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Author Archives: Brian Fenn

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Manufacturing Data: “Like a Mule with a Spinning Wheel”

Manufacturing data. As The Simpsons’ Lyle Lanley once quipped to the assembled residents of Springfield, it’s “a little like the mule with a spinning wheel.  No one knows how he got it and dang if he knows how to use it.” Except this mule has, like, a LOT of spinning wheels. Industrial Historians are now ubiquitous at most manufacturers, data storage is cheap and many folks grab any and all tags they can find and send them to the Historian in case they ‘need them.’
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Cheap and Easy Data Collection/Reporting

Inspector Gadget was impractical. You can’t have at the ready every conceivable device you might need for any possible (or even plausible) situation. And that’s before we get into the size of the contraptions that he seemingly pulled out of his chest.
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SWANosaurus or How We Teach People to be Successful with Short Arms

At Avanceon, our people are our greatest asset. And that makes sense for a services company. After all, if you think about it, what you’re really selling, is your people (and their expertise and/or skills) in a wrapper of your company’s “special sauce”. But to make that sustainable, you need a continual supply of top-quality new people. In an industry such as ours, where niche technology paradigms (where else do you need to know a dozen different flavors and nuances of different manufacturer’s versions of ladder logic?) are intersecting with modern information technology approaches (analytics, machine learning, autonomous operation, AI, etc.), it borders on the insane to expect a regularly available talent pool possessing the essential skills you need, when you need them. Since we only beat our heads against the wall as a hobby and don’t like to do it full time, we really focus on building people at Avanceon.
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Taking Advantage of IoT and Industry 4.0 in a Practical Manner

That’s not a typo, or a misspelling, or a reference to a waistline-expanding treat: According to its website, “Raspberry Pi” is the name of “a small and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming.” Over the past few years I’ve been having some fun looking at how to adapt Raspberry Pi for both home and industrial applications. Often thought of as a controller replacement (which it can certainly be), the Raspberry Pi is also an interesting tool because it allows for simple connectivity for communication and data collection. I wanted to share with you some of the personal and professional applications I’ve developed.
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Partnering for the Win

Our company is an amalgamation of many individuals’ experiences and knowledge. Much like Liam Neeson, we have “a very particular set of skills; skills (we) have acquired over a very long career.” As an organization, we succeed by recognizing and focusing on those skills or core competencies which we are the best at and have the most expertise in.
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