisation, ITL is ever expanding and over the last twelve months alone has expanded significantly; having completed a new state of the art 36,000ft² office facility at our head office in Oldham and opening offices in Australia, Italy, and America.

David’s passion for innovation has stretched over many years and it is no surprise that he has been so successful over such a long period. Despite his age, the drive still remains, without an obligation to come to work he chooses to do so even on the bleakest of days and is still the hub of many ideas that are turned into products.

David is highly regarded and is a great ambassador here at ITL and amongst the technology world. He is also regarded as an inspirational role model and earlier this year University Campus Oldham praised David and awarded him an honorary fellowship for his ‘Services to Vocational Education’.

Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College said: “The Oldham College Honorary Fellowship is being presented to someone who, in many respects, epitomises the opportunities which this town has, and with it the College, in adapting to the challenges of a new economy and the skills which it demands. For us, in this College, this is what makes David’s story remarkable”

As for us at ITL, it is simple, David is an exceedingly talented man and it is a delight to listen to his many stories of the past and work under his incredible jurisdiction. For David, it is even simpler, “Wherever I go in the world, I see my products. I can turn on Coronation Street and see my products. Whether I’m in Disneyland or a little bar in the wilds of Spain, I can see something I designed. It gives me a little kick every time’.

David

 

If you have missed any of the blogs in this series, you can find them all at https://itlblog.wordpress.com/category/david-bellis/

The Story of David Bellis MBE. Part 4. The Mint Advisor

Previously we have spoken about David Bellis’ education and early career, prior to the conception of what eventually became Coin Controls.

In 1969, a new 50p coin was released to the nation with no form of external consultation. It seemed that the design on the face of the coin was the most important aspect to the Royal Mint and the public, and as an engineer of coin validators, that thought was very alien to David. Due to this, David’s concern grew and he decided to form a committee for meetings with the Royal Mint.

As a key stakeholder in the coin industry, David’s ever expanding knowledge of coins earned him the accolade of chairman of the Association’s Committee on coinage, reporting to BACTA and consulting closely with the Royal Mint. Although David’s contributions to the new coinage were plentiful, he noted that he is most fond of his contribution to the change in the alloy of the 20p, so that the 5 pence piece could not be pressed into 20p shapes. David’s recommendation ensured that the change in alloy eradicated the use of fraudulent 5 pence pieces being passed as four times their worth, a great achievement for the man from Oldham.

Due to the formation of the Association’s Committee and the successful alloy change, it was agreed by the Royal Mint that they would provide David and the other Committee members with at least two years notice before any new coins were to be put into circulation, allowing for an ease of use and aid in the prevention of fraud, not only great for the economy, but great for David’s coin validators too.

 

As David’s personal career was going from strength to strength, the same could not be said for Coin Controls’, as one of their main industries experienced a major downturn. As the share price plummeted from £1 to 37p overnight, David began regretting his decision to float the company on the London Stock Exchange, as most of the shareholders at Coin Controls were locals and friends of David’s. Determined, he continued to focus on the development of his products while the city sent a new chairman, Bill Houston. David noted that Bill did a remarkable job helping turn around Coin Controls’ fortune, something that warranted David’s greatest respect.

Not long after this turn of fortune, Coin Controls was subject to a number of takeover bids and in 1991, in his early 50s, David decided to retire.

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Or did he?

The story of David Bellis MBE. Part 3. PAD Automation —> Coin Controls

In our two earlier pieces we have spoken about David Bellis’ early days and the conception of P.A.D Automation, David had moved into making not only payouts but coin hoppers and coin testers for the expanding amusement business.

David’s business was going from strength to strength, and in 1968 he met his future partners Norman Holden and Stuart Kitson, before a local businessman, ‘Jimmy’ bought 25% of their company for £2000.  David mentioned that in honesty, he and his two partners Stuart and Norman didn’t need the money but they enjoyed the comfort that the extra capital ensured; £2000 being worth much more in the 1960s than it is today.

The company called Coin Controls was formed and the design for the payouts still remained at the forefront of coin handling technology. Numerous products were designed by David and his team; the standard hopper that was licenced to the Japanese who made over one million units for the Japanese market, closely followed by the universal hopper and compact hoppers. David has always been a few steps ahead of the industry; one idea David had was for the person in the bar to be able to empty the machines instead of having collectors going from machine to machine. However, when he took it to Barcrest, John Marshal said “if there were no machines installed in the country, we could use such a system. One component of the system, the Universal hopper was sold separately and became the industry standard at that time.

While this was happening however, other areas of his business were thriving, the boom of the gaming industry and orders of 2000 hoppers a day from manufacturers in Spain were accumulating. Business was great for David as his company changed from being fairly casual to a more professional structure with appropriate business systems and more people with degrees joining his team.  

The company received many accolades including two Queen’s Awards for Exports.

In 1983, David and the other board members decided to float Coin Controls on the London Stock Exchange. It was something that they had considered for a while, but it was a giant leap for the boys from Royton and was done as a slight insurance policy in case one of the directors died. By this time, the original £2000 that the local business man, Jimmy Horrocks had invested had been turned into a figure closer to the £2 million mark, upon his death the shares were sold for roughly that amount.

Coin Controls Directors

Next week, we reflect upon the next chapter of Coin Controls

The story of David Bellis MBE. Part 2. ‘Coin Payout’ – where it all began

The first edition of our David Bellis MBE blog has told of his colourful education and the story of his increasing interest in the world of engineering.

