Friday, June 29, 2012

Tim Edstrom's High School Graduation

Tim graduated from Broad Run High School this year.  He had a 3.82 GPA, a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the French International Honor Society, can easily dunk on a 10' goal either one foot or two foot and is a good guy.  We are very proud of Tim.

Tim with his mom, John, Michael and me.
Grandpa and Grandma Edstrom with Tim
 Tim with his longtime buddy John Magnuson

Tim with his Aunt "Googie"

Tim getting his diploma.

Grandpa Johnson holding Tim above.

 Michael, me, Tim and John at Tim's idea of heaven - UNC's basketball court.

Tim, after he led his 8th grade team to the championship game, where we won the season title and Tim was an all star as well.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Who Watches the Watchmen?

                               By Dave Edstrom
                         For the June 20th, 2012 IMTS Insider

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" is roughly translated to "Who will guard the guards?" As manufacturing becomes more and more about software, the importance of monitoring your computer networks will increase significantly. By computer networks I am referring to all of your systems that are not specifically manufacturing equipment. The ability to absolutely know that your software is up and running well becomes imperative. Typically this is done with monitoring software. This begs the sometimes obvious and not-so-obvious questions that are worth exploring.
Back in the late 1980s there was a huge rush of companies to come out with network monitoring programs. Companies realized they were investing significant sums in their servers, PCs, Macs, workstations, routers, bridges and networks so they needed to monitor and maintain these expensive and important resources. Sun Microsystems was an early leader with a product called SunNet Manager. It was a great product and showed really well with all of its graphics and the ability to drill down, send alerts and keep everyone updated on a real-time basis
There were two big challenges with network management and these were not technical, but a combination of cultural and business challenges. Those were so prevalent that I would start my presentations off with this statement: “I am going to ask you two questions. The first question you will answer ‘everything,’ and that will be the wrong answer. The second question you will answer ‘I don’t know,’ and that will be the right answer.”
The first question — answered “everything” — was, “What do you want to monitor?” I would then explain that with hundreds of metrics, monitoring everything is not viable. What would I suggest? It depends, but certainly there are important metrics for any system in terms of CPU load, network load, disk drive access, memory usage and types of applications running to name just a few.
While this answer was technically accurate, it really did not address their question. For example, many times monitoring software would be used as a foundation for high availability (HA) class of systems. HA systems are those systems that typically require four nines or 99.99% or greater uptime. This means a total downtime of less than one hour per year. However, just because an HA system is up, does that mean that the database is running properly and accepting transactions? Just because a computer is running and all the processes appear when you issue a process status command, it does not mean it is operating properly end to end.
The second question — answered “I don’t know” — was a very tough one, “What do you want to DO when one of these events occur?” This is the human side of monitoring the monitor. That was the really tough question because it would involve both technical and business input. For example, your primary server is running very slow because it is running out of memory. Which processes do you want to kill? Not an easy question on a shared server. You can certainly take a look to see if a specific process is out of control, but what happens if this has just been a slow and gradual increasing of load over time and not an obvious out-of-control metric? What if everything is running fine, you just have too many processes for the server? Buying and installing more memory or even buying another server might be an option, but that does not answer the question – what do you do right now? If this happens at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday, who makes the decision? Who is monitoring the monitor? Is it software and/or a human? Are all the decisions automated or is it a work flow that involves humans at a specific point?
There are many common threads between both monitoring your shop floor and your computer network. These common threads are why I decided to follow up with this article after my previous discussion of Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing. Monitoring your shop floor or your computer network is not enough. You must have a culture of being data driven with a champion. Data driven manufacturing is where decisions are made with data from a variety of systems in a logical fashion with input from all of the stakeholders. As a refresher, here are Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing:
  1. We measure what goes Into production and what comes out, we have little data on what really happens on the production floor
  2. If anyone says “I know exactly what is happening on my plant floor” – don’t believe them
  3. We don’t gather data because it Is hard, and someone has to look at it
  4. No one solution or set of data works for everyone
  5. If you don’t have an avid champion, save your time and money
Monitoring your computer network is much easier than monitoring your shop floor because it is a well-understood science and there are tons of tools out there in terms of open-source and proprietary monitoring software.
It used to be that you had to install the software locally for computer network monitoring. Today, there are numerous cloud monitoring services that will monitor your systems. Very detailed monitoring still typically involves locally installed software. More and more companies are using software in the cloud to substitute or augment software that they previously would load and run locally. Many of these companies in the cloud monitor their own systems and have impressive uptimes.
But what happens when these services are down? How do you know? Are you notified? What actions can you take when a vital cloud service that your business depends on goes down? This is where "quis custodiet ipsos custodes" or "who watches the watchman” comes into play. 
As a company starts to put monitoring in place, it is very helpful to remember The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing by Peter Deutsch, James Gosling and others at Sun Microsystems.
  1. The network is reliable.
  2. Latency is zero.
  3. Bandwidth is infinite.
  4. The network is secure.
  5. Topology doesn't change.
  6. There is one administrator.
  7. Transport cost is zero.
  8. The network is homogeneous.
The main point of the above list is to never assume the condition of your network when developing software or monitoring systems – you must know.
Whether you are monitoring your shop floor or computer network, there is no “insert here” canned magic solution in terms of what is important to monitor and what should I do when these events occur. What is most important is putting together a team that is led by a champion to evaluate the data, take action, monitor your actions, and continue to adjust. This team should be made up of a variety of disciplines and must meet on a regular basis.
As you introduce monitoring into your shop floor and your network, remember Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing and the Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing. Finally, your goal in monitoring is the ability to answer these five simple monitoring questions:
  1. Who will be our monitoring champion?
  2. Who will be on our monitoring team?
  3. What should we monitor?
  4. What will we do when these events occur?
  5. Who monitors the monitor?
Whatever monitoring software you decide to go with, make sure you can try before you buy. This is critical. Bottom line is that you can’t manage what you can’t monitor and make sure you know what and who is watching the watchmen - quis custodiet ipsos custodies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Turner's Five Laws of Manufacturing

Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing

Jun 6, 2012
                                                               By  Dave Edstrom

Note: I wrote this for the IMTS Insider's June 6th, 2012 Edition

I first met John Turner when he was working for GE FANUC and I was at Sun Microsystems. We met at an MTConnect meeting. I was immediately impressed with John’s deep and broad knowledge of manufacturing and his ability to take complex concepts and synthesize those into clear, concise and compelling points.
John and I work together on MTConnect as consultants and we have presented together on a few occasions, and I always learn something new from him. Recently we were discussing that just having a shop embrace MTConnect as the standard, open and royalty-free protocol as the means to connect the shop floor to applications is not enough. You must have a data driven manufacturing mindset and a champion. I told John that what we need to do is educate shop owners and plant managers on Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing. Let’s explore this topic, but first a little background on John:
  • More than 30 years’ experience at GE and GE Fanuc Automation
  • Specializes in Manufacturing Process Intelligence and Systems Optimization
  • Six-Sigma Black Belt trained
  • Broad business experiences
  • Product and operations management experience
  • Applications engineering experience
  • Software systems development experience
  • AMT Technical Issues Committee member
  • MTConnect Technical Advisory Board member
These are Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing:  

1.  We measure what goes into production and what comes out, but we have little data on what really happens on the production floor
2.  If anyone says, “I know exactly what is happening on my plant floor,” don’t believe them
3.  We don’t gather data because it is difficult, and someone has to look at it
4.  No one solution or set of data works for everyone
5.  If you don’t have an avid champion, save your time and money

