Sunday, November 23, 2014

Your Data: Use It or Lose It -- Canadian Industrial Machinery

Joe Thompson wrote a very nice article in Canadian Industrial Machinery titled Your Data: Use It or Lose It

The beginning of the article lays out the real challenge:

"In many shops, machinists track machine usage using a paper form. At the end of each job, or at the end of the day, they write down how long the machine was running and how much time was spent on setup. This enables management to bill the correct amount of hours for a certain job. 
While this can produce the information necessary to create an invoice, the results – when compared to the actual, measured data – can vary tremendously. 
“I think shops would be very surprised by how much variance there is between their recorded uptime, for example, and the actual data,” explained David McPhail, president and CEO of Memex Automation, Burlington, Ont. 
Memex Automation has developed technology that collects real-time OEE information no matter the make, model, or vintage of the machine tool and creates reports, also in real time, that companies can use to optimize manufacturing processes."

David McPhail, President and CEO of Memex does a great job explaining OEE:

"So what exactly is OEE? 
“Through data collection and analysis, OEE can tell us how efficiently a machine is running. This type of data collection isn’t new, but what we are doing now is taking the guesswork out of the equation, collecting the data automatically, and exporting the results in easy-to-understand ways,” said McPhail. 
McPhail described OEE as a formula with three components: 
1. Availability (run time divided by total time, which includes downtime). 
2. Quality (good parts produced divided by total parts)  
3. Performance (desired part-to-part time versus actual part-to-part time).
Essentially, OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality. 
“A world-class OEE is 85 percent,” explained McPhail. “By comparing this optimal level with your current level, you can clearly see where your room for improvement lies. By using OEE software to collect and track data over time, you can also gauge how successful any changes are.” 
By tracking this data, shops can compare the actual effectiveness of equipment with the desired effectiveness. 
“Managers can find out pretty quickly if the machines are being utilized effectively,” said McPhail. “In some cases they can even find capacity that they didn’t know they had. It’s very simple: Machines are expensive so they should be used as much as possible to get the best possible return on investment.”

New York City to Offer Free Gigabit Wi-Fi in 2015

This is phenomenal.

As the article by  Arik Hesseldahl at states:

"New York City today unveiled an ambitious plan to roll out a free city-wide municipal Wi-Fi network that officials say will be the fastest and most wide-reaching network of its kind in the world. 
At a press conference at City Hall, the city unveiled LinkNYC, which will rely on thousands of kiosks that will be deployed at locations currently occupied by pay phones. The kiosks will be installed in as many as 10,000 locations throughout the five boroughs and will offer Wi-Fi service of one gigabit per second within a radius of 150 feet. They’ll also offer free domestic voice calls to all 50 states. The first of the kiosks is expected to begin service in late 2015."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wired Article: Cryptography Breakthrough Could Make Software Unhackable

This is an excellent article by Erica Klarreich of Quanta Magazine and appears at Wired.

Below is a snippet.  This could be huge for software.
"Secure program obfuscation would be useful for many applications, such as protecting software patches, obscuring the workings of the chips that read encrypted DVDs, or encrypting the software controlling military drones. More futuristically, it would allow people to create autonomous virtual agents that they could send out into the computing “cloud” to act on their behalf. If, for example, you were heading to a remote cabin in the woods for a vacation, you could create and then obfuscate a computer program that would inform your boss about emails you received from an important client, or alert your sister if your bank balance dropped too low. Your passwords and other secrets inside the program would be safe."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Edstrom's Ten Laws of Software Development

I was writing an email to my HW and SW Development Team at Memex Automation when I started listing what I feel is important in terms of Software Development.  When I got done, I written Edstrom's Ten Laws of Software Development.

