Gary On Manufacturing - Gary Mintchell



Where Operations Technology and Information Technology come together. Essays and interviews with Gary Mintchell.


  • 233 Irony

    07/10/2021 Duración: 19min

    I love irony. Like when people click on my consulting link and want to sell me consulting instead of asking me to consult. Also a quick trip around the Fabtech and Additive Manufacturing Trade Show, the size of The Manufacturing Connection--your number one resource. Sponsored by Ignition by Inductive Automation.

  • 232 The Future of Industrial Software Business

    13/09/2021 Duración: 13min

    Rick Bullotta posted a provocative comment on LinkedIn predicting a shakeup in the industrial software business with the hyperscaler cloud companies acquiring a chunk of those now owned by OEMs or the few independent ones. I've thought about this for a long time. What do you think?

  • 231 Are You Being Served?

    13/08/2021 Duración: 14min

    231 Are You Being Served? While thinking about the proliferation of as-a-service models of business, thoughts of that 70s and 80s British comedy TV show came to mind. Are you being served? Proved feasible by Salesforce and then adopted by many including recently HPE as the strategy for the entire company, we are witnessing automation companies exploring the as-a-service business model. I wonder how far it will go.

  • 230 AR and VR

    17/07/2021 Duración: 12min

    230 AR and VR AR, MR, VR, XR--what R we supposed to make of all this technology. We've been playing with the idea for more than 20 years when I first reported on a new product that promised to connect a line technician with a remote expert (using video camera) and show work instructions (augmented reality). At the time legendary blogger Robert Scoble in 2013 or so predicted we'd all be wearing Google Glass. That device would tell us whom we were about to meet on the street so that we could greet them by name and ask relevant questions. The immersive experience of visual reality is great for gamers and perhaps for operator and maintenance training. This technology is here, just unevenly distributed.

  • 229 Flying in the Clouds

    06/07/2021 Duración: 19min

    229 Flying in the Clouds A beginning student pilot must only fly on clear days where the ground is always visible. Following much additional training, the student can achieve instrument rating and can "fly in the clouds." Manufacturing and production companies are moving to flying in the clouds perhaps much more quickly than they moved to any other technology. Of course, I'm talking about cloud computing. I recently sat in the ROKLive Rockwell Automation event. They discussed two recent acquisitions, Fiix and Plex, both of whom will move Rockwell into the cloud. Good moves. Tech doesn't change industries, says analyst Benedict Evans. People in the industry use tech to change the industry. Witness how Ethernet went from nice IT thing to a necessary network on the factory floor. Or mobile phones went from "can we control them" to "everyone has one and it changed workflows forever." Same will happen with Augmented Reality (AR). Just watch. This podcast is sponsored by Ignition from Inductive Automation. Check ou

  • 228 Clear Your Mind

    25/06/2021 Duración: 10min

    Sometimes we clutter our minds with what we think we know and leave no room for learning new things. In the process, we fixate on an idea and miss the simple and most elegant explanation. I had received a news release from a manufacturing software company so full of jargon that I could barely decipher it. In the midst of the stuff was the claim that there are 40,000 IIoT professionals. Huh? I figured that they renamed engineers and technicians who wire all the field devices into a new profession. Why? Why make things more complicated than they are? The best bet is to apply Occam's Razor wherever it fits--the simplest explanation is often the best. This podcast is sponsored by Inductive Automation. Check out this year's Ignition Community Conference.

  • 227 Open and Interoperable

    15/06/2021 Duración: 15min

    Imagine laying railroad tracks west from the US east coast and meeting up with a crew laying railroad tracks from the west coast only to discover that the width between the rails was different. Standards make a huge difference. Open standards, open APIs, and open source all enable interoperability and all make life better for users. My discussions over the past couple of years indicates that US engineers are falling behind in the encouragement and use of these technologies. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope the new generation of engineers pick up these ways of working and move American manufacturing forward. And the rest of the world, too.

  • 226 Respect for People in Manufacturing

    26/05/2021 Duración: 19min

    Get outside. Get outside into nature, a park or something, to refresh your mind and body. Get outside your preconceived ideas and prejudices for better thinking. Mary Donelan came to KMC Systems to use Lean to improve productivity. She had to overcome existing prejudices that improvements meant reducing workforce. She exemplified the basic Lean principle of Respect for People leading personal growth along with improving productivity allowing the company to take on more work. Then I wondered about adding software and knowledge workers and any impact on productivity. This leads to considering Cal Newport's new book A World Without Email and a look at improving knowledge worker workflow. Finally, a challenge to Americans about adopting standards and productivity-enhancing methods. Thanks to long-time sponsor Inductive Automation.

  • 225 In Pursuit of the Software Holy Grail

    09/05/2021 Duración: 13min

    According to the legend, the cup holding the wine Jesus toasted his friends with at his Last Supper the next day held some of his blood from the crucifixion. Joseph of Arimethea had possession of that cup and wound up in Britain. Whereupon it was "lost." In 1182 a poem was circulated with the story of the Holy Grail. It was bound up with the Arthur legends and then was found in a Monty Python video and later the prize of Indiana Jones (and the Last Crusade). In 1979, Dan Bricklin connected a spreadsheet for the new personal computer product, and the pursuit of the Holy Grail was transformed in the computer age to the pursuit of the killer app. We still live in the age of the pursuit of the killer app. IT companies with their IoT and Edge compute married to predictive analytics thought they found that Killer App in predictive maintenance. I think that stopping with predictive maintenance as THE app is far too shortsighted. There is far more to be gained by combining with more applications that will help make m

  • 224 Converged IT OT

    29/04/2021 Duración: 15min

    I caught up with Tom Bradicich, PhD, VP of HPE Labs and an HPE fellow recently to get updated about Converged Edge, IoT, and bringing the Line of Business people and the CIO organization into common cause. I met Tom at NI where he was an early evangelist for data--he talked about Big Analog Data. He had come from IBM and then left NI to return to the IT world with Hewlett Packard and then with Hewlett Packard Enterprise after the split. At HPE, he led the team developing the Edgeline, a converged Edge product that brought in IoT from the OT side of the business to a powerful compute platform. Later at HP Labs led the team to develop Edge-as-a-Service, if you will, that converges LOB and CIO organizations for solving business problems.

