Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kip Hanson's Cutting Tool Engineering's "Let's Chat" Article

 Kip Hanson wrote a very interesting article for Cutting Tool Engineering that is titled "Let's Chat".  Kip interviewed me and a number of others for this article.

Below are some snippets from the article:

"Dave Edstrom, president and chairman of the board at the MTConnect Institute, McLean, Va., said, “Our vision is to provide an easy way for people to get information out of their equipment at a greatly reduced cost.
At a 2006 meeting of AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, Edstrom made a bold statement: The industry was 21 years behind the curve in terms of communication. “Everyone was talking smart machines this and smart machines that. So I told them, ‘Why don’t you guys just get the damn things [manufacturing equipment] to speak the same language!’ There was no reason to reinvent the wheel.”

Edstrom explained that many new machine tools already had Ethernet on board or available as an option. HTTP and XML were well-established protocols by that time on the Web. Working with Dr. David Patterson of University of California-Berkeley, they convinced AMT that these communication standards had already worked for the computer industry for more than 2 decades—why not apply them to machine tools as well? Apparently, their speeches were convincing because AMT provided $1 million to develop MTConnect. 

Oh, great, you’re thinking, one more CNC interface to contend with, along with more programming, more complexity and more variables, while all you want to do is ship parts. Not so fast. Edstrom said: “MTConnect is not an interface, nor is it a programming language. It is a simple, royalty-free, open-source standard built upon proven protocols. Similar to browsing on the Internet, MTConnect lets you type in the name of a machine tool and receive back simple verbs, such as probe, current, sample and asset. You say ‘send me data on what you’re doing,’ and the control returns that data to a database, spreadsheet or software program.”
It's a long and very well written article.  Here is an example of just how real MTConnect is:

"Collaborating with MTConnect sponsor TechSolve Inc. in nearby Cincinnati, Itamco has worked for the past year on a project to connect everything in the shop to ShopViz, a central machine monitoring system. It’s about 25 percent complete. 

Aside from the aforementioned benefits of machine tool monitoring, Itamco has seen some surprising results. By tracking power consumption on its equipment, Itamco reduced its energy costs. Neidig said: “Our utility company charges a much higher rate if we exceed the base level during peak hours. Because we can now monitor that real-time, we found that we could schedule jobs based on that usage. We cut our electric bill—roughly 14 percent of our total operating expenses—by more than 30 percent.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Manufacturing Media Engineering's Article on Shop Floor Monitoring

Patrick Waurzniak wrote another great article at Manufacturing Media Engineering titled, "Shop-Floor Monitoring Critical To Improving Factory Processes".

Below are a couple of snippets where Patrick spoke with me on this article.

Without shop-floor monitoring systems, manufacturers cannot effectively employ OEE metrics and lean manufacturing, said Dave Edstrom, president and chairman, MTConnect Institute (McLean, VA). At the MTConnect conference last April, the new MTConnect Challenge was presented, aiming to spur development of advanced manufacturing intelligence applications using the MTConnect standard. Edstrom said shop-floor monitoring is a must for both OEE and lean. “I think a lot of people are kidding themselves, because if you don’t have the data, you can’t be doing OEE or lean,” Edstrom said. 

 “The myth among machine tool builders is that it doesn’t benefit them, but when you talk to them, they’re differentiating themselves by being open, and it’s saving these machine tool builders direct money,” Edstrom said. Most builders supporting MTConnect have included agents and adapters for the protocol with newer machines for free, he added, or charge for a nominal fee on adapters for older legacy equipment."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Corvettes at Carlisle 2013

This was a very, very special Corvettes at Carlisle for a number of reasons:

  1. 60th anniversary of the first Corvette
  2. 50th anniversary of the first Corvette Stingray
  3. Announcement of the new C7 Corvette Stingray
My lovely bride of 30 years came along to keep me from buying a 3rd Corvette :)   Plus, we left there to go have dinner with our son Michael at VT that evening, then went on to Dandridge TN to spend the weekend at Lake Douglas with Julie's aunt and uncle.  We took the 2011 Grand Sport I own that got 27mpg on the highway, which is not bad for 445hp and 325/30 tires on the rear.

 Above is a 1965 Exoto Grand Sport.    I don't know how many millions this is even worth - literally.

Most importantly, Julie looks great in the new Corvette Stingray.

