Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Office of Strategic Innovation Roundtable - John Turner - Shop/Plant Factory Floor Assessments

The first guest on the OSI/Roundtable is John Turner, Director of Technology for  FA Consulting and Technology.  John has over thirty years of experience in the manufacturing industry with a large chunk of that being at GE Fanuc.   John was the first person to create a MTConnect appliance back in 2008 that he unveiled at IMTS 2008.    Below John is discussing the MTConnect appliace he created with Dr. David Patterson of University of California at Berkeley.

 In this 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)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Slippery Slope - When Factories Vanish, So Can Innovators

NYT article by:

When Factories Vanish, So Can Innovators
Published: February 12, 2011

Below is a snippet:
"Concern is increasing that this decline has gone too far. “I think there is a growing recognition that a diminished manufacturing sector will undermine our economy,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics.

How did the nation get into this situation? It gambled, in effect, that by importing more from foreign suppliers and from American companies that had set up shop abroad, consumer prices for manufactured products would fall, without any sacrifice in product quality. Low-wage workers abroad would make that happen."

More and more people are starting to realize that when manufacturing moves off shore, suppliers follow, R&D follows and is is a very slipper slope...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

God Bless Marty Mesmer

I ran into Jeff Schwartz at Tysons Corner yesterday.   Jeff asked if I heard about Marty Mesmer.  Unfortunately, I had heard that Marty Mesmer had passed away.   I know Marty through coaching in basketball in the Ashburn area.  Marty's son, Mark, and my son John were the same age.  We were both coached our sons from 4th grade through 8th grade.  Marty was the guy who would bring all the coaches together to have the draft.  Now if you have never been to a boys basketball draft, you have never been to a bunch of over-competitive fathers trying to load their team up with the best ball players.  During those five years there were countless loud discussions between the coaches on every topic known to man as it relates to basketball.   Everyone except for one guy - Marty Mesmer.  Marty was ALWAYS above the fray and EVERYONE like and respected Marty.   Marty was the type of guy who always had a smile on his face and never took the game too seriously.  Marty kept everything in perspective.

I was at Marty's house in 2001 with all the other 8th grade coaches for the draft.   Everyone comes to Marty's house from work and they are ready for the draft.  The 8th grade is the final year that a lot of kids play and it is the last year that fathers coach their sons - so it is sort of like March Madness for Fathers and their sons.   Everyone asks, "let's get the draft done Marty."  Marty just smiled and said, "no, we have food, beer, wine, sodas and water that we are going to enjoy first."    Marty then comes up to me and says, "I know these guys Dave, things will go a lot easier after they have a few drinks in them."   I just smiled and said, "you're brilliant Marty."    He was brilliant and just a hell of a great guy. It is a very sad day and Marty will be absolutely missed.  

I will be at Marty's funeral this Saturday.   I am sure it will be standing room only.  I am sure that there will be lots of coaches there as well.  I am sure there will not be a dry eye in the house....

Below is the obituary from The Washington Post:


Marty Mesmer died peacefully at his home in Ashburn, VA, on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 surrounded by his very loving family and his many friends. He had leukemia. The family would like to say a special thanks to all the caring and compassionate oncology nurses at Virginia Hospital Center.
Marty was a devoted and loving husband to Elaine, and a proud and devoted father to sons Mike and Marc and daughter Katie. Marty was the son of the late Fred and Dorothy Mesmer. He is survived by his siblings Ricky and Joe Mesmer, and a sister, Dori Stanwick, and predeceased by his brother John. Marty was born in Washington, DC and was a proud graduate of Gonzaga College High School and the University of Maryland. 
He leaves behind a large loving extended family as well as many friends who cherished him for his kind spirit and enthusiasm for life. His also shared his passion and love for the game of basketball by coaching both youth boys and girls teams for years in his community.
Mr. Mesmer began his career in real estate, eventually establishing Walsh, Mesmer and Associates and then merged with Fred A. Smith Company where he was a partner and President. 
He is a member of St. David's Episcopal Church in Ashburn, Va. where a memorial service will be held on Saturday February 19, 2011 at 11 a.m. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Marty's name to Capital Hospice, Philanthropy Office, 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Steven Pearlstein's Make Or Break Manufacturing Article

I always read Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post.

