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AMT Tech Trends: Slow Down And Savor

Steve is so abusive to his car that he has his oil mass spectrometry analyzed every 30,000 miles. Ben wants to go to the range and shoot. Stephen announces a new robotic arm that he will buy for the testbed and is waiting for a quote...
Dec 23, 2022

Episode 84: Steve is so abusive to his car that he has his oil mass spectrometry analyzed every 30,000 miles. Ben wants to go to the range and shoot. Stephen announces a new robotic arm that he will buy for the testbed and is waiting for a quote. Benjamin and Steve discuss how far the industry has come in 2022 and what they are looking for in 2023.

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Transcript

Benjamin Moses:          Hello everyone. Welcome to the AMT Tech Trends on Podcasts where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research and news. Today's episode is sponsored by IMTS+. I am the director of Christmas Benjamin Moses, and I'm here with...

Stephen LaMarca:         Technology analyst Steven LaMarca.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:         Sir.

Benjamin Moses:          Welcome to the end of the year.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is the end.

Benjamin Moses:          How do you feel about today?

Stephen LaMarca:         I feel great about today. This year's been awesome.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's been really great. I think we've got a lot of good things to reflect on today.

Benjamin Moses:          We do. We're got to talk on that a little bit later.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          You want to talk about your oil analysis?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes. So speaking of great things this year, our last episode-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... You hinted that I wanted to touch on or talk about my recent oil analysis.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh yeah. We talked about Spencer.

Stephen LaMarca:         Didn't go to, because we started ranting about other stuff, and we got a little spicy and a little controversial, but especially towards the end. But anyway, I did an oil analysis recently as I liked to every 30,000 miles.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm still waiting on the analysis.

Benjamin Moses:          The results.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, the results.

Benjamin Moses:          Right. Yeah. How does it look? Any chips, is it-

Stephen LaMarca:         So, the reason why I really want, and I did it a little early and ahead of schedule was because this most recent 30,000 miles, I put my first track day on the car.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh yeah. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I redlined the engine probably three times. Like, actually bounced off of the rev limiter.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I tried to redline as often as possible. At least one, the oil and coolant is that temperature.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I mean, you paid for the whole rev range. You paid for that big tachometer. You have to use the whole thing.

Benjamin Moses:          Use it all.

Stephen LaMarca:         And the other thing that I did... And I sound really abusive to the car, but I swear I take really good care of it. The other thing that I feel really guilty and bad about, I did in this past 30,000 miles to my baby, my car, two money shifts.

Benjamin Moses:          What does that mean?

Stephen LaMarca:         That's when you come to red line-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... You're just ripping the motor.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         And you go to grab another gear-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And typically, let's say, you're in third gear, you're approaching red line in third gear. You go to shift in the fourth, but you accidentally shift in the second. So, here's what happened.

Benjamin Moses:          That's fun.

Stephen LaMarca:         By some miracle that happened twice.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         Divine intervention is on my side.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         I did not blow the engine-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Because as I was letting the clutch pedal out in the wrong gear, I could feel the car lurch forward instead...

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, I felt the G-forces send me forward instead of rearward.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So it's like, something's wrong, and immediately pushed it back in.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow, yeah. That's good thing.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I also don't dumping the clutch every time I shift.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Not out of smoothness, just out of... Yeah. I guess, it's like second nature that I don't dump. At least I don't dump the clutch if my hand did something that didn't quite feel right. And you know when you go into the wrong gate.

Benjamin Moses:          Right, right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But you definitely know once you start letting your left foot out a little slowly. So, both times I watched the needle go a little past the red line. Well, into the red line range, not bouncing off the red limiter, but... Yeah. So they were would be money shifts.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep, yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And anyway, so I wont-

Benjamin Moses:          Back to the oil analysis.

