Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mazak Providing MTConnect Agents and Adapters For All Machines With MATRIX Controls

I just noticed that Mazak is providing MTConnect Agents and Adapters for all machines with MATRIX controls.

This is very cool and Mazak continues to execute and be an industry thought leader.  

Below is a snapshot of the info that is at Mazak MTConnect Agents and Adapters page as of September 29, 2010, so please goto Mazak's home page to get the latest and greatest information on Mazak's MTConnect Agents and Adapters.

Mazak provides MTConnect Agents and Adapters for all machines with MATRIX controls for a minimal cost.  The Agent and Adapters are based on the source code provided by the MTConnect Institute.  This allows the greatest acceptance of the standard by those implementing their own software.

The files and links provided below will be updated periodically as updates are made available. Last Update on Sept 29, 2010

For question or problems concerning the content provided on this page, please email Mazak support at or call 1-859-342-1881.

MTConnect Agent V1.1

To download the Mazak MTConnect AGENT, click the link below.

Download Sample Mazak MTConnect Agent

MTConnect Adapters

Mazak MTConnect Adapters are available for most products.  To request an Adapter, email to  You must include contact information and your machine serial number.

Legacy Adapters

Mazak provides legacy support for all Fusion based controls. Customers must have their sales representative enter an engineering request for their machine.  Click HERE to find your sales representative.

Developer Links

MTConnect Device files for Mazak Machines

For V1.1 Agent (Many of these file support v1.0.1 Adapters)
Mazak will help you configure a Mazak machine device file not listed here.  Send email to for assistance.



i-series Integrex
INT_i200S INT_i300S INTi-630V  

j-series Integrex
INT_j200 INT_j400    

e-series Integrex




QTN-250MY QTN-350MSY QTN-450MY  

HVRX630 VRX500II    



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lunch with DB god Steve Fanning

One of the benefits of being involved with highly complex and interesting projects is the experts you are able to work with and become friends with during the various phases.   One of the projects I am on working on is with Steve Fanning.  Steve is the President of Path To Progress.

Steve has three plus decades of IT experience and is the key technical consultant on the project I referred to above.  Steve is a true database god in every sense of the word and it is a real privilege to work with someone of Steve's caliber.

As Steve and I discussed today at lunch, we need  a simple way to determine who purchase lunch last.  Having this on my home page here seemed to be as scalable as any other mechanism :-)

  • On Sept. 28th, 2010 Steve paid.
  • On October 12th, 2010 Dave paid.
  • On October 26th, 2010 Steve paid.
  • On November 16th, 2010 Dave paid.
  • On January 4th, 2011 Steve paid. 
  • On April 5th, 2011 Dave paid 
  • On April 14th, 2011 Steve paid. 
  • On May 19th, 2011 Steve paid because I got confused on who should pay. I pay the next TWO in row. 
  • June 1st - I paid for the MTInsight lunch brought in for all MTInsight members
  • June 14th, dinner at Clydes with Julie, Deborah, Steve and me - I paid 
  • July 26th, 2011 - Steve paid 
  • August 23rd, 2011 Dave paid 
  • Dec 2011 Steve paid
  • January 10th, 2012 Dave paid 
  • On March 3trd, 2012 Steve paid for Julie and I at Carrol's Creek Cafe with his wife Deborah - a great dinner! 
  • March 28th, 2012 Dave Paid 
  • August 1st, 2012 Steve Paid 
  • August 15th, 2012 Dave Paid  
  • September 5th, 2012 Steve Paid 
  • October 8th, 2012 Dave Paid 
  • January 8th, 2013 Steve Paid 
  • January 30th, 2013 Steve paid for me, Kalesh and Alka 
  • February 21st, 2013 Dave Paid  
  • March 14th, 2013 Dave Paid
  • May 30th, 2013 Steve Paid 
  • June 18th, 2013 Dave Paid 
  • Feb 17th 2014 Steve Paid
  • April 22nd, 2014 Dave Paid 
  • May 1st,2014 Steve Paid 
  • May 7th, 2014 Dave paid 
  • May 19th, 2014 Steve paid
  • November 4th, 2014 Dave Paid
  • Now that I am back consulting for AMT, we started up our lunch token
  • January 12th, 2017 Dave paid
  • February 8th, 2017 Steve paid 
  • April 25th, 2017 Dave paid 
  • July 10th, 2017 Steve paid 
  • August 8th, 2017 Dave paid 
  • November 16th, Steve paid

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stuxnet -Industrial Systems Security

Below is a snippet from a very interesting article written by Robert McMillan at ComputerWorld that is titled:

Was Stuxnet built to attack Iran's nuclear program?

