Thursday, August 30, 2012

MTConnect® Institute [MC]2 2013 Conference Save the Date and Call for Abstracts

This press release went out today.

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2012
Contact: Dave Edstrom MTConnect® Institute

MTConnect® Institute [MC]2 2013 Conference Save the Date and Call for Abstracts

McLean, Va. ... Today, August 29, 2012, the MTConnect® Institute formally announced [MC]2 2013 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference that will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Hyatt Regency on April 10-11, 2013, and the official call for abstracts. MTConnect is the communications and interconnectivity standard that is allowing manufacturing shops and plants to save both time and money because, for the first time, they can easily retrieve and monitor data off the shop floor to improve productivity.

[MC]2 2013 is the conference for all things MTConnect and a must-attend for those who want to understand how this game-changing standard is revolutionizing manufacturing. MTConnect is a set of open, royalty-free standards intended to foster greater interoperability between controls, devices and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol. MTConnect is a basic first step in linking shop floor technologies and moving toward the goal of seamless manufacturing operations. By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other's data.

This is the second MTConnect conference. The first was held in November 2011 and was a tremendous success with 175 attendees who participated in business and technical sessions, hands-on labs, panel sessions and demonstrations. There were also 26 exhibitors showing their applications that utilize the MTConnect standard. [MC]2 2013 will build on the tremendous success of the first MTConnect conference with a greater emphasis on shop owners and plant managers.

Joel Neidig, Technology Manager for ITAMCO, has stated, “[MC]2 2011 displayed the latest in manufacturing technology interconnectivity and what is to come in the future. [MC]2 2013 is a must-attend.”

Mark Conley, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Manager for RTI-Remmele stated, "RTI-Remmele has been a great supporter of MTConnect since the very beginning. The first [MC]2 conference was excellent and I would highly recommend those shop owners and plant managers to attend [MC]2 2013. This conference is also a great place for vendors to show off their MTConnect products and services."

David McPhail, President & CEO of Memex Automation and Astrix Networks, stated,   "The [MC]2 MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference in 2011 was a great investment for Memex Automation because not only was the conference excellent, but as an exhibitor we had a chance to meet with those companies and organizations that are looking to improve productivity through the MTConnect standard. We look forward to being part of [MC]2 2013."

[MC]2 2013 Call For Abstract Submission Instructions
Please use the format below as a template for your abstract submission.


Job Title: 
Categories (please select the appropriate category):

  • Business Session
  • Panel Session
  • Technical Session
  • Hands-on Software Lab
  • Demonstration Session

Title: Presenter(s): Who is the target audience?:

What will be the top three takeaways from attending your session or lab     Description – two to three paragraphs

Important Dates To Remember
  • October 1, 2012: Abstracts due 
  • November 12, 2012: Speakers notified

Submissions or Questions

Please send submissions or any questions to both dedstrom@MTConnect.organd

To learn more about [MC]2 2013, please go to today!

MTConnect® 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. is the location for information on MTConnect the standard, educational articles, training and MTConnect enabled products. is the site for questions and answers on all things MTConnect.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God Bless Mary Jane Cunningham Smith

Julie and I went up in Orchard Park to attend the funeral of Julie's aunt Mary Jane Cunningham Smith on Thursday the 23rd of August. She passed on July 26th, 2012.   Mary Jane and Julie's mom, Barbara, were sisters.  Julie's mom passed away in 1994.

 It was a very nice memorial.  She was quite the lady and a well known philanthropist and it was amazing to hear one story after another about how much she gave to the community, family, friends and everyone she touched over the years.  The weather could not have been any nicer.  It was quite evident how much Mary Jane and her late husband, Graham, gave to the community and others at the memorial reception that was held at the Orchard Park Country Club after the memorial service.

After the memorial reception, we went back to Mary Jane's house and sat on the porch with George Smith, who is Mary Jane's son, George's wife Janet, Liza Morehouse, who is Mary Jane's daughter, Liza's husband Sky as well as the grandchildren of Mary Jane, Graham, Bennett, Caroline, Luke and Emma.

Julie and I were fortunate enough to be in Canada in June and got together with Mary Jane and Liza at Mary Jane's house and we went out for dinner.  It was a lovely evening and just very nice to spend time with Mary Jane and Liza.

