Sunday, March 30, 2014

Making Lost Rhino's $50 Growler's Easy To Handle

We live a little over 1/2 a mile from our favorite microbrewery - Lost Rhino in Ashburn, VA.

We have purchase our share of beer and food there, (great beer that they are always rotating) as well as Lost Rhino shirts and miscellaneous other swag.  Julie purchased two very nice growlers last year with the Lost Rhino logo on them.  They were $50 each because they are designed like a thermos with a vacuum layer to keep the beer very cold and so cold, that it can sit on the deck next to you so you do not have to waste very valuable time going back and forth to the fridge to refill your glass :-)

These growlers were perfect in every way except for two, they are hard to carry and hard to pour because they do not have a handle on them like your standard glass growlers always come with.  It is not easy to pour a beer when the growler is ful,l because it requires either two hands or for you to palm the growler with one hand.  Gripping the growler with two hands is not an option, because you can not tilt your glass when you pour so you do not get a huge head on the beer.

In addition, what is happening to these Lost Rhino growlers is that the connector on the caps are now breaking off.  The reason these cap connectors are breaking off is because people carry them by the connector since there is no handle. These cap connectors were clearly not designed to carry the weight of a full growler. While there is a lifetime warranty on these $50 growlers, so many of these have broken off that they do not have any in stock anymore.

Soooo, I designed to engineer a permanent fix to these almost perfect growlers.

Below is the original $50 Lost Rhino growler with the broken connector on it.  I put the blue/purple tape to make it easier to find my growler when we go over to the neighbors who also have these growlers.  Notice that there is no handle on this 64 ounce growler.

Below is the first part of the new and improved Lost Rhino growler.  Go to your favorite hardware store and get a gate handle.  I got this heavy duty handle below from Home Depot for $9.87.   Next step is to get some really heavy duty glue (E6000) 

What you would NOT want to do is to drill into this growler.  You would destroy the vacuum.

Spread it evenly over the handle contact surface.  Make sure the growler is on its side and you have something on each side to keep it rolling over when you place the handle on it.  Tape the handle down with some strong tape like gorilla tape (mother of all duct tape).

Let the glue set over 36 hours, then finish it up by using 12-14 gauge wire and getting it very tight using a pliers by twisting it as tight as you can.  This is key so that you are not testing the E6000 strength by itself.  It may work, but I prefer belts and suspenders when I design something :-)

Then, place black electrical tape over the wire, not for additional strength, but to keep the wire in place and it gives it a better look.

Now just enjoy your new Dave Edstrom Improved Lost Rhino Growler!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Death of Net Neutrality

Timothy B. Lee of the Washington Post writes an excellent article titled, "Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete"

As the article starts off:

"For the past two decades, the Internet has operated as an unregulated, competitive free market. Given the tendency of networked industries to lapse into monopoly—think of AT&T's 70-year hold over telephone service, for example—that's a minor miracle. But recent developments are putting the Internet's decentralized architecture in danger."
 Mr. Lee summarizes the problem as:

In recent months, the nation's largest residential Internet service providers have been demanding payment to deliver Netflix traffic to their own customers. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Netflix has agreed to the demands of the nation's largest broadband provider, Comcast. The change represents a fundamental shift in power in the Internet economy that threatens to undermine the competitive market structure that have served Internet users so well for the past two decades.

Below is a very impressive statistic on the Internet and Netflix:
"In this version of the Internet, two big things have changed. First, Netflix is really big. The video streaming site now accounts for about 30 percent of all traffic on the Internet. Second, Verizon acquired the formerly independent backbone provider MCI in 2006, helping to turn itself into a major backbone provider in its own right."
I agree 100% with Mr. Lee's conclusion:
"One clear lesson, though, is that further industry consolidation can only make the situation worse. The more concentrated the broadband market becomes, the more leverage broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon will have over backbone providers like Cogent. That gives the FCC a good reason to be skeptical of Comcast's proposed acquisition of its largest rival, Time Warner Cable. Blocking that transaction could save the agency larger headaches in the future."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nice West Coast Visit - Business and Pleasure

Dave McPhail and I were on the west coast for business.  This is flying in to SFO and just over the engine is the new Facebook (old Sun Microsytems) campus.

We managed to find a couple of hours for pleasure during the trip.  First trip was to the Computer History Museum.  It was Dave M's first time there and he really seemed to enjoy it.  Below is IBM's Watson exhibit.

