Please welcome our five new starters!

Over the last couple of weeks we have had five new starters join our team! Working in all different departments, please welcome, Ciaran, Brian, Lee, Sabri and Ross!

Ciaran | Office Assistant
 Ciaran has joined Northern Industrial temporarily to help with our product photography. Living with his family in Wilpshire, he also has five cats because his cat had kittens and he just couldn’t resist keeping some of them. Before working with us he worked at Marks and Spencer however, he is looking to start at the University of Salford this year studying graphic design. When he’s not working he enjoys freelance graphic design, playing his guitar and going to regular gigs. Back in high school, Ciaran was on a school trip where he broke his ankle climbing up a mountain and got stuck up there for a couple of hours waiting for mountain rescue! The best place he’s been on holiday is Ireland and his best achievement is doing a 5k race with his dad.


Brian | Electronic Engineer
Brian has recently joined our engineering team at Northern Industrial but before working with us he worked for Dynamax where he also was an engineer. He currently lives in Blackburn with his four year old son and three cats. When Brian’s not working he enjoys fixing things like radios, he also has an interest in digital art and electronic music and in his spare time he plays the synthesizer! Brian is lucky enough to have been able to travel Europe with work, but out of all the places he’s been on holiday he said the Canary Islands were his favourite. When speaking with Brian he said his best achievement is raising his son as a single parent!


Lee | Trade Counter Apprentice
Lee has started an apprenticeship here at Northern Industrial and is part of the Trade Counter team! He lives with his family and cat Tully in Simonstone and when he’s not picking and packing deliveries for us he goes out with his friends. In Lee’s spare time he loves to keep fit and his hobbies are playing both football and golf and in summer he enjoys going on holiday to his family’s villa in sunny Bulgaria!


Sabri | Apprentice Electronic Engineer
We also recently welcomed Sabri to the engineering team as an apprentice but before working with us, Sabri worked full time at TMS! Currently living in Baxenden with his family and Yorkshire Terrier Bobby, in his spare time Sabri likes playing his guitar and like any lad, going out for drinks with his mates on the weekend. He also said his favourite place to go is Amsterdam, he likes it that much he’s been there 3 times! When asking him what he’s proud of, Sabri said looking after his sister that was diagnosed with autism at an early age.


Ross | PHP Developer
Our new PHP developer, Ross worked at Datamatters Ltd before joining us but before that he was a maths teacher where he realised teaching wasn’t the job for him. Newly-wed, Ross lives in Darwen with his wife but unfortunately doesn’t have any pets yet however, they’re looking at getting a dog in the future! Ross likes to keep fit by open water swimming and going on regular walks with his wife where he’ll enjoy a pint of local ale in nearby pubs. When he was back in school he competed on the TV show 50/50 and they won, unfortunately he can’t find the episode for us to watch! His favourite holiday has to be Iceland where he got to watch the Northern Lights whilst relaxing in a hot tub and his proudest moment was when he married his wife.

Bespoke Panel Reduces the need for a PLC in Shot Peening Applications

We recently had a customer who required a panel building to control their shot peening process. Shot peening is a process of shaping sheet metal by flooding it with a stream of metal shot. Peening is a popular method of hardening and strengthening the metal as it improves the material properties, normally by mechanical means like hammer blows, by blasting with shot or light beams (laser peening). This is usually a cold work process and it expands the surface of the cold metal, as a result of that it induces compressive stress or relieves tensile stress that was already present.


What did we do?

We built the panel that controls the three axes that control the shot peening process. Rather than use a PLC to communicate with all of the equipment and control the process, we implemented variable speed drives and a HMI that could communicate via Ethernet.

First, we used a drive from the Control Techniques M700 range which includes an Advanced Motion Controller capable of controlling 1.5 axes. With this, the motion functions are carried out ‘on the drive’ so that system performance is maximised.  The drives also come with an onboard PLC for logic programs and onboard real-time Ethernet (IEEE 1588 V2) which uses RTMoE (Real Time Motion over Ethernet) to provide fast communication and accurate axis synchronisation. We utilised the onboard Ethernet to communicate between drives and control the three axes of the machine.

Next we installed a HMI from the new Beijer X2 Pro range. The HMI uses Modbus TCP/IP to communicate with the Control Techniques variable speed drives.

Setting it up

Three software packages were used to program and enable each part of the system to communicate. For the drives, we used the M Connect software for the drive configuration parameters and Machine Control Studio for the onboard PLC on the M700 drive which is an industry standard IEC61131-3 programming environment for efficient system design and configuration. The iX Developer software for the Beijer X2 Series enabled us to program and design the custom screens used to control the process.

