Monday, June 29, 2015

ASME AM3D Question of the Month: What Innovations Will Propel Additive Manufacturing?

Dave Edstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Memex Automation

"The two most important technologies for the ubiquitous use of additive manufacturing in today's machine tools is the addition of tool changeable laser cladding heads, as demonstrated by Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, as well as MTConnect, the open and royalty-free manufacturing interconnectivity standard.

"Hybrid's technology allows for the perfect marriage of subtractive and additive technologies for existing machine tools. This new capability is a true game changer in manufacturing for a variety of reasons.

"First, the ability to take an existing subtractive machine tool and give it an additive tool opens up the ability to create parts that would have been impossible to create on a subtractive-only machine tool or an additive-only device. The world of refurbishing parts could be the best example—instead of throwing away the $25,000 damaged ship propeller, the damage parts are ground down, new material is added where needed, and finally the surface is finished without ever leaving the hybrid machine tool.

"MTConnect-enabled additive equipment will allow manufacturers to easily monitor their additive systems. MTConnect can be thought of as the "Bluetooth for manufacturing" that connects manufacturing devices to applications, such as shop-monitoring dashboards, which can easily show areas where productivity can be improved."

These speakers and many more additive manufacturing leaders will be sharing their perspectives on the future at the ASME Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo. Registration is open—see the current agenda and visit the registration page to get the best prices now.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A GREAT Week - SCOTUS Got It Right

The Confederate flag came down and the gay pride flag went up.  THANK GOD!

That SCOTUS got it right on Obamacare was also a great win for the American people.  It's interesting that when ALL of the people against Obama Care are asked about specific characteristics of Obamacare, such as you cannot be kicked off or denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition, they are for it. When Mitt Romney's advisor was asked about Obamacare:

"In an interview with Capital, a New York-based online magazine, a key Mitt Romney adviser who helped craft the presidential contender’s controversial Massachusetts healthcare reform law called out his former boss for attempting to put distance between his own law and Obamacare — saying there was “zero difference” between the two.

“They’re the same f@cking bill,” Jonathan Gruber told Capital. “He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying.

“The only big difference is he didn’t have to pay for his [in Massachusetts]. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes.”

When I hear Republicans complain about gay folks having the right to marry they are the wrong side of history. Period. Hard StopWhen I read that the Texas AG will allow the discrimination to continue:

"County clerks in Texas will be able to turn away gay couples seeking marriage licenses, the state's attorney general Ken Paxton (R) announced on Sunday.
Clerks can refuse based on religious objections, Paxton told the Austin American-Statesman, and because the clerks will probably be sued, "numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs," he said."
 IF this happens in Texas, I hope the US Attorney General throws all of these morons in jail INCLUDING Ken Paxton!

I used to be a Independent/Republican and I did not leave the Republican party, the Republican Party left me and millions of others.  Change or die Republicans. You can't be the party of old white men that are AGAINST immigrants, healthcare for millions who could not get it, LGBT, non-Christians, scientists, ....

I have LOTS of friends who I greatly respect and like who happen to be Republicans, I just don't get why they can stay in party that is so incredibly backwards...

101 Miles Today - Most Non Seagull Century Miles in 15 Years

Julie was out of town this weekend with her school teacher friends in the mountains of West VA so this morning I decided to go for a bike ride.  It was perfect day for a bike ride - party cloudy 63 to 72 degrees with no chance of rain.  I said I would keep riding until something started to hurt.  Nothing started to hurt.  I finished at 5 and did 101 miles.

Here is the CycleMeter link that breaks down my ride.

I was at the 65 mile mark in Purcelleville, VA (the end of the W & OD) , so after having lunch at Subway, I went to Catoctin Creek Distillery and said, "since I am out there advertising your distillery on the W & OD trail, do I get a free shot or what?"  The nice lady just smiled and said, "yes, you do - I think you earned it".