"Last week Ralph Langner, a well-respected expert on industrial systems security, published an analysis of the worm, which targets Siemens software systems, and suggested that it may have been used to sabotage Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. A Siemens expert, Langner simulated a Siemens industrial network and then analyzed the worm's attack.
Experts had first thought that Stuxnet was written to steal industrial secrets -- factory formulas that could be used to build counterfeit products. But Langner found something quite different. The worm actually looks for very specific Siemens settings -- a kind of fingerprint that tells it that it has been installed on a very specific programmable logic controller (PLC) device -- and then it injects its own code into that system.

Because of the complexity of the attack, the target "must be of extremely high value to the attacker," Langner wrote in his analysis."

This should be a wake up call to manufacturing, machine tool builders and controller builders.  That Stuxnet targeted a very specific Siemens PLC in a sophisticated fashion demonstrates the deep knowledge of the attackers.   IF the final quote, in the snipped below,  "Many security researchers think that it would take the resources of a nation-state to accomplish it", does not scare the hell out of you, I don't know what would...

"One of the things that Langner discovered is that when Stuxnet finally identifies its target, it makes changes to a piece of Siemens code called Organizational Block 35. This Siemens component monitors critical factory operations -- things that need a response within 100 milliseconds. By messing with Operational Block 35, Stuxnet could easily cause a refinery's centrifuge to malfunction, but it could be used to hit other targets, too, Byres said. "The only thing I can say is that it is something designed to go bang," he added.
Whoever created Stuxnet developed four previously unknown zero-day attacks and a peer-to-peer communications system, compromised digital certificates belonging to Realtek Semiconductor and JMicron Technology, and displayed extensive knowledge of industrial systems. This is not something that your run-of-the-mill hacker can pull off. Many security researchers think that it would take the resources of a nation-state to accomplish it."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The World's FIRST MTConnect iPhone App by ITAMCO

Sometimes in life you meet a young engineer and you think, "this person is just brilliant and really has their act together and will go very far in life."  When I met Joel Neidig a Systems Engineer at  ITAMCO, those were the exact thoughts that went through my head.   Joel Neidig is someone to watch and track in manufacturing.  He absolutely understands what must happen in manufacturing at all levels to drive the change that is needed to be globally competitive in the 21st century.  Just as an fyi, ITAMCO is the abbreviation for Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies and has been in business for 55 years,

I met Joel at the last MTConnect Technical Advisory Committee meeting where he showed me a number of very cool apps that he has written and given away.  Here are just a few of the apps Joel has written:

iPhone Applications

From left to right is the Hardness Converter app, the Gear Ware app, Feed Rate Calculator app and the MTConnect appThese are ALL FREE at the app store.  I have them all on my iPhone and they are all great apps.

HUGE Congratulations to Joel Neidig and ITAMCO for creating and delivering the world's first MTConnect iPhone app!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lion Precision's Great Win at Stennis Space Center - MTConnect Enabled Sensor

This is a very cool and important win for MTConnect.  Don Martin is a great guy and a real thought leader.   We are very lucky to have him leading the Sensors Working Group for MTConnect.

Congrats Don and Lion Precision!

Below is the press release at the end of August that I meant to blog about but got too busy with IMTS 2010:

Lion Precision and NASA will collaborate to develop a smart sensor for detection of valve wear and valve closure as well as an associated communication protocol.

St. Paul, MN, August 31, 2010 --( Lion Precision, a leading manufacturer of high-performance displacement sensors, was awarded a Cooperative Agreement with NASA’s Stennis Space Center to develop a smart sensor and the associated communication protocols to monitor valve position and wear. The eddy-current displacement sensors will monitor valves responsible for the flow of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in rocket engine test cells. Sensor measurements and sensor health information will be transmitted using MTConnect communication protocol. Development of the system will require the expansion of MTConnect to include new XML tags for sensor measurement and health parameters. Don Martin, president of Lion Precision, is the chairperson of the Sensors Working Group for MTConnect.

