Mitsubishi Electric has joined forces with Dowding and Mills to create an Automation Service Centre for Scotland, at Bellshill, near Glasgow
The core offering of this new business will be scheduled maintenance servicing, in which a D+M engineer regularly attends customers' sites to perform routine maintenance works such as program back-up, tuning, cleaning and minor repairs.
This will allow manufacturers to optimise their own in-house engineering functions, removing a lot of the mundane but vital tasks that would otherwise distract engineers from their specialist duties.
There will also be rapid repair and emergency call-out services, so that downtime and unscheduled stoppages can be reduced to a minimum.
These packages will be tailored to the customer's business requirements.
The local support and expertise that the new centre will offer is particularly important to users of Mitsubishi equipment supplied through third parties such as distributors and OEM machine builders, who may not have forged direct links with Mitsubishi.
George Patterson, Mitsubishi's regional manager for Scotland, says: "Automation equipment tends to be very reliable, but if it does need a service or repair we like to be able to do it quickly and simply.
"This is important for many of our Scottish customers who run continuous process plants such as distilleries, food packing and processing, paper mills, aluminium smelters and oil and gas facilities.
"For these people, downtime can be cripplingly expensive, so we need to form a strong local relationship and understand their businesses as well as they do themselves".
Dowding and Mills is the UK's largest independent engineering and electronics services company offering a rapid support, service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In total, Dowding and Mills has 54 locations, 38 in the UK.
Originally motor rewinders, Dowding and Mills has expanded over the years to offer a full range of industrial support services including industrial electronics repairs and control system engineering, encompassing programmable logic controllers, drives and soft starts process control, instrumentation and NC/CNC systems.
The idea for the new Automation Service Centre was in fact a joint effort by both companies.
Originally Dowding and Mills Bellshill approached Mitsubishi proposing a drives servicing arrangement, but Patterson had already been thinking along lines of a service operation of the full range of Mitsubishi drives, PLCs, HMIs, servos etc.
Brian Park, Dowding's branch manager, takes up the story: "When George saw our on-site capabilities and workshop facilities, he became very keen on a developing a partnership for service.
"The Scottish Industrial economy is currently very strong, a situation that is not forecast to change for at least the next few years".
Mitsubishi trails many of its new business ideas in one area then rolls it out national and internationally once the concept has been proven and perfected.
So it is likely that more service centres will be established in the coming years, each supporting a defined region.
Speaking from Mitsubishi's head office in Hatfield Herts, Jeff Whiting says: "Supporting users is a vital part of our corporate philosophy.
"Getting to understand individual installations allows us to deploy our massive automation expertise and optimise production systems to ever higher new levels.
"By partnering with Dowding and Mills we can make unprecedented resources available to manufacturers and process companies and help improve productivity to world class standards."