Today, he wrote an interesting article titled:

     It's Make Or Break Time For Manufacturing

He states the standard story line of off-shoring:

"The story goes something like this: For decades, the governments of China and other Asian countries offered low wages and extravagant subsidies to lure U.S companies to build new plants in their countries. For years, Americans acquiesced to this off-shoring because it fattened corporate profits, lowered consumer prices and fit neatly with a a free-trade-free-market consensus among the economic elite. Any suggestion that we try to stem the outflow of investment or the inflow of products was dismissed as protectionism, and any suggestion that we try to match those subsidies was derided as a misguided effort to have government pick "winners and losers."

I don't agree with all of his points, but I do agree with:

"Where manufacturing goes, innovation inevitably follows," Liveris argues.

 Pearlstein is quoting author Andrew Liveris and his new book, "Make it in America,"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why Lord Kelvin Would Love MTConnect

Why Lord Kelvin Would Love MTConnect
Dave Edstrom

IMTS Insider February 2011

NIST was my account for six years starting in the mid 1980s when I was at Sun Microsystems. I loved having NIST as an account because, as a Systems Engineer, NIST was always doing something very interesting and pushing the limits on what Sun could provide in terms of computing power. One of my first visits to NIST, I was brought into a conference room and saw the following engraved in the floor:

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”
Lord Kelvin (Sir William Thomson)

That phrase is built into the DNA of computer science and science in general. To provide a simple example of this, when you walk into a data center that houses thousands of computers in countless racks, you will find that every single one of those computers is monitored extremely closely. According to industry and academic experts only 4 to 5 percent of machine tools are monitored today. This percentage is mind boggling to me. How can any plant possibly make intelligent decisions if they can not quantify what a machine tool is doing?

The big reason why only 4 to 5 percent of all machine tools are being monitored today comes down to two reasons — technical and cultural. Too often when you speak to someone at a smaller job shop or plant, the reason for not monitoring is the cost and/or time to implement. MTConnect addresses the technical side of the challenge by making it is easy to get data off a machine tool in an open, royalty-free and standard fashion. MTConnect ‘s motto is “Different Devices, Common Connection.” MTConnect is all about dramatically lowering the barrier to entry to enabling a machine tool to speak to the rest of the world in an open fashion.

MTConnect can address the technical side of this challenge, but how do you change the culture component of this equation? As we all know, culture is a huge issue when driving change. This is true whether it is in a business or any other activity that involves humans. Education is the key to driving culture changes. There are many lessons from the computer industry that can be applied to manufacturing to drive change in the culture through education.

Let’s look at some of the laws in the computer industry and see if there are similarities in manufacturing. Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, made a statement that has now become known as “Metcalfe’s Law.” Metcalfe’s Law basically states that the value of any network is the number of users or devices connected to the network squared. If we apply Metcalfe’s Law to manufacturing, we would modify it slightly to state: The value of any manufacturing shop floor’s network is the number of pieces of manufacturing equipment that can speak MTConnect squared. Why MTConnect squared and not just the number of pieces of manufacturing equipment squared? Because it is MTConnect that makes these pieces of equipment able to all speak the language of the internet, which is XML. XML is an abbreviation for eXtensible Markup Language and it is the default language on the internet today. XML makes it extremely easy for software applications to talk to MTConnect-enabled manufacturing equipment.

One of the most common misconceptions about MTConnect is that it is an application that you purchase. MTConnect is a protocol that defines how manufacturing equipment will speak to the outside world as well as dictionary of what these manufacturing terms mean. Think of MTConnect as Bluetooth for manufacturing with a dictionary of terms. Why do I emphasize the dictionary? Because the dictionary gives meaning to the manufacturing terms. For example, imagine the English language without a dictionary. What would we have? We would have 26 letters but no words. Without a dictionary of words, we would have everyone defining their own words, and that is exactly what we had with manufacturing prior to MTConnect

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld liked to say, “there are known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.” Stated another way, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” The real purpose of MTConnect is to quantify the known unknowns and provide the framework to discover the unknown unknowns. You can’t manage what you don’t know. And unless you are quantifying what you don’t know, then you are shooting from the hip, which is never a good idea.

So, why would Lord Kelvin LOVE MTConnect? Because in order to quantify how well a manufacturing plant or job shop is doing, you first must easily get the data and put it in a standard quantified form. That is exactly what MTConnect does. Getting the data in an open and royalty-free way is what will allow you to first monitor what you are doing and then to share the information with all your applications and all your partners. While the most obvious use of getting common information out of a piece of equipment is monitoring, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The real win with MTConnect is when quantified information is available anytime, anywhere to any application, to any partner and on any device, it drives up productivity. I imagine Lord Kelvin would change MTConnect’s mantra to: “MTConnect – to measure is to know.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Importance of Sending A Strong Message

I worked for Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) my senior year in high school - 1976-1977.

