Thank you James!

All the employees at Memex Automation would like to take a minute to thank and recognize our very first software developer co-op student, James Li, from the University of Waterloo.

James started for us this past fall in a full time co-op position as a software developer.  In the months that James was with the Memex Software Development Team, he managed to work on number of critical projects for us. James setup a new world-class continuous testing environment, created a configuration and capacity testing tool for MERLIN that allows us to properly gauge unlimited workloads as well as wrote numerous pieces of software for our future MERLIN 3.0 Manufacturing Executive System (MES) platform such as security modules, software metric widgets and many other impressive pieces of software.  Not only did he complete every task he was given ahead of schedule, but these assignments were extremely well designed and well written, and he did so with such enthusiasm that it was an absolute joy to have him on our team.

James Li is a talented young man and we very proud to say he was our first co-op student at Memex Automation!

We wish James all the best!  (And sincerely hope that he comes back full time!)

Love from,
The Memex Team

IMG_2076James, with his special Memex Automation memento, for all the hard work he put in.

IMG_2074In Recognition of Outstanding Software Development, Presented to James Li

IMG_2072The Development Team took James out to a celebratory lunch.
Looks like they had a great time!

David McPhail Inteviewed at FabTech on Manufacturing Talk Radio

David McPhail did a great interview at FabTech last week on Wednesday the 12th on Manufacturing Talk Radio! 

David does a fantastic job educating the hosts on MTConnect as well as Memex Automation’s ability to talk to ANYTHING on the shop floor. David puts everything in the language that everyone inside or outside of manufacturing can easily understand and appreciate.  David talks about MTConnect at the beginning and really gets into specifics at the end of the interview.

I thought the interviewers did an outstanding job in the types of questions asked as well as the follow up questions.

David starts speaking at the 129 minute mark on Wednesday.  David’s segment is about 25 minutes in length.

David brings out a very important metric.  If you ask a shop or plant what their utilization is, invariably they will state something in the area of 65%.  When you actually come in and measure it, the number is more like 27% to 32%  That is a HUGE difference! As David states, “if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.”

To visit Dave Edstrom’s blog, please click here.

IMTS 2014 Huge Sucess for Memex Automation!

Dave Edstrom gives a recap of the incredibly successful IMTS 2014 from his blog Photons and Electrons.

Memex on IMTS TV

Below was the view from our booth to Lake Michigan.  We had the fountain in the middle, food on the left and beer on the right.  THE best location of ALL the 1,900 exhibitors!

The first person I must thank is Wanda Smith (Tim Smith of Memex Automation’s wife) who is an Executive Chef and came to the two houses we rented to cook for us.  Wanda made AMAZING MEALS!  Even though we were spending 12 to 14 hours a day on our feet, I STILL GAINED weight thanks to Wanda’s incredible cooking!
Above is the Memex Automation booth at IMTS E-3368 at IMTS 2014. We built it and broke it down ourselves.
It must be said that what makes ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE, is the GREAT hardware and software developers at Memex Automation that busted their butts around the clock to make this a reality!
 
Above and below was a typical day at IMTS 2014 with TONS-O-People waiting to speak to us.
 

It was like this the ENTIRE time.  It was amazing the amount of interest that we had in all of hardware and software products.

We introduced the Ax760-MTC which is for any Fanuc Controller with Serial I/O Link
  • A quick and easy way to find and monitor signals from your machine
  • The Ax760–MTC is a fully configurable MTConnect  hardware adapter that allows you to communicate with your CNC as never before!
  • Enhance your oldest legacy controllers to today’s communications functionality, and it’s simple to install with webserver based configuration.
  • Passive listening, non-intrusive installation

Above is Whitney Brown of AMT interviewing me for IMTS-TV and she is speaking with David McPhail below.

Above we are taking customers and prospects through our Technology Preview of hardware and software products through the end of the year and well into 2015.  Everyone was very impressed!Above is Peter Eelman’s IMTS balloon that he purchased that is always at IMTS.Above is me holding the Oculus Rift.

Above is my getting ready to use the Oculus Rift.Above is me actually using the Oculus Rift and nearly following over.  Interesting technology.  It is not quite yet ready for prime time IMHO.

 

Above is Dave McPhail getting ready to use the Oculus Rift.

Above is Dave McPhail using the Oculus Rift.
Above is me, Joel Neidig of ITAMCO and Dave McPhail.  Joel is the Michael Jordan of Manufacturing – a true rock star!Above is the world’s largest 3D printer that was printing an entire car out of carbon fibre at IMTS 2014Here is Doug Woods, President of AMT, driving it off the platform.