  1. If you do not get the architecture right, then go home because you are wasting your time and the company's money.
  2. Can Dave Edstrom's mother install, upgrade or use this?
  3. Test, test, test, test and then test some more
  4. It is not a question of "is it important", it is a question of "what is it MORE important than?"
  5. If we put in this feature, how much revenue are you willing to commit to and who are the customers?
  6. Remember Mike O'Dell's Two Laws:
    • Scaling is always the problem
    • If you are not afraid, then you simply do not understand.
  7. Remember Neil Groundwater's Two Laws:
    • How do the little electrons know?
    • Everything you know is wrong.
  8. Remember Brooke's Law:
    • Adding more software developers to a late software project only makes it later.
    • As Professors Brooks also stated this law, "Making 9 woman pregnant today does not help you get a baby in one month."
  9. Do you KNOW what the REAL problem is?
  10. If you do not make your own decisions now, time will make them for you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

240Z versus a 370Z

I owned an orange 1972 240Z from 1978 to 1986.  At the bottom of this blog post is a Road and Track comparison of a 240Z like I used to have (except for the slightly wider tires on the 240Z) to a new Nissan 370Z.

It is a fun video and reminds me of the good ole days - except I prefer my two Corvettes that I have today.  I have looked at buying a 240Z over the years, but I have a hard time paying $13,000 for a car that went for $3,500 brand new.  The 240Z and specifically the orange 240Z like I had, is considered an all time classic.  The 240Z was rated the second best sports car of the 1970s between a Ferrari Daytona and a Lamborghini Countach - not too shabby!

Funny story on buying the 240Z.  I sold my 1970 Firebird Formula 400 that I bought in 1976 that was loaded with every option known to god.  It came stock with 363hp, had a Holley 4 barrel carb, Isky cam, Hedman headers, traction bars, air suspension on the rear, Hurst shifter, 8-track player, chrome wheels and was the perfect shade of blue.  Great car except it got 7mpg and burned a quart of oil every 200 miles.  That was my bad for not being honest with my father when he asked if I saw any smoke coming out of the exhaust and I saw some smoke but I wanted that damn car so much that I skirted the truth in terms of what I saw.  That cost me a lot of money and a life long lesson on not letting your emotions get in front of a decision.  It also took me 37 years before I told my father I saw some smoke coming out of the exhaust of that Formula 400.

As the caption states, on the right is my 1970 Firebird Formula 400 and to the left was Perry Thompson's 1967 Firebird convertible.

Below is a rear view of my Formula 400.

Back to the paint story.  I sell the 1970 Formula and looking for a fun replacement.  My friend had a 280Z that was an absolute blast to drive so I started looking for a 240Z.  My father found one nearby and we looked at it and it was great, except it was orange and I did not like orange.  I told the guy that.  My father looked at the guy and said, "let me talk to my son privately please."  He pulled me aside and said, "listen dumb a$$, you can paint a f*#king car, this guy has changed the oil and filter EVERY 2,000 miles and has paperwork on EVERYTHING.  Buy the damn car and paint it if you end up hating the color."  I then looked walked over to the guy and said, "will you take $2,100 in cash?" He said yes and I pulled out my wallet gave him 21 $100 bills. It was a GREAT car until the frame rails rusted all the way through.  I sold that 240Z 8 years later for $1,100 when I listed it in the paper and said it was not drivable because of the rusted out frame rails.  A guy bought who came with a trailer and ended racing it at Summit Point in West VA.  He had a friend who was a welder, so fixing the frame rails was not the $1,000 per frame rail expense that I was looking at.  Rust killed most of the Zs because of the distance between welds and back then the frames could not deal with all the salt they were putting on the roads.

Enjoy this video.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

David McPhail Inteviewed at FabTech on Manufacturing Talk Radio - Discusses MTConnect and Memex Automation

David McPhail did a great interview at FabTech last week on Wednesday the 12th on Manufacturing Talk Radio! 

David does a fantastic job educating the hosts on MTConnect as well as Memex Automation's ability to talk to ANYTHING on the shop floor. David puts everything in the language that everyone inside or outside of manufacturing can easily understand and appreciate.  David talks about MTConnect at the beginning and really gets into specifics at the end of the interview.

I thought the interviewers did an outstanding job in the types of questions asked as well as the follow up questions.

David starts speaking at the 129 minute mark on Wednesday.  David's segment is about 25 minutes in length.

