Friday, December 29, 2017

God Bless Ken Walker - Senior Developer for MEMEX

These are the blog posts that I find great difficulty in writing. I found out yesterday that Ken Walker had passed away on December 20th.

Ken was always a true professional and a great man.

I knew Ken because he was the contractor for MEMEX who led the development of the first version MERLIN - MEMEX's shop floor monitoring software, where I was the CTO responsible for software and hardware development.  Without Ken, there would not have been a version of MERLIN.  I heard countless stories of Ken putting in many long, long hours to get MEMEX software products out the door.  When I started working with Ken in 2014, I was blessed to have such a dedicated and talented software developer.

We had daily update calls and Ken would usually be the one to make all of us laugh.  Ken was up for any challenge, but was always able to do it with a sense of humor.

My fondest memories of Ken are when I would drive out to his house in Woodstock, Ontario where we would go to one of his favorite restaurants and just sit and talk.  Yes, we would discuss work, but we would usually discuss life.  What truly amazed me about Ken was his ability to keep working under the most trying of conditions, and Ken never complained. 

When I saw the post by Wally Cassell of MEMEX on the guest book for Ken, that Wally and Jeremy Roy of MEMEX visited Ken in the past few weeks and shared some stories, as well as some laughs that warmed my heart because I am sure Ken greatly appreciated their visit.  

My thoughts and prayers are with Ken's wife Maureen and his entire family, relatives and friends. 

God bless you Ken - you were the ultimate class act and you will be terribly missed by of all of those who you touched.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

You Are Not Allowed To Speak The Truth On Guns In America

This is just incredible to me. This is an op-ed in the Washington Post by Dean L. Winslow, a retired Air Force colonel and flight surgeon, is a professor of medicine at Stanford University.  The article is titled:

I spoke my mind on guns. Then my Senate confirmation was put on hold.

So, what did Dr. Winslow say that caused John McCain to interrupt him?

As stated in his op-ed: "Then, I blurted out what was in my heart: “I’d also like to . . . just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic weapon like an AR-15.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) interrupted, warning this was not in my “area of responsibility or expertise.” Soon after, my confirmation was put on hold."

Dr. Winslow knows what he is talking about:

"I am a marksman, rated expert in both the M-9 pistol and the M-16 rifle (the fully automatic military version of the AR-15). During one of my tours in Iraq, I spent hours with my Special Operations forces colleagues who were training Iraqi teams on our base, firing an array of military weapons. Using a powerful gun at a firing range is a real blast, and I support civilians experiencing that thrill at licensed ranges.
However, as commander of an Air Force hospital in Baghdad during the surge, I have seen what these weapons do to human beings. The injuries are devastating. In addition, because of their high muzzle velocities, assault weapons are challenging for untrained civilians to control and are not optimal for home defense. A pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, with its excellent stopping power, would be far better. Even with imperfect aim, a shotgun will hit its target, while the pellets won’t go through a wall to endanger someone in the next room. Assault rifles are also poor hunting weapons due to low accuracy beyond 100 yards."
 He nails the issue with the United States here:
"But with a standard 30-round magazine, assault rifles are perfect for mass murder. From 1995 to 2004, assault weapons were severely restricted in the United States. During that time, mass shootings were far less frequent — 1.6 compared with 4.2 per yearafter the ban lapsed in 2005. The experience in Australia is even more dramatic: No mass shootings have occurred there since assault weapons were outlawed in 1996. Assault weapons in the United States are not being used to kill “bad guys” in self-defense or to provide for a “well-regulated militia” but for entertainment, mass murder and domestic terrorism. Is this really the intent of the Second Amendment?"
I have relatives who love to hunt and I am perfectly fine with that.  NONE of them hunt with a anything more than a shotgun or a rifle.
Too bad our politicians are more concerned about not upsetting the NRA then they are with common sense.... 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

B2MML Companion Specification Announced

I have been meaning to blog about this for a number of weeks now.

As stated at

"MTConnect-B2MML is a companion specification to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and the B2MML implementation of ISA95, as well as the manufacturing technology equipment, devices, software or other products that implement those standards.

Version 1.00 Draft (October 2017)

Additional documentation for implementing B2MML with MTConnect is available on the MTConnect User Portal wiki at "

Note: There is lots of very good information at the mtcup URL above.  For example, here are the high level objectives:

  • Define the interaction between existing standards from each organization to provide a platform for improved manufacturing technology interoperability.
  • Provide a forum for the exchange of information to support future continuous improvement of standards and specifications overseen by each body.
  • Provide a mechanism for the exchange of insights, identification of overlaps, and harmonization of the works of both organizations; where appropriate.
  • Provide a roadmap for implementers to leverage the capabilities of the standards and specifications of both bodies.