Having safely returned home from National Service and with experience in both mechanical and electrical engineering, David moved back to Northern England, Yorkshire to be more precise, where he began work for Gap Units, based in Batley. Gap Units produced a component to install into boilers in order to make them more efficient, as well as furthering his knowledge and skill in precision engineering, this period in David’s life also saw him produce his first coin payout machines quite by chance.

In his leaky garage, David kept a milling machine that he used to make components for Gap Units. One of David’s friends at the time saw the work that he was doing in his garage and referred him to his boss, who wanted Italian 50 Lira coin payouts converted to the British penny. David perceived these payout units to be of a poor design so decided to update the units and then design a payout of his own. Shortly afterwards, the customer David made the payout units for went out of business, so he took the executive decision to show this unit at the UK Gaming Exhibition Blackpool in 1964. David manned half a stand (half a trestle table) with another company operating the other half, 50 years ago this year.

Collecting an order of 14 units, his machines impact at the exhibition greatly outweighed the actual order number, as businessman Donald Deakin invited David to exhibit on his stand at the London Exhibition. In the coming months, more and more orders where placed and David decided that he would have to give up his job with Gap Units in order to make payouts full time.

P.A.D Automation, the name of David’s new company originally operated out of his garage, and when a representative of the biggest machine manufacturer at the time, Maurice Collins of Ace Coin came to see him, he saw the garage. Collins wound down the window of his car and told David that he could not make parts for him from such a place, although David noted, that he was glad they didn’t enter the garage as it was a rainy day and the roof was leaking. David later supplied all of the payouts for Ace Coin from a new property based in Royton.

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Check back next week for David’s next chapter…

The story of David Bellis MBE. Part 1

David Bellis produced his first coin handling solution in 1964 and now, fifty years on he is still going strong as Chairman of Innovative Technology making cash handling solutions. We at ITL thought it a fitting tribute to look back on what has been and we hope will continue to be an amazing career for the local boy from Royton, Oldham.

David’s story is too vast to tell in a single post, so over the next month we will share his story so far in a number of blogs.

David began his early life in Royton, firstly at St Paul’s Mission School as an infant and a junior and then to secondary school at Royton Central (now known as Royton and Compton School) where he left at the tender age of 15, after failing his 11 plus exams.

Out of school, David continued his education in the form of an apprenticeship, building textile machinery for S. Dodd and Sons. With industry in Oldham at the time being dominated by textiles, opportunities were plentiful and he took full advantage before spending two years in Scotland where he was seconded by his company to J & P Coats and Clarks of Paisley.

During his time in Scotland, still showing a thirst for furthering his personal knowledge, David attended Paisley Technical College where he successfully completed textile qualifications and his national certificate.

At the time in England, National Service remained compulsory and having finished his apprenticeship, it was time for David to complete his duty for Queen and Country. With a few years of mechanical design under his belt he went on to add electronics to his already impressive resume, being posted to No.1 radio school on national service before being stationed in Germany, where the vast majority of his work was based in signals on transmitters. During this time, David began to study Physics, he completed an O Level without attending one class, using his book alone.

 

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David proudly holding his first creation, more details in the next blog.

 

Once upon a time in Milton Keynes

September saw us say goodbye to most of our summer placement students who have been with us throughout July and August gaining experience across Mechanical and Electronics Engineering, IT, Test and Production. Hopefully they all found their time here beneficial and for the university students the hands on experience will certainly help them in their final year. We’ve been able to extend the opportunity to two of the students to stay with us until Christmas and we’ve already had interest in some students returning next year.

There’s been a lot of promotion done in regards to our new office in Milton Keynes and on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of September myself, Carole Harker (Recruitment Manager) and Andy Bassam (Customer Support Manager) attended the Milton Keynes job show at thecentre:mk promoting the company and our opportunities.

With 60,000 people expected each day preparing for the event was important; we drafted new role profiles, put together information packs on the company and products and took a SMART Ticket Printer to have running at the show, programmed to print out details of the MK office and contact details of the recruitment team – a handy take away for people who came to see us.

The weekend itself went well; the exhibition was well set up and well placed for attracting people. We spoke to a mix of people; some who were actively seeking employment and others who had decided to have a look at the exhibition whilst they were in the centre.

I also got the chance to visit our new office which is very well placed in the center of Milton Keynes in close proximity to shops and restaurants. With the office initially focusing on design we were looking to speak to some high calibre Mechanical and Electronics Design Engineers. If you didn’t get chance to visit us at the show but are interested in the opportunities we have please visit our careers site (link below).

October sees the start of autumn recruiting in the graduate world. We will be exhibiting at three university events promoting the company and our 2015 graduate vacancies which include openings in Mechanical, Electronics and Software Design Engineering as well as summer placements and industrial placement year vacancies. For more information please visit our careers site or come along to one of the below events to speak to us in person.

  • Huddersfield Grad Jobs Fair, 7th October
  • Scottish Graduate Fair, 22nd October
  • Lancaster Career Opportunities Fair, 29th October

Find out more about our new office in Milton Keynes http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/news-events/news/item/229-where-bright-ideas-come-alive and see all our current opportunities including graduate openings for 2015 http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/careers/

Recruitment Tip for Grads;
Interviews should be a two-way discussion; they are a chance for the interviewer to ensure you are a fit for the role and company but also a chance for you to ensure that the role and company meet your career expectations. Be prepared for the interview by writing down questions you want to ask or noting down examples of successful projects/pieces of work you’ve been involved in and refer to them during the interview if needed.