Rocket engine tests are very expensive to perform. Failures during the test require scrapping and later repeating the test at great expense. To help prevent failures, the sensors will monitor the condition of critical valves. The sensors will provide a precise measurement of the final seated position of the valve when closed. That position verifies that the valve is closed and also indicates valve wear. This data will inform operators when a valve requires maintenance rather than waiting until it fails or performing costly, unnecessary maintenance at a predefined time interval. The sensors will also monitor their own functionality and report any apparent malfunctions of the sensing system. Such a system will save thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs and failed tests.

Stennis Space Center is NASA’s primary center for testing rocket propulsion systems for the Space Shuttle and future generations of space vehicles. Several rocket engine test cells at the facility allow testing the rocket engines and rocket engine components while holding them stationary allowing instruments to monitor all the parameters of engine performance.

Lion Precision has manufactured noncontact displacement sensors since 1958 and introduced many of the basic sensing technologies used throughout the world today. New digital sensors from the company have created a base for smart sensor communication possibilities that will be explored and fully realized as a result of the partnership with NASA.
For more information on NASA’s Stennis Space Center, visit the web site at:

For more information on Lion Precision, visit or contact the company directly at:

Lion Precision
563 Shoreview Park Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55126 USA

Friday, September 24, 2010

Waiting For Superman - Great Example of Why Unions Aren't Needed

A new film called Waiting For "Superman" opens in select theaters a week from today.  It will get a lot of interest for a short period of time.  It will be interesting to see if there are any changes that happen in education.  The bottom line of the movie is teachers union are hurting our kids chances for success in life more than any other factor in our country.

Unions were needed in in the early 1900s for obvious reasons.  Why do we need unions today?  Teachers Unions have turned into the number one reasons the United States of America is losing its competitive edge.

First off, I don't believe that crap that kids in Washington, DC can't learn.  I believe the issue comes down to the the idiots running the Teachers Union who want to protect their jobs more than they want to help kids learn.   Don't think this is true?  Then, why in the hell would the Teachers Union in Washington, DC NOT allow a vote that would have doubled the average teachers salary for the top teachers if the Teachers Union would have given up some of their protectionism of bad teachers in return? UPDATE: This was presented on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Friday September 24th, 2010.  Also, On Meet The Press on Sunday the 26th, it appears that the Union eventually allowed the vote to occur.   Why would the Teachers Union have not wanted the vote to happen?  Because those who are running the Teachers Union in Washington, DC KNOW HOW THE AVERAGE TRIPLE DIGIT IQ TEACHER WOULD HAVE VOTED.  The Teachers Union know that MOST teachers would gladly give up protectionism of bad teachers for a doubling of salary for the top teachers.  The Teachers Union also know this would have highlighted the question, "why do we need Teachers Unions"?

Don't get me wrong, I know there are some GREAT TEACHERS, SOME GREAT COUNSELORS AND SOME GREAT ADMINISTRATORS in the Washington, DC school system.  

Michelle Rhee was the first breath of fresh air leadership in Washington DC schools - DC EVER.  Do I think Michelle Rhee can be overly blunt?  Yes.  But that is feature, not a bug, when you are trying to create a revolution and not an evolution. 

I am lucky that my kids went to very good schools with very good teachers. We were able to move to an area where the schools were new and they had top notch teachers.    In new schools the Principals can hand select their own teachers.  Not surprisingly, new schools are great not because of new bricks and mortar, but because they bring in the best teachers.  There is a great section in the movie Waiting For "Superman" that shows how principals simply trade their bad teachers like old worthless baseball cards each summer instead of addressing the issue directly.  The principals know they can not address the issue of crappy teachers directly because the teachers union is simply too powerful.

The idiots in Washington, DC's School System seem to think that keeping worthless teachers around is more important than helping students.

I am sure the new mayor of Washington, DC will get rid of Michelle Rhee.  I am also sure Michelle Rhee will have many offers to run a school system in a number of major cities in the US.   I am also sure that the the Teachers Union leaders in that major school system will do everything it can to stop that from happening.