Below is the screen snapshot for CycleMeter.  The speed of 0.42 was because I just walked it over and washed it before I put it in the garage.  The last time I did a century that was not the Seagull Century in October was in 2000 when I went from George Washington's home in Mount Vernon through Old Town Alexandria, through DC out to Purcelleville, VA and back home to Ashburn.  Today was not too shabby for a 56 year old dude...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pope Francis - Climate As A Common Good

Pope Francis continues to be my favorite Pope of all time.  Of COURSE the Pope is right about climate change and he shows incredible courage to speak up.  It is great to see the Catholic Church embrace science and maddening when I hear those idiots in the US Congress and on the news who deny climate change.  That Senator James Inhofe is the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and wrote a "book" called "The Greatest Hoax" in referring to global climate change shows just how bassackwards the United States is right now with its leadership in the Senate.

I thought it was worth sharing a section of the climate from the:

Climate as a common good

23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.

24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.

26. Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. However, many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worsen if we continue with current models of production and consumption. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies. Some countries have made considerable progress, although it is far from constituting a significant proportion. Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Selling My First Corvette - 1998 Corvette in GREAT Shape


I am selling my 1998 Corvette as I am ordering a new 2016 Corvette Stingray.  I also have a 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and my lovely wife of almost 32 years tells me that three Corvettes is one too many.  This is especially true since I travel three out of four weeks per month and when I am here I work out of my home office.  I am barely putting a 1,000 miles per year on this GREAT car.

Below are some facts on the car:

  • I purchased it from Carmax on October 8th, 2000. 
  • I am the second owner.
  • It has always been garaged.
  • I took it Tony's Corvette Shop for 15 years - I was religious about keeping this Corvette in great shape.
  • I have all the paper work and everything I have done on the car.
  • 81,408 miles
  • Six speed manual transmission
  • Loaded with many options including Magnetic Ride Control and clear removable top.
  • Complete set of factory manuals, car cover, Corvette car mats, Corvette rear trunk cover, Corvette books, owners manuals, C5 flag, C5 metal sign
  • Kenwood HD radio with CD
  • In 2014 I took it in to Tony's and had $4,970.48 worth of work done on it:
    • New alternator
    • New water pump
    • New thermostat
    • New AC compressor
    • New AC compressor seal kit
    • New oil sender guage
    • New sway bar links
    • New driver side mirror
    • New intake gasket
    • New brake fluid
    • New clutch fluid
    • New rear fluid
    • New dexcool 
    • New side yoke seal
    • New starter fuse link
    • Mobil 1 oil and filter change
  • May 17th, 2015 I put in:
    • New 770CCA battery with three complete 100% replacement warranty
  • May 19th, 2015
    • Mobil 1 oil and filter change
  • May 13, 2010 
    • New starter
  • October 27, 2005 Tony's Corvette Shop put on:
    • Ceramic headers
    • "X" pipe
    • Corsa Indy Pace car exhaust with Pro-Series tips
    • Callaway Honker Airbox
    • RandomTech catalytic converter
    • metal plate underneath to protect against heat from exhaust
    • took hp from 345 to 407-430 (never dyno'd)
    • Note that this car was taken once to a driving school at Summit Point in 2001 and never raced on the street.  In other words, this car has been extremely well take care of!
 If you are interested in this great Corvette, I can be reached at  (Seven Oh 3)  Eight Too Nine  - 888five    (I do that to avoid crawlers from getting my number.

I am asking $12,950.

Below are photos of my 1998 Corvette.

Dave McPhail's Great Article in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design

Dave McPhail, President and CEO of Memex Automation wrote a nice article title:

"Machine monitoring enables manufacturing profits and productivity to take off"


Dave brings out great specific metrics when he states:

"MERLIN customers typically increase machine utilization from 10% to 50%. Plants using MERLIN are able to improve output by more than 10% and related income from operations by as much as 60%. MERLIN connects machines across the plant using the MTConnect open, royalty-free interoperability standard as well as other protocols such as Fanuc Focas and OPC.

Rather than offering custom services installation for every client, Memex Automation’s M2M packaged toolkit relies on MTConnect-based hardware and software that do not require programming or setting up of PLCs. The MES leverages the company’s existing investment in plant, equipment, and enterprise software."

The article uses one of Memex Automation's customers to quantify the benefits of Memex:

Magellan Aerospace 

With more than 60 years of experience in producing components for supersonic jet fighter aircraft from its plant in Kitchener, Ontario, Magellan Areospace Corp. was faced with a machine information puzzle when three machines, engineered to meet contracted volumes, appeared insufficient. The Magellan team used MERLIN to uncover the root causes of machine stoppages and other performance issues.