Basically FCPA paid me to spend most of my time in the gym to break up fights and determining who had next game on the full court.  Everyone who worked at the park hated this but me.  I loved it since I played basketball and knew a bunch of the guys playing.  A lot of great players came from DC to play at the park back then. 

The cool thing about working in the gym is I was watching some great basketball and I was both judge and jury in the gym.  Only once during that year did I need to bring down the FCPA Police.    The one time was when this guy was let in the back entrance.  Normally I would just say, "hey slim, go upstairs and pay and I will not have you kicked out."   This one time when I told this go to go up front and pay, he cursed me out.   I told him that if he does not go up and pay, I was going to have him arrested.  He cursed me out again saying he was a Fairfax County resident and did not have to pay.   He also told me what I could do with myself.   I went up and talked to my buddy Officer Taylor.   Officer Taylor said, "what do you want me to do Dave?"   I said I want to send a message to everyone in the gym that you do not screw with Dave or you will pay.  He said, "ok, let's do it."   Officer Taylor was a great guy and a real friend.  We he goes down to the gym ahead of me.  Officer Taylor asks the guy, "sir, did you pay?"   The guy says sheepishly, "uh no, I did not Officer, but ...."  Officer Taylor interrupts him and says to, "please turn around".  Officer Taylor puts hand cuffs on him and says, "you are being charged with defrauding an Inn Keeper."    After the cuffs are on the guy, I go up to him, I drive my fingers in his chest and say, "F*&k me?  F*&k you a$$hole!"    

That story spread like wild fire and the number of times I had to ask someone to go pay went down by orders of magnitude :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Three Perfect Days With Slim

My father, who I nicknamed Slim in 1976, and I took the perfect three day mini vacation together this past week.  First, why I call my father Slim.  The nickname Slim came about because I was working for Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) my senior year in high school.   During that time period the generic term in the gym was not "hey buddy", but "Slim" when you wanted to talk to someone you did not know.  Everyone called everyone Slim in the gym.    I started calling my father Slim and it stuck :-)

Last fall my perfect wife, Julie, says to me, "Dave it has been ten years since you got your Corvette, isn't  it time for a new Corvette?"  That is just one reason why she is perfect.  As luck would have it I was taking my 1998 Corvette into Tony's Corvette Shop for some minor work the next day, so I told Tony what Julie told me.   Tony then said, "you know Dave, Julie is right."  Tony then goes on to say that it is starting to get harder and more expensive to get parts for my 1998 Corvette.   GM only has to carry parts for ten years.   He then told that as someone who drives the hell out of their Corvette, that I should think about a newer one.  He then told me about the other costs of parts rising on the C5s (1997-2004).  The EBCM Electronic Brake Control Module was no longer being made by GM for the C5s and he had to have them rebuilt - not a cheap proposition.  Something to think about...

After a week or so thinking about it, I decide Julie and Tony are right.  I start looking around for a used Grand Sport.   After a couple of months of scouring the US for the exact one, I decided I was going to order a brand new Corvette, take the museum delivery and bring my father along if his health was up to it.   The museum delivery is a $495 option known as R8C.  Corvette owners refer a lot to the order codes.  Everyone who I talked to said it was well worth it and a once in a lifetime experience.  I decided to first go to Pohanka Chevrolet because that is where my buddy John Meyer purchased his new Corvette and had a great experience there.   I went in the day after Thanksgiving with a printout of
the best internet price I could find on a similar model of Grand Sport I wanted.  The salesman David Coggin went and ran the numbers and they beat it by $3,000.  I just looked at the numbers and said let's do it.   The schedule I was told would be early to mid March for the actual pickup.  That was a good schedule because my father's chemo would be finishing up by then and it the weather should be less of a factor between here and Bowling Green, Kentucky where they have the GM Assembly Plant for Corvette and the National Corvette Museum (NCM).  First, I was going to get one way flights to Nashville, then drive in from there.  With my father's health, sitting in a germ filled airport and germ filled plane did not seem like a good idea.  I decided for a one way rental to Nashville airport and then the NCM had a special one-way rental to the NCM from Enterprise.

The driving factor on why and how I decided to time this new purchase of a brand new Corvette Grand Sport was the one year anniversary of my separation package from Sun/Oracle.  HUGE thanks Scott McNealy, Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla for having the foresight to have a change in control package for Directors and VPs!     Besides buying a new large screen Sony, I did not spend any of that large check.   So, I decided that part of that check would be used to purchase new Corvette Grand Sport with the museum delivery option.  I timed it almost to the exact day of Sun being purchased by Oracle.