This is no longer a Teachers Union issue, this is a moral issue.   The facts are startling and irrefutable that we are turning into a nation of haves and have nots.  A good education, just like good health care should be a right and not a privilege in the United States of America.   Yesterday, thanks to President Obama's leaderhip, we are moving closer to have health care as a right and not a privilege.   It is too bad the democrats can't show that same level of intelligence and courage when it comes to unions.  I guess the difference is that Teachers Union have money and votes and our kids don't.  It always comes to money and votes....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ole Romer Calculates Speed of Light - 300 Years Ago...

Fascinating short read on how the speed of light was accurately calculated with just a telescope and a clock 300 years ago.

It was interesting that Ole Romer succeeded where Galileo failed.  This is a snippet from the article above in the Washington Post which was written by Mark Weston:

"In the 1630s, Galileo had tried and failed to measure the speed of light as it traveled from one mountain to another. Light took less than 1/20,000th of a second to move between the two peaks that he chose, and no clock was even remotely accurate enough to measure that tiny duration. Galileo was baffled. Light seemed to have no speed at all, but to be instant. "

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Highlights from the 2010 Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2010

Here is my Summary of the  
2010 Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2010

Heading into IMTS 2010, our hopes were extremely high for the ETC. Lots of planning and hard work went into the ETC this year putting together the 3-D Theater, as well as the technology-specific pods, which included Cloud Computing, MTConnect, Additive Technology, and Micro/Nanotechnology.

 Above is a photo from the ETC's 3D theater.  NOTE: Yes, it is a boost to one's ego to see yourself up on a big screen :-)  I had to take this photo for my parents.  I am constantly competing with my sister who has a bachelors degree, two masters degrees and a Ph.D. 

Cloud computing was really about educating the attendees about cloud computing and specifically its benefits in manufacturing. The standard question was, “I have heard about cloud computing, but what the heck is it anyway?” If I could tell someone was pressed for time, I would simply ask a series of questions to drive home the point:

Above is one of the many large posters we had in the ETC.

Cloud Computing Demo App at IMTS ETC
  • When you Google something, do you know specifically what city the serves are located where your search query is being run? Do you care? The answers were, of course, “I don't know and I don't care. I simply want me results to come back to me quickly.” I would then ask, “would you rather have a small nuclear power plant in backyard that you owned and managed or would you rather just pay for what you use from the electric company?” The answer was, as expected, “I just want to pay for what I used and not worry about it”. I would then tell them, “That is exactly what cloud computing is all about. You are using large servers, that someone else runs and worries about, you pay for exactly what you use and you simply get the results you want back.” Cloud computing is important for manufacturing because it allows companies to avoid all the issues associated with running their own data center and simply pay for what they need – when they need it.
Above are the software apps in the MTConnect section of the ETC.
Above is the machine tool and devices part of the HUGELY popular MTConnect demo app

What was the very cool part of the MTConnect demo was that you select the machine tool or device to monitor and then select the app to monitor it with.  This really demonstrates the true value of MTConnect - Different Devices, Common Connection.

Above is one the large MTConnect posters

The number of attendees and exhibitors that stopped by the MTConnect area in the ETC exceeded our wildest expectations. There were times when four of our MTConnect experts were all talking to different individuals/groups about MTConnect and there were others waiting. It was GREAT! Time flies when you are busy all day discussing such a game-changing protocol that is both open and royalty free. MTConnect's slogan is, “Different Devices, Common Connection”. That summarizes the enabling technology that is crucial for radically improving productivity in manufacturing. We had a great application running in the back of the booth showing 22 machine tools and devices that were speaking to eight different software applications all using MTConnect. You would simply select the machine tool or device, select your software app of choice and then watch as the software app would talk to the MTConnect enabled machine tool and display monitoring information. I believe that when we reflect back on MTConnect years from now, IMTS 2010 will be viewed as a tipping point for MTConnect-enabled software applications.

September 16 was a huge day for MTConnect when the OPC Foundation and the MTConnect Institute announced a joint Memorandum of Understanding. The essence of the announcement was that OPC and MTConnect will cooperate in developing standards called MTConnectOpcUa. MTConnectOpcUa is a set of companion specifications to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and OPC specifications, as well as the manufacturing technology equipment, devices, software or other products that implement those standards. There were tons of questions and interest in this announcement. This MoU is a huge win for manufacturing interoperability.

Above is a great example of additive technology. The completely interlocking gears, of different colors, that actually spin, were made from the ground up ONE LAYER at a time.  This is a great example of something that COULD NOT be made by any other process.

