Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dr. Dean Bartle's Coins "Machine Tool Analytics"

One of the real privileges that I have, as President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute, is working with the thought leaders in manufacturing.  I always learn so much from these individuals that I sometimes feel I should turn on my voice recorder on my iPhone so I do not drop any bits from our conversations.  Many times I am taking notes so fast on the phone that I am afraid I will get carpal tunnel syndrome by the end of the conversation.

One of those industry thought leaders in manufacturing is Dr. Dean Bartles.  Dean is the VP and General Manager for Large Caliber Ammunition for General Dynamics - Ordinance and Tactical Systems (OTS).  Thanks to Dean, General Dynamics - OTS is an Institute Partner for MTConnect.  Dean is also an MTConnect Board Member.

Dean coined the term "Machine Tool Analytics".   Dean recently wrote an article for March 2011 Manufacturing Engineering's ViewPoints column, title "Machine Tool Analytics".

In this article, Dean brings out many great points regarding the challenges in manufacturing today and where manufacturing is going.   Dean brings out the point that all this data that is coming from machine tools will go to the cloud.   I could not agree more.   When I first came up with the idea/suggestion for MTConnect back in the fall of 2006, I was asked by Sun Microsystems management (where I was working at the time), "Dave, why are you so involved in machine tools and manufacturing, where is the play for Sun?"   My response was, "when all these machine tools start spitting out gigabytes of data, where do you think they will want to store and analyze the data?"   The key part of that sentence is store AND analyze the data.    Yes, you could throw some 2TB drives on a PC and store the data.  The problem is that you would not be using a PC or a PC server to analyze terrabytes of data.   It would also make no financial sense today to start buying racks of PCs to do the analysis of data.  You should be storing AND analyzing this data in the cloud.   Yes, it is true that most plants do not have internet access on the factory floor, but trust me, this is changing, very, very fast because of MTConnect, monitoring, diagnostics, full plant floor to data center integration and cloud computing.

Dean's article is a FANTASTIC MUST READ for anyone in manufacturing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011 To Be Decommissioned - Sun's First & Last Website

It is hard to believe, but the is being decommissioned on June 1st, 2011.  Sun was the 12th oldest domain on the internet.

It has been estimated that will go for $800,000 to $1,000,000 when Oracle sells the domain name.   I guess Oracle needs the money :-)

Below is a link from the on the first website that they captured of Sun Microsystems.

Below is the last link of before Oracle officially purchased and took over Sun.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First Person: Manufacturing View on Cloud Computing

First Person: Manufacturing View on Cloud Computing
The editor of Area Development magazine recently spoke with Dave Edstrom, director of the Office of Strategic Innovation at AMT, about the nature of cloud computing and how it affects manufacturers. Edstrom also recommends that manufacturers read “Above The Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing,” a white paper from the University of California at Berkeley.
Dave Edstrom, Director, Office of Strategic Innovation, AMT The Association for Manufacturing Technology (March 2011)

What is “cloud computing”?
Edstrom: Simply put, cloud computing is when you access an application and all the processing and storage happens someplace else besides the PC or Mac that you are currently sitting in front of at the time. This “someplace else” is usually a massive data center with hundreds of thousands of computers sitting in large racks with massive amounts of storage. The reason cloud computing is so popular today is not that it sounds cool, but rather that it simply makes good economic sense. 

Why is there so much confusion around the term cloud computing?
Edstrom: The confusion exists because cloud computing is a broad, umbrella term for many different types of computing today. If you ask 10 people what the term cloud computing means, you’re likely to get 11 different answers. Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing, Flickr, Gmail, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, QuickBooks, Google’s App Engine, BIRT onDemand,, Carbonite, and Farmville are just some examples of applications or software development frameworks that run in the cloud.
Dave Edstrom,
Director for the Office of Strategic Innovation, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT)

Does it matter where servers are located when processing information requests?
Edstrom: For the most part, end users do not know and do not care about the physical location — provided it is secure and managed in a professional manner. What is very important is the speed of your connection to the Internet. One of the key building blocks of cloud computing is broadband or a fast pipe to the Internet.