 
Above is the world’s first subtractive/additive machine tool at the DMG Mori-Seiki booth.
Above is me Dave McPhail, Neil Desrosiers of Mazak and Doug Woods President of AMT in front of the MTConnect booth at Mazak where they were also showing our MERLIN product.
Above is the key slide on one of the products that we were showing in the Okuma booth – our DNC product using Okuma’s THINC API.  Brian Sides gave us a an area where we could show off our close relationship with Okuma.  It was great for us to be in the Okuma booth!  We also showed off our MERLIN product as well.On Saturday afternoon (the last day of show) things slow down so Dave McPhail took advantage of the the slow down to checkout out some of the cool stuff at IMTS 2014.Above is a Fanuc robot moving a car frame around like it was 3 pounds.It was very cool that Kalesh, Asim and Ian of the MTInsight stopped by our booth.  The MTInsight guys are kicking butt and taking names with the best customized business intelligence platform on planet earth.IMTS 2014 was record breaking and could NOT have gone any better for Memex Automation!

Mazak uses MERLIN MES and MTConnect at Kentucky plant

Our friends at Automation.com picked up the Mazak uses MERLIN MES and MTConnect at Kentucky plant success story.

This is a fantastic example of how our technology at Memex Automation is transforming manufacturing.

Below are a few snippets.  Here is the opening:

“July 28, 2014 – The American manufacturing renaissance is in motion at Mazak’s plant in Florence, Kentucky with the help of MERLIN (Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network) from Memex Automation. MERLIN is a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications platform that quickly and cost-effectively isolates productivity issues so everyone from the shop floor to the top floor is able to understand what must be done to maximize efficiency.”

Below is a quote from a true thought leader in manufacturing and MTConnect,  Brian Papke, President of Mazak:

“Mazak’s IT department started the efficiency drive by implementing the MTConnect protocol to accurately determine machine availability by using Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) as a standard measurement. “This total embrace of MTConnect is intended to make a statement,” said Brian Papke, President of Mazak, who personally drove the project. “We want to be a leader in both promoting and implementing MTConnect.  We want our example to show the importance of moving toward data-driven manufacturing.  MTConnect is an essential part of what makes data-driven manufacturing possible.”

It’s a GREAT article and below shows how well Memex Automation did in the selection process:

“Ben Schawe, Vice President of Manufacturing, began the hunt for a commercially available software package that could produce meaningful reports that both production and management teams could act upon. The company formed a task force to evaluate commercially available software solutions.   After an exhaustive search, Mazak selected MERLIN. The evaluation committee included senior executives from President Brian Papke on down, and ultimately they all voted for MERLIN, with 10 out of 10 votes in favor of the Memex Automation product.”

Mr. Schawe states just how successful MERLIN has been so far!

“At Mazak, Schawe stated that MERLIN-related efforts to reduce downtime have so far yielded a 42% improvement in utilization for the monitored machines. In addition, his company reduced operator overtime by 100 hours per month and 400 hours per month of previously outsourced work was returned to Mazak. He also praised the advantage of MERLIN’s ability to take the guesswork out of tracking machine utilization. “We can tell at a glance how we are doing, and the basis is in real-time and historical data,” he explained. “There is so much information, accurate and detailed, all easily accessed whereas before we were it was difficult to find information if it was even available,” he added.”

The article is very well written and really drives home the power of Memex Automation’s MERLIN at Mazak!

Machine Monitoring Proves Its Worth

Implementing a manufacturing execution system to monitor machine performance helped Magellan Aerospace improve OEE on  critical production cell.

The experiences of these three machining companies document the value of implementing a manufacturing execution system for machine monitoring. In each case, MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) hardware and software modules from Memex Automation led to productivity gains and improved Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

  1. Rose Integration of Carlton Place, Ontario, was able to make fact-based improvements to shopfloor systems and reorganize workflows and resources to generate an increase in OEE of 105 percent in one year.
  2. Magellan Aerospace of Kitchener, Ontario, went from a 36.9 percent OEE rating to a 85 percent OEE rating, and determined that a cell of three machines need not be expanded to a fourth machine.
  3. Innovative Mechanical Solutions Inc. (iMech) of Edmonton, Alberta, has made several advantageous changes to their tooling systems and can readily test the real cost of benefits of suggested new machining procedures.

For the complete case histories on each of the above machining companies, please click here.

To see the full article, please click here.