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 07/10/14

Karen Holloren

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

The Returner

This year has been the third time I have spent my summer gaining valuable insights into the world of work at ITL. After spending my first year at University it was nice to return to ITL, with all of the familiar faces it wasn’t long before I had settled back in and felt as though I had never been away.

Over previous years I have spent time on the shop floor and in the Logistics Department; my latest summer adventure took me to the Test Department. Over the last 3 months I have had an educational insight into the many processes of testing, from brand new products in their initial testing stages to existing products with firmware updates.

As ITL is a forward thinking company, they are continually developing; their latest progression is ‘Automated Testing’, the use of bespoke software to control the execution of tests. This is being implemented into all aspects of tests allowing repetitive, time consuming jobs to be done by the software, freeing up a tester to complete other tasks. I enjoyed working on the automated systems as sometimes I was the first person to use them, for example an emulation test which completes the job in around 5 minutes, which previously would have taken around a day.

At the end of every test, no matter how it is carried out, a report has to be compiled, this allows the test’s creator (the client) to see the results of the test. Within the report the following parts are addressed: the purpose of the test, equipment used, the test method, the results, a conclusion and recommendations for future releases. This is then uploaded on to ‘Curiosity’ for the client to view.

‘Curiosity’ is the programme that allows a member of the test team to create and assign a test. The tester can inform the client on which parts of the test they have done, issues they have faced and when the test has passed. ‘Curiosity’ also makes it easier to produce a report as all changes and noticeable issues are uploaded during the test. If a test has been done on a product the tester can search for it and check the previous results and recommendations, they can then check that this has been achieved.

As well as working with new products I have also tested new firmware for existing products. This involved checking the ‘fix’ worked correctly and ensuring that all previous parts still worked correctly.

My time in the Test Department this summer has taught me that every little feature of a machine counts, and that without proper testing many engineers wouldn’t get the required feedback before their product is released. I feel that during my time at ITL this summer I have had a real impact on the team and the company as a whole.

I am always incredibly grateful to ITL for allowing me to spend my summer at their Head Office broadening my learnings; however, I am really looking forward to getting back to Sheffield for my second year at University.

Kayleigh Towey. Summer Placement 2014.

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http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

A message from Milano

Stefano Mandelli is Business Development Manager in Italy heading up our new office in Milan, to support our existing company base in Europe.

Ciao.

I’m Stefano, 40 years of age; I live near Milan with my wife and two children.

After studying for a diploma at the Technical Institute in Milan, I joined one of ITL’s trading partners in Italy, where I remained for 15 years during which time I completed a number of courses in sales and leadership.

My time there allowed me to grow professionally and within a few years I became a Sales Manager in charge of the Gaming Department for the Italian market. My role included heading up key customer accounts and managing the Sales Department, which I built up to consist of 5 people.

At the age of 40, I decided that I needed a new challenge, and what seemed like the perfect opportunity arose at ITL; the chance to work for a major international company who is ever expanding really interested me, as there seemed plenty of opportunities for growth.

I was very pleased when ITL called me and I think that they were impressed by my history and the work I have previously accomplished with their products in Italy.

I started work in July; I have partaken in two ITL internal sales meetings; one in Hamburg with the Sales Managers and one in the UK with the rest of my colleagues. I spent a week in Oldham, at our Head Office; I was one of four new colleagues in the UK that week which was very beneficial as I was able to meet not only my colleagues in the UK, but also my colleagues in Spain and Australia. I was made to feel incredibly welcome, as if I have been a part of the team for quite some time which has allowed me to feel confident that my move will prove successful.

I am familiar with most of the products through previous experience of working with them and believe I have strong product knowledge of these items. However, as with all new challenges there is still plenty to learn and become acquainted with. As I have worked within the industry for so long, I have strong relationships with many customers in Italy, who I believe will now experience enhanced service due to the opening of our office in Milan.

My new adventure with ITL is an exciting one for me and I am very enthusiastic towards the challenge ahead.

Stefano Mandelli, Business Development Manager 17/09/14

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www.innovative-technology.co.uk

ITL Down Under

Meet Kerry Cowan, Sales Director at Innovative Technology (Asia Pacific) Pty Ltd in Brisbane, Australia.

G’ Day! I’m the new guy based in Australia …

Originally from New Zealand I emigrated to Australia with my wife and two daughters over 15 years ago. Although daunting at the time it turned out to be one of my better life choices as it has provided many opportunities for all of us.

I’ve worked in various sales roles over the years, shortly after arriving in Australia I gained a business development position with a slot machine manufacturer where I stayed for over 12 years. I had the opportunity to work and live in Macau China, with responsibility for some key accounts in Macau as well as responsibilities for Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam.

The company was bought by a U.S corporation and 3 years later I relocated back to Australia and was given responsibility for business development, focusing on new business markets, where I remained until the company was sold again.

I am really excited to join ITL. I will be covering the Asia Pacific region, to build and develop our business throughout these important markets. I’ve been looking forward to meeting the ITL team and to starting my new role. I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to establish the new ITL Asia Pacific office in Australia. Located on Coronation Drive in Brisbane just outside the CBD, ‘Coro drive’ as the locals refer to it, is a great location!

I’ve been in the UK all this week for product training and had a chance to meet some of the team. I’ve had a great time in Manchester; everyone has given me a friendly welcome, making my first visit to Oldham a very positive and rewarding one. I managed to see some of the sights of the city and I look forward to working with everyone over the coming months and years ahead.