The National Corvette Museum is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.   The plan was that my father and I would be getting a personal factory tour of the Corvette plant, a personal tour of the National Corvette Museum and a personal Corvette Grand Sport overview.  That was the plan.

As luck would have it, I got a call that my Grand Sport would be ready to be picked up on February 3rd.   This was great providing my father's health (finished four rounds of chemo for his CLL and is getting treatments currently to get the good white blood cells back up where they should be) was up to it and the weather was not an issue.  Driving a new Corvette back through the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia is not anyone's idea of fun.   We obviously had to play it by ear.   The week before, my father told me that he felt he would be fine.  Great!   However, the weather was looking to be a real disaster.   It was literally looking like the perfect winter storm.   There was a huge arctic cold front coming deep into the south that would meet with a gulf front to create the mother of all winter storms.     I was monitoring the weather and thought I saw a window on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday early where we could get out in an SUV and deal with any light snow that might hit.  The weather was just north of us on Tuesday and Wednesday.   Returning, it looked like Thursday would provide a window if we drove the 750 miles back in one day.   I called the NCM and they said I should reschedule.  I said I would make a game time decision at 2pm on February 1st.   Slim and I looked at the weather forecast and thought there would be a small window we could hit - if we were really, really lucky....

Above was the first day of driving from 2pm on.  We put in almost 400 hundred miles that included a nice long dinner with my two oldest sons.  I knew my father was looking forward to spending all of this quality son/father bonding time when the first thing he does is pull out his audiobook

We had dinner with John and Michael at Sal's in Blacksburg before continuing on to Bristol to spend the night.

It was about 750 miles door to door.

Pulling into the National Corvette Museum with our one-way rental from Enterprise.  It was actually 11:48 Central time.

Above is one of the photoshop pictures you can buy when you go through the tour.

These were just two of the many welcome screens they had with our names on them.

The sign in front of my new Grand Sport Corvette.

My new Grand Sport in front of the NCM Delivery Offices.  They can do about 8 deliveries a day.  Mine was the only that day with weather and the slow sales for Corvette right now.  Normally 35,000 Corvettes are sold a year and it is down to 12,000 in the current economy.

Below is from the 2011 Corvette brochure on the Grand Sport:

The best combination of all-out performance and efficiency . Grand Sport coupe beat
every other production car with the exception of the Corvette ZR1 (very limited availability)
and a special $460,000 Lamborghini Murcielago in the 2010 edition of the Car and Driver
Lightning Lap at Virginia International Raceway. It lapped the circuit with a time of 2:58.8,
faster than the Audi R8 V10 and the Porsche 911 Carrera S. On the test track, Grand Sport
coupe delivers 1g of lateral acceleration and goes from 0 to 60 mph in less than four
seconds. Yet it does all this with an EPA estimated 26 MPG highway 1 and without a gas-guzzler tax. That’s what engineers call bandwidth.

What makes a Grand Sport?  Start with a wider track, wider tires as well as wider fenders and
quarters. Add a high rear spoiler and special five-spoke Grand Sport wheels. Under the skin
add aggressive dampers and springs, large stabilizer bars, performance gear ratios, additional cooling, and six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers engaging cross-drilled rotors.

Slim in front of my Grand Sport at the NCM Delivery area.

Me sitting in the Grand Sport for the first time and getting ready to get an overview on the car's features from Ron.  I watched the C6 Owners Video three times to get ready for the trip.   There is o substitute for hands-on learning.  The NCM has cameras so we sent text messages for family and fellow Corvette owners so they could watch on the NCM cameras.

Back view of the Grand Sport that looks down the hall of the National Corvette Museum.

 We had the world's best NCM Tour Guide in Ron Barton.   Ron worked for GM making Corvettes 35 years before he started working at NCM ten years ago.   Here you can see that Ron is answering one of my countless questions that I had.  I thought I knew a lot about Corvettes until I talked with Ron.  He spent five hours with us the first day at the museum and the four days the second at the factory tour.  My father and I took countless photos.  Slim took the best photos.  His new camera worked great.

Above is Wendell Strode, the Executive Director of the National Corvette Museum standing with my father.  Both served in the Vietnam War with Wendell being awarded a Purple Heart.

I can not recommend the Museum Delivery Option highly enough.  It is the best investment you will ever make for your new Corvette!

