- Register


Home >Suppliers >RS Components UK Ltd
RS Components UK Ltd

1/8     (1 to 10 of 80)

AM goes mainstream 20/06/2022

Mike Bray looks at how growth of the additive manufacturing industry is paving the way for mainstream application

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING (AM) has come a long way since the concept emerged in 1945, and its primitive practice in 1971 – with the first commercial machines following in the 80s. Fast forward almost 50 years and technology and adoption have exponentially increased, not least as a result of significant pandemic-induced disruption – where supply chain issues led industry players to find solutions such as rapid prototyping to fulfil their production requirements.

According to McKinsey & Company, the AM sector had grown by 2020 to a £13.4 billion industry with a 22 per cent annual growth rate. The explosion in its application means this dynamic sector now has more than 200 players developing hardware, software and materials to meet the growing demand. The growth in technology, access to cost-effective solutions and increasing adoption across many industries, providing inspiration, will further its appeal and adoption.

RS recognised how AM was fast becoming relevant to key industry developments including the connected world, sustainability, democratisation of manufacturing and hyper-personalisation. It recently developed a partnership with digital manufacturer Protolabs, as part of its Design and Manufacturing Solutions suite, in recognition of the importance of providing access to services that can facilitate the fast provision of prototypes or parts for a wide variety of applications.

Endless applications

While 3D printing of components in large quantities can be cost-prohibitive, as materials available in a suitable form for processing using AM equipment are expensive, it is ideal for producing frequent low-volume, low-cost custom tools and fixtures. Being able to 3D print components to aid rapid prototyping also gives engineers and designers unrestricted creative freedom, and they can use the rapid prototype testing to develop part that generate more revenue – so there’s no doubt that AM technology has dramatically changed the landscape and industrial space.

A sector that has really capitalised on the advances in AM is the medical devices industry. In the case of products such as implants and prosthetics – where high customisation is required - and aids such as anatomical models for educational use, AM is widely and routinely used. While in the automotive sector, Audi has used the technology to create tools to support manufacturing processes. 3D printers have even been used in old and classic car maintenance, to produce replacement parts that are no longer available.  

At RS, we have worked with many customers to help them innovate using 3D printing – including sound level reduction systems provider Preventec, which operates in a competitive industry where standards are changing rapidly. Most of its products include a sonometer with a tip, the quality of which determines the quality of noise measurement and ultimately the safety of users. Using 3D printing services for rapid prototyping enabled them to further develop their product, without the high cost of previous in-house development where conventional machining forms took time and proved expensive.

And in our own business, not only have we used the technology to print rubber-tip grip products for our robot picking tools – increasing efficiency and reducing downtime and costs through the on-site ability to print spare parts as needed – but we also used our DesignSpark engineering platform to help with the production of NHS-accepted protective visors in 2020, when the pandemic spurred high demand that could not be fulfilled. We reached out to the 930,000-strong community, urging members with access to a 3D printer to join the urgent campaign to produce the protective visors to help shield medical and care professionals at high risk of contracting the coronavirus. This was a partner initiative with the non-profit social enterprise National 3D Printing Society (N3DPS), and we teamed up with our RS PRO supplier to donate 400kg of PLA filament to N3DPS from end-of-reel-supplies, to facilitate the production of up to 20,000 visor frames. We also set up a 3D printing farm in Corby, Northamptonshire, to help produce more than 1,000 3-D printed visors per week for the initiative.

Rapid prototyping

An industrial scale AM solution is beyond the reach of many end users. Integrating machines into production workflows and vendor-specific control software into systems used in the wider plant can be barriers for manufacturers who may struggle to even seen how AM can benefit them. Access to the right training and support beyond installation can also be a challenge. However, working with AM service providers is a viable approach for those who want to access the technology. From research conducted across the RS customer base, together with the DesignSpark community, it became apparent to RS that AM services were a real desire for customers: in fact, it highlighted that 3D printing services were in their top three ‘most wanted’. This led to the creation of a partnership between RS and Protolabs which enables us to support our customers in their adoption of AM through our product range, with the major benefit for customers being access to a service that negates equipment investment or skills training.