Kerry Cowan, Sales Director Asia Pacific 29/08/14

Kerry Cowan

www.innovative-technology.com.au

The Graduate Adventure – Part 1

Over the last twelve months the staff intake at Innovative Technology has increased significantly. At the end of June, three recent University Graduates joined the company and over the next twelve months we will follow Michael Tillson, Jean Gilbert Nzeye and Mia Harding through their first year here at Innovative Technology.

Mia gained a 2:1 in Marketing at the Leeds Business School, a part of Leeds Metropolitan University and has filled the role of Graduate Marketing Assistant.

During a break from writing my dissertation, I decided to explore the jobs market and came across the ITL advert on a careers website. I found the job specification interesting so decided to send off my CV and hope for the best.

Upon the completion of my degree in May I celebrated with a holiday and no sooner had I arrived in Venice, I received a phone call inviting me to a graduate assessment day, just three days after my return. As soon as I arrived home I had to create a presentation and prepare for the assessment day. As it turned out, ITL is only ten minutes away from my house so I arrived early for the interview. Everything went well on the day; my presentation ran smoothly, my interviews flowed nicely and I was able to confidently answer all questions posed.

I was ecstatic to have been offered the job as through previous experience of finding a placement, I understand how difficult it is in this current economic climate. My first three weeks entailed thorough inductions spending time within all areas of the business gaining a good understanding of the products we offer and also the business itself – perfect when trying to market both!

All of my new colleagues have made me feel very welcome, making it easy to settle in to life at ITL. I am really enthusiastic towards my future here, grasping every opportunity to progress my career within a fast paced, ever expanding organisation.

Over the coming twelve months I aim to give you a real insight into the ITL world, my international colleagues and working life.

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Mia Harding, Graduate Marketing Assistant

 

Jean Gilbert completed his BEng (Hons) degree in Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering in 2006 with a 2:1 at the University of Bradford and more recently, his master’s degree at the University of Bolton.

After the completion of my MSc I decided it was time for a new challenge and began to search online for electronics engineering jobs in the North West and I came across an ITL advert for a Graduate Electronics Design Engineer. As I had been working for a couple of years I wasn’t sure if I could be considered, however, as I have recently completed my MSc it was decided that I was fresh out of education and could therefore continue with my application.

I was invited to attend a graduate assessment centre at ITL. The half day assessment involved a presentation, an electronics test and two face to face interviews. The event was well organised and the interviewers were very friendly and direct in their questioning. I was very happy to be offered the job.

During my first week, after a short induction, I was introduced to my project team consisting of Software Engineers, Mechanical Design Engineers and a fellow Electronics Design Engineer. I was put straight to work contributing to the team’s current project, producing the next generation NV9 banknote validator.

Over the next twelve months I will aim to provide you with an insight into the diverse multi-disciplined teams here at ITL and how working together allows us to produce highly innovative products for our customers.

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Jean Gilbert Nzeye, Graduate Electronics Design Engineer

 

Michael gained a first class honours degree in BEng Energy Engineering and has taken on the role of Graduate Design Engineer. He initially met ITL at a careers fair in Sheffield prior to applying for his position.

I was offered the job over the phone on the way to one of my final exams which gave me a real confidence boost and something to look forward to upon completion of my studies.

My first few weeks at ITL have allowed me to get up to speed with the CAD (Computer Aided Design) package used in the development department and to design a few small parts intended for production. A well-equipped workshop and on-site rapid prototyping facilities make the construction of prototypes very easy and the development of solution parts very fluid.

During my first month at ITL I was assigned multiple tasks that required both application and acquisition of knowledge and skills. While I am still learning plenty on my own, I am gaining far more from my new colleagues who provide a much more practical understanding than University offered.

I am looking forward to starting my first major project, gaining practical knowledge of mechanical design and over the next twelve months I will keep you up to date with the projects I am working on as I try to put the theory I learnt at University into practice.

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Michael Tillson, Graduate Design Engineer

 

Mia, Jean Gilbert and Michael will be updating the blog every quarter through their first year as Graduates at Innovative Technology. Check back in December for the next installment.

The Cube

Alan is the Stock Controller at ITL responsible for all of the goods shipped into the operations and distribution centre here in Oldham.

Up to 30K units are shipped to customers worldwide each month from our UK distribution centre, so it is vital that the transition between goods in and dispatch runs smoothly.

We have experienced record sales over the past 2 years and that has been reflected by the amount of stock that is moved through the warehouse. On average we move half a million spare parts through the UK each month, and dispatch 30,000 customer units. A particularly busy week last month, we moved nearly 15,000 units, as you can imagine, the warehouse team are usually very busy, but especially so at the moment.

When I joined ITL in 2009 the warehouse was more of a store room, with boxes piled everywhere, it was difficult to find stock and keep track of it. Five years on the difference is incredible, I’m very proud of the systems that we have in place now. Stock is kept in ‘the cube’ and is controlled by an electronic warehouse system, that was designed and written by ITL’s IT team, which makes it very easy for me and the team to find specific parts. Our fastest moving spare parts are sorted into two large carousels; this makes it a whole lot easier for the pickers to locate the parts they need, especially as the vast majority are very small.

When the units are manufactured in our China factory, they are packed onto pallets, and typically shipped via sea freight to us here in the UK. Containers can take up to five weeks to travel from China, so precise stock movement, and constant forward planning has to be in place to ensure enough stock is always available.

China pallets usually arrive on a Friday and are quality checked before being inputted into ‘the cube’. When sales orders demand certain products, the warehouse system helps us to easily locate units and keep an eye on stock levels.