Net Neutrality Analogy EVERYONE Can Appreciate

There is a great article at the Washington Post by titled: 

Net neutrality keeps the Web from running like an airport security line. And it might go away

Here are key points Mr. Fowler brings out:

"But of course, airport security these days is all about a pecking order. There’s regular security and there’s the faster “TSA Pre” line. Then at many airports, if you pay extra there’s a “Clear” line, a “priority” line for pilots and first-class passengers, and even a super-fast celebrity line that comes with organic seaweed snacks (really).

Without the neutrality rules, Internet providers could set up their own fast lanes—meaning certain websites could buy first-class treatment, while others are stuck in cattle class. Providers could sell Internet service in packages, like cable-TV bundles. Service providers would also have the right to set up their own no-fly lists, blocking certain websites that they don’t like or compete with their own business.

For you, certain websites could slow to a crawl. Or perhaps they wouldn’t show up at all."



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Listening In - A MUST Read Cybersecurity Book by Susan Landau

If I had to summarize why I loved working at Sun Microsystems so much, it would be the brilliant people I was able to meet, work with and we became friends.

Susan Landau was a Distinguished Engineer at Sun.  She is an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow, a Cybersecurity Hall of Fame inductee and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.  Susan is a globally recognized expert in security.

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan while we were both at Sun.  We had a number of very interesting conversations while we were at Sun, as well a number of conversations since Sun was purchased.  The conversations we had and have were always enlightening, interesting and very educational for me.

Susan wrote a book titled Listening In - Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age and sent me a signed copy.  This is an excellent book and a must read whether or not you are a geek like me, a policy maker, someone who has an interest in security or just your average citizen.  Susan's book is extremely well written and well researched.  She is able to educate the reader on Cybersecurity in a clear and compelling fashion.  You do not need a mathematical, computer science or technical background to learn a ton from this book. My hope would be Susan's book would be embraced by policy makers and citizens around the globe as she does an excellent job explaining the proper role and balance of government in providing national security and law enforcement through numerous real life examples.

When I first got the book and looked at the back cover and saw recommendations from Vint Cert, Jonathan Ziltrain, Matt Olsen (former Director NCTC) and Juliette Kayyem (former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security), I knew this just moved to the top of my reading queue!

Susan did reach out to me to discuss security in the area of manufacturing.  We had a few phone conversations and email discussions.  I was thrilled to see that Susan referenced an article I wrote for Advanced Manufacturing titled, With Machine Monitoring, Instant ROI is Possible and my book, MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know.  Thanks Susan!

Bottom line is that this a GREAT book and a MUST read for everyone.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn and Tim's Gingerbread Man

There are two items that are a must in the Edstrom family every Christmas - one is outside and the other is inside.  Outside it is THE Deer of Ashburn and inside it is Tim's Gingerbread Man.

Below was the first rev of THE Deer when I found it in my neighbor Rick's trash.  I did not ask for permission to take it (Rick later said I am always welcome to take anything in his trash :-) and quickly mounted it on my son John's Taurus (the famous Sun Microsystems $1 million Ford Taurus)  John was not amused and ordered it off before he drove it to high school that morning.

Now I needed to find a purpose for the deer and then it hit me, the ultimate Christmas Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn!

It is always nice to see the line of cars several miles long in Ashburn as they wait in line to see Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn :-)

The inside ornament that is a must is Tim's Gingerbread Man. This always goes in the most visible space on our Christmas tree every year.

The story here is that Tim is 3 years old and the pre-school teacher gives out the Gingerbread Man, glue, some things to glue on there and lots of noodles to glue on.  It normally keeps the kids busy for 20 minutes according to the teacher.  After 1 minute Tim yells, "I'm done!"   The pre-school teacher thought this was priceless and was laughing out loud when she told the story.  She had never seen one like Tim created :-)

The Best of MTConnect FAQs, Presentations, Webinars, Websites and ALL Things MTConnect

This blog post is a culmination of years answering questions on MTConnect that I will keep updated as it is easier to just point individuals to one blog site I have as opposed to multiple blog posts or a very large email with all of these FAQs, Presentations, Webinars, Websites and ALL Things MTConnect.  A lot of this earlier work was when I was President and Chairman of the Board MTConnect Institute.