Stephen LaMarca:         Back to the oil analysis. The reason why I expedited this oil analysis was because all of this abuse that took place, but because I watched a video on a Thursday night-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... One week just on... Oh great. There's a video of... A 28-minute video on everything where the engine that's in my car, where FA20's are bulletproof and built like tanks.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And areas of concern-

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... What you should look out for.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And this guy was breaking down the engine. And an engine valve train is built like a tank.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're beautiful, they're flawless. The valve train-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Doesn't show any signs of wear in these cars no matter what you do to them. The only thing that ever happens with the valve train is if you did too many modifications and did something dumb, and did not use any mechanical sympathy. Sometimes the cams like to skip a gear.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Usually the sensor picks up on that-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Retards some timing.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         I can say that... And then prevents bad stuff from happening.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Sometimes the engine electronics catches that, puts the car into limp mode and it's like, "Go to a dealership right now."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which sounds really bad, and it is really bad. Skipping a gears bad, but it prevents the really, really bad stuff from happening.

Benjamin Moses:          Right. You don't crash it, crash a valve or something like that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Where these engines are terrible is keeping the crank shaft and... Not control arm. The connecting rod bearings well lubricated.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, you'll see a lot of wear on the races and the bearings themselves.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's pretty common on a abused engine or rather a well loved engine to see some spun bearings.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         And even contact with between the piston and the head.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         You never see any valve interference-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Because the valve train is bulletproof.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But they are, and it is an interference engine.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, he likes to do that. And anyway, saw that video at 1:00 AM on a Thursday night. And Melissa's still up, I'm still up, and I'm like, "Melissa, I'm going downstairs. I'm going to the garage right now to check my oil." It's like, "Why, why? Steven, it's 1:00 AM."

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's like, "I saw video, you just have to let me be me. I need to go check for the forbidden glitter."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which is when you spin a bearing or just overall like disintegrate a bearing from it not being well lubricated, from it being starved of oil.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         These bearings which are made out of brass and bronze. I think bronze phosphor.

Benjamin Moses:          Probably.

Stephen LaMarca:         Something like that, they look like brass. When they spin or when they wear due to excessive heat because they're not being lubricated enough. They start to chip flake and-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Well, they turn-

Benjamin Moses:          They [inaudible 00:07:21]. Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Grind into dust powder. And this brass looking powder shows up in your oil, and it is lovingly referred to or infamously referred to as the forbidden glitter.

Benjamin Moses:          You don't want to see that in your oil.

Stephen LaMarca:         You do not want to see that in your oil. Go downstairs. I check my oil. No, having told you just now all of the things that have been on this oil in the...

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, on the engine in the past 30,000 miles. Obviously, I don't change my oil every 30,000 miles, every 7,500. But this oil which did have the track day in the last 7,500 miles.

Benjamin Moses:          Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:         I checked it twice.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Each time I wiped the dipstick clean-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... With a viva or vita, viva paper towel, which is almost like cotton but it's made out of paper.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Really soft, really white paper towels to allow you to see everything. Checked it in the horrible garage light, and look at it, checked the first time. One speck-

Benjamin Moses:          One speck.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Of what looks like brass.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I'm freaking out.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Throw it back in there, spin it around, let it sit for a little bit. Pull it back out, wipe it off-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Look at the paper towel again, one or two specks.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm like, "Oh my god, this is terrible." I really wanted this car to last until 2024.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         I feel much better now.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Like that night, I was terrified. I was like, this engine's about to blow.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         This engine is on death row, it's days are numbered.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And anyway, I am eagerly awaiting for my oil analysis. I was really hoping I would get it back by now because they've had the analysis for probably 10 days now.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay. So, it should be soon.

Stephen LaMarca:         I did pay for something extra. So, I think they're testing... Typically, they just do mass spectrometry-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Of your oil, to see what's in it. The good stuff in the oil that's in new oil, how much is left-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And what elements that are not supposed to be in that oil that the engine is made up of. How many of those elements are in the oil now to see what's wearing away?

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think I paid an extra $10 to see how many additives are left in the oil.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         I don't add any additives to my oil-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. The oil [inaudible 00:09:42].

Stephen LaMarca:         ... But I know the synthetic oil has additives in it already.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So this extra $10 tells me, if you have... I think I had the oil change at 5,800 miles.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Paying that extra $10 in the oil analysis goes above the regular mass spectrometry by them telling me based on the additives remaining, how many miles are left on that oil?

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         How long could I have taken that oil?

Benjamin Moses:          Sure, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Or how long past that oil's life did I go?

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's what I'm really looking for.

Benjamin Moses:          That's handy. So, hopefully we'll hear back from you soon. I'm definitely interested-

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, hear back next year, and I'll tell you guys how it went. So that's one thing I'm looking for in 2023.