David brings out a very important metric.  If you ask a shop or plant what their utilization is, invariably they will state something in the area of 65%.  When you actually come in and measure it, the number is more like 27% to 32%  That is a HUGE difference! As David states, "if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it."

David McPhail and Dave Edstrom on IMTS TV

This interview at IMTS 2014 was done by Whitney Brown of AMT with David McPhail and me.  Whitney always does a great job in her interviews and her writing.

MES Increases Machine Availability for Mazak in American Machinist

This is a great article  by David McPhail, President and CEO of Memex Automation, in American Machinist titled, "MES Increases Machine Availability for Mazak" and I especially like Brian Papke's quote below:

"Mazak’s IT department started the efficiency drive by implementing the MTConnect protocol to determine machine availability with maximum accuracy, using Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) as a standard measurement. “This total embrace of MTConnect is intended to make a statement,” stated Mazak president Brian Papke, who personally drove the project. “We want to be a leader in both promoting and implementing MTConnect. We want our example to show the importance of moving toward data-driven manufacturing.  MTConnect is an essential part of what makes data-driven manufacturing possible.

At the end of the article, Brian Papke has an incredible quote on the importance of MTConnect:

"In remarks at IMTS 2014, Brian Papke once again emphasized the importance of data availability to the success of the enterprise: "The implementation of MTConnect is one of the simplest and fastest ways to improve productivity and increase machine utilization,” he said. “Mazak's MTConnect implementation provided the highest ROI for any capital investment because of the significant increase in utilization of equipment for a very moderate expenditure.”
 Mr. McPhail brings out the long history that I have had with the great folks at Mazak. It has been a real honor and privilege to work with Mazak.

"Memex Automation’s Dave Edstrom, who was instrumental in creating the MTConnect vision in 2006, as well as was being the president and chairman of the MTConnect Institute for three-and-a-half years, joined Memex in January 2014 as its first chief technology officer and has worked with Mazak for years on MTConnect."

The numbers are extremely impressive:

With MERLIN, the machine tool builder’s manufacturing complex quickly and cost-effectively isolates productivity issues, maximizing efficiency
  • +42% OEE
  • -100 hours overtime
  • +400 hrs/month more throughput

Monday, November 17, 2014

Memex Automation's MERLIN Being Demonstrated by Mazak Optonics as a Value-Added MTConnect-Based Solution

Memex Automation Inc.
November 11, 2014 09:00 ET Press Release

NOTE: Below is the press release on Memex working with Mazak Optonics.  This event was a HUGE success!

Memex Automation's MERLIN Being 

Demonstrated by Mazak Optonics as a 

Value-Added MTConnect-Based Solution

ATLANTA, GA and BURLINGTON, ON--(Marketwired - Nov 11, 2014) -  FABTECH 2014  -- "The implementation of MTConnect is one of the simplest and fastest ways to improve productivity and increase machine utilization. Mazak's MTConnect implementation provided the highest ROI for any capital investment because of the significant increase in utilization of equipment for a very moderate expenditure," said Mazak President Brian Papke.

Papke personally drove the project to implement the MTConnect protocol to determine machine availability with maximum accuracy at his company's Kentucky-based North American headquarters -- an 800,000 sq. ft. complex that produces a variety of multi-axis turning and milling machines at a rate of 200 units per month. An article recently published in a manufacturing productivity magazine reported that Mazak achieved a 42% increase in equipment utilization in its Kentucky plant.
Astrix Networks Inc., operating as Memex Automation (TSX VENTURE: OEE) ("Memex" or the "Company"), is the global leader of manufacturing M2M productivity solutions. Memex was invited by Mazak Optonics to jointly demonstrate MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) with Mazak's laser cutting systems at FABTECH 2014, Booth 3525. The joint demonstration will showcase MERLIN's ability to connect all manufacturing machines to management, report plant-wide capacity utilization, and increase production and income from operations in real-time.

Mazak Optonics is the laser-cutting systems division of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation and the third division to demonstrate MERLIN as a value-add MTConnect-based solution. MERLIN was demonstrated by Mazak at IMTS in Sept. of this year, and at Germany's EMO Hannover metalworking technology tradeshow in Sept. 2013.