The Design and Manufacturing Solutions suite service enables users to upload a file, materials are ordered, and then automated systems employed by Protolabs enable fast production of parts – which can be in as little as one day. By utilising an outsourced service such as this from a specialist, high precision is guaranteed. The 3D printing technologies offered by Protolabs include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography (SLA), Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF), PolyJet (3D printed silicone) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). The parts can be produced in a wide range of plastics and metals.

There are few limitations in complexity of 3D geometries that can be achieved with 3D printing, and in comparison with traditional prototyping methods, waste is significantly reduced. The speed the technology offers enables designers to experiment and still achieve a quicker design cycle phase, with precision, quality and consistency.

But while there is little perceived benefit for many manufacturers to move to AM over conventional manufacturing techniques for the production of regular, high volume parts, the advantage comes when the AM capabilities are used to integrate multiple features into a single component, to reduce the number of parts or process steps. Using an outsourced service allows players to dip a toe to see how the technology could benefit their production.

So while AM has largely been a slow burner since its inception in the middle of the 20th century, the advances in recent years in terms of the availability of faster machines, improved materials, and more intuitive software are factors contributing to the growth of AM as a more viable solution for a wide range of production applications. Manufacturers should embrace the concept in order to capitalise on the opportunities of this ever-evolving and exciting landscape.

Mike Bray is group lead – innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at Electrocomponents


Key Points

  • AM has fast become relevant to the connected world, sustainability, democratisation of manufacturing and hyper-personalisation
  • AM capabilities can be used to integrate multiple features into a single component, reducing the number of parts or process steps
  • Using an outsourced service allows players to dip a toe to see how the technology could benefit their production

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

RS enters new Eurocircuits partnership 20/12/2021

RS Components has expanded its design and manufacturing solutions offering by partnering with Eurocircuits – a specialist manufacturer and assembler of prototype and small series Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

This will give customers of RS even more choice with access to solutions that will help them in their digital transformation efforts - supporting engineers, designers, procurement professionals/buyers and maintainers, with an interest in reducing down-time, saving money and iterative design. The move is in line with RS’ commitment to provide innovation for customers, helping them navigate digital transformation and the adoption of Industry 4.0. – and follows the recent Protolabs partnership announcement.

Mike Bray, group lead, innovation, R&D and DesignSpark at Electrocomponents, commented: “We’re delighted to announce this latest partnership with Eurocircuits, which was identified as an ideal partner for RS and DesignSpark due to the firm’s passion and commitment in the sustainability space, which aligns with RS’ vision and our ‘For a Better World’ strategy. The aim of our Design and Manufacturing Solutions programme is to support customers in maximising the opportunities around Industry 4.0. The addition of Eurocircuits will provide a fast, user-friendly service for our customers.”

Under the service, PCB prototypes can be manufactured in three days, and assembled in three days – catering for the crucial time-to-market element for developers in meeting shorter lead times to maximise potential of their product. Eurocircuits has invested heavily in equipment and automated processes to facilitate this service.

Dirk Stans, managing partner at Eurocircuits, said: “Eurocircuits have been providing Prototype & Small Series PCB manufacturing and assembly to our customers on short turnaround times, from global companies to hobbyists, for the last 30 years. We are excited to be able to offer these services to RS customers as part of their Design and Manufacturing Solutions. The partnership with RS is a natural fit, with our first class PCB visualisation tools to ensure ‘right first time for manufacture’, coupled with our strong environmental drive as a company.”

The RS Design and Manufacturing Solutions sits within a suite of services such as calibration, procurement, maintenance and inventory solutions – a broad offering that supports customers in all fields across the industrial sphere, giving them even more choice.