Benjamin Moses:          That's one thing. It's funny because I do change the oil myself, and the car that I have now, the drain plug-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          ... They use a crush seal.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. My [inaudible 00:10:33] was a crush washer as well.

Benjamin Moses:          And this is the first time I've used a crush washer and I didn't realize how much torque is required for a crush washer. I've used it a long, long, long time ago in the past-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          ... And I took to the dealership for some other issues and stuff that they're working on and they said, "Oh your oil's leaking." I was like, "That's strange." And found out that I didn't apply enough torque on the train plug to crush that seal.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So, that's a headache.

Stephen LaMarca:         So there's-

Benjamin Moses:          That's only oil issue I've been running into.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because my sports car is a relatively affordable and accessible car-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... There's a lot of [inaudible 00:30:36] that buy and drive them.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And when they change their own oil, because to save money they're too cheap and try to skimp out on buying a crush washer.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh no. They try and reused it.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Which is awful.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, they buy it because at least some of them are smart, they don't try to reuse them. In some case, I'm sure some people are like, "Eh, you can at least do two oil changes per crush wash."

Benjamin Moses:          No.

Stephen LaMarca:         There's probably some idiots that say stuff like that. But one of the common mods for these cars is, forget the drain plug-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Forget the crush washer, install what is called a fumoto valve.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which is a 90 degree valve, and it just has a little a petcock-

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... On it, that allows you to drain the oil just by flipping a switch.

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         And then when it's drained, you close it back off.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is cool, but the problem is the fumoto valve is on the bottom of the oil pan.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So it extends down below the oil pan by about an inch.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a fair amount on that car.

Stephen LaMarca:         Maybe three quarters of an inch.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Maybe not full inch, but it extends down.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         A lot of the ding guy that buy these cars love to lower them-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Because the perfect center of gravity, which is the third lowest center of gravity of all production cars only beaten out by the Cayman and the Tesla Model S.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because it's not well enough, these dummies lower the car-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Because apparently they don't have to engage in speed bumps ever.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And which by the way, the stock ride height, which I'm at, actually I'm five millimeters higher than stock because I use bigger tires.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I still scrape sometimes going over speed bumps.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         But then again, Virginia's DOT with speed bumps, they're terrorists.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         But anyway, these people lower the cars and it rips off. They go over speed bump-

Benjamin Moses:          Oh man.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And it rips off the fumoto valve. Next thing you know they get-

Benjamin Moses:          Oil of the...

Stephen LaMarca:         ... The oil light because they've dumped all of their oil.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And yeah-

Benjamin Moses:          That's fun times. So also-

Stephen LaMarca:         Sorry about that.

Benjamin Moses:          ... We're doing the little team building later today-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          ... At the recording of this episode. Definitely going to the gun range for team buildings, excited for that.

Stephen LaMarca:         And the best part about it, it's one thing to go to the gun range-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Especially when it's not as exciting if you are a gun owner as opposed to somebody who doesn't have a gun-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... But also is gun friendly. They hear that and was like, "Oh my god, that sounds amazing. Let's do this." But if you are going into the gun range, isn't that expensive? It isn't that fancy. But what is fancy for us? Tim said, he was going to... Ammo was on him. We are going to make him regret that. I say that with love. We're not really going to do that Tim.

Benjamin Moses:          No, no. Good. At least ammo is available, which is-

Stephen LaMarca:         We're going to put it on AMT. We're going to make AMT regret that.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, can you tell us about today's sponsor?

Stephen LaMarca:         Today's sponsor is IMTS+, my new favorite AMT product. IMTS+ the people behind technology, the stories driving the future of manufacturing, the thought leaders and people like us creating the products, the opportunities and solving the challenges of our industry. Explore a new digital destination designed for the manufacturing technology community where you can watch, read, learn, join, and connect. Go to imts.com.

Benjamin Moses:          Speaking of news, we got some news about the testbed.

Stephen LaMarca:         We do have some news about the testbed.

Benjamin Moses:          So we did ship off our robotic arm to-

Stephen LaMarca:         That's been done.

Benjamin Moses:          ... The tech center in Mexico, Monterey, to be specific. And they're using it-

Stephen LaMarca:         Well our first Pocket NC before that.