Above is the TIM or Time Is Money calculator that I had to take for my youngest son Tim.

Above is blurry (it is hard to shoot through glass) of the November 3rd, 1971 Unix Programmer's Manul

Above is the famous button was a tribute to Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems and Unix

The very famous Unix license plate that DEC made as a giveaway.

The very famous Moore's Law exhibit

Dave and I saw this working model of the Babbage Difference Engine actually run (ok, try to run - it jammed the day we were there, still cool seeing it run live)

       Dave and I had lunch with my oldest son John at Facebook.  It is always with a little mixed feelings going there (used to be the old Sun campus) but it is great to see so much energy at the campus.  Facebook has done a tremendous job with the campus and are building a new state of the art campus across the street.  Dave and I picked up some Instagram t-shirts for our family members.

  Above is John and his fiancee Janet.  We had dinner at a very nice restaurant (The Slanted Door) with a great view of the Bay Bridge (below).   It's always great seeing John and Janet on my west coast trips.  I stayed over the weekend to have dinner with them both on Saturday night.

Above is a photo of the city at night from a pier just looking back at the Slanted Door restaurant at the pier.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nice CIM Article - Memex Automation Gains Chief Technology Officer

CIM - Canadian Industrial Machinery, is an excellent magazine and I am honored that CIM would carry my announcement of joining Memex Automation.

Below is my quote in the article:

“I am thrilled to be joining the Memex Automation team as the chief technology officer in an ownership position to drive technology, create new opportunities, and help it become a global power in manufacturing solutions,” said Edstrom.

Below is Dave McPhail, President and Chairman of the Board for Memex Automation's quote:

“I’m delighted Dave has joined our ownership and leadership team, as it enables him to continue to lead the global manufacturing sector out of the 20th century and into the 21st century with an MTConnect- based universal machine to machine productivity solution,” said Memex Automation President and CEO David McPhail."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mazak and Memex Data Driven Manufacturing Article in Modern Machine Shop

There is no better writer in manufacturing than Mark Albert of Modern Machine Shop and certainly no better MTConnect advocate.

Modern Machine Shop has an excellent article titled, "Data-Driven Manufacturing Moves Ahead at Mazak" that discusses Mazak utilizing MTConnect at Mazak’s North American Headquarters and Technology Center in Florence, Ky.

This is a great quote in the article by Brian Papke, President of Mazak USA:  “This total embrace of MTConnect was intended to make a statement,” Mr. Papke says. “We wanted to be a leader in both promoting and implementing MTConnect. We wanted our example to show the country the importance of moving toward data-driven manufacturing. MTConnect is an essential part of what makes data-driven manufacturing possible.”

Every machine tool monitoring company went after this business that I can think of and Memex Automation ended up winning by a landslide.  Below is a snippet of the article that discusses our solutions at Memex, called MERLIN:

Since November, all of these machines have been connected to the machine monitoring system, which uses MERLIN MES monitoring software developed by Memex Automation (Burlington, Ontario). MERLIN (Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network) is a manufacturing execution system and machine-to-machine communications platform. Memex has been providing network connectivity, DNC software and machine monitoring systems since 1992 and has offered MTConnect-compatible versions of its MERLIN machine monitoring and manufacturing execution systems since 2010.
Dave McPhail, President and Chairman of the Board for Memex Automation stated the value proposition below:

“Rather than offering an expensive, custom installation for every client, we’ve produced a packaged, machine-to-machine toolkit adaptable by all manufacturers. The technological breakthrough here is that MERLIN is an MTConnect-based hardware and software module that does not require programming or setting up of PLCs. The MES leverages a company’s existing investment in plant, equipment and enterprise software,” says David McPhail, president and CEO of Memex Automation."