  • 223 Hannover Messe 21 Bionics and Software

    17/04/2021 Duración: 17min

    I first heard about the world's largest manufacturing trade show, Hannover Messe, in the mid-80s when our group of VPs of a small automation company conspired to find ways for me to send the president out on meaningless sales calls. I sent him to Hannover in 1986. I have attended many times over the past 20 years. I recorded this podcast April 17 the Saturday following the 2021 digital edition of the event. Festo held the first press conference I attended flooding me with information among which were the bionic swift and its vast education initiatives. Schneider Electric talked about its Automation Expert, the answer to OPAF's quest for separating hardware and software in control. The rest of my week was primarily software as companies talked about the impact of unstructured data from IoT on industrial software.

  • 222 Build In Resiliency

    29/03/2021 Duración: 12min

    222 Build In Resiliency How would you like to be the chief automation engineer when an automated assembly line goes down and it gets daily reports in The New York Times and the CEO camps out on the production floor until you get it fixed and that CEO is the world's smartest man--Elon Musk? Too often we build projects, automation and otherwise, without any resiliency. They are brittle. They break easily. Like the system Airbus considered with its extra-huge airliner that required every airport to upgrade runways and terminals. Or, like us, when we don't build resiliency into our careers and our lives. Even worse--the anxiety and brittleness of our children pushed to succeed above all else. Build in some resiliency in your life and go make a difference.

  • 221 It Is Hard To Predict Especially The Future

    22/03/2021 Duración: 10min

    People hit me up continually about ability of predictive analytics for predictive maintenance as the nirvana of digital manufacturing. My reply is that digital data leads to analysis/user interface/decision support. In other words, data helps people make better decisions in order to solve manufacturing problems and run more efficient and profitable and safer plants.

  • 220 Software is Eating the Industrial World

    13/02/2021 Duración: 16min

    "We tend to overestimate risk and under estimate value when we're evaluating digital technology implementation," stated a keynoter during the 25th annual ARC Advisory Group Forum. Another keynoter told us that if we are evaluating digital transformation initiatives using a spreadsheet, we are off base. Some things have too great a risk of not doing. A Wall Street analyst told us that over the past year industrial software companies outperformed industrial companies. Software for digital transformation is where it's at. Check out the new Schneider Electric initiative promoting software defined control based on IEC 61499. This is an outgrowth of the Open Process Automation initiative that seems to be gathering some momentum. Software is eating the world--or at least the industrial one.

  • 219 Quality and Wireless Infrastructure

    29/01/2021 Duración: 16min

    219 Quality Without Wires Are you teaching quality today? That question started a young English teacher into a journey that led to the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But really, I wanted to talk about quality and wiring. I visited a prospect who was interested in a press control automation system. When I went into the plant to look at one of their presses, I saw a haphazard (and hazardous) wiring job on the control panel. I left as soon as I could. But wiring can be exceedingly expensive in many plants. Wireless became an attractive alternative. We had WirelessHart soon to be partly replaced by WiFi. Now, the latest cellular technology, 5G, when made into a private network coordinating with WiFi6, composes a powerful IoT and digital transformation communication system.

  • 218 Is Data Real

    15/01/2021 Duración: 15min

    I worked with data ever since it was handwritten or typed. We can just generate much more of it these days. We can contextualize, analyze, visualize. The question is--are we using it adequately to make better decisions?

  • 217 Disrupting Manufacturing Technology

    18/12/2020 Duración: 14min

    Congratulations to Eddie Habibi, Pat Kennedy, Corky Ellis, and others for building companies and getting a good exit. Where are the next generation of new companies coming from? Will they be disruptive to the manufacturing technology market? What is disruptive anyway? Podcast supported by Inductive Automation.

  • 216 Quality Not Perfection

    01/11/2020 Duración: 11min

    This podcast is sponsored by Ignition from Inductive Automation. The project engineer came to me, "We can't ship this machine, because it is not yet perfect." What is quality? When is it "good enough" to ship. What is meeting spec? When is "good enough" not sufficient?

  • 215 Pursuing Quality

    16/10/2020 Duración: 14min

    I moved to a new state a few months ago and have been searching for a good local, independent coffee shop with ethically traded coffee--in vain. So, I go to Starbucks a few times a week. The concept of quality at Starbucks is not the coffee, which is probably why people doctor it with flavored sugars and milk. Its quality has always been environment. One of my first jobs was with Airstream, manufacturer of quality recreation vehicles. Everyone in the company was aware of the need for quality. The question for you today is are you contributing to building quality, ethical products that serve your customers and society? On a personal development note, I leave you with Seven Daily Habits from Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle.

  • 214 Stress, Covid, and the Art of Manufacturing

    04/10/2020 Duración: 10min

    Manufacturing and production can be stressful occupations. Add in the constant stresses of a pandemic and there is the recipe for affecting health. Take a stress break and get a new focus.

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