M2M Rollout Article on Rose Integration and Memex Automation in IT Business Canada

Brian Jackson writes an excellent article in IT Business Canada, that discusses how Memex Automation helped Rose Integration and is titled:

How M2M rollout led to a big productivity boost for one Ontario manufacturer

As the article starts of, “When Ryan Bishop took on his new job as operations manager at Carleton Place, Ont.-based Rose Integration in the summer of 2010 he had a plan on how to keep tabs on the manufacturer’s shop floor productivity – every hour the machine operators would write the number of parts they made on a white board and the foreman would photograph the numbers and type them into a spreadsheet.”

David McPhail was quoted in the article, ““I take every signal I can get off that machine that tells me if it’s running and if it’s not, why it’s not,” says David McPhail, CEO of Memex Automation. “We walk into a plant full of equipment and we don’t care about the vintage, the type, the model, we can connect to it.”

Brian Jackson ends his article with, “In fact, Memex has become Bishop’s new night supervisor. He has alerts sent to his phone if a machine is seeing too much down time. Then he can call in to inquire about why that’s happening and get his workers back on track.”

That’s a great way to think about what we do at Memex – we watch your systems so you don’t have to.

Below is a video of Rose Integration:

To see the full blog post, please click here.

Control Costs with Shop Floor Monitoring

Taken from the Okuma Blog, Jeff Estes digs deeper into why machine monitoring is the key to finding where the productivity problems are so you can find and resolve them.

Profits can sneak out your door silently, unseen. But today we have tools that can help you determine where your productivity problems are, so you find and resolve them. The key is to perform shop floor monitoring and operations monitoring in addition to machine monitoring. By doing this you can view key performance indicators like parts output and quality – factors that are critical to measure so you can control your costs.

Dig Into Dashboard Data

When a job takes longer than planned, you can spend a lot of time chasing people down to try and unravel the mystery about why this is happening. Or you can quickly find out where the problem is coming from in real time, from one centralized dashboard right at your desk. Check out this video to see how to use a shop floor monitoring dashboard to pinpoint issues that may be reducing your productivity. In our example, we see:

• An Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of 22%. (Yes, this is bad!)
• Performance is only 67%. (Why?)

By digging deeper into the dashboard data, clues emerge about these problem areas. Perhaps there’s an operator that needs more training, or there’s a problem with the material or process. Having a view of where the problem comes from allows you to solve it or prevent it. Shop floor monitoring tools like those available from Memex and dataZen (members of Partners in THINC) allow you to focus your energy in the right place, so you can increase your productivity.

How are you monitoring your shop floor? Feel free to comment below, or contact us, or your local distributor, to find out how you can use shop floor monitoring. And send us your ideas for future video blogs – we’re here to help!

Jeff Estes is Director of Partners in THINC, Okuma America Corporation.

To see the full blog entry, please click here.

The Last Meter

Written by Dave Edstrom

What is the last metre?

The last metre, or last meter if you live in the United States, is the combination of technical, and sometimes business, challenges involved to make the final connection of a device to the Internet.   A device would be any device from a multi-million dollar machine tool to an inexpensive sensor.

Many have heard of “the last mile problem” as it relates to the challenge of connecting a house to the Internet.  Solving “the last mile problem” can be quite complicated and costly with legal right of ways, homeowner associations, and local politics and of course homeowner concerns.   Solving the last metre is exponentially more complex because of the number and types of machines and devices on the manufacturing floor.  At Memex, we know how to solve the last metre on the manufacturing floor and we know our methodologies and toolkits can provide the platform to solve the last metre problem in a variety of non-manufacturing industries.

Why is the last metre important?

As the old saying goes, the great thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from, and there are more standards coming every day. It is widely believed that only 2 to 3 percent of all shops or plants monitor their manufacturing floor.  The reason for this very low number is the complexity and cost of connecting to the wide range of machine tools and manufacturing equipment. Without the ability to connect and get data from these devices, the ability to improve plant operations is completely stymied.  When shops or plants are asked what their current utilization percent are, the number is typically 65 to 70 percent.  When these plants are actually measured, the real number is 30 to 35 percent.

As Lord Kelvin so simply, yet elegantly stated, “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

Where and how is the last metre being solved?

With a wide range of protocols and expensive proprietary options, it has only been the largest of companies that have attempted to solve the last metre problem.  Even then, these companies typically find out that it is much more costly and expensive than they initially planned.  Too many companies end up with one-off solutions where they are forever locked into a very specific and usually expensive solution.

Memex Automation is solving the last metre problem in an open way that leaves the customer with choices today and choices tomorrow.

How does Memex Automation solve the last metre?