Here at Northern Industrial we can help you with any design projects or retrofits and provide 360° support from initial consultation through to installation and commissioning. Get in touch today for a informal no-obligation chat on or call us on 0800 234 3747.

Drives in industry: Papermaking

In order to meet modern paper mill production schedules, papermaking machinery such as embossers, print units, conveyors, tissue winders and suction rolls need to utilise the modern latest drive technologies. Using modern technology also reduces the risk of downtime and maintenance issues, saving money in the long run!

Papermaking machinery require high-performance levels that are way in advance of straightforward functionality. After all, modern paper mills are a lot different to the traditional mills where animals or water provided the power. 21st-century mills are now a lot more efficient, however, they are complex, powered by the latest motors, drives and software.

Ethernet has also taken off, paper mills appreciate the benefits of employing a single network technology form the boardroom to the shop floor. In order to have better operational control, it is important to vertically integrate everything from sensors to accounting software. At the same time, Ethernet-based networks allowed more flexibility when expanding or installing control systems within the manufacturing process chain.

A solution for papermaking machinery would consist of integrated drives, automation, safety and networking. More advanced drives are capable of facilitating excellent motor performance with real-time Ethernet, such as the Control Techniques Unidrive M700 Series. Not only that, they offer a fully integrated safety system following EN ISO 13849-1.

Ethernet is capable of offering drive-to-drive synchronisation and controller technology is used to make the drives work and communicate. The changes to the latest drive technology differentiate themselves with exceptionally fast current control algorithms and high-switching frequencies. Co-processor modules can be deployed to perform cascade speed control.

In order to receive benefits such as on-board advanced motion control, multi-protocol encoder connectivity and savings in cables, tissue and paper-based manufacturers must upgrade the drive systems in their production machines.

Engineers need to take a lot into consideration when it comes to upgrading drive systems. They need to make sure the new drive is completely compatible with the drive that is being replaced. For example, in terms of weight and dimensions, the new drive has to offer full mechanical compatibility. Engineers also check to see if the mounting holes can be reused, this cancels out the need to drill more holes. It also makes upgrading easier if the drive offers the same power and control wiring philosophy, and the same menu and parameter structure, making it easier to transfer parameters.

Engineers typically install the latest drives for the control of motors in conveyors when upgrading. Another common application is embossers, this is where paper veils are matched together in order to make final tissue products thicker and softer. Today’s drives can control print units, as well as winders and unwinders, these bring materials to the further stages of the process.

The combination of the real-time Ethernet delivery and permanent magnet servo motors are efficient and effective, therefore they maximise the amount of material that passes through the machines – this makes it more cost effective for the paper or tissue manufacturer. This is backed up by high-speed I/O as it helps with position capture and greaters the control with single and multi-axis network synchronisation. It’s now easier than ever for machine builders to create more advanced and flexible papermaking machinery.

In order to support the drives, a number of additional module/software configurations are essential. These configurations provide a programming environment suitable for the high-performance motion and functionality which is required in papermaking machinery operations. The very latest applications modules include high-performance microprocessors – avoiding the need for an external PLC, panel and related accessories, and it also ensures high speed program execution.

There are many benefits of such modules, including real-time access to all of the drive parameters, data from I/O and other drives. For the best performance for drive control and motion, tasks are synchronised to the drives own control loops.

It is thought that in the near future the papermaking industry is preparing for the use of intelligent drive and motor solutions that are able to play a key role in collecting information and providing the first line of processing. This data can also be converted into helpful information for a varied range of applications, such as predictive diagnostics, process optimisation and machine-to-machine integration.

Here at Northern Industrial we have a wide range of drives available from manufacturers including Control Techniques and Danfoss. For more information, please contact our friendly sales team or browse our range of variable speed drives.

Drives in industry: HVAC Systems

One of the most popular energy management tools introduced into heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems is the variable frequency drive (VFD). For around 30 years, VFDs have been installed on fan and pump motors. This trend started because they save energy of 50% or more in comparison to conventional constant speed drive solutions. These days, energy costs are important for businesses and building owners, making energy-efficient HVAC solutions very popular.

Continue reading…

Please welcome Ian to Northern Industrial!

Please welcome Ian, joining our team at the Trade Counter. Before working at Northern Industrial, Ian ran his own business in the motor trade for 30 years but before that he was an apprentice. Living locally with his wife and son in Blackburn, when he’s not at work he enjoys spending time with his family and keeping active. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf, cycling and going out on his motorbike. Not only that, Ian has completed cycling challenges in his time, including a 200km race and has walked the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. Even when he goes on family holidays he enjoys to stay active, his favourite holiday was a skiing trip in Les Arcs in France. He also said his proudest moment had to be having his son and his best achievement was running a successful business for so long!