 This is my favorite color of what they currently have in 2014 which is called crystal red.

Above is me with Kirk Bennion of GM who designed the Corvette Stingray! Kirk gave me a Stingray pin that is typically for Corvette team members who actually work at GM which I thought was very cool.

Above is me with Tadge Juechter of GM who is Chief Engineer for the Corvette Stingray!  I spoke with Tadge for 15 minutes without any interruptions which is incredible amount of time with an industry legend.

They have lots of seminars in the GM Engineers Tent (which is where I tend to hang around).

Above I am talking with Jason - who designed the Corvette Stingray's

Above is the cutaway of the Corvette Stingray which is always fascinating to look at.

Below is the C6R race car that has been kicking butt and taking names in the GT2 class and previously the GT1 class prior to 2009.

 Above are the rows of the most famous Corvette of all time - the 1963 split window Coupe. 

Above is the famous knockoff wheel on the C2 Corvettes (1963-1967).

Below is the partial view from the hill at Corvettes at Carlisle in 2013.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

SPARC at 25 Years - GREAT Panel of Computer Industry Legends

I watched this FANTASTIC panel on SPARC - Scalable Processor ARChitecture that had ALL of the Sun Founders - Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolsheim and Billy Joy as well as Dave Patterson of UCB and the first VP of Engineering Bernie Lacroute and Anant Argrawal who led the first SPARC processor design team and Rick Hetherington who was a microprocessor designer at Sun.

If you are a fan of Sun OR like computer processor architecture discussions this is worth an hour and half of your time.

I was at Sun prior to SPARC, so I remember how all of this came about from a field standpoint.  At the time, the hot chip was a 25MHz Motorola 68020 that was 4 MIPS.  When the first SPARC chip came out, it was 10 MIPS, 16MHz and was manufactured by Fujitsu and was on a pair of 20,000 gate array.  It was codenamed Sunrise.  The first system was a SPARC 4/260 which was a desk side system.  What I remember about the introduction of SPARC was they wanted to have SPARC Ambassadors out in the field.  At the first meeting, Sun's microprocessor engineering team wanted us to demonstrate the advantages of SPARC by showing how SPARC register windows worked with this round piece of paper that had these windows cut in them and you rotated the paper around to show how the INS, OUTS and LOCALS would move.  I remember telling the folks in engineering that while this was interesting, what most customers really care about is end performance as opposed to HOW it was achieving the performance.  Some of Sun's customers did care though.  As Scott used to like to say, "the ideal Sun customer is someone who goes to the bike store and pays more to get a box of parts so they can assemble it themselves."

The really fascinating part of this is not only the history, but the exchange between these computer industry legends.  I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Dave Patterson and Bill Joy around the 1:17:00 mark.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bill Joy on Vibrant Data

I ran into this short 2 1/2 minute video on Bill Joy discussing some interesting examples of the pros and cons of vibrant data and thought it was worth sharing on my blog.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Code Monkeys

There is an interesting article at Popular Mechanics by Steve Rousseau on how grease monkeys are becoming code monkeys.  Below are some snippets:

"The phrase "car modification" bring to mind images of grease-stained burly persons clad in oil-spotted coveralls, toiling away at the aluminum and steel heart of some piece of American muscle. Those who coax more out of a vehicle are seen as artisans. Their canvas is an engine block. Their studio, a garage."

"In this respect, Nelson is part of a new class of automotive mechanics that seek to improve the automobile with data sets and text editors instead of wrenches and milling machines. "Look around any high school. For every person who modifies an engine there are about five to ten people who are doing complex coding on a laptop," says K. Venkatesh Prasad, group and senior technical leader of vehicle design and infotronics within Ford's Research and Innovation department."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know is AVAILABLE at Google Play!

My book, MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know is NOW AVAILABLE at Google Play!

MTConnect® Institute Releases New White Paper: Getting Started with MTConnect – Writing Client Applications

Today, the MTConnect Institute released the following press release:

For Immediate Release: August 22nd, 2013

Contact: Dave Edstrom MTConnect® Institute

MTConnect® Institute Releases New White Paper: Getting Started with MTConnect – Writing Client Applications

McLean, Va. – The MTConnect® Institute announces a new white paper, “Getting Started with MTConnect – Writing Client Applications.” This white paper was written for software developers who are interested in writing MTConnect-enabled applications. The primary audience includes software developers who are not in the manufacturing arena but are seeking information on MTConnect in order to create client applications. Software developers who are in manufacturing can still use this white paper as a primer for MTConnect client application development.