Neil Desrosiers of Mazak stated the history of the task force and why Memex's MERLIN was selected:

"This supplier was selected after a task force headed by Neil Desrosiers, Mazak’s developer of digital solutions, evaluated numerous commercial monitoring systems. This task force included IT personnel, machine operators, shopfloor supervisors and managers from the machining department. Two factors tipped the choice to MERLIN. The most important of these was the apparent ease with which reports could be configured for various users within the company. The other was the ability to store collected data and archived reports locally on a dedicated network server rather than on remote storage accessible on the Internet (the “cloud”), a concession to security concerns raised by the IT team."
Ben Schwawe, VP of Manufacturing at the Florence, KY Mazak facility stated:
"The machine monitoring system appears to be a good example of this sort of technology. In operation since November, the system has yielded significant benefits, initially by uncovering some easily fixed inefficiencies and practices. Mr. Schawe says that these fixes have increased uptime by 6.2 percent across the 15 machines that are fully integrated into the system. “This was that low-hanging fruit, so to speak,” he says. “We’ve also recognized some opportunities to make additional gains from efforts such as putting greater emphasis on having replacements for worn tools ready to go.” Taken together, these efforts have yielded a 17 percent improvement in utilization for the monitored machines so far.
But over and above these benefits is the advantage of having a system that takes the guesswork out of tracking machine utilization. “We can tell at a glance how we are doing, and the basis is in real-time data,” Mr. Schawe explains."

This is a true inflection point in not only MTConnect, but in Mazak's and Memex Automation's history. 

Thanks to Mark Albert for writing this fantastic article!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App: Lightning Strikes Twice

MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App: Lightning Strikes Twice
Dave Edstrom
In May 2012, I wrote an IMTS Insider article called, “The Killer App from MTInsight: IMTS 2012 App.” As I wrote in that article, a killer app is defined as an application that is so innovative that it creates its own category. It sells itself because it becomes an “absolute must-have.” Well, lightning has struck twice because the MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App is not only a killer app, but if you are an IMTS exhibitor and have not yet looked into what this app can offer you, then you are missing the single greatest opportunity to go from having a good IMTS experience to having a great IMTS experience. No matter the size of your booth, you should absolutely invest in MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App because it is the best bang for the buck going for IMTS.

 Two years ago, I wrote “MTInsight's IMTS 2012 is a killer app because 9 out of 10 exhibitors who receive a demo from AMT's Steve Lesnewich, Mark Kennedy or Kim Brown buy the IMTS 2012 App. Let me repeat that number in case you thought it was a typo — a 90% close ratio. Certainly Steve, Mark, and Kim are fantastic at what they do, but I would suggest that it is the tremendous value of MTInsight's IMTS 2012 App that basically sells itself.” IMTS 2014 is built upon the rock solid capabilities of the 2012 app. We have taken an over-the-fence home run and knocked it completely out of the park this time.
Many readers of the IMTS Insider have attended one of the IMTS 2014 workshops, where the MTInsight team talked about Identify, Invite and Impress at the as the pillars for the IMTS 2014 App. I believe there is a fourth pillar of the IMTS 2014 App and it is “I2” or “Increase Income.” IMTS exhibitors want to put money back in the till from new sales that never would have occurred if not for being at IMTS and using the app.
The killer IMTS 2014 app
Let's look at what happens at IMTS without the IMTS 2014 App; in fact, it is what happens at every trade show. Whether or not it is a manufacturing trade show, such as IMTS, or one of the other countless trade shows, the problems are the same. The number one challenge is getting the most number of qualified customers to your booth at the right time. While that sounds easy, it is quite hard, as all of you exhibitors know.
The first pillar of the IMTS 2014 App is Identify. How do you identify the right leads for your company at IMTS? MTInsight's IMTS 2014 app is the only source to reach out to those who have registered to attend IMTS 2014 prior to the show. There are a number of categories to select from to really focus on the types of prospects that you want to invite to your booth.
There is also a second important aspect of the first Identify pillar and that is booth staffing. How do you identify the type and number of people that you need in your booth? What is the right combination of sales people and technical people? What day and what time do you need the right combination of sales and technical people? Do you schedule a small seminar in the morning or in the afternoon? Which day is best? When should lunch be scheduled? When can folks leave the booth to go meet with someone else or check out the competition?
Think you need a crystal ball for those questions? Think again! Those questions can be answered with MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App, which shows attendance in different parts of the buildings on an hour-by-hour basis for the previous IMTS, a good indicator of traffic for the coming year, as well. The savings from properly staffing your booth can pay for the IMTS 2014 App many times over. This is before you have registered one additional sale because you purchased the app.
Invite is the second pillar and where we have enhanced the IMTS 2014 App. In 2012, we heard from a number of users of the IMTS 2012 App that they absolutely loved the app, but if they had one request, it would be to have a built-in way to email registrants. Well, that feature has been added to the 2014 app! It works in four easy steps:
  • Setup your email campaign
  • Select your list
  • Create your email
  • Send your email campaign
There is also a campaign reporting function that can be helpful in tracking different email campaigns.
The third pillar is Impress. After you have invited a prospect to your booth, you have an opportunity to do some research on that prospect ahead of time. You can learn about their business and some of the challenges they are having before they show up at your booth. As we all know, that is the difference between a typical salesperson and a great salesperson. This pre-work will allow you to impress your prospects and hopefully lead to the final pillar, which is “I2 — Increase Income.”
Hopefully, at this point, you realize that the ROI for MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App is not just the additional sales that can be pinpointed of the app, but rather there are a number of areas you saved money. Money was saved by properly staffing your booth and reaching out to the right set of registrants. These are the registrants who can best be served by your products or services, so that you have a much higher ratio of prospects versus tire kickers.
What about the top line? What about income? If we looked at the average price of a product or service at IMTS, it would only take one or two additional sales to pay for the IMTS 2014 App. How often can you say that about a product?
MTInsight Apps
If all this sounds too good to be true and you are questioning some of my claims, then please request to see a demo! You can go to and request a demo of the IMTS 2014 App.
Finally, if I could offer only one single piece of advice for any exhibitor at IMTS 2014, go buy MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App. It will be the best investment that you will spend this year for any trade show that you attend. This is why I believe that lightning truly has struck twice with the IMTS 2014 App. Make your IMTS 2014 the best ever and buy MTInsight's IMTS 2014 App today!
MTInsight is the name given for the platform of game-changing business intelligence tools that are critical to succeed in today's manufacturing world. As is stated on the website, “MTInsight is based on three key elements: dynamic software, AMT's experience and analysis, and our unique data warehouse — all of the information AMT tracks on your markets, benchmarking surveys, industry forecasts, your competitors, customers and supply chain.” Go to the website to see all the other apps available to help you become more successful.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Obama Killing The Patent Trolls