Benjamin Moses:          Which is the V1.

Stephen LaMarca:         They love it. They're also really talented.

Benjamin Moses:          They've got their own full testbed that we spun up for them. So we have some stuff we need to backfill. So we got the V2 Pocket NC.

Stephen LaMarca:         We replaced the Pocket NC.

Benjamin Moses:          Right?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yep.

Benjamin Moses:          What do we have coming up next?

Stephen LaMarca:         We got to replace the robot arm next.

Benjamin Moses:          We do. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         We do. And typically Ben does not like me delivering updates about the testbed until we have said, technology in hand. But I told him that we have to document this for the reason of comparison.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         When we bought the xArm 7, it took I think 13 months from the moment we sent the Chinese company all of the monies-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... To the point where we received said robot.

Benjamin Moses:          It was a long time.

Stephen LaMarca:         It was 13 months.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         A year plus one month.

Benjamin Moses:          So a little background on that though, that was after they-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes, [inaudible 00:15:44], you're right.

Benjamin Moses:          It was just after a kickstarter campaign that we did buy into. So it was in the early infancy of their product.

Stephen LaMarca:         They debuted the product, which UFACTORY is a very good company.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         If you want an educational robot arm, they make the best ones on the market for a two... No, I'm talking the $2000 hobbyist grade.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         Like elementary school grade robot arm.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

                                    

Stephen LaMarca:         Like pick and place legos.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's what they do the best of those.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         At CES 2019. They were there, they debuted their new cobot.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         They were making a cobot. They were like, "Hey, we make these educational robots, we want to get into the industrial robot circle.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         They debut that a couple months later, six months to almost a year later, the kickstarter goes off and they crushed it.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         They got so much, because many people at the time and still do wanted an affordable cobot. Because cobot prices to be frank at the time were... And even industrial arm were outrageous. The cheapest entry level robot you could get was $70,000.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And a year later, in 2020 it had finally gotten down to the entry level for the smallest, the very smallest, nearly useless cobot arm on the market in the industrial market was $20,000.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         So that left this wide open gap from 2000 to $20,000, an $18,000 range-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Of where any company could slip in and be like, here's an accessible cobot. And nobody did it until UFACTORY.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So bless them. We bought one of their first robots. It was amazing. Mexico has it now.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So now I need a new one. Last year or earlier this year... Excuse me, Doug lets me look at some contestants for some robot competition, robot innovation competition that Andra of SVR told him about Silicon Valley Robotics. And Doug was one of the judges for this competition, and Doug was like, "You're going to Steve, you're going to get a kick out of this. Take a look at some of these robot technologies that were recently. One of the companies there was fruitcore robotics, and their horse line of the German company." So I don't know what horse means, I don't even know if I'm saying it right.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're horse line of robot arms, industrial grade robot arms.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I'm like, this is cool but what are they doing differently?

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And what they're doing different is they're German, number one.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, they're a German company and they come in at... An industrial grade robot comes in at just over $10,000.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that's right.

Stephen LaMarca:         They are trying to fill that space along with UFACTORY. So we have officially decided that our next robot is going to be horse. I reached out to them for a quote yesterday. They speak, they're super German. So, only one page on their website gives you the option to translate to English.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, hopefully I hear back from them soon, and I don't have to rely on either Microsoft or Google at their will to help me out buying this thing. But we want to document today saying that we've officially decided that we want this and we are going to buy it as soon... We're going to do the financial transaction as soon as possible so we can compare how long it takes to get the horse.

Benjamin Moses:          That's right, as we're rebuilding our testbed. That's the experiment we've been thinking about is how do we build the factory based on pro-consumer grade equipment.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          And that $10,000 price range is our sweet spot. We actually run the entire testbed for the year.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          That's our yearly budget for a new equipment and daily operations.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's not because we're broke, we could get a better-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Much higher testbed budget.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But one of the things that we're trying to accomplish is getting a testbed for cheap.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because a lot of people that we talk to that we were like, "You should definitely develop a testbed, have a development environment, not just a digital twin but a physical existing testbed. So you can experiment with these technologies without risking downtime on your existing equipment."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And they're like, "That's too expensive. You can't just buy a robot arm just to play with."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, yes you can. And there are companies that make the perfect robot arm for them.

