Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dennis Govoni Kinecting

This is the first time that I saw someone use the Kinect by Microsoft.   I am not sure that Dennis Govoni is the target audience :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

MTConnect Institute Signs Agreement with DMSC

I am very pleased to announce that, as President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute, I signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with  Curtis W. Brown, President of Dimensional Metrology Standards Consortium (DMSC).  Paul Warndorf, VP of Technology and CTO for AMT, did all the smart and hard work to make this a reality.

What is metrology?  As wikipedia states:

Metrology is the science of measurement. Metrology includes all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement. The word comes from Greek μέτρον (metron), "measure"[1] + "λόγος" (logos), amongst others meaning "speech, oration, discourse, quote, study, calculation, reason".[2] In Ancient Greek the term μετρολογία (metrologia) meant "theory of ratios".[3]
 Why is this MOU important?

This MOU is very important because DMSC has invested in a tremendous amount of hard work in metrology, just like we have in the open and royalty free protocol called MTConnect.  In my opinon, the combination of DMSC and MTConnect is the absolute perfect marriage.   The goals of this joint effort are:

  1. To generate freely accessible standards and specifications which enable interoperability and enable more tightly integrated production and quality in manufacturing.
  2. To enable compliant implementations of those standards and specifications.
  3. To freely distribute the standards and specifications resulting from the joint effort to any party with a material interest in those standards and technologies, including manufacturing companies, suppliers, distributors, end users, technology providers, software developers, independent software developers, value added resellers, system integrators and trade media organizations.
  4. The principals will Principals will communicate how joint efforts can be used to improve manufacturing and business effectiveness, efficiency and quality

 Here are important aspects of metrology - again from wikipedia:

Mistakes can make measurements and counts incorrect. Even if there are no mistakes, nearly all measurements are still inexact. The term 'error' is reserved for that inexactness, also called measurement uncertainty. Among the few exact measurements are:
  • The absence of the quantity being measured, such as a voltmeter with its leads shorted together: the meter should read zero exactly.
  • Measurement of an accepted constant under qualifying conditions, such as the triple point of pure water: the thermometer should read 273.16 kelvin (0.01 degrees Celsius, 32.018 degrees Fahrenheit) when qualified equipment is used correctly.
  • Self-checking ratio metric measurements, such as a potentiometer: the ratio in between steps is independently adjusted and verified to be beyond influential inexactness.
All other measurements either have to be checked to be sufficiently correct or left to chance. Metrology is the science that establishes the correctness of specific measurement situations. This is done by anticipating and allowing for both mistakes and error. The precise distinction between measurement error and mistakes is not settled and varies by country. Repeatability and reproducibility studies help quantify the precision: one common method is an ANOVA gauge R&R study.
Calibration is the process where metrology is applied to measurement equipment and processes to ensure conformity with a known standard of measurement, usually traceable to a national standards board.

Friday, July 29, 2011

TIOBE Programming Community Index for July 2011

This is the TIOBE Programming Community Index for July 2011.  As is stated on their home page:

TIOBE is specialized in assessing and tracking the quality of software. We measure the quality of a software system by applying widely accepted coding standards to it. 

It is interesting to see what languages are the most popular on the web and which ones are up and coming.  Below is a brief description:

"The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. The popular search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. Observe that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

The index can be used to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Java SE 7 Arrives - Based On OpenJDK

One of my favorite development online software sites is Software Development Times known as SD Times.  I am really glad to see that Mark Rheinhold is still with Oracle and the Chief Architect for Java and that Oracle is using OpenJDK as the basis for Java SE 7.  Below are a few snippets from the article Java SE 7 Arrives - Based On OpenJDK :

"We started with proven technology, added in a great community, and then finally added our own commitment and investment. We're standing on the shoulders of giants. In the 15 years of Java history, we've been lucky to build up a giant base of 9 million developers. It's the No. 1 choice by developers according to the TIOBE index, and more than a billion computers around the world run Java. It's by far the most widely deployed language in the history of computing."