Stores is challenging and we are constantly updating our processes, it’s something that I really enjoy doing, despite it all being pretty hectic at the moment.

Alan Yates, Stock Controller. 07/08/2014

Alan-at-Work

 

http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/

 

Placement to permanent!

Jonathan (“Jonno”) completed a yearlong Industrial Placement with us 2012/3 before returning to university to complete his Masters in Electronics. He has now returned to ITL as a permanent member of staff joining the UK Development Team.

I initially came to ITL on a twelve month Industrial Placement back in September 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed my year at work. At the end of my placement I was lucky enough to gain sponsorship for the final year of my degree and an offer to re-join ITL as a Graduate Electronics Engineer at the end of my degree in June 2014, so here I am.

Having officially finished my Masters on Thursday 5th June I re-joined ITL four days later on Monday 9th. Not much of a break but I was eager to get straight to work, ready for the challenge ahead. ITL has changed quite a bit over the last year with a new office building almost complete and a lot less free car parking spaces due to the number of new staff.

I have been back at ITL for a month now, getting stuck into a number of different projects, more software based than the work that I did previously during my Industrial Placement. Despite gaining a qualification in electronics the course had some fairly major elements of software which is ultimately why I chose it so I’m happy to be able to utilise these skills on more software based projects in the real world.

My last year at University was based around a group project undertaken with seven other students. We were asked to build an autonomous moving robot for Sellafield, which was great fun, but because we were trying to gain an award for the project it was quite a difficult task and took up a lot of my time. At the height of the project I was working from seven in the morning until nine or ten in the evening (which for somebody at University is tough – especially the early starts!). As well as the project, I had to complete several modules during my last year, including a business module ‘advanced tools for enterprise’ which on paper was not something I thought I would enjoy but I was pleasantly surprised, I now have a much better appreciation of the business side of Industry. Later this summer I will get the results of my final year as well as finding out whether my group managed to receive an award for our project work, fingers crossed all the hard work pays off.

I’m really glad to be back at work at ITL. There are a lot of old faces but quite a number of new ones too. The company is expanding very fast which is great news for me at the very start of my career. Those I knew before have welcomed me back warmly and the new faces have greeted me straight away as a fellow engineer. It already feels like I’ve never been away!

Jonathan Nadin, Graduate Electronics Engineer 22/07/14

jonathan nadin

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

 

I know what you did last summer…

June was an extremely busy month for Recruitment with 3 graduate careers fairs in Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool. I’m always impressed with the organisation and planning that goes into the fairs; the universities careers services do a really good job, we don’t really have to do anything other than turn up and set up. The nice environments and excellent facilities, as well as helpers on the day, mean that we can focus on talking to students about our company and the opportunities we have.

During the summer ITL likes to allow the young friends and family of employees the chance to join us for a few weeks to gain some valuable work experience. This year sees 13 young people join us for summer placements. Some are returnees having worked with us last summer, while a few new faces will experience their first ever working summer. With the chance to earn some money as well as gaining real work experience, it’s a great opportunity for them.

June saw two university students joining us for the summer in our Development Team also. It’s great to be able to give students a chance to put into practice what they have learnt so far and gain valuable experience that will help them stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for a job after university; plus the Design Engineers gain an extra set of hands for the summer.

Recruitment Tip for Grads
Research the company you are applying for – company websites as well as LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter hold a wealth of information. You should be able to give a basic overview of what the company does, where it is based etc. You’ll more than likely be asked in an interview what you know about the company!

To view our current vacancies and apply for future opportunities, including summer placements for 2015 please visit the careers page of our website: http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/careers/

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 07/07/14

Karen Holloren

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 12, The Final Diary

The last “Not so secret Diary”

Here it is then, with my leaving party penciled in for tonight my desk now eerily tidy (which it really hasn’t been for the last 11 and a half months!) I’m sat here writing my 12th and last blog.

Thank you to those that have followed and read my pieces I hope to have somewhat entertained you at least a little bit. My last month here has been a very busy one, a lengthy task list has kept me very much entertained, my video for the website was finished, a lot of articles have been written and a code of conduct has been edited. The articles that I have written this month have varied greatly, and include a series of pieces that I have written about our Chairman, David and his history. It was incredibly interesting, researching and learning about how he has got to where he is today. His journey from a schoolboy in Royton to Chairman of such a successful company is inspiring, especially for somebody just starting out in their career. The piece is in five parts but I’m not sure when it will be released, but just a heads up to look out for it.

I have met a lot of people during the year not only the ever growing staff list here at the head office, but of course the people from the offices in Europe, and those that I went to see in China. The whole staff body have been very welcoming to me and I hope that I have given that impression in all of my previous blogs, with some of the staff being very patient with me whilst I was learning about new things (Afqad comes immediately to mind for when he was teaching me about plastics).

My final task at Innovative (other than writing this blog) was to give a presentation to the managers and directors that I have worked for. The talk was to summarise the work that I did this year, how successful it was and what I had learned from the experiences. It went really well and I received some very positive feedback from them about my performance this year, as well as constructive advice to carry forward into the future.

My year at ITL has been a fantastic experience for me, but it has been the challenging work that I’ve enjoyed the most. The thanks for trusting me with this work has to go to our Managing Director, Aidan Towey, and my managers; Dayna, Bernie, and Carole. I have appreciated both the trust placed in me through the year, as well as the support that they’ve provided in helping me with the work.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 27/06/14

Edward Clark

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

Software – a man’s world?!