To find out more about the RS and DesignSpark Design and Manufacturing solutions, visit https://uk.rs-online.com/web/generalDisplay.html?id=our-services/manufacturing-solutions.

More about Eurocircuits’ services can be found at https://www.eurocircuits.com/

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

RS PRO enclosure range extended 14/09/2020

RS COMPONENTS has expanded its RS PRO portfolio of enclosures designed for industrial applications to include fibre-glass-reinforced plastic units 
ideal for deployment in harsh industrial environments including transportation.

For use by factory maintenance technicians and electrical installers, the expanded range of RS PRO enclosures now features new units manufactured from fibre-glass-reinforced plastic, moulded by hot compression techniques. All the enclosures come in a light grey colour (RAL 7035) and are supplied with a galvanised-steel backplate and wall-mounting fixings. The units are especially ideal for transportation applications.

All of the lightweight units offer easy installation and come with an anti-intruder hinge system and wide door opening – up to 180ºC – with door reversibility for opening on the left or right. The units also offer more than 10 years of life under standard environmental conditions and without any maintenance necessary.

The halogen-free units have been built to withstand the 960ºC glow-wire test and are double insulated to prevent electrical contact risks. The units come with a certification of compliance to IEC62208 for empty enclosures for use with low-voltage switchgear and control-equipment assemblies. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and provide protection to IP66 as part of the EN60529 standard.

The expanded range of RS PRO enclosures is shipping now in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. The RS PRO branded portfolio from RS includes a choice of more than 66,000 proven quality and high-value products across all applications and industries.


Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

Four supplier solutions for ventilators now available from RS 06/07/2020

RS Components is providing ongoing support for makers, manufacturers and engineers around the world eager to support the fight against COVID-19 through building and supplying ventilators.

Ventilators are highly complex electromechanical devices, designed by experts in their field using the most optimal components. RS has collated four supplier solutions from Maxim, Microchip, STMicroelectronics and Renesas and made them available through a dedicated Ventilator Solutions landing page for any engineers or makers looking to build their own ventilator.

"RS is uniquely capable of supplying the vast majority of components needed to realise a ventilator solution," commented Lynn Ma, Supplier Manager at RS (pictured). "By providing easier access to these supplier solutions and the components that enable them, we hope we are able to better support the global efforts to combat COVID-19."

While the pandemic continues to put pressure on medical institutions the need for ventilators will continue. Until that threat passes, RS will support the engineering community worldwide, in whatever way it can.

Other open source designs for medical devices are available via RS, including pulse oximeter solutions from Maxim, Microchip and ON Semiconductor.

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

3D-printed PPE 02/07/2020

The success of the UK's National 3D Printing Society’s initiative allows RS to refocus its efforts on the international need for 3D-printed face visors during COVID-19 pandemic.

RS Components is broadening its focus to help frontline healthcare workers around the world access 3D-printed personal protection equipment (PPE). The company’s DesignSpark engineering community has been very active in supporting the National 3D Printing Society’s (N3DPS) UK campaign, which has now officially drawn to a close.

3D printing has played a key role in the UK, helping to keep medical staff and key workers safe since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Enlisting 3D printers to manufacture PPE provided the vital fillip needed until more conventional manufacturers were able to ramp up production.

Mike Bray, Group Vice President of Innovation and DesignSpark at RS, said: “We are proud to be continuing to assist in the 3D printing effort. The UK was hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19, with global supply chains for PPE stretched to breaking point. Every volunteer who has given their time and effort across all of these initiatives should be very proud to have played their part."

Support from igus

In April, RS set up a 3D printing farm in Corby, Northamptonshire, to support the collective effort and has since printed hundreds of visor frames. Fellow Northamptonshire company igus was responsible for assembling the face visors, with staff volunteering their time to add the plastic sheets to the community printed frames for distribution. Part of the company’s Northampton facility was quickly repurposed as an emergency production line, which at the peak was turning out 1000 pieces of PPE per day.