"The OpenJDK forms the basis for Java SE 7, marking the first time in history that an open-source version of the Java development environment has been used as the basis for a commercial release. Mark Reinhold, Oracle's chief architect for the Java platform, said that the new open-source development process has been a success, despite a few bumps in the road, such as the Apache Foundation's sudden resignation from the JCP."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dulles Sets Heat Record at 105 Degrees on Friday July 22nd, 2011

105 Degrees on Friday July 22nd, 2011 Hottest Day EVER at Dulles Airport.

Today is our 20th day of 95+ weather this year here in D.C.

Dulles International Airport, VA (IAD):

This breaks the old all-time record high of 104 set back in 1988 and 1983.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

[MC]2 Video - Why You MUST Attend!

Why should YOU attend the MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference?  Watch below!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In a World Without Fences, Who Needs Gates?

In a World Without Fences, Who Needs Gates?

NOTE:  I wrote this for the July 14, 2011 IMTS Insider

No, I am talking about my all-time-favorite Java One T-shirt. I am talking about sales strategies. "Give away the razor and sell em' the blades." We have all heard and seen this type of sales strategy. The standard model is to come up with a proprietary product, separate the consumables and make your money selling the consumables. Specifically, sell the main product at a greatly reduced price and then lock them in forever on your proprietary consumables.

We see this type of sales model in all types of businesses. It is not uncommon to see this scenario in the computer industry and manufacturing. When this is done, it is not quite as obvious as the razor/blade scenario and it is certainly much more expensive. How software vendors do this is very slick because of the sales story that gets wrapped around it. If you do not take the time to think through the life cycle of your software purchase, you can easily fall into this trap. Here's how to avoid it.

I have had this discussion more than a few times lately and the conversation usually starts off with questions on monitoring their shop or plant floor. "Dave, why should I care how I get my data? All I care about is the information I see on my monitor that tells me how my machine tools are running." My response is, "You're right; on one hand, you shouldn't care, unless you think your shop will change or you plan on using the data coming off those machine tools in something besides monitoring."

The software sales rep typically responds with, "Don't worry about it, it's just a black box," when the shop/plant owner asks how the software will connect to the manufacturing equipment. The conversation might end at that point and the customer goes ahead and buys the software.

At this point, the software sales rep knows they have locked the customer in when changes at the shop or plant occur. As we all know, changes always happen in business. The scenario unfolds as follows. The customer calls up the sales rep and says, "We just purchased a new machine tool and I would like to connect it to my monitoring software. What do we need to do in order to make that happen?" The sales rep then has two responses. Either they have the adapter for the new machine tool or they don't. If they do, then there is usually a charge for the adapter, as well as a charge for someone to come out from the software company to install it. If they don't have it, then they will offer to have someone from their professional services organization give a price for writing the adapter. This is typically someone who will cost $150 to $250 an hour to write that adapter. If you decide that you want to integrate the monitoring software in with other software from your existing enterprise, then you will likely be charged to have this type of integration work done as well.

The price can be high, so it is natural to think about different ways that you might be able to get the adapter written for less money. Getting a consultant naturally jumps to mind! You reach out to a few consultants and they all tell you the same story. The software company does not document how to write adapters or how to integrate with their software. You are locked in with the vendor. You are now in what I like to call "adapter hell." This adapter hell is why only 4 to 5 percent of all machine tools are monitored today.

Adapter hell is why it absolutely does matter how the adapters speak to the manufacturing equipment. How would it be different if you had an open and royalty free, as well as open source, type of protocol for the adapters such as MTConnect®? 

MTConnect® speaks in the exact same language that runs on the internet today – http and XML. The beauty of http is that it is the same protocol that moves information around that you also see in your browser bar when you type in XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language and is the data language of the internet. In other words, it is the letters, words and dictionary that describe the data itself. Here's the bottom line with MTConnect – it gives you freedom. It gives you the freedom to have someone else besides the software vendor provide the adapters for you.

Instead of being in adapter hell, by using MTConnect you end up in adapter heaven. Since MTConnect is open source and based on standards, it is easy to find someone to write an adapter. You are not locked into the vendor. Since MTConnect is based on XML, it is brain-dead-easy to integrate that information into your other software.
So, does it matter HOW you get the data? It depends. Would you rather go to adapter heaven or adapter hell? Gates are what some software vendors want to put up so they can charge you outrageous prices for adapters, as well as very expensive installations of those adapters. That is why in a world without proprietary fences, who needs software adapter gates? How do you avoid adapter hell? The next time a software sales rep tries to tell you, "It's just a black box, don't worry about it," make sure you ask that person HOW they are getting the data and make sure that software vendor has MTConnect as an option.

