Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3D Printing of Casts

As someone who recently shattered their hand, I can appreciate this new type of 3D printed cast.

Check out the video.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Connects the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with Open Standard MTConnect

This is a big and important announcement for MTConnect coming from Mitsubishi Electric Automation.

As the press release summarizes:

"Compliant with version 1.31 of the MTConnect standard, the new MTConnect adapter captures the NC data from machines on the shop floor in real time and formats it into the MTConnect standard. Using one common communication tool for all equipment eliminates the need for specialized, proprietary software from multiple equipment vendors."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Heiden's Law

I heard this quote from MO and immediately said, I need to blog this:

Below is Heiden's Law:

"When you want it bad, you get it bad and most people wanted in the worst way."

The Heiden is Heidi Heiden and below is from Mr. Heiden at his company - The Heiden Group:

"Mr. Heidi Heiden has over 40 years experience in designing, building and selling information systems. Highlights of his career include building the largest Internet system in the late 90's; and in the early 90's, leading Wall Street's move to Internet-based systems by pioneering switching & routing architectures used throughout the business world today. He also designed, built and managed the first Internet, the DDN, in the early 80's. In the late 70's he was responsible for engineering and prototyping the first GPS navigation receivers for air, land & sea use. In the early 70's he designed a national telecommunications system for Spain . Heidi is a graduate of West Point and served over twenty years in the Army."

Below is a more detailed  background at Bloomberg:

"Mr. Heidi B. Heiden served as Senior Vice President for Operations and Technology of UUNET, Inc. from January 1995 to 1999 and also served as an Acting President. Mr. Heiden was responsible for planning, building and operating UUNET's worldwide network, in addition to customer support and all information systems. He joined UUNET in September 1995. Prior to joining UUNET in 1995, Mr. Heiden held several senior executive positions in the commercial sector, including his tenure as Senior Operating Officer at Salomon Brothers from 1990 to 1995, where he was responsible for advanced technology, networking, video, information security, commercial technology sales and messaging and groupware systems. In June 2001, Mr. Heiden retired from Zephion Networks Inc., where he served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman since January 2001. He also served as Senior Vice President for the Wollongong Group. In the mid-1980's, he was employed at Trusted Information Systems. Prior to entering the commercial arena, he served in the United States Army and led diverse technology programs, including the Design and Implementation of Voice and Data Systems and the Defense Data Network, the largest Data System at the time and the basis of what is now known as the Internet. Mr. Heiden has held Senior Technology Management positions in several Industries. He serves as Director at HarvardNet Inc. He serves as Member of the Advisory Board at The Heiden Group, LLC. Mr. Heiden has been a Director of Broadview Networks Holdings Inc. since January 2000. Mr. Heiden served as a Director of V-ONE Corporation since June 2000. He served as a Director of UUNET, Inc. since January 1995. He served as a Director at NX Networks Inc. since January 2001. Mr. Heiden is a Graduate of West Point Military Academy."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Generative Design -- Killer Combination of Machine Learning, 3D Printers and Cloud Computing

Autodesk has really broadened its scope since I first started working with them back in the 1980s (I guess if they did not they would have gone out of business :-) and has become a real thought leader in manufacturing.

Below is Autodesk's definition:

"Generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. Then, using cloud computing, the software explores all the possible permutations of a solution, quickly generating design alternatives. It tests and learns from each iteration what works and what doesn’t.”

Here is a link to Autodesk's video on Generative Design. 

This is why I think Generative Design really is a killer combination of Machine Learning, 3D Printers and Cloud Computing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blockchain Technology

“The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades has arrived. And it’s not social media. It’s not big data. It’s not robotics. It’s not even AI. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin. It’s called the blockchain.”                                                   

                           — Don Tapscott
                              Author of 15 books on technology

I am not sure I agree 100% with Mr. Tapscott, but clearly blockchain is a game-changer.