The additive technologies and the micro/nanotechnologies fall into the “how do the do that?” category. I simply can not do justice to either of these technologies with the written word. What I really liked about both displays was the hands-on nature as well as the large posters that were dispelling common myths about the technologies. The classic myth on additive technologies is that it is only being used for prototypes. As I was told and shown, this is an absolute myth! This really is the future for custom manufacturing and you don't have to be Nostradamus to predict that. There are many additive examples today in the medical industry.

The above is a micro machine tool that is making a 3 micron cut.  That's right, a 3 MICRON cut.

Above is the Veeco device I discuss below.

Easily, the most amazing part of the ETC was the micro and nanotechnology section. I particularly enjoyed the Veeco display showing one of their products that scans in 3D. This technology is used for non-contact surface measurement of variety of products. Veeco says on their web site that typical products that are measured using their products would be ophthalmic lenses, medical devices and tools, high-brightness LEDs, semiconductor devices, through-silicon vials and trenches, solar cells, and precision machined parts. Watching a tiny machine tool make cuts at 3 microns was pretty amazing as well.

What a show be without a red Tesla?

The 2010 ETC was the best ever and I already can't wait to see what 2012 IMTS will hold for the ETC!

NOTE: This text will also appear in the IMTS Insider.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

HUGE Day for Manufacturing, MTConnect and the OPC Foundation - MoU

Today is a HUGE day for manufacturing, MTConnect and the OPC Foundation!  This was Memorandum of Understanding was announced at IMTS this morning.  
We are really looking forward to working with Tom Burke and the entire OPC Foundation Group to help manufacturing.
Below is the press release.  

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2010


Thomas Burke

OPC Foundation


Dave Edstrom
® Institute


OPC Foundation and MTConnect® Institute
Announce A Memorandum Of Understanding

Chicago, Il. … Today, September 16, 2010, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, the OPC Foundation and the MTConnect® Institute are announcing a joint Memorandum of Understanding. OPC and MTConnect will cooperate in developing standards called MTConnectOpcUa. MTConnectOpcUa is a set of companion specifications to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and OPC specifications, as well as the manufacturing technology equipment, devices, software or other products that implement those standards.
Tom Burke, President and Chairman of the Board for the OPC Foundation, stated, MTConnect & OPC collaborating will provide the necessary infrastructure to revolutionize interoperability for the complete spectrum of manufacturing technology, by leveraging the standards of both organizations, evolving the technology that has already been well accepted and adopted by the suppliers.” Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute has stated, “This is not just a win for MTConnect and OPC, this is a huge step forward for manufacturing interoperability around the globe.”

This agreement provides a mechanism for OPC and MTConnect to collaborate to extend the reach of the existing manufacturing data exchange standards and implementation technologies in order to:
  • Evolve the existing standards for each organization to provide complete manufacturing 
    technology interoperability.
  • Provide the mechanism for continuous improvement of standards and specifications overseen by
    each body.
  • Work directly with the end users and suppliers of technology and manufacturing.
  • Provide a coordinating function to exchange insights, identify overlaps, and harmonize work 
    where appropriate.
  • Facilitate clear communication and education for users and others concerning possible overlaps 
    and the ways the standards and specifications can be used.
  • Provide a solid foundation to develop and deliver specifications, technology and processes to
    facilitate adoption of the technology into real products.
MTConnect® InstituteMTConnect Institute is an organization that develops and provides open standards intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing controls, devices and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol (IP). The standards offer a solution to the exchange of data from shop floor devices to higher level systems.
OPC FoundationThe OPC Foundation pursues interoperability in automation by creating and maintaining open specifications that standardize the communication of acquired process data, alarm and event records, historical data, and batch data to multi-vendor enterprise systems and between production devices.

MAG's Impressive eWARE Suite At IMTS 2010

In the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) MTConnect section, we have a number of companies who have been very strong supporters of MTConnect and clearly MAG Industrial Automation Systems is certainly one of those top companies.

Tuesday, I was very fortunate to be able to spend some time with Pete Tecos, VP of Strategic Growth Initiatives for MAG Industrial Automation Systems, at their booth (S-8519).   Pete gave me a great overview and demonstration of their  new Freedom eWARE™ software suite from e-tekx.  During the demo,  Jeff Price - CTO MAG's Control Systems, stopped by as well to discuss eWARE.