"The availability of key data is crucial to managing operational performance. The combination of MTConnect and MERLIN will deliver performance details including dashboards that open up tremendous real-time visibility for both individual machines and the entire shop floor," stresses Marc Lobit, General Manager Sales Support of Mazak Optonics.

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free machine communications standard intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing devices and software applications. Introduced at IMTS 2008, Mazak executives recognized its potential to facilitate plant-wide integration and enhance automation.

Memex Automation's Chief Technology Officer Dave Edstrom was instrumental in creating the MTConnect vision in 2006, and was the President and Chairman of the MTConnect Institute for three-and-a-half years prior to joining Memex in Jan. 2014.

"We are very pleased to continue our collaboration with Mazak through our joint demonstration with Mazak Optonics at FABTECH," said David McPhail, CEO of Memex Automation. "MERLIN is an MTConnect-based solution that universally connects all machines to management and shows manufacturers how to make more production, generating IRRs of up to 400%."

About Mazak Optonics
Mazak Optonics Corporation is a major supplier of laser-cutting systems, offering 50 laser models and leading the industry in the implementation of emerging laser technologies. The company's 50,000 sq. ft. North American Headquarters are located in Elgin, Illinois, and feature a 30,000 sq. ft. laser technology center housing up to 18 machines for demonstrations and training. Mazak Optonics is part of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation (Oguchi, Japan), the global leader for the manufacture of machine tools and systems for the precision machining of metal parts, including CNC turning centers, horizontal and vertical machining centers, Multi-Tasking machining centers, turnkey cells and software solutions. The North American Headquarters for Yamazaki Mazak are located in Florence, Kentucky. For more information on Mazak Optonics' products and solutions, visit, or call 847-252-4500.

About Memex Automation Inc.
Memex Automation (TSX VENTURE: OEE) is the leader of manufacturing Machine to Machine (M2M) productivity solutions and the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness ("OEE") in real-time. OEE is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization. MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) generates OEE enterprise-wide, machine by machine. On April 15, 2014, PEM awarded the Company the 2013 Plant Engineering & Maintenance Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees. Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN its 2013 Technology Innovation Leadership Award for Machine Monitoring. Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. Okuma America Corporation, a world leader in CNC machine tools, announced in April 2014 that Memex Automation became a Partner in THINC. For more information, please visit:
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation services provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:Sales:
    Memex Automation Inc.

    John Rattray
    VP Sales and Marketing
    Phone: 905-635-0590
    Email: Email Contact

    market2world communications inc.
    Paul Brent
    Senior Communications Strategist
    Phone: 613-256-3939
    Email: Email Contact

Monday, November 10, 2014

Colbert Calls Out the Science Denying Republicans

The Republicans are now hiding behind the "I am not a scientist" when the are asked about the biggest threat to our planet, which is global climate change.  Thank god for Stephen Colbert calling out these idiot science deniers.  Below is a snippet that appeared at HuffPo:

"You don't have to worry about global warming anymore, because the Senate sure won't," Stephen Colbert quipped on Thursday's "The Colbert Report."
Colbert slammed many Republicans' position on climate change after they gained a majority in the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's election. Environmental groups are fearful that progress on climate change and other environmental issues will suffer under the new Senate.  
As Colbert pointed out, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who literally wrote the book on climate change denial, is poised to take control of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Colbert described Inhofe's 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax, as being "like Harry Potter for people who thought Harry Potter had too much science in it." 
Like many others in the media, Colbert called out Republicans for using the "I'm not a scientist" defense when asked about humans' contribution to global warming.
If this quote by Inhofe does not scare the hell out of you, I don't know what possibly can:

Eliason: Senator, we’re going to talk about your book for a minute, you state in your book which by the way is called The Greatest Hoax, you state in your book that one of your favorite Bible verses, Genesis 8:22, ‘while the earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease,’ what is the significance of these verses to this issue? 

Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous. - See more at: