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Sherlock Ohms

'Move the Picker, Move the Tote'

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Rob Spiegel
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Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/18/2012 11:14:23 AM
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This is a good Sherlock Ohms story about using ingenuity to double the production on the conveyor. A lot of this type of optimization is done with intelligent tools these days. Not long ago, it all had to be done with brain tissue.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/20/2012 12:33:31 PM
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I agree - Doubling production capability is a nice accomplishment (as long as everything else on the line can keep up!) and sounds like it was an interesting problem.

Good point on optimization, Rob - and depending on where you work and the company budget - brain tissue is still the only medium used...

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 2:46:52 PM
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Brain tissue is great, Nancy. But now we're seeing embedded intelligence in a wide variety of devices and systems in automation and control. The embedded intelligence allows controllers to run the system like a video game with simulation and optimization at the fingertips.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/20/2012 3:53:33 PM
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Oh, I agree Rob - I was just referencing companies with older technology that do not have a budget for the cool new stuff. We can still design stuff that is not as smart but can still do the job. And we still need brain tissue to invent the smarter products ;)

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/21/2012 12:57:03 PM
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We'll still need the brain tissue, Nancy, no matter how smart our tools get. Yet it is nice to see some of the intelligence getting embedded in our devices. I'm glad my computer has enough embedded intelligence that I don't have to use C prompts any longer. And the price on the intelligent systems usually comes down.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/21/2012 1:05:46 PM
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Awwww...Rob, don't you miss writing your own batch files in DOS?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/21/2012 2:44:29 PM
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Oh Yeah, I do miss it, Nancy. Just when you're supposed to deliver some work, everything goes hairy and now you're trying to figure out what to write following that darn blinking colon after the C. And you know you've probably lost your report.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/21/2012 3:39:51 PM
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Sometimes I long for the days when I had more control of my computer's operation. DOS was so straightforward. And remember Windows 3.1 and then Wow! Windows 95? Remember the screen in Windows 95 that used to come up and say "It is now safe to turn off your computer?" I found the bitmap file and dropped it into Paint and changed it to "Your hard drive has just been reformatted" on my boss's computer...he wasn't amused...

Unfortunately I haven't kept up with the progression and now Windows Vista is just a mystery to me.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/24/2012 6:48:24 PM
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I think Windows Vista is a mystery to everyone, Nancy. New computer operating systems are like new cars, you can fix them in your backyard any longer.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/24/2012 6:56:31 PM
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Ain't that the truth, Rob! That goes for PC HW too! I remember being in Comp USA a few years ago (well, maybe more than a few LOL) looking for a motherboard. I was so aggravated to find out all the ports were integrated onto the board instead of the old days where we could buy what we wanted and drop it into a slot. Back in the day - card go bad - take a shot at fixing the old one and if not - just replace it with a new one...Want to upgrade your video card - swap it out...I just could not believe anyone would integrate everything directly onto the motherboard!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/24/2012 7:27:29 PM
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Nancy, I think what we're seeing is another example of disposable consumer electronics. Consumers don't fix computers, TVs or phones. They throw them away and get new ones. Consumer electronics go obsolete quickly.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/24/2012 9:49:17 PM
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I miss the days where you could just tear into something to fix it - just swap out a cap that had fried and brag to your friends LOL. I do feel sorry for the youngsters today - they board swap instead of having the fun of troubleshooting...

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Rob Spiegel   9/25/2012 5:53:03 PM
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Those days are gone for most electronic products. Consumers don't think in terms of repair, they think in terms of replacement. New features win the audience, so after just a couple years, the idea of repairing consumer electronics becomes out of the question. I would guess that most of those buying the iPhone 5 are replacing an iPhone that already works fine.

William K.
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Re: Doubling the throughput
William K.   10/6/2012 7:28:55 PM
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I agree with Nancy and the comments about all of the junk that microsoft has dumped on us over the years. PLUS, they never release an operating system that is not buggy any more, if they ever did. And all sorts of things work the way that programmers think, and programmers are NOT NORMAL PEOPLE. We all know that, most are too polite to say it, though. What was so hard about launching a program by calling it's name? And using a file for more than one program is something that I was doing back with DOS 3.???, and it worked quite well. Plus, the programs were written efficiently and they were fairly small, and the operating system was just a tool to use with things, it did not have it's own 40 foot tall ego, like most versions of window do today.

The intensely bloated software is the reason that the 50 MHz computer is not fast enough any more. We really don't need all of the stinking little features that we always get, and there is really no reason that a person to lazy, or to dumb to learn how, should be using a computer. 