Below is a nice and short video from IBM on how blockchain works.  If you are in manufacturing, imagine that instead of a tracking a diamond from cradle to grave, you are tracking a part.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1 Minute 42 Seconds Reinforcement Learning Video of Deep Q Learning Atari Breakout

In one minute and 42 seconds of Google DeepMind's Deep Q-learning playing Atari Breakout, this really drives home the point of Reinforcement Learning:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mazak's Nice Article on How To Troubleshoot MTConnect

There is a very nice article at Mazak titled:

How to Troubleshoot 11 Common MTConnect Issues

 As the post starts off:

"MTConnect® can help you significantly boost manufacturing efficiency and productivity by enabling your manufacturing equipment to provide valuable data in a format that is useable by data management applications. However, as with any computer-based system, issues such as missing or erroneous inputs and commands can arise and negatively affect system performance. Fortunately, MTConnect implementation issues are generally easy to recognize and resolve. Here are 11 of the most common:"

From here it lists the 11 common issues for MTConnect.  

 I would add that what is a solution to many of these common issues is the MTConnect Agent Configuration (MTCACT) that MEMEX wrote a few years ago.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Toughest Person I Have Ever Met

After 38 days in different hospitals, I am very glad that the toughest person I have ever met is back at home.  It was 5 1/2 weeks ago that he was walking out of a restaurant after attending church, when he fell and broke his femur in multiple locations.  When he went into the hospital to have the titanium rods implanted into his femur, it was at that point that everything that seemingly could go wrong, did go wrong.  The multiple hospitals, doctors, nurses and staff were all amazing in professionally and compassionately working through all of these issues, procedures, surgeries and rehabilitation.

The reason for the toughest person label is because in 1975 he was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and told to "get his things in order" which is code for your time left on this planet is measured in months at this point.  He was at Stage 3 cancer.  The CLL came from one of his tours of duty in Vietnam (he was a USAF air traffic controller and has two Bronze Stars) and had the misfortune of being in a cargo plane where agent orange had previously spilled.  He stayed at level 3 cancer for 30 years - which is unheard of - then in 2005 it went to stage 4.  He has been on chemotherapy since 2005 and at 42 years since initially diagnosed at stage 3 CLL, he is believed to be a USAF record holder for CLL survival.  When I asked him how he dealt with the incredible amount of health issues he has had, he simply said, "you just don't think about it." Easier said than done in life.   Most people would have worried themselves into an early grave.

Th person I am talking about is my 83 year old father.   Below is the first time he was able to sit in his new power recliner my mother just bought for him.  Glad you're home Slim! (nickname I gave him in 1977 :-)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Blockchain Technology and Manufacturing

When I am asked about blockchain technology (here is a nice beginners guide to blockchain article) and manufacturing, I like to start off with the question, "with ALL this technology we have in our pockets, why do we have to deal with hanging chads and standing in long lines to vote"?​  
The answer is that we do have the technology, but for political and cultural reasons, we are most likely never to see this implemented in the United States.  In the US, politicians and people do not trust computers for this and want to see a paper trail.  It is too bad, because is a much more elegant, trusted and much less expensive way to do it.

​Then I would take them through how blockchain voting works and point them to FollowMyVote.com

​Below is the great graphic from FollowMyVote.com that makes it easy it easy to explain and understand.​

To further illustrate what is happening with blockchain and voting, one could go to the Expanse demo on voting on show some more specifics on blockchain voting events the last election (admittedly a dangerous thing to do in front of US citizens, I would prefer to do this in Canada :-)    

The point is  that it shows how votes are anonymously transacted as a "VoteEvent".

As it relates to manufacturing, blockchain could be used for a distributed, immutable transactional database could be used to, as Cubichain Technologies states:

​"T​o deliver a secure and verifiable Digital Thread combined with Factory Floor deployment of advanced machine vision, X-ray Fluorescence and advanced 3D scanning techniques to identify build tampering, verify build material and certify build metrology."

There is a loose MTConnect analogy regarding an open source component as stated on Cubichain's homepage:

​"​Cubichain is utilizing the open source blockchain solution MultiChain which provides the ideal blockchain infrastructure required to enforce a reliable Digital Thread in the Additive Manufacturing indust
​I think of the old BASF commercials, " We Don't Make The Products You Use, We Make Them Better​" but for manufacturing with ​"We don't make the products you make, we prove YOU made them." OK, maybe that could be better phrased, but hopefully you get the point :-)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sun Microsystems 20th Anniversary Video - 1982 to 2002

Huge thanks to npg for sending this link to me as it has been 15 years since I remember watching this when it came out.  Always fun to look back at Sun!