Below is Julie, Mary Jane and Liza when we visited there back in June of this year.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Corvettes at Carlisle With Mr. John Meyer

I love going to Corvettes at Carlisle, but the only problem are the "Meyer Corvette Girls" or "MCGs" as they are known in Carlisle, PA.  They follow John around the entire time and it makes it difficult to see the Corvettes, but I have grown used to it over the years :-)   Next year will be very interesting with the introduction of the C7 Corvette at the Detroit Auto Show in early 2013.

This is the year of John's 50th birthday and this was also the 50 year anniversary of the 1962 Corvette.  Below is John in the 1962 50 Year Anniversary Tent that was also known as the "Happy 50th Birthday John Meyer Tent" by the MCGs.

Below is John and me in front of the C6R.

Black and red are classic Corvette color combinations.

Above is the C6R Corvette race car.

Above is the clear opening showing the supercharger on the 638hp ZR1 $125,000 Corvette.

Below is a movie of the ZR1 cutaway which I think is very cool.

Above and below is the famous #3 Corvette. 

Above is a 1961 Candy Apple Red Corvette.  Below are custom seats made of REAL STINGRAY skin in the middle!

Below are three cutaways of the ZR1.

Tim's First Day at JMU

We went out as a family to one of Tim's favorite restaurants Kobe's in Leesburg.

John, Tim and Michael above

Below is Tim very happy to LEAVE Ashburn.

We took Tim to James Madison University (JMU) this past Tuesday.  Below Tim is THRILLED that mom and dad are driving him onto JMU's campus! :-)

We ate at Five Guys for lunch.

Above is JMU's main building with the bluestone rock.

I have seen prisoners on death row who looked happier than Tim in his new dorm room.  Julie said he was just sick of us and wanted us the hell out of there.

Above is Tim in front of Gifford Hall which is his dorm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Your Manufacturing Check Engine Light is Broken