How will cloud computing affect manufacturers?
Edstrom: Cloud computing gives manufacturers the ability to avoid the countless business and technical issues associated with running their own data centers; they will save money by only paying for the computing resources when they need them on a “pay-as-you-go” model.

Manufacturers are tired of all the patching, upgrading, malware, viruses, and the plethora of issues that come along with running your own data center. If you are a small manufacturing shop, it is very likely that either you or someone else in your small shop wears the hat of IT manager. However, you do not have time to constantly worry about all of the patches, upgrades, and system administrative work — you just want to run your shop.

What is meant by the “elasticity” of the cloud?
Edstrom: Elasticity of the cloud is the ability to both grow and shrink the number of servers you need in the cloud dynamically depending on the load. For example, most companies have to purchase the number of computers that they will need for the busiest time of the year. A manufacturer of winter sports equipment might very well have certain times of the year that are much busier than others. With the cloud, you can scale up to hundreds of servers during your busy times and then drop down to a handful during the very slow times — paying only for what you use.

Can you provide an example of manufacturing firms successfully using cloud computing?
Edstrom: MTConnect is a great example. Manufacturers are embracing MTConnect, which is an open and royalty free mechanism to get real data from manufacturing equipment. It is not unusual for gigabytes per hour of data to come from a variety of machine tools or manufacturing equipment. Manufacturing companies do not want to store all this information in their own data centers. They are storing this in the cloud and doing the analytics in the cloud as well. There are a number of manufacturing software companies that are offering this type of service. This allows manufacturers to view both real time and historic data on their shop floors at any time, anywhere, on any device.

Are there regulatory issues that need to be addressed?
Edstrom: Absolutely. Just because your processing and data is stored in the cloud does not remove your legal and accounting responsibilities. The best advice is that you cannot assume anything. Whether you use the cloud to create and run your own applications or simply use applications from a software company that runs in the cloud, you must go in fully realizing that you own all of the legal and accounting requirements. 

What about data security issues?
Edstrom: An important point to remember is that ALL of your data should be encrypted when it is in flight or at rest. What this means is that you should always have a secure connection to your data, and your data should always be encrypted whether it is sitting on a storage device or it is being moved from one location to another (on a network or physically). It is important to understand all aspects of security including the physical security of where the cloud computing companies are housing their servers.

How does a manufacturer go about performing due diligence when choosing a cloud service provider?
Edstrom: An SLA, which stands for Service Level Agreement, is an important part of due diligence. Simply stated, an SLA outlines the level of uptime that you will be guaranteed. Are you putting all of computer and storage needs in one data center? What if that data center goes down? Is your data replicated? Is there an immediate failover from one data center to another? These are the types of questions you must have answers to in writing. 

What functions cannot be performed through cloud computing?
Edstrom: This is a really important question. It is not that some applications cannot be done in the cloud. The question really becomes, which applications do not lend themselves to the cloud? Applications such as video games are great examples of a class of application that challenges the cloud. The reason for this is the amount of data that must come down the Internet pipe every time you make a move.

Monday, March 14, 2011

1.2 Zettabytes

I just read this at Business Week:

"This year, according to IDC, the world's digital universe will reach 1.2 zettabytes, or 1.2 quadrillion megabytes.   If you take every word ever written in every language, it's about 20,000 times that."

  • What is a zettabyte?    1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes = 10007 = 1021

Saturday, March 12, 2011

OSI/Roundtable IMTS Insider Announcement

OSI/Roundtable IMTS Insider

March 10, 2011

I am very pleased to announce The Office of Strategic Innovation Roundtable (OSI/Roundtable). The OSI/Roundtable is a half-hour webcast that I will host on a bi-weekly basis. Guests will share their business and technical knowledge that focuses on manufacturing innovation. Topics and speaker suggestions are encouraged! Please drop me a note on any suggestions that you have. Ideally, I would love to have AMT members and/or IMTS exhibitors as well as manufacturing and computer industry thought leaders on the OSI/Roundtable. Typical episodes will run 20 to 30 minutes.