Benjamin Moses:          That's right. And this came by a couple weeks ago to look at-

Stephen LaMarca:         They did.

Benjamin Moses:          ... Our factory and I think they're headed down the same path on there... They need a physical representation for their digital manufacturing stuff.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yep.

Benjamin Moses:          So I think they're headed down same path.

Stephen LaMarca:         They can't have a digital twin without a physical original.

Benjamin Moses:          That's right. So I'm very interested to see what the whole experience is through fruitcore. And to your point, how long we'll actually get to actual product on our door.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So, I'm very interested in-

Stephen LaMarca:         I'll be eager just to get a response from them.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep, yep. So hopefully in the next episodes we'll see next year.

Stephen LaMarca:         I hope so. The goal is by the second week of January.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, that was the goal. That's the deadline you gave me to buy it for the new one. So let's cross our fingers.

Benjamin Moses:          Definitely. Steve, I figured this is the last episode for 2022. I figured, let's talk about all the cool things that we've seen this past year, and what are we looking for in 23? And also, talk about some of our events we're attending in 23.

Stephen LaMarca:         A lot of great events. So I'll start with the events.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         We talked about SHOT Show.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I talked about SHOT show. I'm going to try to get you in on 2024 and we're going to get the range day, I promise.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I'm excited about... I've already talked about that. I'm excited about SHOT Show 2023, and next year I am going to go to Formnext next.

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         I know I wanted to do it this year but it was too close to being on the tail of IMTS, and-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... I was so worked up. I was still coming down off the high of IMTS. I'm like, I was not ready to go out to Germany just yet. And plus we had some constraints on the travel budget, and was-

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Perfect opportunity. I was on the fence about going this year.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Now, I don't feel guilty about saying, I'm not going this year.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         So Formnext 2023, I will be there.

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm really excited about that. We're going to have to spend a lot of time on the things that we liked about 2022.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         But one thing that I didn't like about 2022 that I want to see change for 2023, and I'm not sure how we're going to accomplish this. I want 2023 slow down. 2022, this was an awesome year.

Benjamin Moses:          It flew by.

Stephen LaMarca:         It even went by in the blink of an eye.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I don't know if that's just because I'm getting older and time is contracting.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Like physical reference frames or relativistic reference frames, but I need 2023 to slow down. I want it to be just as much growth and development-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And so many awesome things. Not just in technology but going to IMTS and seeing the diversity of the attendees there. The diversity of our exhibitors-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Seeing additive coming, we're not going to see that again in 2023 because it's an odd year.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And we have to wait till 2024 to see if it's going to still be as diverse and see how much more is going on. And I'm sure it will. Yeah, this was just such a good year, and I just wanted to slow down next time. It's like a fine champagne. You don't want to slug it back, you want to savor it.

Benjamin Moses:          You want to savor the year. I appreciate that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yep.

Benjamin Moses:          And I am interested in a lot of the new events. We're trying to get into end use markets, and that's one of our goals we've set for yourself this year is getting to where manufacturers are producing end product and back out to what the manufacturing sector look like. So SHOT show is a very good example of-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          ... In the firearm industry, you want to see what the manufacturing technologies that are being displayed in their manufacturing area. Hopefully, we can get into other end use markets. I'm really interested in seeing where ag is headed, agriculture is headed. Because it's surprising at the end use on their case, they've implemented a lot of automation in the tractor itself.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So, I'm backing out into heavy industry and large scale manufacturing. I really would like to explore some shipyards next year also, to see in field manufacturing has come around a little bit. At IMTS, we saw a little bit of that, some portable manufacturing equipment. But I'm definitely interested to see, when you talk about manufacturing facilities, now you're out like-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          ... It's so bigger. It's how the environment manufacturing.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right, right.

