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.


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.


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.


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!


Michael Tilson, Graduate Design Engineer

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.


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.


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.


Michael Tilson, Graduate Design Engineer


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!


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.


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.


Michael Tillson, Graduate Design Engineer


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.


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.


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.


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.


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