My new podcast is live.
When I would go to NI Week, National Instruments would always talk about solving big problems. I began to approach the history of digital transformation that same way. GM had a problem involving the changeover of machines from one model year to the next. It took too long to change the machines due to the relay logic. They went to Odo Struger of Allen-Bradley and Dick Morely who then founded Modicon for a solution. Each built a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) to solve the problem and the race was on. We can then look at all the digital advances from then to now as the solving of successively more difficult problems. Today we have IoT, data science, edge computing, analytics, visualization, AR, VR. And we go on. It is a journey not a destination.
This podcast it sponsored by Ignition by Inductive Automation
Or it is on YouTube
In a turnaround, this time I’m doing an interview. First one in years. This episode is an interview with Yuval Boger, CMO of Wi-Charge, who talks about wireless remote power for charging IoT devices with light. There was a gap between this and my last podcast. In the interim, we sold a house, bought a house, and moved to another state–all at the beginning of the covid-19 rise and the shelter-in-place orders. It has been crazy times. Now, we’ve plenty of time to get used to the new house. I hope everyone listening is doing well.
I have released a new podcast.
In the late 1970s I worked in an engineering department where one of my responsibilities was the custodian and distributor of all engineering data. In addition, I did all the corporate new product quoting–such things as UPS truck bodies and the bodies for the original Atlanta Airport People Movers. Everything was paper and manual. Drawings to bills of material to routings to costing.
Today we do the same tasks, except that everything is digital. The drawings are all digital files, the BOM–digital, sorting/costing/checking all faster and digital. We adapt and adopt technology to do things better.
The problem remains–leadership and management of the systems to implement all these technologies in order to reap the rewards.
That–is the challenge before us.
Ways of organizing a company and organizing work fascinate me. I loved Jason Fried’s book, now almost seven years old, Remote: Office Not Required. Much work can be organized so that a worker does not need to commute to an office. Even in manufacturing we have technologies such as connected AR and remote vision and apps where engineering experts need not even be in the plant to troubleshoot a problem.
Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic and WordPress. His bi-weekly Distributed podcast explores the world of distributed work. The latest is an interview with Jason Fried. It’s worth a listen.
Jason Fried, the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, collects mechanical watches. He appreciates their simplicity. He once wrote in a blog post, “When I look at my watch, it gives me the time. It asks nothing in return. It’s a loyal companion without demands. In contrast, if I look at my phone for the time, it takes my time. It tempts me.”
Speaking of podcasts, here is my latest, number 201. You are an engineer in a factory or plant. The machine or process is down. Production has stopped. The general manager is yelling. The CEO has vowed to investors, customers, and media that he’ll sleep in the plant until production is back up. I’ve never had it as bad as the people at Tesla with Elon Musk beating on them, but I’ve lived that life.
I helped start a magazine with the stated editorial goal of writing about the intelligent application of automation.
After several years of Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems, Industry 4.0, digital twins, digital transformation, I think it is past time to look at our projects in terms of how do we employ technology intelligently for improved profitability, work conditions, quality, customer satisfaction, supplier satisfaction, and environmental sustainability.
Thank you to my sponsor for another year–Inductive Automation.
Also on YouTube.
An email came my way last week notifying me that my podcast, Gary on Manufacturing, had won–no not the Publishers Clearing House millions–a spot in the Top 15 Podcasts in manufacturing. I guess I’ll take an honor anywhere I can find one. And “not look a gift horse in the mouth.” To be honest, I don’t know the criteria or the organization. But I’m happy to be recognized. And realize that now I’ll need to increase my production. Thanks for reading–and listening.
Gary on Manufacturing Podcast 200 has been published.
I have been podcasting in a variety of formats since around 2007. Obviously frequency is a problem. After I left magazine publishing, I spent some time figuring which direction to go.
This podcast (sponsored by Inductive Automation) gives a quick recap of where the podcast has been and then I take a look at challenges for industrial tech for the future.
On another note, yesterday I published two blog posts regarding market intelligence (or, lack thereof) reports.
One showed transparent methodology that yields granular data that is perhaps as trustworthy as possible.
The other had to have been a huge SWAG (strategic wild-assed guess). It was not transparent (despite the name of the firm including the word “transparent”) with results not passing the smell test.
The other press releases I get this time of year are magazine awards. I know how the sausage is made. I also heard John C. Dvorak once an editor with PC Magazine back in the day say the same things about PC Mag’s editor awards. Suffice to say, I don’t report on them. I’m happy the companies got an award for their relationship with the magazine, but it’s not relevant to this site.
Good information is so hard to come by. Sometimes I like to stir things up, but mostly I just like to give a clear unbiased view.
Let’s just say I can still remember my roots when I actually worked for a living–life on the line getting projects done and manufacturing producing.