For 22 years, Memex Automation has been building a robust portfolio of products with the clear understanding of the last metre challenges.  In order to address the plethora of machine tools and manufacturing devices on the plant floor, we created a sophisticated platform independent toolkit, made of software and hardware, with decades of experience in manufacturing that could be utilized to connect the millions of legacy machine tools around the globe.

The ability to connect to machine tools depends on how they are configured.  With an MTConnect enabled machine tool, it is basically plug-n-play.  For most companies, the most challenging connection is with a legacy machine tool.  With a legacy machine tool, there likely is no MTConnect or OPC option, making connection a complicated task.  However, at Memex, it’s a simple three-step process with the platform of software and hardware tools:

  1. We connect your machine tool to your network using a Universal Machine Interface (UMI).
  2. We connect the UMI to our “Signal Conditioner” software to interpret your machine’s information.
  3. We convert this information to the format you need, such as MTConnect, to make it easily readable and available on the network.

How does Memex Automation solve the last metre with devices that are not machine tools?

With our deep expertise with manufacturing and MTConnect, we know what needs to be done to convert other devices, protocols and systems using an adapter that will then send it to an MTConnect agent.

Does Memex Automation ONLY address the last metre?

Absolutely not!

Memex provides a complete set of connectivity solutions for addressing the last metre challenge as well as a complete Manufacturing Execution System (MES) called MERLIN, as well as other hardware and software products to help manufacturing from the shop floor to the top floor.  Memex has a communications platform to connect any manufacturing machine.

About Dave Edstrom

Dave Edstrom, CTO, was President and Chairman of the Board of the MTConnect Institute for the last three and a half years and prior to that, the Chief Technologist for Global Software at Sun Microsystems.  In October 2006, while working at Sun Microsystems, Edstrom and Dr. David Patterson of the University of California at Berkeley, laid out the MTConnect vision at The Association For Manufacturing Technology’s Annual Meeting.  Mr. Edstrom is the author of the book “MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know.”

The MTConnect standard is an open source royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications.  By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other’s data.  MERLIN incorporates the MTConnect standard in its universal machine interface, enabling all machines to communicate XML in real-time.  MERLIN contextualizes the data to measure plant-wide capacity utilization in real-time.

Memex Automation Wins 2013 PEM Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees

This is extremely impressive!

I am very, very fortunate to have joined the Memex Automation team!

In presenting the award the judging panel focused on Memex Automation’s outstanding ability to serve customers. Judges are also this year’s award sponsors: FLIR Canada, Siemens Canada Ltd., Fluke Electronics Canada LP as well as PEM Magazine staff.

Memex Automation’s latest award also recognizes its ability to provide rapid customer Return On Investment (ROI) for its flagship product MERLIN. MERLIN boosts productivity, profits and efficiency for manufacturers by monitoring the performance of machine tools. 

01
Rehana Begg, Editor, PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine, and John Rattray, VP Sales and Marketing, Memex Automation.

Press Release:

Memex Automation receives PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine Award

Burlington, ON, Canada – April 15, 2014 – Astrix Networks Inc. (TSX-V: OEE) operating under the trade name Memex Automation Inc., the global leader of manufacturing Machine to Machine (M2M) productivity solutions, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the 2013 PEM Plant Engineering & Maintenance Award for Best Company Under 50 Employees. Sponsored this year by FLIR Canada, Siemens Canada Ltd., and Fluke Electronics Canada LP, the PEM Maintenance Awards were first introduced in 1999 with the mandate of acknowledging and rewarding excellence in industrial technology.

Memex Automation’s latest award is based on its ability to prove customer Return On Investment (ROI) for its flagship product MERLIN. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization, and MERLIN generates OEE in real-time, enterprise-wide, machine by machine. In one instance, MERLIN increased OEE from 40% to 82% across 30 machines in a custom manufacturing company. In another example, MERLIN’s productivity boost cut a major aerospace manufacturer’s work order completion time from 35 days to just 5 days – a 700% improvement.

“The MERLIN product team is extremely proud of our 2013 PEM award,” said David McPhail, Memex Automation’s CEO. “Plant Engineering & Maintenance Magazine is well-read and well-respected by industrial engineers, plant operations and maintenance professionals and this endorsement of our technology will further fuel our sales growth and customer success.”

MERLIN lets customers know exactly where they can improve manufacturing operations in order to operate faster, and more efficiently.  When manufacturing shop floor team members address production bottlenecks with MERLIN, they can improve throughput, and increase overall profitability.