I was very impressed to learn that MAG supports MTConnect on all of their new systems via their eConnect module.    It was also interesting to learn that eWARE is "target independent,"  and can gather data from a variety of plant floor assets.  eWARE  can do this without the need to modify ladder logic or part programming.  eWARE seems to fit in perfectly with the MTConnect mantra of, "Different Devices, Common Connection."

Being from the Washington, DC area, I was extremely impressed to later learn that eWARE is certified as networthy.  What this means is that eWARE is certified as secure, supportable and compatible with the Army Enterprise Infrastructure (AEI).

What also impressed me about eWARE is their architecture that has eCONNECT a a central hub which then acts as the central data and control point for:
  • eVIEW
  • eNERGY
  • eCELL
  • eLOG
Near the end of our discussion, Bill Horwarth, President of MAG, stopped by and we discussed eWARE and I mentioned the benefits of cloud computing to Bill.

Huge thanks to Pete, Jeff and Bill for taking time out of their busy IMTS schedule to show me eWARE - very impressive!

I would encourage everyone to stop by MAG Industrial Automation Systems, at their booth (S-8519) ask to see a demonstration of eWARE.  Tell them Dave Edstrom sent you....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rolls Royce Fan System for a Turbine Engine at IMTS near Gardner Publications Booth

Above is a great example of what a machine tool can make that is reasonably large - a 10' in diameter Rolls Royce fan system from a Trent 900 Civil Gas Turbine Engine.

Project OpenIndiana

As an old Sun guy, I was disappointed with Oracle's announcement regarding OpenSolaris.   When the OpenSolaris Board disbanded, that certainly appeared to be the final nail in the OpenSolaris coffin.

Hopefully, this announcement of Project OpenIndiana will provide a venue for those who depend on OpenSolaris a viable OS going forward.   This will not have the momentum of OpenSolaris and Oracle supporting it, but hopefully OpenIndiana will be successful.   It would be a real shame to see the open version of Solaris die....

This is from the OpenIndiana home page:

"OpenIndiana is a continuation of the OpenSolaris operating system. It was conceived during the period of uncertainty following the Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, after several months passed with no binary updates made available to the public. The formation proved timely, as Oracle discontinued OpenSolaris soon after in favour of Solaris 11 Express, a binary distribution with a more closed development model to debut later this year.

OpenIndiana is part of the Illumos Foundation, and provides a true open source community alternative to Solaris 11 and Solaris 11 Express, with an open development model and full community participation."

I hope OpenIndiana is successful.   Too many smart individuals put their hearts, souls and minds into OpenSolaris to let it just die....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Start of IMTS! Great Example - F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Lightning II is a GREAT example of what can be made with today's manufacturing equipment here at IMTS.   

As Lockheed Martin states:

The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), integrates advanced very low observable stealth into a supersonic, highly agile 5th generation fighter. The capabilities built into the F-35 Lightning II provide the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness and unmatched lethality and survivability.
While each variant (F-35AF-35BF-35C) is uniquely designed to operate from different bases, all three variants set new standards in network-enabled mission systems, sensor fusion, supportability and maintainability.
The world’s most experienced aerospace industry leaders (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and the Fighter Engine Team—Pratt & Whitney and GE Rolls-Royce) combine sophisticated manufacturing, engineering and technological capabilities to develop the F-35 Lightning II. This, along with global partnerships, has been an integral part of the JSF Program. Setting the stage for reliability and maintainability, the F-35’s built-in sustainment establishes new levels of operational readiness and helps meet the needs across the spectrum of military operations.
With its host of next-generation technologies and unprecedented capabilities, the F-35 is the world’s most advanced multirole fighter.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Fastest and Easiest Move In EVER for IMTS at McCormick Place

Great article today in the Chicago Tribune trumpeting the changes in the union rules regarding what exhibitors are now allowed to do during setup.  By allowing the vendors to do more themselves, this has dramatically improved both the set up time as well as a significant reduction in exhibitors overall costs.  This has been a win/win/win for everyone involved.  As the Chicago Tribune reported this morning:

Peter Eelman, vice president-exhibitions and communications for the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the trade group that sponsors and runs the biennial show that has been at McCormick Place since 1950, so far is pleased with the changes at McCormick Place.