Kat is the newest member of our Software Development Team, joining us after graduating from Salford University where she achieved a first class honours degree. After having settled in, she has taken the time out to share her experience of working in ITL’s Research and Development Team.

A new year a new start! Prior to joining ITL, I had a years’ experience in software after successfully earning a first class honours degree in Computer Science at Salford University. The prospect of a new challenge at a company that is so progressive in its search for innovation excited me and I was thrilled to have been offered the job.

My interest in software started fairly young. My father is also a software engineer so at the age of 16 he allowed me to come and work with him for a summer; from that point on I was hooked. It’s always been something I’ve found exciting, and each day provides new challenges and puzzles to overcome.

Being the first and only female in the Research and Development Team doesn’t intimidate me; in fact it inspires me to prove myself as a female software engineer. Having spent many years studying and working within the software and engineering sectors, I’m used to working in a very male dominated environment. Gender stereotypes in software are becoming less of an issue; I hope that people like myself can help make it even less of an issue and encourage more young women to join the industry.

My first few months here at ITL have been thoroughly enjoyable. There’s been a lot to learn about the products and the way people work here, but the other members of the software team have really helped me whenever I’ve needed it. I’ve come to learn very quickly that the people here are approachable, even those high up in the company are willing to give you their time. I’ve now taken on several projects of my own for some of our flagship products and look forward to continuing this work and many more projects to come!

Kat Graham, Software Engineer 17/06/14

Kat Graham

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

ITL Queen’s Award Celebrations

Last week we celebrated our Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2014 in style with a big party for all ITL’s European staff.

The Queen’s Award winners are announced each year on the Queen’s birthday, 21st April. Companies are notified beforehand but everything is in the strictest confidence, even staff cannot be notified until the official date. With a lot to organise I was privy to the information and everyone at ITL was told to save the date 6th June for a special event. Inevitably there were a lot of questions about what the party would be for and it was testing at times to keep the secret.

Finally, on the 21st April we were able to officially announce the Queen’s Award, our 3rd in the company’s history and I kicked the party organising into full throttle. The venue had been booked for months and it was now time to sort invites, table names, numbers, menus, gifts and music. Anyone who has ever organised an event will know that ‘final numbers’ constantly change but as the day of the party arrived the sun was shining and we were all ready for a good night.

We had just under 100 at the party to celebrate our Queen’s Award, with staff travelling in from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Russia just for the night. After a bucks fizz reception proceedings began with the official Queen’s Award presentation from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and thanks from Chairman David Bellis and MD Aidan Towey. We all enjoyed a three course meal and then the DJ got everyone up on the dance floor, where we stayed until the early hours of the morning.

I’m reliably informed that I finally made it up to bed at about 3:45 am. My feet are still hurting now, a mixture of the dancing and the shoes I think, but we all had an absolutely brilliant night!

Dayna Patterson, Marketing Executive 12/06/14

Queen's Award Celebrations 2014

A few images from ITL’s Queen’s Award Celebration Party, Friday 6th June 2014

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

 

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 11, The Penultimate Diary

I’ve been here at Innovative Technology for nearly a year now, but it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. I think the people that I’ve worked with and the work I have done has allowed me to enjoy the year and has made it go very quickly.

With Innovative’s International marketing growing in line with the business, Dayna has been looking for a permanent marketing assistant to come in after I leave, so last week I was given the opportunity to help out at the Marketing Graduate Assessment Day. It was good to see candidates in a similar field to me and was nice to have been involved in the process.

This month my focus has been largely switched away from marketing the offshoot businesses and back to focussing on the new products that Innovative are looking to release in the near future. There are a number of products that will be released shortly so I have been producing material ready for when they are ready to launch. I have needed to learn in a pretty short space of time about the different capabilities of the new products in order to be in a position to write about them. At this point I feel I should thank those that have been very patient in explaining the more technical information to me.

Another project of mine that has been ongoing is a staff video for the website. I have had to learn a lot about video production, editing and all of the other intricacies that go into making a short clip. The video will be ready before I leave at the end of June and I will link it to my last blog article on Friday 27th.

I was also asked this week to start getting ready to do a presentation to my bosses here at Innovative on my last day. It has been interesting again looking over my work from months ago and trying to summarise my year into a presentation. But don’t tell Aidan Towey (Managing Director) that the work I have been preparing for University on my work placement has come in very handy for content on my presentation.

The staff from the other offices around Europe have been arriving this morning for the Party tonight, and we are all looking forward to celebrating being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 06/06/14

Edward Clark

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Vitor is one of the latest additions to ITL’s research and development team. Coming from Portugal, his journey to ITL is a unique one…

Just over a month ago I was living in Portugal, or more specifically Vila Nova de Famalicão; all of my family live there and that’s where I have grown up and spent the majority of my life. After training as a design engineer I spent a lot of time working on and designing large machinery; I really enjoyed my work but was keen to get involved in precision engineering, which is something that you can’t find as easily in Portugal.

I began searching for jobs around Europe on-line and on LinkedIn I came across an interesting job posted by ITL. I researched what looked like an exciting company to work for and after contacting the ITL recruitment team things moved very fast and I soon had an interview with Development Manager, John Robinson. Because I lived in Portugal, we conducted the initial interview over Skype and within a month I had relocated to the North West of England to start my new job.

When I initially applied for the job, I feared the communication barrier may cause problems. My English is very good but I worried, the fact that I wasn’t in the UK for a face to face interview might count against me. I had no reason to worry at all, the staff at ITL made it very easy for me. I also expected problems moving to the UK finding a place to live, but after spending a week in residence I was able to find a nice apartment to live in, convenient for work.