Matthew Aldridge, Managing Director of igus UK commented: “When we became aware of this project, we volunteered to help with the assembly of the face visors. Within hours the production line was set up, within days PPE was being delivered to frontline workers, all using igus people, usually working in their own time to make it happen."

over 250,000 visors have been produced in just two months

Thousands of other volunteers, schools and businesses across the UK have also supported not only this initiative but many others, including 3D Crowd UK and Makers 4 the NHS. Collectively these groups have helped to ensure that over 250,000 visors have been produced in just two months.

This period of support through 3D printing relieved the sudden pressure on injection moulding companies around the UK, including igus, allowing them time to build production to thousands of visors each day, using a much more efficient and sustainable method of manufacturing. Injection moulding not only produces the visors in larger quantities, but also increases the product consistency and quality.

Stock levels of traditional PPE are also returning around the UK. RS now has over 140,000 PPE Class I certified face shields in stock and available for free next working day delivery, along with a host of other equipment including disposable face masks.

As a result, there has been a significant reduction in the demand for auxiliary PPE prints. This, coupled with a recent UK Government guidance document which required some significant changes to be made to current processes being used by voluntary organisations, has led to many initiatives pausing or ending production completely.

With thousands of assembled visors remaining within the National 3D Printing Society’s network which have not cleared the new guidelines set by government, these will instead be diverted to countries outside of the EU that are able to use them, working with the Red Cross. RS and igus are also working to explore support for other initiatives in Africa and Moldova respectively.

Any remaining funds from the £14,472 crowdfunded for the N3DPS campaign, are being donated to MedSupplyDrive UK, an organisation run by volunteer NHS doctors and medical students to purchase PPE for frontline workers. MedSupplyDrive UK has been a key partner in the initiative, alongside igus, RS Components, ByBox, the Gap Partnership, SHIELD and the Nottinghamshire Community Foundation.

Key Points

  • 3D printing has played a key role in helping to keep UK medical staff and key workers safe since the start of the Covid-19 crisis
  • In April, RS set up a 3D printing farm in Corby, Northamptonshire, to support the collective effort and has printed hundreds of visor frames
  • igus was responsible for assembling the face visors, with staff volunteering their time to add the plastic sheets to community printed frames

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

Global design challenge to combat isolation 18/05/2020

RS Components has joined forces with Nordic Semiconductor and the UK's largest gas network operator, Cadent, to launch a global 'Connect the Community' competition calling for practical examples of how technology could transform the lives of people in isolation.

Using their extensive network of customers and stakeholders, the three companies hope to engage with creative minds to devise new solutions, and then connect the people behind those solutions with sources of funding that can help make their ideas a reality. The competition is open to engineers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, whatever their technical skill levels.

Product concepts should be driven by low-power wireless technologies such as Bluetooth LE, Thread and Cellular IoT (LTE-M or NB-IoT), be easy to use, and accessible to people in a range of vulnerable circumstances. Ideas could focus on the purely practical, such as new ways to detect hazards in the home, or the fundamental, like ways of maintaining mental and physical fitness, and even the critical, such as raising alarms or requesting support from authorities and utility providers.

Technical skills are useful, but not essential, as the winning designs will be offered product development support by RS and Nordic to bring the concepts to life. Both companies offer extensive free design resources through their online engineering communities: RS’ DesignSpark (https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/home) platform and the Nordic DevZone (https://devzone.nordicsemi.com/). In the latter stage of the competition, Cadent will consider the winners for further support to access various funding mechanisms, which, if they are successful, will help them take their ideas through to production and implementation.

Sam Presley, Lead Inspiration Engineer from the Grass Roots team at RS Components, said: “We’re inviting people to think big to transform the lives of those living in isolation. This is a fantastic opportunity for budding innovators to showcase their ideas, skills and ambition – working towards a cause that truly matters.