"I couldn't be happier with the overall attitude and productivity and cooperation with the work force in general, including the carpenters, the riggers, the electricians, you name it," Eelman said. "I've gotten great feedback from the exhibitors, and it's unanimous that it's a different feeling.'' Eelman was among a coterie of major trade show operators that pushed for the revamp of convention center operations.

In fact, the association held off committing to future shows until the changes became law. In August, the group announced that its show, also known as the machine tool show, would return in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Emerging Technology Center Coming Together at IMTS 2010

IMTS is further along, in terms of setup, than any other previous IMTS.   This is a great indicator on what should be the best IMTS yet! 
The photo above is a small section of the Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2010.  The angle is not great and I was shooting it through a glass window with my iPhone, so apologies for the quality.  What is behind this large cylinder is the 3D movie. 

The photo above is again through glass.  This shows the Cloud Computing and MTConnect areas from above.

The photo above is again through glass.  This shows the Nanotechnology and the Additive Technology areas from above.

Steve Fritzinger and Writing Tips

Long time friend Steve Fritzinger is one of those rare individuals who discuss any topic from extremely complicated design use cases in Java to Keynesian economics.   Just to back up that particular claim, Steve is a Java author - Advanced Techniques for Java Developers, as well as works for the BBC discussing economics.  That is in addition to his day job.  These are just two examples of his countless skills.

When Steve sends me something, I read it.  Steve sent me this short article titled, "How To Write Less Badly", by Michael C. Munger, that is definitely worth reading.  As Mr. Munger starts out:

"In my nearly 30 years at universities, I have seen a lot of very talented people fail because they couldn't, or didn't, write. And some much less talented people (I see one in the mirror every morning) have done OK because they learned how to write."

I would add public speaking to that list as well, but that is for a different day and different blog post :-)

Below is an example from the article as a thought provoking way to "Write Less Badly":

6. Pick a puzzle. Portray, or even conceive, of your work as an answer to a puzzle. There are many interesting types of puzzles:
  • "X and Y start with same assumptions but reach opposing conclusions. How?"
  • "Here are three problems that all seem different. Surprisingly, all are the same problem, in disguise. I'll tell you why."
  • "Theory predicts [something]. But we observe [something else]. Is the theory wrong, or is there some other factor we have left out?"
Don't stick too closely to those formulas, but they are helpful in presenting your work to an audience, whether that audience is composed of listeners at a lecture or readers of an article.
My favorite writing advice is from the famous  Louis D. Brandeis (who graduated from Harvard at age 20 with the highest grade point average ever in the school's history):

“There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ruth Edstrom - Artist of the Month for Springfield Art Guild

Congratulations to my mother for being selected Artist of the Month for the Springfield Art Guild!

Our house is filled with great oil paintings she has done of our three sons.  After getting the dogs out of the house and my Vette out of the garage :-) I told my boys to make sure to grab Grandma's paintings off the walls in case of fire.

 This is the background on my mother's painting (in her words):

I grew up on a farm in Minnesota and always loved to draw.   In 1972, when my husband was stationed in Vietnam, a young officer's wife at Richards-Gebaur AFB in Kansas City, MO, an art major, offered oil painting classes to members of the Officers Wives Club.   I signed up and discovered I could paint.  I continued taking classes with Adeline Mayfield, an Artist  teacher at a Community Center in Kansas City, KS for the  next three years until we were transferred  to Northern Virginia.   I took a series of oil painting classes through the Fairfax County Park Authority.
In January 1986 I enrolled in drawing and oil painting classes at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town, Alexandria.  In the Fall of 1986 I started classes with Suzanne French Luker at her gallery in Occoquain, VA which I continued until she moved to Florida the summer of 1998. 

I continued classes under the direction of Karen Galleher starting the fall of 1998 until the spring of 2002.  I have been part of the Wednesday Art Group with Susan Norman as the instructor since the beginning.  I enjoy the camaraderie of painting with the ladies in  the Wednesday group so very much!    