Two weeks after my initial interview I was settled in a new flat near Manchester and started my first day at ITL’s head office in Oldham. Although the weather here might not be what I am used to at home in Portugal, I find the work challenging and exciting and it is exactly the kind of job that I was looking for. After learning about the company and the products I have now started my first project working on the popular NV9 USB. Since moving here I have spent a lot of my free time exploring Manchester and in particular the nightlife which is fantastic!

Vitor Santos, Mechanical Design Engineer. 21/05/14

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www.innovative-technology.co.uk

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 10

The start of April marked the start of the tenth month of my yearlong placement here at ITL.

With all of the admin sorted (as was mentioned in last month’s blog) for my last year at University I am looking forward now to going back to Uni, I’ll be sad to leave ITL and all of the people that have helped me so much throughout this year. It will be a shame to miss out on the new office facilities after seeing the building take shape over the last few months (not to mention put up with the noise).

This month has been a busy month for me. One of my main projects for the marketing department is to create of a new website for one of the offshoot technology businesses that will be announced soon. I have been given creative rights to design the look of the website and its content and it’s a project that I have found very interesting. (Before I finish at the end of June I will try and link the new website to one of my blogs so you can see my work.) My work with the new offshoot business has not just been on the website; I have been working with them for quite a few months now producing content and materials to market the new product range when it is released. Helping build this campaign has been a valuable experience and I will continue to work with them over the next two months to try and get everything perfected.

In late April, Karen Holloren Innovative’s new Recruitment Coordinator gave me the opportunity to assist with the graduate assessment centre that we ran. My role as more of a chaperone allowed me to see the assessment centre from an alternative perspective and not just as a student. As some of you know, as a student I have taken part in a few of these last year so it was interesting to see the other side, and I’m sure it will be useful for any future assessment days that I may have to do.

As you will no doubt have heard, these last few months have been very successful for ITL with the company being named the 13th fastest growing private company in Britain (Sunday Times Profit Track 100) and receiving a Queens’ Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2014. Staff from all of ITL’s European offices have been invited to the UK to attend a celebratory party at the start of June that I am very much looking forward to. It should be a fitting event to mark what the company has achieved over the last few years.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 15/05/14

Edward Clark

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

 

The pursuit of graduates …

I’m fast approaching my 3rd month at Innovative Technology. In that short space of time, I have seen ITL gain a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade (their 3rd Queens Award to date) and be named the 13th fastest growing company in the UK by the Sunday Times. The excitement I felt when joining the company has only increased by witnessing the success it’s having.

I’ve spent my first few months learning about Innovative’s culture, products and people. My main focus since I started has been on Graduate, Apprenticeship & Student recruitment, with 10 roles available, not to mention opportunities for summer work experience; it’s been a challenge that I’m really enjoying.

I now have my first ITL careers fair under my belt; The Sheffield Spring into Jobs Fair that I attended with our Development Manager John Robinson. Although it wasn’t as busy as expected (probably due to the varsity games being held the day before) we did get the chance to talk to some really intelligent students and promote our engineering opportunities.

Due to the high volume of applications we received for our graduate vacancies we decided to run a Graduate Assessment Centre; a half day event that allowed the candidates to demonstrate a wide range of their skills across a variety of activities. This interview format provides a more rounded view of the candidate’s skills as well as providing the candidates with a great opportunity to showcase themselves; more so than in a standard interview. After a successful day we have made offers for 2 of the 3 roles we were looking to fill, and hope to have the third and final offer out shortly.

The next careers fair we will attend is the Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair, held at the University of Leeds on 9th June. Come and see us to learn more about the company and find out about the opportunities we have available.

Recruitment Tip for Grads
You may not have a lot of relevant work-based experience for the role you are applying for, so be sure to include any relevant hobbies you have i.e. you may have built your own computer, you might restore car engines, you may have developed your own computer game! This will help your CV stand out to Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

With a new office being built on the Innovative Business Park, new locations being scouted worldwide and new businesses being created, we have a variety of opportunities for talented individuals to join the ITL family. For details on vacancies, visit: http://www.innovative-technology.co.uk/careers/

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 01/05/14

@KarenITL

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 9, 21st Birthday.

If you’d have asked me twelve months ago I would never have predicted that I’d spend my 21st birthday at work in Oldham! I had a really nice day; Dayna went a little easy on me and the staff here did a presentation and had a big card ready to surprise/embarrass me on the shop floor. Having been caught off guard I can only say that my speech of “Thank you very much guys” was a measly contribution to a lovely gesture.

The whole event and day made me appreciate how well I have been treated since joining ITL and for that and the opportunities that I have been given this year I am very thankful.

Now onto work! My jobs this month have been very varied with Dayna keeping me on my toes; I have been writing scripts for profile videos that I will be filming this coming month, contributed to organising trade exhibitions for the ITL sales team and writing content to publicise our presence at the exhibitions. I have loved the opportunity to contribute so much content for trade press as writing is something that I really enjoy, it wasn’t too long ago that I seriously considered studying journalism at University (although the random capital letters I tend to put in keeps Dayna on her toes).

I have dabbled in photography this month, helping take product and staff pictures with Joe who does all of our in house photography; having bought my own “proper” camera, I will be taking as many tips as I can from him over the next couple of months.