“By taking part, there is also the potential to win prizes and awards and gain further exposure to companies on the lookout for innovators.

“We’re delighted to offer special support to innovators under the age of 25 through The Youth Group’s Mentor Me programme, which matches young people to business mentors for virtual guidance and advice on entrepreneurship.”

Claire Steed, Regional Sales Manager at Nordic Semiconductor, added, “We don’t want to limit creativity by dictating the scope of the challenge – all we’re stipulating is that solutions must be easy to use and accessible to people in a range of vulnerable circumstances.”

“This competition isn’t just for engineering or design experts. Whether you're a master of digital technology or you simply just have a great idea, we want to hear from you.”

Jo Giles, Cadent Customer Safeguarding Manager, said: “We’re looking for innovators and creatives to make the most of the lockdown and to come up with inventions that will help transform the lives of the isolated in regard to both their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Typically, we may think of people who are elderly or ill as being most affected by isolation, however, the coronavirus pandemic has shown how anyone can become
isolated by circumstances. We’re on the hunt for innovative solutions that can help people stay safe, warm and connected as they remain in their home.”

The ‘Connect the Community’ challenge is hosted on RS Components’ engineering platform DesignSpark, which has a global engineering community of over 950,000 members.

For more information and to submit ideas, go to https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/connect-the-community. The closing date for submissions is 09:00 GMT on Friday 3 July 2020.

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

Quick & cost effective equipment status indicators 25/02/2020

RS Components has launched the RS PRO range of preassembled, prewired and modular LED signal towers, providing OEM automation engineers and maintenance buyers with a cost effective means of visually signalling equipment faults and other machine states.

Besides preassembled signal towers, the RS PRO range of nearly 120 products includes individual LED light elements, sounder units and prewired tower base units that can be user assembled according to individual requirements.

RS PRO preassembled, prewired signal towers include “elliptical” dome-shaped and cylindrical tower-shaped variants designed to improve the safety and productivity of control and automation equipment. Supplied with either two (red and green) or three (red, amber and green) LED light modules, they are quick to install on 100mm, 70mm or 50mm diameter bases. Prewiring makes it easy to map colours to functions, and to switch the signal output of individual coloured modules. Light element options include steady or flashing settings and various light effects.

Preassembled signal tower modules can be disassembled and reassembled quickly without tools or disconnecting the power supply — to add or exchange LED modules, for example. All are ergonomically designed, and ingress protected to IP66.

Individual light elements are available with blue, amber, red, green, yellow and clear LEDs. Also available are piezoelectric acoustic alarm modules, which provide up to 16 continuous or intermittent sound output options, and red LED warning bars.

RS PRO prewired base units have seven electrical contacts, allowing each to support up to seven LED modules or six LEDs and a sounder module. The electrical connection is made safely via an IP20 touch-proof connector. A wide range of mounting accessories includes surface-mount bases for flat surfaces, wall mounting brackets, and extension poles of various lengths.

Supply voltage options include 12–24VAC/DC and 120/240VAC.

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

RS launches DesignSpark Power Technology Hub 06/02/2020

RS Components has announced the creation of a new technology hub on its DesignSpark website. A valuable resource for design engineers and students, it includes free design tools and a breadth of key product and system development information.

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated Products, a leader in power semiconductors, the DesignSpark Power Technology Hub (https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/power) features learning material, application examples, new products, reference designs and free software tools for use by design engineers working on the next generation of power systems for the diverse requirements across a multitude of applications.

Effective power management –and especially low-power technology–is critical for all electrical and electronic circuits: from battery-management ICs for low-power applications using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communications, for example, to motor-drive ICs and DC/DC converters up to complete power supplies.

In addition to working with Maxim on the new hub, RS recently signed a distribution agreement with Maxim. RS is significantly expanding its Maxim portfolio to include new power components such as DC-DC converters, as well as devices such as sensors and microcontroller development kits for internet of things (IoT), industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and the growing expanse of wearable applications.