Benjamin Moses:          So, I'm definitely excited to see that.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think it's a good point, and I didn't think of that to be entirely honest with you. I didn't think about AgTech at all.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I have recognized that agricultural technology is probably... Because at the beginning of this year, there were a few conversations and meetings that I was in on where people were throwing around exoskeletons.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Like exoskeletons in terms of wearables, technological wearables. And we haven't seen a lot of that.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         I know mid-year this year, I think I mentioned how Hilti was doing a lot with exoskeletons, and now there's another company. I got off the phone I think last week with an investor who... Not an investor but an investment banker-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Who's trying to learn more about the manufacturing industry. He threw some companies at me, and wanted to gauge my reaction to how cool they were. And neither of them did have I heard about. But the one that really got my attention was a exoskeleton company-

Benjamin Moses:          Cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... That has a viable product. And right now they're just looking for customers.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So maybe there's a marketing issue there. But as far as I was concerned in terms of exoskeletons, there were only two.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         There was Hilti-

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... That is IRL. And then there was the Caterpillar P-5000 Power Loader from Alien in 1984, which does not exist IRL.

Benjamin Moses:          That's right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, Hilti was cornering the market, but now they're going to have some healthy competition because I feel like seeing two companies now doing exoskeletons means that, if it's only one company doing something, it means that technology might not be that great.

Benjamin Moses:          So I think they have a use case issue for exoskeletons. So, the ability to support a human to do odd tasks, that's definitely been around for a bit. And we see NASA experiment with power gloves type stuff. So I think that obviously makes a lot of sense. But also the counterpoint to exoskeletons is more ergonomic design of the systems around the human.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So instead of having the human put something heavy in an awkward position, move the entire work piece so it's easier for them to do.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          Also, we saw at IMTS where it was supportive robotic arms. So, a [inaudible 00:27:13] robot that'll hold the use case that we saw on the booth was they're using a bicycle and they're manipulating the orientation of the bicycle.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          So, we're always in the correct position for the human to stand and be at shoulder height. So I think the contrary is to the exoskeleton need is starting to see more emergence. I do think where exoskeletons are super useful is in a more flexible environment. So if you have more of an open factory or if you have high changeover, we're probably said-

Stephen LaMarca:         What about a less flexible? I think you mean a less flexible environment?

Benjamin Moses:          Well, flexibility as in more open, more less structure around the human.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right. So you can't have a cobot.

Benjamin Moses:          Right, exactly. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. So you need exo.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. That's where I think the exoskeleton probably is more beneficial, where there's high volume-

Stephen LaMarca:         Got you.

Benjamin Moses:          ... High bar number or they're doing stuff in the stockroom a lot in this more flexible environment.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          And then also to that counterpoint, you have IMRs which are being exhibited a little bit more too.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right, right. An AGV or an AMR with an arm on top of it.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Imagine going to a service center like your Porsche service center, and they have an IMR there.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Forget getting two or three dudes to go under a Cayenne to do an engine out operation-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Pull the engine or transmission. Just get the arm under there, have the person go in there with the airgun to loosen the bolts and the arm brings it down for you.

Benjamin Moses:          That'd be cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         Balances it, even better a spot doing it. I'm kidding-

Benjamin Moses:          One of the-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... But not.

Benjamin Moses:          ... Things about all of manufacturing, and I think fruitcore is a good example of this is, I would like to see more buy now buttons. We talked about being able to buy spot.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          And you could go to the website and hit a button to buy. We're trying to buy the robotic arm when it says, email for a quote or request a quote. I was like, "Eh, I know what I want. Just let me buy it."

Stephen LaMarca:         That's too much of an ask. I'm sorry, in this industry when it comes to e-commerce-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Our beloved industry, the manufacturing industry is super Luddite when it comes to that. There's no buying... You have to talk to a human-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Who works for a distributor, IE a middleman company that is not the builder of that technology.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And you have to go to lunch and sit down like, "We don't want to just sell you a product, we want to sell you a solution."

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         I was like, "There's no solution to a testbed.

Benjamin Moses:          I know what I want, just let me...

Stephen LaMarca:         ... The testbed is trying to find a problem."

Benjamin Moses:          So that's one thing hopefully I see more of is just-

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          To be fair, there are supply chain issues with a lot of stuff that it's in manufacturing equipment.

Stephen LaMarca:         I would the money and run and just be happy that at least fruitcore puts the prices on their website.

Benjamin Moses:          Fair. That's fair.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's [inaudible 00:30:00] of enough.

Benjamin Moses:          That is a big step. Just tell me the initial price and we can talk from there. The next thing that you're going to be working on this year-

Stephen LaMarca:         These are machine tools, not luxury goods. It shouldn't be, "If you have to ask, you don't have enough." Why are we giving off that vibe?