Hopefully this article by David Kravets in Wired will be true.  Here is a snippet:

"A patent troll is generally understood to be a corporation that exists to stockpile patents for litigation purposes, instead of to build products. Often taking advantage of vague patent claims and a legal system slanted in the plaintiff’s favor, the company uses the patents to sue or threaten to sue other companies, with an eye to settling out of court for a fraction of what they were originally seeking.

The nation’s legal dockets are littered with patent cases with varying degrees of merit, challenging everything from mobile phone push notifications and podcasting to online payment methods and public Wi-Fi. Some 2,600 companies were targeted in new patent lawsuits last year alone.

Against that backdrop, Obama issued five executive orders on patent reform last summer. Among other things, they require the Patent and Trademark Office to stop issuing overly broad patents, and to force patent applicants to provide more details on what invention they are claiming. One of the orders opens up patent applications for public scrutiny — crowdsourcing — while they are in the approval stage, to help examiners locate prior art and assist with analyzing patent claims."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tim Cook Takes A Stand on the Climate Change Deniers

This was very interesting to watch Tim Cook act like Steve Jobs:

"But Cook does care about the environment — and that became very clear on Friday, when the CEO had a terse exchange with an anti-environmental lobbying group"


"Cook's response was blistering. First of all, he insisted, environmental efforts also make economic sense. Even so, "we do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive," the CEO said. "We want to leave the world better than we found it."
Anyone who had a problem with that? They should sell their Apple shares. "Get out of the stock," Cook suggested."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Dean Bartles Executive Director of the New Digital Lab for Manufacturing in Chicago

I am quite fortunate to call Dr. Dean Bartles my friend.  Dean is on the MTConnect Board of Directors and his counsel was priceless when I was President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute.   I could not be more thrilled that he is the new Executive Director of the New Digital Lab for Manufacturing!
"In support of President Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a grant to UI Labs in Chicago to create the Digital Lab for Manufacturing. This lab will be part of a consortium to develop and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies and deploy and commercialize these technologies across key manufacturing industries."
In addition, the following is brought out by Dr. Bartles:
“The opportunity to join such a strong team at UI Labs and be part of the manufacturing renaissance that President Obama has launched through the establishment of the NNMI is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Bartles said."
Congratulations Dean!  This is great for the new Digital Lab for Manufacturing in Chicago, great for manufacturing, great for the United States of America and I am sure great for the Dean and his family!