“Downtime events were reduced from 400 hours per month to 100 hours, which is a net increase in machining capacity of 100 hours per month per machine,” says Magellan continuous improvement coordinator Jonathan Ung. “We captured real savings of over $30,000 per month against an initial price of $20,000 for MERLIN.”

Ung adds that on one machine, “We were able to more than double machining time. It was so much of a gain that it was surreal at first, with experienced operators very surprised to see the results.”

After implementing corrective actions identified by MERLIN, Ung’s plant reached a sustained overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of 85%+ from 36%.
Ung explains that 85%+ is considered world class, and “there was surprise among our team and customers that we reached that number so quickly. It also swayed everyone to believe that MERLIN provided a very effective solution.”

Ung next wants to tie into his plant’s CINCOM enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to track shop orders, labor booking, and labor hours; add MTConnect to make it easier for MERLIN to get and read data; and add a DNC solution that will allow operators to remotely and simultaneously upload and download multiple CNCs and files.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

LA to San Francisco Memex Trip

David McPhail, President and CEO for Memex Automation and I spent a week in CA going from LA to San Francisco meeting with eight customers and prospects in a VERY successful trip.  Here are some photos along the way.  No, I am not tipping my hat to the competition on which customers we met with :-)

Below are three photos of Redondo Beach where we started off.

Sunday night I had dinner with my cousin Daniel, his wife and two kids.  They have a great family and live in an amazing location - I really appreciate that they took time out of their schedule to have dinner with me.

Below is a photo of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hemi that I rented for David and me.  It was fun, but I wish it would have been the 707hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat version instead :-)

Above is SpaceX HQ which is next to Tesla's engineering HQ as well.  We had a great meeting there and received a fantastic personal tour as well.  Below is David and me in front of SpaceX.

After David and I finished our trip, I went to Palo Alto and University Avenue to walk around before I had dinner with my son and daughter in law.  I thought, I am going to drive by the famous HP garage.  I had NO idea that it was just 4/10 of a mile from University Avenue, so I decided to take a walk.  It was VERY cool!

 Above is the plaque and below is the actual garage where it all started.

Below is me in front of the HP house and plaque in Palo Alto in typical beautiful day in CA.

I finished up the trip having dinner with my son and daughter in law in San Francisco - six hotels in in six cities - a personal record.

MTConnect Student Challenge Seeks Submissions for Ideas, Applications to Advance Digital Manufacturing

 For Immediate Release: June 11, 2015
Hilena Hailu
MTConnect Institute
MTConnect Student Challenge Seeks Submissions for Ideas, Applications to Advance Digital Manufacturing
Community College and University Students Encouraged to Apply; Cash Prizes Total $33,000
McLean, Va. … The submission period opened today for the MTConnect Student Challenge, marking the official start of the competition for student ideas and applications utilizing MTConnect. The idea creation competition is open for submissions through September 18, 2015, while the application competition is accepting submissions through January 31, 2016.

In addition to cash prizes for winning submissions, the competition offers many benefits for participating students. It is ideal as a thesis, internship, or capstone project, and students are also provided with the opportunity to network with companies as a means to develop their professional contacts. The competition is open to enrolled college students, and those studying IT, software, mechanical, or electrical engineering are especially encouraged to apply.

MTConnect is an open source, XML- and HTTP-based communications standard that helps foster improved connectivity between manufacturing equipment and devices, allowing for data collection and monitoring. It is a key enabler for allowing manufacturers to take advantage of digital manufacturing to optimize processes and functions on the shop floor. The Student Challenge stems from a prior successful competition that solicited ideas and applications from industry professionals and the general public.

“Manufacturers in all industries are looking to leverage the opportunities offered by big data and the Industrial Internet of Things,” said Douglas K. Woods, President of the MTConnect Institute and President of AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. “The MTConnect Student Challenge is an ideal competition to bring forth student-led innovation for real-world manufacturing solutions. We feel that students have the kind of creative thinking and ideas that are critical to advancing our industry, and we look forward to finding the next visionaries who can generate new approaches to digital manufacturing.”

The MTConnect Student Challenge encompasses two competitions: Idea Creation and Application Development.