John’s five laws really are critical points that any shop or plant should discuss before they invest in a shop floor monitoring package.
Law #1 is something that we hear about far too often. This is where a shop or plant that has a great deal of data and processes regarding both part design and part inspection, but has a big hole in the middle regarding data on actual part manufacturing. This is analogous to a race car team spending a lot of time and money on the design of the race car and then breaking the car down after the race to see what held up, but providing the driver with an instrument panel and then not gathering data during the actual race. You would never see that scenario in racing, yet we see it all the time in manufacturing.
Law #2 states, “If anyone says “I know exactly what is happening on my plant floor,” don’t believe them.” Shop owners or plant managers who have been so close to their operations for a long time sometimes can’t see issues/opportunities from a new perspective. It is the shop owner or plant manager who is in denial. If they do not have a shop floor monitoring package, they are only kidding themselves. The anecdotal stories in this area are endless. The number of shops/plants with a monitoring package is in the 4-5 percent range.
Law #3 states, “We don’t gather data because it is difficult, and someone has to look at it.” I have a lot of respect for this law because it really drives home two key points. The first part is about gathering data, and MTConnect can address that. The second part of Law #3 is a real cultural issue that is not obvious to most individuals in manufacturing. There is also an implied message in the “and someone has to look at it” part of John’s Law #3. The message is that someone needs to analyze the data, make recommendations on how to fix the issue, deploy the fix, and then monitor that the fix is working as designed. Sometimes those in manufacturing think that a shop floor monitoring package provides answers – it does not. Much like an MRI, it provides data that must be properly interpreted and then acted upon.
Law #4 states, “No one solution or set of data works for everyone.” While this law first seems like it is in the common sense category, you would be amazed at how many shops or plants expect a piece of software to be configured out of the box with the ability to grab the exact data needed, analyze the data, and then present it in a format that both management and the machinist on the floor can act upon. A fundamental question such as, “What are the top five problems you believe you have on the shop floor today?” sometimes generates hours of conversations with a different priority list depending on who you ask at the shop or plant.
Law #5 states, “If you don’t have an avid champion, save your time and money.” This might be the most important law of all five. Monitoring for the sake of monitoring will not be successful. Using monitoring as a weapon of mass data on the shop floor is also a great recipe to turn the shop floor against management. The right analogy is one that the military uses. Everyone’s job in the military is either to directly or indirectly support the warfighter. The same should be said of the machinists and those on the manufacturing floor. Everything that is being done with shop/plant floor monitoring should be done with those on the shop floor in mind. I like to think of the machinist as the neurosurgeon with shop floor data being the CAT scans, X-rays and MRIs to help that machinist do their job much better. If shop floor monitoring is being used as a stick, then don’t bother because both your morale and productivity will go down. 
I have become convinced that every time I speak on MTConnect I am going to bring up Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing. The reason is that the first and obvious application that individuals think of with MTConnect is the acquisition of a shop/plant floor monitoring solution. Most companies purchase these applications, but some do write their own. This is typically the first step of many for data-driven manufacturing. Once a shop/plant realizes that understanding what is happening on the shop floor can improve overall productivity, they quickly realize the many other areas where this and other data can be integrated to improve all aspects of their business. Of all of Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing, the most important very well might be having a champion. In my opinion, having a strong champion that can drive change by utilizing shop floor data will be the single most important factor in the success or failure of a shop/plant floor monitoring project.
Whether it is simply monitoring the shop floor or total integration of all your data in manufacturing, I would first strongly encourage a shop or plant to have an open discussion of Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing with all involved parties.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dave Edstrom Speaking At GlobalSpec’s Machine Tools & Metal Working Online Tradeshow

Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of Board for the MTConnect Institute to be featured in the GlobalSpec Machine Tools & Metal Working Online Event

NOTE:  This is from GlobalSpec's press release:

The challenges managers of manufacturing operations face to ensure individual components and the factory as a whole operate at acceptable levels will be explored when Dave Edstrom takes center stage during GlobalSpec’s upcoming Machine Tools & Metal Working online event.  
At 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time on June 6th, Dave Edstrom will be speaking to industry professionals around the globe about how MTConnect can bring end-to-end interoperability to the manufacturing environment.
The MTConnect Institute educational session will be one of several presentations in the day’s agenda that covers leading trends in the Machine Tools & Metal Working industry.
·      When:  Wednesday, June 6th at 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time
·      What:  Connecting Manufacturing & Design
·      Where:  Online -

If you would like to join the live day event, please ask visit the following link: to register.  

·      Contacts:  GlobalSpec e-Events Manager, Molly Kray, or 518-880-0200 x5471.
About the Machine Tools & Metal Working Online Event.
GlobalSpec's Machine Tools & Metal Working FREE online event is a cost-efficient way to learn about the latest in machine tools and metal working technology. From the convenience of your desktop, join key manufacturers and industry professionals from around the globe. Chat directly with suppliers anxious to answer questions you may have regarding metal cutting and forming, CNC programming and controls, or tooling and fixturing. Share ideas and business strategies with industry colleagues, and learn from industry experts during key educational forums. GlobalSpec's Machine Tools & Metal Working online event will help you design products that are easier and more affordable to produce, offer higher quality and reliability, and reduce end-user costs.
About GlobalSpec, Inc.
GlobalSpec is the leading specialized vertical search, information services, e-publishing and online events company serving the engineering, manufacturing and related scientific and technical market segments. The company provides its buy-side users with domain-expert search engines, a broad range of proprietary and aggregated Web-based content and over 70+ product and industry e-newsletters that help engineers and related professionals perform their key job tasks with the highest levels of accuracy and productivity. GlobalSpec provides its sell-side client base of companies seeking to reach the worldwide engineering audience with highly filtered sales leads, product promotion and brand advertising platforms and a wide range of e-media advertising and marketing services.

GlobalSpec, SpecSearch, The Engineering Search Engine and The Engineering Web are registered trademarks of GlobalSpec, Inc.