Benjamin Moses:          The next thing that you're going to be working on this year is faster CAD and CAM.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, I'm going to try-

Benjamin Moses:          We've seen-

Stephen LaMarca:         ... I'm really going to try.

Benjamin Moses:          We've seen a lot of AI tools that do text to picture, text to 2D drawings. We've seen Nvidia release text to 3D CAD. So, that's fairly interesting step where accelerating... We have some testing to. Did you see how robust ad is?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          But the ability to get from a idea to a 3D representation of that, that's accelerating very, very quickly. And at one of our tours at the event that we hosted up in Chicago, we saw how quick it is to do CAD and CAM on the machine itself also. And being able to get to a basically chips faster, quicker time to market. That's accelerating very quickly too. So we're seeing a lot of intersections of idea to chips being cut very, very quickly. I'm definitely interested to see that. And then hopefully-

Stephen LaMarca:         I think I've got some good context to reach out to for help with that.

Benjamin Moses:          Good, good. And I'm very interested to see how. I'll probably go.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think the biggest threat is, I'm going to approach somebody and be like, "Hey, I have a CAD design.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... I want to be able to send it to my machine and it just cut the part." That's not a thing that happens yet in this industry.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it is absurd that we're not there yet.

Benjamin Moses:          We'll see.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, it's absurd that we're not there yet. And the threat is that I am worried that the person is going to be like, "Okay, just let me do it for you."

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         "I'm going to get one of my CAM engineers." I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no. I want to do it. I want you to hold my hand. I don't want you to do it for me."

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         "I want to do it," because I just want to prove my point that this is impossible.

Benjamin Moses:          Impossible?

Stephen LaMarca:         Impossible, because I've done this before.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I had a brilliant mind walk me through it, and it's like, why isn't this automated?

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         And why are so many companies lying that it's automated when it's not. These are fighting words, I'm ready to fight too.

Benjamin Moses:          You're ready to fight.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's like, this is really bothering me.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         This needs to be automated, and it needs to be made easy. It's not easy.

Benjamin Moses:          We'll see.

Stephen LaMarca:         We will see. This year, that's the whole goal. We will see.

Benjamin Moses:          One thing we are experimenting a lot more is the ease of use for artificial intelligence. So we've been talking about how... And it could get into some of the CAD/CAM stuff too, I think?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          But right now we're seeing a lot easier user interfaces to get to applying artificial intelligence easier.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Like the texted 3D model, right? So, we've been experimenting with open AI recently, and how easy is it to... You have basically a sheet of paper and you issue commands, you ask it, "Hey, do this thing for me." And for the most part it's been working out pretty well.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. So I actually had a lot of fun yesterday-

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... With an AI text writer, not the text editor.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Text editor, Grammarly can't be beat often.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm not going to say it can't be beat, like every now and then, it's still missing a... Do you prefer an Oxford comma or not?

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's missing that argument.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's missing that existence that only humans can be us.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I had some fun last night with writing something for work that we should probably leave out of the podcast. But you were there.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I had an AI tool summarize something into one paragraph-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And summarize something else into one paragraph. And you liked one and I liked... You liked one paragraph, I liked the other, do you know what I did before I sent it to you?

Benjamin Moses:          You combined them?

Stephen LaMarca:         I put them both back into the AI tool, and it had summarized them again, and we got a middle ground paragraph and it's perfect.

Benjamin Moses:          That's very clever.

Stephen LaMarca:         It makes writing so much better.

Benjamin Moses:          I appreciate that. That's a good move. That's where we're seeing a lot of the overall and shift in the industry is getting to a final product faster, right? So the ability to summarize stuff or the ability to get to a final product across the entire board. And it's a very interesting shift. Steve, what are you interested in seeing for next year? Any new technology? What do you hope will exist next year?

Stephen LaMarca:         I want to say something different-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... But I can't. I want to see the technology continue to get cheaper.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, okay. Yeah, that's fair.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I'm pretty sure it will because we're starting to come down off of super high inflation.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         So naturally, everything's going to get a little bit cheaper.

Benjamin Moses:          A little bit.

Stephen LaMarca:         Hopefully, I'm crossing my fingers, please. Except for maybe real estate, that never gets cheaper.