About PEM Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine

During the past 30 years, PEM Plant Engineering and Maintenance Magazine has evolved and kept pace with industry growth. Today PEM is Canada’s total reliability magazine for industrial engineers, plant operations and maintenance professionals. Its mission is to provide readers on the shop floor with the information they need to increase manufacturing production and equipment uptime, integrate new technology, reduce operating costs, manage groups of skilled professionals in an industrial setting and encourage career development. For more information, please visit: www.pem-mag.com.

About Memex Automation Inc.

Memex Automation (TSX-V:OEE) is the global leader of manufacturing Machine to Machine (M2M) productivity solutions and the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness in real-time (“OEE”). In 2013, Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) its Technology Innovation Leadership Award, and Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. Mazak, North America’s largest original equipment manufacturer of machine tools purchased MERLIN to manage its Florence, KY, plant and offers MERLIN on its price list. For more information, please visit: www.memex.ca

Memex Automation Joins Partners in THINC

This is a BIG deal.  Okuma are great partners. For Immediate ReleaseContact: Julie Murphy, Marketing Manager Okuma America Corporation 704-504-6324 or 704-547-4930 jmurphy@okuma.com

Memex Automation Joins Partners in THINC 

Okuma America Corporation announces that Memex Automation has joined Partners in THINC. Memex Automation joins 40+ other members that provide solutions to end-users and enhance productivity while maintaining lean operations.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 1, 2014) – Okuma America Corporation, a world leader in CNC machine tools, is pleased to announce that Memex Automation, the operating company of Astrix Automation Inc. (TSX-V: OEE) and maker of the MERLIN Manufacturing Execution System, an innovative shop floor productivity solution, has joined Partners in THINC.

Memex Automation, headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, specializes in networking machine tools to management information systems. This communication allows for productivity, plant- wide visibility and other statistics to be sent digitally anywhere in the world. Memex Automation solutions are used by a variety of Okuma customers throughout a variety of industries. Their applications are designed to interface with a wide range of controllers and data including the open-architecture Okuma THINC®-OSP control.

Benefits of Memex Automation solutions include:

  • Manufacturing Execution System which improves profitability, reduces waste and
    ensures compliance with regulations
  • MERLIN machine monitoring typically increases shop floor efficiency by 10% or more
  • Direct Numerical Control allows for simultaneous upload and download of multiple CNC
    controls
  • MERLIN offers an M2M communications platform for enabling information from
    machines to be utilized for improving machining operations
    “We are excited to announce our new partnership with Memex Automation. Their expertise and dedication to helping manufacturers obtain the highest level of profitability possible through real time productivity information tools, makes them a great addition to Partners in THINC.” says Jeff Estes, Director of Partners in THINC.
    For more information on Memex Automation and other members of Partners in THINC, visit http://www.okuma.com/partners-in-thinc.
Okuma America Corporation
11900 Westhall Drive • Charlotte, North Carolina 28278 • Phone: (704) 588-7000 • Fax: (704) 588-6503 • www.Okuma.com ISO 9001:2008 Registered Quality System
About Okuma America Corporation:

Okuma America Corporation is the U.S.-based sales and service affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. The company is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and CNC control all manufactured by Okuma. Okuma’s innovative and reliable technology, paired with comprehensive, localized service protection, allows users to run continuously with confidence – maximizing profitability. Along with its industry- leading distribution network (largest in the Americas), and Partners in THINC®, Okuma facilitates quality, productivity and efficiency, empowering the customer and enabling competitive advantage in today’s demanding manufacturing environment. For more information, visit www.okuma.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @OkumaAmerica.

About Partners in THINC:

Partners in THINC is a collaboration network of more than 40 industry leaders who come together to solve problems and explore new productivity ideas for real-world manufacturers. With the open architecture, PC-based THINC®- OSP control as its nucleus, Partners in THINC brings specialized equipment, expertise and a commitment to provide the best possible integrated solutions to the end-user. For more information, visit www.okuma.com/partners-in- thinc.

About Memex Automation:

Memex Automation (TSX-V:OEE) is the leader of the measurement of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (“OEE”) in
real-time. OEE is the measurement of plant-wide capacity utilization. MERLIN (Manufacturing Enterprise Real-time Lean Information Network) generates OEE enterprise-wide, machine by machine. Frost & Sullivan awarded MERLIN its 2013 Technology Innovation Leadership Award. In 2013, Microsoft picked MERLIN to be its mid-market ERP machine connectivity solution. MERLIN incorporates the MTConnect standard, an open source royalty free XML protocol, and it solves the last meter connectivity problem faced by 97% of manufacturers. For more information, please visit: www.memex.ca.

To go to Dave’s blog, please click here.