Please welcome Cesare

Cesare is our newest member of the sales team, joining us as an Italian speaking Account Manager. Cesare moved from Italy nearly three years ago and before working at Northern Industrial he was a Customer Representative at NCO. Moving to England for work, he currently lives in Preston with his wife, daughter and cat. When Cesare isn’t at work looking after our Italian customers, he enjoys reading comic books, spending time with his family and keeping active. Before he moved over to England he studied languages at university and back in Italy he enjoyed wrestling. Cesare enjoys travelling but he said his favourite place was going to America for his honeymoon and his best achievement was having his daughter!

Go wireless with Danfoss!


Danfoss has gone wireless! Many Danfoss drives from the VLT family are now available with a new HMI module. When used with the MyDrive® Connect app, the VLT Wireless Communication panel LCP 103 can perform commissioning, operation, monitoring and maintenance tasks from your smart device or tablet, free to download on IOS and Android.
The app is designed to benefit applications where the keypad is too difficult to access, such as hoists, lifts and cranes. It also eliminates the inconvenience of having to carry around a control panel to monitor and configure drives.

The LCP 103 shows the drive status to inform you of warnings, alarms and the wifi connectivity through LEDs. You can then access detailed information by using the MyDrive® Connect app through your smart device. On the app you can view status messages, startup menus and alarm/warning events. Not only that, over time the performance of your drive is logged on the app and is shown in graphs. Every manufacturer’s nightmare is downtime but with the LCP 103 you receive real-time error messages via the app, meaning engineers can respond quickly to issues and reduce downtime.

You can store copies of the drive parameters in both the internal memory of the VLT Wireless Communication Panel LCP 103 and your smart device itself. In order to make it easier to provide relevant support for troubleshooting, all log details can be shared from your MyDrive® Connect app. In the case of the driving crashing/connection loss from the app to drive, safe control parameter allows the user to decide the performance of the drive.

The VLT Wireless Communication panel LCP 103 is compatible with the VLT AutomationDrive FC 302, VLT AQUA Drive FC 202, VLT Lift Drive LD 302 as well as the VLT HVAC Drive FC 102. For any Danfoss enquiries please contact our sales team on

Please welcome Stephen and Tanzeel, our newest electronic engineers!

Also joining us earlier this month, Stephen moved back all the way from Queensland, Australia where he lived for 10 years and owned his own business. He has recently moved back to Longridge with his family before he buys a house. When Stephen isn’t at work he does a lot of programming, enjoys going on walks and going to the pub when he’s got time! When Stephen was younger he enjoyed travelling and has been to many places including around Europe and Israel.


Tanzeel joined us earlier this month, before working at Northern Industrial he worked as a maintenance engineer at YK Services. Living locally in Blackburn with his parents and cat, Max, he also studied Electrical Engineering at the University Centre in Blackburn. Not only does he work with electronics, Tanzeel enjoys messing around with electronics and building things at home, he’s also a dab hand with a needle and thread! He said his proudest moment has to be when he helped an old woman get her car keys when they fell down a grate! Like anyone, Tanzeel loves going on holiday, his favourite place so far is Germany.

Introducing Billy!

Please welcome our newest bench engineer, Billy! Before working at Northern Industrial, Billy completed an apprenticeship in electronic engineering with Burnley College and lives locally with his parents in Rishton. When Billy’s not repairing and refurbing automation parts, he enjoys playing and watching football with his mates, followed by a drink or 10! When he can, Billy loves going on lads holidays, last year he went to Amsterdam three times and is looking forward to a trip to Prague in April.

Please welcome Daniel and Lee

Welcoming our newest Northern Industrial driver, Daniel! He will be dropping off repairs to all of our local customers and possibly picking up pizzas on our fat Fridays! Before working at Northern Industrial, Daniel worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Originally from Blackburn, he lives there now with his wife, daughter and twin boys. Daniel studied business management at Edgehill University but before that he was in the RAF where he managed to parachute jump 32 times! Daniel used to play football but since having kids he’s devoted all his spare time to them. He also enjoys travelling and his favourite place is Florida. He said his best achievement was having his children. If you’re one of our local customers, you may come to recognise this face!



Currently living in Chorley with his girlfriend, fish and dog Seth, Lee has joined us to help develop and improve our website. After deciding uni wasn’t for him he became a web developer for Chorley Health Foods. In his spare time, Lee likes going to the pub, streaming films from home and going out with his girlfriend. His hobbies include, playing squash and football. When Lee was younger, he set off backpacking around Europe, his favourite country was Estonia. He also said his best achievement was when he got asked to make an egg custard and it was actually edible!