In 1993 I joined the Springfield Art Guild for the first time.  During October 1993, one of my oil  paintings "Springtime in Virginia"  was showcased in ARTSFAX by the Arts Council of Fairfax County  at the  Fairfax County Government center representing SAG.   I had a one woman show in Alexandria, VA. I also displayed and sold several paintings at a shop in Old Town, Alexandria, as well as several golf scenery paintings in the US Army Ft. Belvoir Golf Club.   During that same time frame, one of my paintings at  a  SAG show at the Northern Virginia Community College received an honorable mention.

I have displayed my paintings at the Fairfax County Government Center, numerous county libraries,  Green Spring Gardens Park, Goodwin House, and the Springfield Mall Exhibit. The majority of my sales have been  commissions.  In the past, I was giving many of  my paintings  to family and friends as gifts for  various occasions.  At last count, I realized I have paintings in 18 states and two in the District of Columbia. 
I truly enjoy painting and feel so blessed and thankful that God granted me talent in this endeavor.                

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mazak, I/Gear and Gardner Publications - First Three Booths I Am Going To Visit at IMTS

This is an article I wrote that will appear in the September 8th IMTS Insider.

The excitement is reaching a crescendo pitch as we get within a week for the start of IMTS 2010 and the Emerging Technology Center (ETC)!

The first order of business is to visit the ETC and see the incredible 3D movie and visit each of the four pods (sections) of the ETC:
  • MTConnect
  • Cloud Computing
  • Additive Technologies
  • Nanotechnology

The ETC will spark your imagination and likely generate a mental list of the IMTS Booths you must go visit.    I thought I would share with you my must visit booths at IMTS and why.

The first must visit booth is Mazak.   Brian Papke, Mazak president of Mazak, is a recognized industry thought leader and a huge supporter of MTConnect from literally day one back in 2006.    Mazak announced on August 9th, 2010, the Mazak Energy Dashboard, which is exactly what customers are crying out for and something that I am looking forward to seeing in person.  Below is part of the announcement:

Florence, Kentucky, - Mazak has announced that it will be demonstrating the Mazak Energy Dashboard at IMTS 2010. The Mazak Energy Dashboard exemplifies how the MTConnect communications protocol can be used to provide manufacturers with cost savings and boosts productivity and efficiency. Mazak will be located in booth S-8300 at IMTS 2010.

The Mazak Energy Dashboard is an interface that provides real-time monitoring of energy usage, environmental impact and carbon footprint for a wide variety of machine tools and peripherals. The software identifies key drivers of energy expenses so that they can be managed and minimized, as well as helping manufacturers minimize their effects on the environment.”

After visiting the ETC, go visit Mazak at booth S-8300 and ask to see their Mazak Energy Dashboard.

Next up, I am going to head over to the I/Gear at booth N-6146. Mark Doyle and I/Gear has been a huge supporter of MTConnect and I/Gear is really ahead of the crowd in terms of where the manufacturing industry is going. Below is something very cool that I/Gear is doing with cloud computing:

MTConnect implementer, I/Gear Online, is launching a blog this week focusing on cloud computing and manufacturing equipment. The blog,, is an educational resource that aggregates industry articles about cloud computing, and seeks to highlight the current and future relevance of cloud computing to manufacturing companies and machine builders. Because MTConnect is a perfect marriage with cloud computing, expect to see plenty content featuring MTConnect developments and successes in the manufacturing industry. Contact Mark Doyle,, if you would like to contribute any MTConnect news to the blog.”

Next, I am heading over to Gardner Publications at booth W-160 to speak with Rick Kline or any of the talented and creative Gardner employees. Gardner Publications does an absolutely phenomenal job in an impressive set of industries:

  • Metalworking - Modern Machine Shop
  • Precision Machining  - Production Machining
  • Plastics Processing - Plastics Technology
  • Metal Finishing - Products Finishing
  • Moldmaking - MoldMaking Technology
  • Automotive production - Automotive Design & Production
  • Composite Materials - Composites Technology and High Performance Composites
  • Rapid Product Development - Time Compression
  • Business Continuity - Continuity Insights
  • Industrial Precision Parts Cleaning - Process Cleaning

Gardner Publications provides the comprehensive in depth reporting that is critical to understand what is happening in manufacturing on a wide variety of fronts. Stopping by the Gardner Publications booth at the beginning of your IMTS 2010 visit can help educate, as well as optimize your great IMTS experience!

These are my suggestions and I know you can't go wrong adding Mazak, I/Gear and Gardner Publications to your must visit list at IMTS.