Aug 22, 2012
-Dave Edstrom
We have all seen the check engine light come on in the car. Often, it’s because someone didn’t properly put the gas cap on. However, there are times when it is more serious and even times when it’s extremely serious. The check engine light is also sometimes called an “idiot light” because it comes on and provides no real concrete information.
Typically, the check engine light is amber. If it comes up in a red color, you are likely in a world of engine trouble. The check engine light is just an indicator of a problem. It comes on when the system determines a problem. In manufacturing, the check engine light is typically the stack light. If the operator can control the stack light, then that makes about as much sense as having a toggle switch on your dash for the driver of the car to turn on the engine light when he or she thinks or knows there is some type of problem. Think about that for a second. There is absolutely no difference between having the driver turn on a toggle switch and an operator of a machine tool turn a stack light from green to yellow or red. If the stack light is supposed to be an indicator of what is really going on with that particular machine tool, for all practical purposes your manufacturing check engine light is broken. So what do you do about it?
Just as President Ronald Reagan said at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12th, 1987, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear DOWN this wall!” As President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute, I am saying to manufacturing shops and plants around the globe, “Manufacturing plants and shops, tear DOWN these stack lights!” The wall that separated East Germany from West Germany kept people and ideas apart. The stack lights in plants are just as dated, remind me of the Cold War time and keeping real information from reaching those who need to know it. When I walk into a plant and see stack lights I always just roll me eyes thinking to myself, “what year is this anyway — 1912 or 2012?”
Many drivers do not realize that on every car made since 1996, there is a connector or port that is typically right below the steering wheel on all cars. This port is called the On Board Diagnostics II port or OBD-II. What is very important about the OBD-II is that it is the same physical connector and same protocol (how you speak to the OBD-II electronically) for all cars. This means that if your check engine light comes on, instead of just tightening the gas cap and hoping the light goes off after a few cold starts, you now have the ability to find out what is really going on.
There are OB-II scanners on the market that allow you to plug into the OBD-II port to find out in much more detail exactly what is going on with your engine. These typically go from $70 to $200 if you want to buy one or many times you can borrow one from your local auto parts store. How these work is that you plug them in, turn on your car and then retrieve information from the OBD-II. Many of these scanners allow you to capture data while your car is running. After driving your car, you can then download this information to your computer for further analysis or replay what your engine did while you were driving. What these scanners can do varies on the price, but typically the first test users will run is scanning for codes. Scanning for codes means going through each of the subsystems of your car looking for an error code that might have been set. The scanners do not tell what to fix, but they typically narrow down significantly the areas where you should be looking.
Manufacturing also has its own OBD-II — and it is MTConnect.
MTConnect is an open and royalty-free standard for manufacturing that is connecting manufacturing equipment with applications by using proven Internet protocols. Think of MTConnect as the “Bluetooth for manufacturing”. With Bluetooth, both devices must speak Bluetooth for anything useful to happen. Just as simply having an OBD-II port on your car does not provide you with any more data unless you have an OBD-II scanner, the same “pairing” principle applies to MTConnect and software applications. You can have an MTConnect enabled machine tool or piece of manufacturing equipment, but without the software to read and analyze the data you do not have both sides of the equation.
The OBD-II scanner is really the application or the tool that you use to help you understand what is happening with your engine. In manufacturing, it is software applications, such as shop floor monitoring, that are the applications that speak to an MTConnect enabled piece of manufacturing equipment on the shop floor.
Sets of questions that I like to ask at the beginnings of my talks when I speak about MTConnect are the following:
  1. Who here is doing lean manufacturing? Please raise your right hand and keep it up.
  2. If you are doing shop floor monitoring, please raise your left hand.
I then tell the crowd, unless you have both hands up, you are not doing lean manufacturing. You might think you are doing lean or even have convinced yourself that you are doing lean, but unless you are first monitoring what happens on the shop or plant floor, you are just fooling yourself. As Lord Kelvin once said:
"In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. 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."
If you are an IMTS exhibitor, you should be educating your customers about MTConnect. The other important question to ask yourself is during the end of August when this article comes out is, “Am I doing everything I can to have the BEST IMTS EVER?” If you have not purchased the IMTS 2012 app from, you are not giving yourself the true opportunity to achieve that. Remember what Peter Eelman, AMT Vice President-Exhibitions & Communications said: "MTInsight IMTS 2012 is the type of app that can pay for itself many times over — with just one extra sale. I would encourage all IMTS exhibitors to check out this app at We designed this app to help IMTS exhibitors have their best year ever at IMTS."
Also, don’t forget what Tom Snyder, AMT’s Exhibitions Sales Manager, thinks about this app for IMTS exhibitors. “I’ve been at AMT for 27 years and working with IMTS exhibitors for 22 years. I can think of no better investment for a successful IMTS than the MTInsight IMTS 2012 app.”
So, what can you do in the next six weeks to get into the 21st century of manufacturing? There are four key things you can do:
  1. Come to IMTS 2012 and go to the Emerging Technology Center in the North Hall and stop by the MTConnect Software Applications area. Here you will see the following applications being demonstrated:
    • Efficiency
    • Utilization
    • Managing Your Shop/Plant From Anywhere
    • Shop Floor Monitoring
    • Sustainability
    There will be experts from a variety of companies and institutions discussing the business and technical benefits of these four different areas.
  2. While you are at the ETC, pick up the MTConnect Institute’s [MC]2 2013 MTConnect Connecting Manufacturing Conference information sheet and register in the free [MC]2 2013 attendee raffle.
  3. Go to the brand new and join in all the conversations that are happening today about how companies and individuals are using MTConnect to save both time and money.
  4. Walk over to the MTInsight Booth and get a demo. If you are an IMTS exhibitor and have NOT purchased the IMTS 2012, BUY IT! This will be the smartest thing you can do to get the maximum bang for your buck at IMTS. Go to today to learn more!
As an IMTS exhibitor, tell your customers to tear down their stack lights, get MTConnect enabled and get into the 21st century! The only thing your customers have to lose is their old way of thinking and what they will likely gain is productivity in their shop or plant. Tell your customers to stop staring at their idiot lights, and get MTConnect enabled, so they will have the data to make intelligent decisions.
Finally, if you’re IMTS Exhibitor and you don’t have MTInsight’s IMTS 2012 app, you are making a huge mistake. Get it today at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

President Obama's National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII)

Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support Manufacturing Innovation, Encourage Investment in America

As the release points out:

"Following through on our We Can’t Wait efforts, the Obama Administration today announced the launch of a new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation in Youngstown, Ohio as part of its ongoing efforts to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.  This new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), was selected through a competitive process, led by the Department of Defense, to award an initial $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium, which includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt.'"