“Our new power tech hub is not only an excellent learning resource for design engineers who are new to power design but is also a point of reference for seasoned designers looking to discover the latest power products and technologies,” said Mike Bray, Vice President of DesignSpark at RS. “We continue to prosper in our relationship with Maxim, working in close collaboration to expand the choice of power ICs for our customers, along with many other devices such as sensors, analogue components and products for IoT development.”

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

High power density for IIoT applications 23/01/2020

RS Components has announced availability of a new series of encapsulated switch-mode power supplies (SMPS), offering the smallest 3W AC/DC power solution available on the market.

Manufactured by Recom, a leading European developer and maker of AC/DC and DC/DC power devices, the highly versatile RAC03-K series of modules has been designed for a wide range of applications and comes with international safety certifications for use in IT equipment and various household devices, as well as being well suited to IoT power designs in home and industrial automation and Industry 4.0 applications.

Offering a very high power density, the series comes in a highly compact 1in2 footprint and delivers 3W single-output power across the –40 to +60°C operating temperature range and 2W up to +80°C. In addition, a key metric is the series’ no-load power consumption of less than 150mW, supporting the EU’s Ecodesign Lot 6 power design study for optimised standby-mode and off-mode power losses.

Offering the universal input voltage range from 85 to 264V AC, the series offers 3.3, 5, 12, 15, 18 and 24V output voltage options with output currents from 900mA down to 125mA. In addition, the series comes with a reinforced class II installation rating and a significantly wide margin for class-B emissions compliance without external components.

The Recom RAC03-K series is shipping now from RS in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions.

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

RS supports future skills with Data Academy initiative 20/01/2020

RS Components is investing in the future skills and capabilities of its employees with the launch of a Data Academy, which allows participants to learn vital data visualisation skills, arming them with valuable knowledge for the current and future state of this rapidly evolving industry.

After inviting employees to apply for the Data Academy, around 80 people are now on the programme, funded largely through the Apprenticeship Levy, which allows large businesses to upskill existing employees or recruit and train. RS is working in partnership with DECODED – a pioneer of transformative digital learning - to deliver monthly sessions to participants, teaching them new skills in data analytics which they can then apply in their job role. These skills include Python coding, visualisation and storytelling, and data ethics.

Simon Gibson, Learning & Development for RS EMEA, explains: “The world is going through a data revolution, and we know that to remain competitive it is critical to harness our ever-expanding data in innovative ways. We felt our data was hugely under-exploited, but by transforming the ways we utilise it we can make what’s impossible today, possible tomorrow.

“As an innovative, forward-thinking business, we were already on a journey to bring our data to life, but by giving our employees the exciting opportunity to get involved and become ‘Data Pioneers’ for our business, through the RS Data Academy, they can access a new learning experience and become qualified in today’s most critical skill. This investment is in both our people and to the future skills agenda. By democratising data we can make better, more informed decision-making across the business and facilitate better communication, which makes perfect commercial sense,” he adds.

Tim Beasley, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at RS, is on the Data Academy programme. He says: “Understanding and interpreting data really simplifies my work life. Gone are the days of making ‘gut decisions’ - now we can make truly data-based decisions. The uses for this are not limited to one department and I can see value for this everywhere, from looking at our customer sales data to our existing people data. The Data Academy is guiding me through the process and empowering me to find the right solutions”.

RS joins other companies such as M&S and NatWest Bank, which have also launched Data Academy initiatives, in the quest to arm employees with skills to enable them to understand and harness data, in an increasingly connected world.

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.


RS Components and Allied Electronics are the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. With operations in 32 countries, we offer more than 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping around 44,000 parcels a day. Our products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, include electronic components, electrical, automation and control, and test and measurement equipment, and engineering tools and consumables.

Electrocomponents is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the last financial year ended 31 March 2015 had revenues of £1.27bn.

Please click here to visit our website.