Adapter heaven is much better place than adapter hell.

Japan Beating USA in Woman's World Cup

WOW!  What a game! Congratulations Japan woman.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mike Geldner of Google To Speak at [MC]2

I am extremely pleased to announce that Mike Geldner of Google has agreed to speak at the first ever MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference [MC]2

Mike is a long time friend, absolutely brilliant and just a great, great guy.  Plus, he is a Corvette guy :-)

Mike is the Keynote Speaker on the first day and will be presenting:

           "Inside The World of Google"
Below is Mike's brief bio:
Michael Geldner joined Google’s Enterprise division in July of 2008 as a Federal Account Manger. He is currently responsible for Google’s business with several large US Department of Defense agencies.

Prior to Google, Michael worked for Dell as a Federal Account Manager responsible for a major US DoD Agency for three years. Earlier in his career he held several roles during 17 years with Sun Microsystems including Senior System Engineer / Product Specialist, and before joining Sun, he worked as a software development Team Leader on the Launch Control System for the Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center during the early years of it’s operation.

Michael earned a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida and worked at the university as an Instructor of Computer Science during his Master’s and post-degree studies.

Mike’s other interests and activities include computer and information technology, golf, SCUBA diving, photography, automobile restoration and collecting, and almost anything “technical”.  He has two sons, both former US Marines, and two grandsons.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kepware Technologies Announces New MTConnect Driver for KEPServerEX

Kepware Technologies Announces New MTConnect Driver for KEPServerEX

Kepware Technologies Continues to Focus on Interoperability with its Upcoming Release of the MTConnect Driver

Portland, ME July 14, 2011 — Kepware Technologies, the leader in Communications for Automation, announced today that the upcoming release of the KEPServerEX communication platform will include the new MTConnect Driver. MTConnect is a royalty-free Open standard for connecting shop-floor technologies that furthers the Automation industry’s goal of seamless manufacturing operation. Kepware’s MTConnect Driver allows connectivity to any MTConnect Agent.
Much like the OPC standards for which Kepware is renowned, the MTConnect standard intends to reduce the number of proprietary manufacturing equipment protocols and make communications open to all machine tool owners. With over 150 communication drivers that support several hundred protocols, KEPServerEX will now be available for the benefit of the machine tool manufacturers who have implemented or plan to implement the MTConnect standard.

"The MTConnect Institute is excited to have an industry leader, such as Kepware, become an MTConnect Technical Advisory Group Member, as well as announce an MTConnect driver for their KEPServerEX release,"  said Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute. "It is companies like Kepware who see the importance of moving toward common interface standards for manufacturing, such as MTConnect, that will help bring about the interoperability capabilities needed to reduce the overbearing costs of connectivity on the shop floor."
“The KEPServerEX Communications Platform allows users to achieve interoperability between client/server layer protocols, device protocols and many other types of interfaces in a single environment,” said Tony Paine, President of Kepware Technologies. “We view the MTConnect standard as an evolution for machine tool connectivity and are excited to add the capabilities it provides to our product offering.”

The MTConnect Driver for KEPServerEX is scheduled for release at the end of July, 2011. For more information on this or any other driver, contact

ABOUT Kepware Technologies: Kepware Technologies, established in 1995, develops a wide range of communication and interoperability software solutions for the Automation industry. Our flexible and scalable solutions are for connecting, managing, monitoring, and controlling diverse automation devices and software applications. Our industry endorsed software solutions improve operations and decision-making throughout all levels of an organization. Kepware Technologies' mission is to be “Your Standard for Connectivity”.
ABOUT MTConnect Organization: The MTConnect Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) independent organization established to further the development of MTConnect standards and materials.  The organization includes a Technical Advisory Group (MTCTAG) and a Technical Steering Committee, as well as working groups to further the standards in specific technology areas.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

3D Printing or Additive Printing - it's real...

We had this company, Z Corporation, at IMTS 2010.   Check out this video of 3D printing.