Toward the end of March I was asked to go to a lecture at University about what I will be doing next year, so this month I have been considering my optional module choices and dissertation titles, which is making the prospect of my last year of study, and ultimately finishing University very real. The nature of my placement this year has seen me move around the company (as some of you may know from previous blogs) I have thoroughly enjoyed every section of the business I have been in which has given me a real dilemma when coming to choosing modules.

For those who are interested, I have chosen International Strategic Marketing and Innovation Management. International Strategic Marketing was ultimately quite an easy choice for me, I have, since starting university enjoyed marketing, but Innovation Management is not something I think I would have chosen had I not done a year here at Innovative Technology. Gaining experiences of new product introductions and learning a little bit about patents for innovative products, and the complexities of these tasks have interested me greatly, and it has inspired me to learn more about it.

So as I move on into the middle of April, I have plenty to look forward to over the last two and a half months, not least the remaining staff nights out that are planned in that time.

(The dissertation title is still in the works)

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 15/04/14

Edward Clark

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

ITL Technical Conference

Mirko is a Technical Support Engineer in our German office near Hamburg. Mirko played a key role in the planning and organisation of last month’s technical conference and has taken some time out to document his week.

My week started early on Monday morning with a 03:45 start to catch my flight from Hamburg to Manchester.

After arriving in Manchester with my colleague Christian Czeskleba the week begins with final preparations at the head office in Oldham for an important customer visit on Tuesday.  Representatives from a key European customer are visiting to see our UK operations in action; take a look around the factory, meet key members of the team and see how real orders are processed before dispatch to customers. They enjoyed their short UK visit and got a good feel for how our UK operators work.

On Wednesday I was able to do get back to my day job providing customer technical support but from the Oldham office instead of Pinneberg. It is useful to have some time with the UK support team to share knowledge and experiences.

Thursday and the start of the 3 day ITL Technical Conference organised to further improve the quality of the customer service that we provide to customers. It was a fantastic opportunity for some of the newer support guys to meet the whole team and put some faces to names.  During the three days, I was asked to present on a number of topics from the basics of bank note validators to our global sales structures.

In the evenings during the tech conference we were able to go out, socialising as a group, not only was it good fun but the perfect opportunity to get to know other members of the support team that I do not see every day.  The conference as a whole went so well we are planning another in the not too distant future, hopefully when the weather is a bit warmer! We are looking to further expand the global support team this year so another conference will be welcomed, providing another chance for the whole team to meet up.

A long week ended on Sunday when I touched down at Hamburg at 20:00, ready for a well-deserved rest and my own bed!

Mirko Zwing, Technical Support Engineer, Innovative Technology Germany
08/04/14

Mirko Zwing

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 8

For the first time in a little while it has been light by the time I have gotten in to work and I think I can safely say from all of us here at Innovative it has made us all excited for summer.

Now entering my third month in marketing it has been a fantastic experience so far. A lot of my time in the first couple of months has been used preparing materials and communications for the exhibition season at the start of the year.

In my last blog I told you about the writing of marketing materials for our new SMART Ticket product, I have continued to work closely with the engineers that worked on the project meaning I have learnt in a great deal more depth about the functions and applications of SMART Ticket and other products. In previous departments I haven’t gained as much of an insight into the products, so working in marketing is giving me more of an appreciation of the job that the engineers here do.

I have now started working on our next product release which has meant once again spending time with the engineers working on the product to learn about it and produce the required materials. This along with other exciting projects for the careers website is sure to keep me busy for a little while!

Seeing the new building going up has built a positive atmosphere here at the head office and with the days getting brighter now and even a few days of sunshine (very rare I’ve learned for Oldham!) the anticipation for summer and the new office is high.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 12/03/14

Edward Clark

 

www.innovative-technology.co.uk

 

Tim Beswick celebrates 20 years with ITL

This month we celebrated Senior Software Engineer Tim Beswick’s 20th year at Innovative Technology. In a presentation given in front of the staff here at our Oldham head office he said “over the last twenty years, this company has not only gone places but it is still going places”.

Tim started his career at Innovative in 1994 when the Head Office consisted of several people in a small building in Royton where he worked as a repair technician fixing NV1 units. He reflected “the office was very small and there was no internal computer network, just three computers in the building and if you needed to transfer a file it had to be done by floppy disk”. Back then Innovative consisted of no more than several people and Tim remarked on the incredible transformation that the company has made since then, “When we moved to our Derker Street location we didn’t have many people and to think now that we have 100 staff here is amazing, but also the fact that the company has retained that family atmosphere”.

Working on the NV1s, Tim came into ITL on the back of a Diploma in Electronics from Oldham College and from very early on took an interest in computing and coding; he began writing software for testing programmes which ultimately lead to his later promotions. Firstly to a software development Engineer, after which he progressed quickly from a Development Engineer, to a Lead Engineer and to what he is today; senior Software Engineer.

When asked about what has kept him here at Innovative for so long it seemed to be a close call between what he called the ‘family atmosphere’ that ITL has retained despite the rapid growth, and the opportunities that he took to progress into to new roles within the company appearing as new challenges for him.

Tim was keen to emphasis his admiration toward the company’s hiring policies saying that “ITL isn’t hung up on qualifications alone; it’s more weighted toward trust and ability; if someone here can prove their ability they will be given the chance to progress.”

With a focus on the future and helping Innovative stay at the forefront of the Industry, Tim also has something else to think about in 2014. Where will he go with the travel vouchers he received as a gift for his 20 years service?

26/02/2014  Written by Edward Clark.

tim celebrates 20 years

Tim Beswick & Aidan Towey