  Wendell, Gary Cockriel, Lori Bieschke and Ron Barton were absolutely fantastic.  They made us feel at home and very welcome.  It was fantastic!

This is me in front of a 1963 Z06 serial number 1.    This was part of the special back stage tour that you get as part of the NCM Delivery Option for a new Corvette.

Above is Slim lifting an all aluminum Z06 frame at the NCM.

Above is just one example of the exhibits in the NCM.

Above is a 74 Stingray that has 1,350 hp.

Above is the only 1983 Corvette left on planet earth.  Chevy made 55 1983 Corvettes.  The quality was terrible.  Chevy decided to squash the 1983 year and go right to 1984.  There were no 1983 Corvettes ever sold.  They ordered all 55 to be crushed.  Someone pulled one out and hid it.  That one is the white one above that sits at the NCM.  Great trivia question for your Corvette buddies.

This another of the paid for photoshop photos you can get.

Me and Slim after the five hour NCM tour and the detailed Grand Sport features demonstration on Wednesday night.   After that photo, we left my Grand Sport at the museum and had a nice dinner in Bowling Green.  When we drove the Grand Sport out of the museum for the final time all the museum employees were there clapping in a long line which was pretty cool.

Above is the 2nd brick that I purchased for my garage.  Below is the brick that will be forever placed inside the National Corvette Museum to mark that day Slim and I picked up my new 2011 Grand Sport Corvette.

Above is me on November 11th, 2016 pointing out my and my father's Grand Sport brick when I was with John Meyer for his delivery of his 2017 Grand Sport.

 Above is me in front of the GM Corvette Assembly Plant Tour Entrance.  It was pretty cool having your name up in big letters on the entrance.  The tour is fantastic.  Three hours watching new Corvettes start off on a 7 mile journey through the 1.5 million square foot plant.   The only car they make here are Corvettes.  We saw everything with our VIP Museum Delivery Tour by Ron.   Having someone like Ron who had worked at Corvette Assembly Plants for 35 years was fantastic.    I was also given the opportunity to "birth a new Corvette" by being the first person to start one up after it was completely assembled and ready for final testing.  They also showed us a Carbon Edition Z06 that was extremely cool.  No pictures are allowed inside of course.

Our NCM Tour Guide Ron Barton giving me the FOB for the new Grand Sport before we drove the 750 miles back home to beat the snow coming up behind us as we head through the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.

On of the things included with the purchase (if you took delivery in January through mid February) was two full days at either the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving  or the Spring Mountain Advanced Driving School.

Failure was not an option.  Slim and I took turns driving the Grand Sport.  We used OnStar to get weather and traffic reports on the way back as well as messing with the Navigation system and XM.    After dinner, I asked my father if he heard any news on Egypt and the protests going on there.  He responded, "How the HELL would I know, we have been listening to 70s on 7 XM Satellite Radio for the past 486 miles!"   My plan for father and son bonding had worked!  :-)

The weather was not a factor for us but a nightmare for others.  The picture above of the US and Canada gives you some idea.  Chicago had two feet of snow and 50mph winds.  Chicago Schools were closed for the 2nd time in 12 years.   Dallas had one inch of ice.  The south and midwest were nightmares.  Ice storms and massive snows everyplace.  The road between St. Lois and Kansas City (rt. 70) was closed for the first time EVER.   New York City Schools were closed for the first time in 30 years.  We REALLY had to find the right window and the right path to drive both there and back.  Going there I had an SUV.  Coming back we were in a Corvette - not exactly known for its winter driving :-)   Check out these amazing photos of the winter storm of 2011 here.

 We made great time heading back and got very lucky.  I dropped my father off at about 11:15 pm and then got home around midnight.  Julie and Tim got up to check it out.  It was good to be home and not have to worry about any weather issues. 

Back at home with the snow still on the ground.  I now have the "Steve Ferry Problem", which is "Which Corvette Do I Want To Take Today?"  :-)

With my two Corvettes and my wife's Mini Cooper S, we have over 1,000hp of sports cars in our garage.

I stated it earlier, and I can not recommend the Museum Delivery Option highly enough.  It is the best investment you will ever make for your new Corvette!

With the weather, my father's health, it could have been a real disaster, but instead it turned out to be like one of the MasterCard commercials:
  • Price of new Corvette Grand Sport after discounts - $55,000
  • Price of three days of rental cars, hotels, meals, and Corvette souvenirs - $1,500
  • Spending three days with my father who is beating cancer - PRICELESS

That is why I called this blog entry:  Three Perfect Days With Slim.