MTConnect Student Challenge – Idea Creation

For the Idea Creation competition, students will be required to interview manufacturers to identify their challenges; describe potential solutions to that challenge; and create a conceptual mockup for a solution. The prizes for this competition are $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place, and three $1,000 prizes for runners up. The Submission period opens on June 11, 2015, and closes on September 18, 2015. Winners will be announced October 15, 2015.

Full rules and submission details are available at:

MTConnect Student Challenge – Application Development

For the Application development competition, students will be required: to develop an application that demonstrates innovation and the use of manufacturing intelligence breakthroughs. Submissions will be rated based on their potential to create achievable and measurable benefits to manufacturing operations – improving efficiencies, minimizing waste, reducing costs, etc. The prizes for this competition are $10,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, and $5,000 for third place. The submission period is June 11, 2015, through January 31, 2016. Winners will be selected and announced on April 20, 2016, at the [MC]2 Conference in Dallas, TX.

Full rules and submission details are available at:

The MTConnect Student Challenge is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T) and executed by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the U.S. Army Benét Labs, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), and the MTConnect Institute, in partnership with SME and the National Tooling and Machining Association.

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free standard that fosters greater interoperability between devices and software applications. By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication between devices, equipment, and systems, MTConnect enables applications aimed at providing more efficient operations, improved production optimization, and increased productivity.  

The MTConnect Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization established to further the development and adoption of the MTConnect standard and is a subsidiary of AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is the avenue for input from industry via working groups and quarterly meetings. The Technical Steering Committee authors the MTConnect standard. The Institute’s activities are overseen by a Board of Trustees.  Membership in the MTConnect Institute is free.

About AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology
AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology represents and promotes U.S.-based manufacturing technology and its members—those who design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing. Founded in 1902 and based in Virginia, the association specializes in providing targeted business assistance, extensive global support, and business intelligence systems and analysis. AMT is the voice that communicates the importance of policies and programs that encourage research and innovation, and the development of educational initiatives to create tomorrow’s Smartforce. AMT owns and manages IMTS — The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which is the premier manufacturing technology event in North America.

About Benét Labs
Benét Labs is a Department of the Army Center of Excellence supporting the management and execution of life cycle research, development, engineering, design, producibility, and engineering standardization programs for large caliber armaments, mortars and direct fire systems. A full complement of modern laboratory equipment, along with a highly trained staff of scientist, engineers, and technicians, enables Benét to be a world leader in innovative technology and applications.

About [MC]2 Conference
The [MC]2 Conference is a three-day conference designed for end users, equipment and device suppliers, software developers, distributors, integrators, students, and professors interested in the advancement of data-driven manufacturing. The conference, April 19-21, 2016, in Dallas, Texas, will be packed with timely insights, strategic views, and actionable items. For more information about the [MC]2 Conference, visit

NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industry, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies. NCDMM also manages the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3DP printing (3DP), America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. For additional information, visit NCDMM at

About Office of the Secretary of Defense
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is the principal staff element of the Secretary of Defense in the exercise of policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluation responsibilities. OSD includes the immediate offices of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, Under Secretaries of Defense, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Assistant Secretaries of Defense, General Counsel, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Assistants to the Secretary of Defense, Director of Administration and Management, and such other staff offices as the Secretary establishes to assist in carrying out assigned responsibilities.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Great Time With Dennis Govoni and the WTRC in Munich Many, Many Years Ago

Many, many years ago Dr. Dennis Govoni and I were part of Sun Microsystems Worldwide Technical Readiness Council (WTRC) which had a small handful of the Chief Technologists on planet earth for Sun who would get together three or four times a year.  We were basically responsible for the official conduit between the field and engineering on what Sun needed for products.  It was quite the elite group and we met all over the globe.  One of the great trips was meeting at Oktoberfest.  We went out to dinner and saw this in front of a restaurant that we just had to eat at.  Dennis said something to me like, "hey dummy, get in front of this sign so I can take your picture" - which I was more than happy.  Dennis just resent this to me which caused me to laugh my a$$ off.  Thanks Dr.!

Summer 2015 Sun Reunion - July 23rd at Coastal Flats

Summer 2015 Sun Reunion

  • Host:
    Reunion organizers