It is very cool that National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) won this!  Ralph Resnick, President of NCDMM and on the MTConnect Board of Directors is an amazing leader and it is a real honor to work with Ralph.  MTConnect is one of the 11 non-profits listed as supporters of this NAMII.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Romney's Tax Plan "Garbage"

Very interesting article by The Washington Post's Editorial Board titled:

Mr. Romney’s ‘garbage’

Below are two snippets from the article:
"Mr. Romney says that he can achieve this seemingly magical result by “broadening the base” for income tax collection. This, too, sounds great. In principle, everyone favors “broadening the base,” also known as closing loopholes. But everyone favors closing someone else’s loopholes: those of oil companies, say, or of plutocrats who park their money in the Cayman Islands. "
"Unfortunately, such inviting targets, to the extent they exist, don’t cost the government much in the overall scheme of things. The “loopholes” that cost most are deductions and other tax provisions that most Americans consider sensible, if not God-given, rights: tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, which according to the Congressional Budget Office will cost $2 trillion over the next 10 years; for pension and retirement savings ($1.8 trillion); for mortgage interest ($1.6 trillion) and charitable giving ($600 billion). Mr. Romney hasn’t said which of these he would trim or by how much."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Golfing at 1757 My Parents, TIm and Me

  Above is Tim, my youngest son, me and my father at 1757 Golf Course in Ashburn, VA.

Above is Tim, my mother and my father at 1757.   Tim and I lost 42 golf balls between in just 7  holes.

Mark Albert's Great Article on ITAMCO and Task Force Tips

MTConnect has no greater friend than Mark Albert, Editor-in-Chief at Modern Machine Shop Magazine.  Mark writes another great article titled:

MTConnect: Two Shops Share Their Experience


It is an excellent article that brings out many great examples of ITAMCO and Task Force Tips using MTConnect.  I really like how Mark brings out these common points:

"Here are some of the positive characteristics they have in common:

• A proactive, aggressive stance toward adopting new technology.
•  A commitment to participate in the development of new technology. (Both companies actively support the MTConnect Institute as members and working group participants.)
• The ability to imagine and create in-house their own uses and applications for emerging technology. (Having staff dedicated to promoting advanced technology is important.)
• The boldness to consider and develop applications that “get ahead” of the current version of MTConnect in anticipation of benefits to come.
• The openness to share lessons learned and advice with other users and potential users of this communication standard."

This article should be read by anyone considering MTConnect. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fantastic Taiwan - MTConnect Trip of a Lifetime!

I was asked to come to Taiwan Dr. Kao of the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences (KUAS).  Words can not describe how great it was to be in Taiwan!   It was the absolute best I have ever been treated in my life!  It was an absolute honor to be there and have the chance to discuss MTConnect.  I can not thank Dr. Kao and Alan Wei, Manager of the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center (PMC),  enough.  As you will see in the rest of this blog, there are many, many individuals who I am VERY THANKFUL to!

From the right to left is Dr. Kao of National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences (KUAS), Benjamin B. C. Jan, General Manager of the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center (PMC), Terry of PMC.  I am sorry that I do not remember who is behind us and my camera is not that great as well.  We had a fantastic dinner together.  It was a real honor to meet and have dinner with such important individuals.

The food was AMAZING in Taiwan.  I learned that the food is much better and much fresher in Taiwan versus the restaurants I have been to in the United States.

Above is my hotel, the Windsor Hotel in Taichung at night from the restaurant we went to above.  It was a very nice hotel.

Below is the first slide of my 71 slide presentation I gave on Thursday August 9th in Taiwan.  My presentation went a little over three hours.

Above is a slide that I like to use that shows the difference between MTConnect and proprietary protocols that puts the onus of what the data means on the application developers.  As I stated at the conference, the developer dies of old age wasting their time trying to figure how and what the proprietary data means.  The beauty of MTConnect is all the hard work that went into the data dictionary or MTConnect XML Schema Definition.  This makes life exponentially easier for software developers.

Below is a picture of me in front of the conference where I gave a seminar on MTConnect.

Above is a dinner we had at the Windsor Hotel at the Zhe Abalone Restaurant that was great.

Below is a picture of the speakers on the newspaper in Taiwan.


Above is the President of ECOCA - Shawn Sung.   I receive a private tour from Mr. Sung of his ECOCA factory. It was very impressive how much ECOCA has progressed since Mr. Sung took over.  I also received a tour of their demo area from ECOCA employees.