You can easily share this blog post with

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free standard built to foster interoperability between devices, equipment and systems. Using XML and HTTP, MTConnect defines, structures, and exposes real-time data throughout a factory.  Unlike previous interoperability attempts, MTConnect’s common communication and data dictionary empowers software developers to implement applications aimed at providing more efficient operations, improved production optimization and increased productivity.   MTConnect is elegant because of its simple and scalable design.

Think of MTConnect as the “Bluetooth for manufacturing” with the clear goal of “Different Devices, COMMON Connection”.   MTConnect has become the default interconnectivity fabric to enable manufacturing dashboards to understand exactly what is happening in a plant or shop, an M2M communication mechanism and a simple, yet elegant way to implement IoT or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT has been predicted to be tens of billions of dollars per year with manufacturing being a large percentage of that market.

Give Me A 10 Minute Overview of MTConnect

MTConnect Home, Source Code, Member Listing and MTConnect Standard Download Location

How Can I Join MTConnect?
  • MTConnect is royalty-free, open source, free to join and free to deploy
  • There are two types of members
    • Implementors
    • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) members
  • How can I join the MTConnect Institute?

Why Should I Join The MTConnect Institute?

 John Byrd, former President of AMT, summarized the significance, “MTConnect will be more important for manufacturing in the 21st century, then CNC was in the 20th century.  Brian Papke, former President of Mazak USA, stated the financial importance, "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."

A sample of global companies which joined MTConnect, that those not in manufacturing have likely heard of, include Boeing, Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, FANUC, Foxconn, GE (Aviation, Global Research, Power, Transportation), General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin Electronic Systems, Mitsubishi Electronic Automation and Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC).  

If you are in manufacturing or WANT to be in manufacturing, then you NEED to join the MTConnect Institute!

What Do I Need To Know About Connecting ALL Of My machine tools, 3D Printers, Sensors and Devices to MTConnect?

 Why Would I Want To Monitor My Shop or Plant?
    While the above two "Getting Started With MTConnect" documents are a little dated, the principles remain and the list of shop floor monitoring companies is still a good list.
  • Here is the video that has Ben Schawe of Mazak speaking on their Factory using MTConnect at the [MC]2 2014 Conference.  It is very compelling and shows the power of MTConnect and shop floor monitoring.  This might be helpful in terms of a machine tool company that is considering to use MTConnect in their own factory with shop floor monitoring by "flying their own planes" or "eating their own dog food" :-)  It should also be noted that Mazak has really expanded with using MTConnect and MERLIN beyond that point to include full OEE, an operator panel, as well as that was an earlier version of MERLIN.
 What Is The Best Book On MTConnect?

MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know (my book - Dave Edstrom - of COURSE! :-)  Available in ALL formats

How Can I Easily Try Out MTConnect?
 What if I Want My Company To Implement MTConnect?

MTConnect Implementation Guide Webinar - Machine Tools, Devices and Sensors


In the above 40 minute webinar, I provide my personal thoughts on the technical and business issues to be aware of when implementing MTConnect for machine tools, devices or sensors.

The impetus for this webinar is the tremendous amount of interest I have seen globally for companies and individuals who are considering deploying MTConnect enabled machine tools, devices and sensors. 

When I think of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) I think of MTConnect.  The reason for this is that monitoring and data analysis begets more requests for additional information and this can be accomplished by the addition of MTConnect enabled devices and sensors in the plant.

Additional Documents For Those Wanting To Implement MTConnect

  • I put the document, Implementors Guide For Machine Tools, Devices and Sensors that is at my DropBox site since it was over 10MB for those who would like a copy.
  • Device Functionality Group  This is listing of what data items some of the machine tool vendors are supplying would be of interest.  Info that is included is partial machine, control, and adapter support and functionality supplied by builders are listed here. Many additional devices are supported from the factory or via third party adapters, and the MTConnect standard may be extended to cover additional data items.
  • A​n interesting exercise to find out what is available is to go out to some of machine tool makers and see how they setup their MTConnect pages such as MazakOkuma, ​DMG MORI and others where you can go to their homepage and search for MTConnect.
What About OPC and MTConnect?
Security and MTConnect

What If I Have More Questions On MTConnect?

  • Leave me a comment on this blog and I will be happy to respond to you directly or will update this blog post or even create an entirely new blog post!