MTConnect is a set of open, royalty-free standards intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing controls, devices and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol.

This white paper covers the following topics:

  • MTConnect Basics
  • MTConnect Devices and Discovery
  • MTConnect Standard Overview
  • Understanding MTConnect’s XML Schema – Data Dictionary
  • Fault Tolerance and Persistence of Data
  • Requests/Responses – Writing Your First MTConnect App
  • Testing Your MTConnect Clients
  • Hands On Labs and Where To Go For Help

“With the goal of expanding the number of software developers for MTConnect and hopefully the number of interesting applications that are created for MTConnect-enabled manufacturing equipment and devices, this white paper serves a valuable purpose in the world of manufacturing,” said Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute and the CEO/CTO of Virtual Photons Electrons. This guide was created by Virtual Photons Electrons, LLC.

The “Writing Client Applications” white paper is the latest addition to the MTConnect Institute’s “Getting Started With MTConnect” series.

This white paper is available at under: Latest Institute News.

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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How To Teach Science - What Is a Flame?

This animation was award winning and is the perfect demonstration on taking what appears to be a simple topic, but is actually quite complex, breaking it down, and teaching it in such a way that it is understandable:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

30 Year Wedding Anniversary in Maui

We celebrated our 30 Year Wedding Anniversary in Maui at Kaanapali Beach which was voted the best beach in the world for 2013.

Below is my lovely bride of 30 years.  It was the perfect week.

This was the 180 degree view from our Lanai (balcony) at The Whaler in Kaanapali on the island of Maui.

We had everything that you could ask for within walking distance.

We had GREAT sunsets.  I was rather proud of myself for timing the two sailboats that were crossing just before sunset our last night in Maui on my Nikon Coolpix 9100S that I had keep rebooting because the software was acting stupid (of course) while we were there.  Note, pulling the battery and SD card out for 1/2 an hour is your best bet here to totally reboot.

You never know who you will meet.  Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the twice world champion Miami Heat was at the table next to us the first day with a nice young lady.  Very nice guy.  I told him that he was a young Phil Jackson - NBA coach with 11 rings as a Head Coach and 2 as a player.

We went snorkeling at Honolua Bay and then went for a sail on a multi-million catamaran.

You have to have a convertible in Maui.  An 8 cylinder is the way to go.  I learned the hard way the first time we went to Maui in 1989 when I had a four banger and it could not get past the diesel spewing bus in front of us on the way up to Haleakela - dormant volcano.

Below is a must in Maui - going to Lahina and having lunch at Cheese Burger in Paradise and having a few drinks.

I rented a hybrid and went for a 25 mile bike ride one day.  Hard to beat the views in Maui.

At Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach the kids like to dive off the rocks.  I am sure if my boys would have come along, they would have been doing that as well.  Not me though - not even on a bet.

I went surfing for the first time.  It was a lot harder than I thought.  When we were in Waikiki in 2000, John and Michael were 12 and 10, they went surfing and did great.  Great being that got up every time and surfed all the way in after going 100 yards out.  One of the challenges was the reason the water was breaking where we were at was the coral.  They told us that when you fall off you must do a belly or back flop to make sure that you do not hit the coral that could be 2 to 3 feet below the surface.  With everything you need to remember in terms of getting up (either the pop method or the two step method), getting balanced, riding the waves, looking out for other surfers, worrying about the freaking coral was the last thing I wanted to worry about.  I did get slightly cut and bruised after two hours.  Was it worth it? Absolutely! 

We spent every day at the beach swimming.  Tough life :)

We visited our oldest son John and his girlfriend Janet on the way back.  Here we had lunch at Tony's Pizza Napoletana - best pizza in SF.

Below is Janet, John and Julie at Sutro Baths in SF.

Above we had a great dinner at Caffe Sport.  I was first introduced to this great restaurant back in the late 1980s by Neil Groundwater.  Prior to 9/11, Caffe Sport had three dinner seatings.  They stopped that practice after 9/11 because dinner traffic in general slowed down in the city.

Below is John and Janet in the Sutro Bath area with the Golden Gate bridge in the background.  Americas Cup was going on as well, which was interesting.