Above is the first slide of my hands-on lab in Taiwan.  I put together 145 slides for the hands on lab that started about 9:15 in the morning and we ended after 3pm.  

This is the class members - most of which had Ph.D.s  They were a fantastic class and it was my honor to share MTConnect with them.  During the break, Dr. Katie Mei asked me to write a 1,500 to 2,500 word article on MTConnect for the Taiwan Machine Tool and Accessory Magazine -- which I was honored to do.   I wrote a 2,349 word article, included some graphics and send it in this past Thursday to Dr. Mei.

Above is a photo of the drinks I had for the hands-on lab.  I had many types of tea, a coke and ice tea.  It was very nice to have such a wide choice of beverages.

 Above is Wyatt Wu and Joseph.  I created the fictional Wyatt and Joseph Software (WJS) company as the MTConnect Shop Floor Monitoring Company that was creating a business based on MTConnect and monitoring a shop floor.  Wyatt and Joseph were very kind in allowing me to create this company and even more kind in bringing me this photo at our dinner Saturday night!   I said that if they do create WJS, I want to have the opportunity to purchase stock in the company.

 Above is the agenda of the hands-on lab.  As you can see, we covered A LOT OF INFORMATION.   I would like to thank Will Sobel, President of System Insights and Chief Architect of MTConnect and John Turner, President of FA Consulting & Technology (FAC  & T), for their review and suggestions on my hands-on lab.  It was very much appreciated and really improved the lab.  I am very lucky to have the opportunity to learn from Will and John.

Above is Alan Wei, Manager of the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center (PMC),  Alan was giving me a great tour of PMC.  I was really IMPRESSED with PMC!  The MTConnect Institute is looking forward to both PMC and KUAS joining MTConnect.  Alan was a great host!

Paul Warndorf, VP and Chief Manufacturing Technology Officer for AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, look forward to the discussions regarding a Memorandum Of Understanding between PMC and the MTConnect Institute with Alan Wei.   Below is a signature block with David  in Chinese, that Alan Wei gave to me on Saturday morning when he met me at the hotel to say goodbye.  Thanks Alan, very cool!

Below is an acoustic lab that PMC has for testing machine tools and other equipment.

Above is a YCM machine tool.

I was very impressed with the number and quality of machine tools at PMC as well as the labs below.

Above was a dinner we had Friday night after the MTConnect Hands-On Lab course.  Everyone was so friendly and so nice.  I am very lucky individual to have had the opportunity to go to Taiwan!

Alan Wei has an original Mini Cooper!  He let me sit in it which was very cool!  My wife has a Mini Cooper S convertible and I have always wanted to sit in an original Mini Cooper, so this was very cool for me!

Prior to going up in Taipei 101, Terry, Vienna and I had lunch at Din Tai Fung which had the amazing XiaoLongBao ever!  which was an AMAZING restaurant!   Above is me in front of artists image of Taiwan in the Taipei 101 building.

Above is me in front of Taipei 101 - the second tallest building in the world!

Above is photo from the 89th floor.  I went up in the world's fastest elevator according Guinness Book of World Records.

Below is a 360 degree photo of the National Palace Museum.
 Above is me in front of the National Palace Museum.

 Above is a temple in Taipei.

Above is Terry on the left and Kenny on the right.  Behind us is, on the left hand side, Vienna (Terry's girlfriend) and on the right behind us is Avien who is Kenny's girlfriend.  It was incredibly nice of all four of them to give up a good part of their weekend to take me around Taipei, have dinner with me and take me to the airport.  It was a real honor and privilege to meet them and spend time with them on that Saturday.

I received some very nice gifts as well including a small robot (above) that understands Chinese and speaks accordingly to what commands you say, a very nice chop stick, fork and spoon set as well as pineapple cake cookies I enjoyed and of course the signature block that Alan gave me!

Above is Kenny Chang dropping me off at the airport in Taipei.

Below is my summary slide which everyone seemed to like where I said that MTConnect was the answer to Easy-to _____  statements below and I put the MTConnect logo in the middle of the gateway image and said that "MTConnect is the key to all of those four key components that were the theme of the conference.

Taiwan was great and it was the best I have ever been treated in my entire life!  The MTConnect Institute is really looking forward to working closely with PMC and KUAS!