Now the OS is tending toward controlling what we do and how we do it, and attempting to say that the only right way is the windows way. I see problems with that, it sounds a lot like thought police to me. Shades of "1984" (the book, not the year).

warren@fourward.com
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Re: Doubling the throughput
warren@fourward.com   9/20/2012 3:48:03 PM
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I would have assumed there would have been a command to tell the system "Do not send more boxes until these have come off the belt" or something like that.  I would hate to think there were nuclear devices spread all over the floor because the output could not keep up with the production line!

 

Nancy Golden
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Re: Doubling the throughput
Nancy Golden   9/20/2012 3:55:57 PM
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My thoughts exactly! Or chocolate cakes - would hate to waste all of that chocolate! A PLC could have handled the issue nicely...

amoninous
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LINGO JARGON
amoninous   9/19/2012 12:09:58 PM
I guess IF you were standing next to this fellow during his investigation, you'd probably have a far better appreciation for the engineering/programming dilemma.  But, reading about it from the vantage point of several decades later, it seems that one would do just as well reading Homer or Cicero in their native text.

In general, I think most of these blogs are so "lingo-specific" that they lose much of their impact to readers NOT familiar with industry-specific terminology.

Tool_maker
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Re: LINGO JARGON
Tool_maker   9/24/2012 1:04:24 PM
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  I agree with your comments about jargon, but sometimes the only language one knows to relate the issue is jargon. For example: If someone wants to describe the phenomonae of moving things in a linear attitude with circular motion he can describe an inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder, or he can say a screw. The first in technically correct while the second is jargon that has worked its way into our mainstream language.

  Those that know the jargon get the solution and those, me for example, who do not know are clueless about both problem and solution, but enjoy reading about the engineer's effort to correct. 

William K.
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"Move picker, move tote"
William K.   9/20/2012 6:19:50 PM
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The problem experienced at the discharge ends indicates that the next step was not done, which would be to speed the rest of the process. Sort of like adding a huge boost to the horsepower of a car but not doing anything about keeping the car under control or stopping it. 

Perhaps I did not understand completely all about how the changes were able to bring about such an improvement in process speed.

Tool_maker
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Re: "Move picker, move tote"
Tool_maker   9/25/2012 6:43:02 AM
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  There are occasions when the fastest speed is not the optimum speed. In the process described, the slowest step in the sequence should have been the first addressed. Your example of horse power was a good one. I had a friend who dropped a big engine in an old Ford. All the increased power did for hole shots was overcome a rear end not designed for that much torque and it would spin the splines off of the axel. Once the vehicle was rolling it was a different story, but there was never a time the vehicle was able to fully utilize the increased horsepower. Perhaps this conveyer system will never be able to fully use the increased speed.

pjammer
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Re: "Move picker, move tote"
pjammer   10/5/2012 7:53:17 PM
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Problem here is being the guy stuck in the middle. The ultimate reason for the log jam is two-fold. They couldn't speed up the conveyor that took away the totes plus the Navy or original conveyor manufacturer never planned on the delivery being that fast.

Result was that the host computer that handled all of the parts ordering had to be throttled down so that they didn't request any more than the conveyor could handle!!

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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RUING the "GOOD OLE DAYS"
OLD_CURMUDGEON   9/27/2012 8:22:05 AM
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Nancy & Tool_maker,

I share your sentiments exactly.

Nancy:  I have access to two PCs, both loaded w/ WINDOWS XP (SP3).  For the most part they work very reliably, and I've become very familiar w/ some of the "behind the scenes" options, etc.  A couple of years ago, I bought an H-P laptop w/ WINDOWS 7 for exclusive use of storing & editing my digital images.  From day one, I became VERY frustrated.  For one thing, OUTLOOK EXPRESS was gone!.... replaced by WINDOWS LIVE MAIL.  It didn't look or act like OUTLOOK EXPRESS.  Creating storage folders, etc. was vastly different.  The whole operation of the software was cumbersome.  That aside, while working on an application (PHOTOSHOP, etal), the screen went totally dark.  No one could determine the cause, and H-P wasn't interested either.  In total disgust, I contacted a fellow who provides support & hardware.  I TRADED the H-P for an ACER FERRARI laptop w/ WINDOWS XP PRO.  The screen is excellent; the PC works fine, and I can buzz through my tasks with ease & CONFIDENCE!

It IS unconscionable to me that AFTER almost THIRTY years of WINDOWS, MICROSOFT still distributes a decidely FAULTY product, and NO ONE has provided an acceptable alternate to date!  The closest anyone ever came was when I-B-M offered OS2!

TOOL_MKAER:  I enjoyed reading your technical description of a screw.  While you ARE absolutely correct in that description, I think it is taking my comment to extreme.  I don't believe that the noun "screw" is jargon anymore.  The physical item has been with us for too long.  It deserves its place with all the other legitimate nouns in the dictionary.  However, that does not change my opinion of so many of these posts wherein the author gets so tangential in their description that it takes a dictionary to determine what's being described.

 

  

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