The goal of the OSI/Roundtable is to provide thought-provoking discussions that can be listened to and watched anywhere, at any time, on the most popular devices, as well as to make it as easy as possible for guests by simply capturing our conversation with Skype. I will take care of all the production aspects of inserting graphics, information, editing and post production. All the speakers need to do is to get on Skype with me to have a brief discussion with questions I will send ahead of time. A video camera is not required since we are capturing voice and inserting graphics and text after the interview. I want to make it as easy as possible on speakers.

The first guest on the OSI/Roundtable was John Turner, Director of Technology for FA Consulting and Technology. John has more than 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry with a large chunk of that being at GE Fanuc. John was the first person to create an MTConnect appliance, which he unveiled at IMTS 2008. In this 30-minute OSI/Roundtable, John discusses:

  • The many lessons learned in machine assessment over three decades.
  • Taking full advantage of the features and functions of machine controllers.
  • Improving part quality and part yield.
  • Identifying and addressing process errors.
  • Data collection requirements and opportunities.
  • Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Mother The Professional Artist On Cover of Burke Connection

Below is a photo of my extremely talented mother who is a professional artist.  She is on the cover of Burke Connection.

 A Blessing of Artwork
Burke artist captures family memories in paintings.

By Victoria Ross
Thursday, March 10, 2011
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When Ruth Edstrom was a young girl living on a farm near the town of Randolph, Minn., she loved to draw pictures of rural life for her family.

The scenes captured a small-town, bucolic Norman Rockwell life of barns, dairy cows, farmhouses and churches. The town’s population was 200, but most people, including Edstrom’s family, lived outside of town on family farms.

"It was the 1940s, and we grew up during hard times for farmers," she said. "You could definitely say it was a small-town life, and most people were very practical-minded. I don’t think we ever went to a restaurant growing up."

"I loved to draw, but I never thought of myself as an artist. It never even crossed my mind to take classes or anything," said Edstrom, 75.

That changed in 1972 when she was a young officer’s wife stationed at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in Kansas City. At the time, she had been married to her high school sweetheart, John, for 17 years, and the couple had two young children, David and Julie.

"When my husband was in Vietnam, another officer’s wife, an art major, offered oil painting classes to members of the Officers Wives Club," said Ruth Edstrom. "I signed up and discovered I could paint."

Her first painting was from a photo of a painting in an art book. "It was a house in the country, and I just tried to copy it. I used my fingers, a spatula, whatever to paint it," she said.

She continued taking classes in Kansas for the next three years, until John Edstrom was transferred to the Pentagon in 1975, where he became chief of the airfield facilities. The couple bought a home in Burke, then a small community of about 200 people.

Ruth Edstrom set aside her hobby for a while after the move as her family settled into their new home. In 1986, after taking a tour of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, she decided to start painting again.

"I took a series of oil painting classes through the Fairfax County Park Authority, and then I enrolled in drawing and oil painting classes at the Torpedo Factory," Ruth Edstrom said. "In the fall of 1986, I started classes with Suzanne French Luke at her gallery in Occoquan, which I continued until she moved to Florida the summer of 1998."

In 1993, she joined the Springfield Art Guild (SAG), a non-profit group interested in promoting fine art and fine crafts through educational programs, juried shows and classes for adults and children.

Since joining SAG, she has been part of the Wednesday Art Group with Instructor Susan Norman. "I enjoy the camaraderie of painting with the ladies in the Wednesday group so very much. I truly enjoy painting and feel so blessed and thankful that God granted me a little talent in this endeavor," she said.

In October 1993, Ruth Edstrom represented SAG by showing one of her oil paintings, called "Springtime in Virginia," at the annual Fairfax County ARTSFAX show. Another one of her paintings received an honorable mention at the SAG show at Northern Virginia Community College, and she was named SAG’s Artist of the Month in September, 2010.

"She just does marvelous artwork, and it really touches people," said Skeeter Schied, past president of SAG. "She’s an artist who responds to beauty. She is a longstanding member of the guild, and nothing, and I mean nothing, stops her from painting."

Ruth Edstrom’s paintings capture the most important things in her life: her children and grandchildren, family vacations and cherished scenes from childhood. Although she gives away most of her paintings to her family and friends for special occasions, she has done commissions, particularly for golf courses.

"John and I are avid golfers, and we’re very involved in the Fort Belvoir Golf Community, so many of my paintings depict scenes of golf courses," Ruth Edstrom said. She and her husband frequently travel with friends, including Jim and Nancy Ross of Burke, to Augusta, Ga., for the Master’s Golf Tournament, and to the South Carolina coast, where the Edstroms have played in many tournaments.

"Ruth painted a lovely painting of the flowers that surrounded our beach house in Murrell’s Inlet in South Carolina," Nancy Ross said. "She is so talented. I just don’t know how she has the time to do it all."

As Ruth Edstrom walks through her home, she and her husband point out the paintings that have special meaning. In the family room hangs a series of three paintings of her family’s farm house, and her husband’s family’s farm. Over the fireplace mantle is a winter scene of her house.

"You know, I also painted our house in spring, summer and fall. They’re for my grandsons," Ruth Edstrom said.

Both of the Edstroms’ children graduated from Lake Braddock Secondary School and remain in the area. Julie Edstrom has a doctorate and works as a school counselor at Chantilly High School. David Edstrom, who launched his own thriving computer business, and his wife, also named Julie, have three sons — John, 22, Michael 20 and Timothy, 16.

Note:  I added the above three paintings which reside at our house and my mother references below in the article.

"I’ve painted my grandchildren so many times," said Ruth Edstrom. "I painted many when they were little guys about 2-years-old. There’s one of Tim playing with his Dad’s tractors and old toys, John fishing and one of Mike feeding a bunny. IMPORTANT AUTHORS NOTE:  As Mr. Dave Edstrom, father of John, Michael and Tim pointed out, "do not get the wrong impression of Michael and the playing with a bunny painting my mother did.  Let me be crystal clear here, Michael could KICK John and Tim's butts at that same time and never break a sweat."   I also painted the three of them at the beach, looking at turtles. I gave that painting to Julie and David for their 10th anniversary."

One of John Edstrom’s favorite paintings is of a little girl sitting in field of flowers. "That painting just flows. The colors are vivid, and it does remind me of our daughter," he said.

Julie Edstrom’s favorite painting is her mother’s first. "She is one of the most creative and artistic people you will ever meet," Julie Edstrom said. "She can sew, decorate cakes, draw and paint beautifully. We are blessed as a family to have so many of our memories captured on canvass to keep forever."

  Above is a painting she did when all of us went to visit John in 2009 when he was interning at Microsoft in Seattle.  The boys were climbing Mt. Ranier.
This is a great video at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) website and title:

NBC News Features the New Face of Manufacturing

"It's become a familiar story to the manufacturing industry: Old-style manufacturing jobs have gone the way of the typewriter, and newer positions require more advanced technical skills. But on March 1, the story got some mainstream treatment when it was featured on NBC Nightly News.

In a spot that featured MAG Americas, an IMTS exhibitor, Tom Brokaw spoke with MAG executives and employees, among others to discuss the ways that manufacturing companies are now developing their own talent. The equipment in the background at the school was from IMTS exhibitors Amatrol, Inc./Oxygen Education."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bob Gates, Secretary of Defense, is DEAD on right

Bob Gates stated at West Point:

"In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined, as General MacArthur so delicately put it."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

System Insights ContactOne Box

This week, I am at the MFG Conference in Chandler, Arizona working the MTConnect booth, speaking to the AMT's Board of Directors on MTConnect and MTInsight as well as attending conference sessions.  

Also attending are Will Sobel, President and CEO of Systems Insights with his CTO,  Dr. Athulan Vijayaraghavan.  

ConnectOne by System Insights is a hardware solution to support MTConnect compatibility in legacy devices and sensors.  ConnectOne is a key enabling technology for System Insights’ vimana[TM] platform, and enables compatibility for legacy devices that do not have native MTConnect support.  ConnectOne supports data collection over serial, analog, and digital interfaces to support a variety of factory equipment. 

ConnectOne comes with a power meter for energy and power quality monitoring, which can be applied along with optional sensor inputs in monitoring the activities of the machine tool.   ConnectOne enables wireless data transfer and integration by using state-of-the-art mesh networking 802.15.4 technology, which allows for simple, ad-hoc installation and usage.

Below, Athulan (on the left) and Will are showing off their new ConnectOne box.

Please contact: for more information.