Benjamin Moses:          No.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm hoping the technology gets a little bit cheaper. It's going to get more advanced-

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... That's for sure.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         What else am I looking forward to seeing?

Benjamin Moses:          I'm interested to see more advanced use cases, right? Being able to talk about... We saw that IMTS a lot of demonstrators.

Stephen LaMarca:         We're going to have a lot of fun. Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          I'd like to see at events and shows, a lot more demonstration of applied technology-

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          ... Not the technology itself. That's cool to see.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          But show me a use case.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. That's a valid point. Tim asked me last a week, he was like, "Hey, are you interested in going to CES next year?" And it's a little late to-

Benjamin Moses:          It's right on the corner.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... He should have booked that stuff by now.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         But it was nice of him to ask and I'm like, "CES was fun when I went." But I think we are, AMT is sending somebody probably from strategic analytics to CES.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And what I want to coach them on is keep an eye out for how much manufacturing technology is actually in CES.

Benjamin Moses:          Definitely.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because when stuff gets cheaper and when it gets more advanced, it gets out to more consumers. So, the more manufacturing technology at CES, the better the industry is doing.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep, yep. Good.

Stephen LaMarca:         At least technologically speaking.

Benjamin Moses:          So we talked about a lot of technology next year. Let's talk about our holiday plans. Steve, are there anything you're looking forward? Because this is the last episode, we're recording right before I go on break. You'll listen to this before AMT goes on break, what are you looking forward to in the holidays besides the usual, video games and beer.

Stephen LaMarca:         Video games, beer, sleep, doing nothing. I am going to offset all of my hedonistic and gluttonistic tendencies.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm going to try to do my best to offset it by... The plan is to throw away a lot of stuff. I want to clean-

Benjamin Moses:          Good.

Stephen LaMarca:         Before spring, I want to be ahead of spring cleaning.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         I want to clean the apartment, I want to tidy everything up. And most of all I want to throw stuff away.

Benjamin Moses:          It feels good too. Let it go.

Stephen LaMarca:         I want to throw so much stuff away.

Benjamin Moses:          That's good plan.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's tough because it's stressful, because you want to make three piles.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Keep, throw away, and then have not decided. In that middle pile, the have not decided-

Benjamin Moses:          Right. It does. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Gets way too big, way too quickly. And I'm just going to try to throw it away.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. Just make it to two piles.

Stephen LaMarca:         Throw away. You can curb some of the guilt, you can turn that middle pile into two piles.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Throw it away or donate it.

Benjamin Moses:          Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:         And donating it curbs a little bit of the guilt.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because a lot of times that middle pile grows so much-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Because of guilt.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay. I see what you mean.

Stephen LaMarca:         But if you take the stuff that makes you feel guilty about throwing it away and-

Benjamin Moses:          Just donate it.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... Put it and donate instead. You're good. But I'm looking forward to it. I'm just looking for days off to sit around and do nothing, and then feel guilty about sitting around and doing nothing and turning that into, "Okay, let's finally get a letter of pre-approval to maybe turn my rent payment into a mortgage payment-

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And let's throw stuff away."

Benjamin Moses:          Good. That's a good plan. I like that.

Stephen LaMarca:         And throw away all of the stuff that the future in-laws gave us to store for them. Oh man.

Benjamin Moses:          Is it a big [inaudible 00:38:52].

Stephen LaMarca:         Man, dude, it's not big because originally... Well, it's bigger than I would like.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because you're married, you can tell me, you can... I don't know why I'm preaching to the choir because you can probably tell me that the second extra people outside your family that are now family find out that you have space to store their garbage. They're like, "Oh, if you could hold on for a couple months to these two boxes-

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... And then you get a truckload of eight boxes."

Benjamin Moses:          The U-Haul truck comes up.

Stephen LaMarca:         And now you don't have any room for your own stuff. I'm going to throw it all away. I'm going to throw it all away.

Benjamin Moses:          Just let it go.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm going to start fights.

Benjamin Moses:          If they have [inaudible 00:39:35] back, they don't need it.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Good plan. I like that. So we start off the New Year clean.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. We're going to have a Merry Christmas, instead of giving gifts, we're going to take them away.

Benjamin Moses:          You're going to re-gift the stuff.

Stephen LaMarca:         Throw them away. Yeah. Re-gift it, dude. Then it is the season.

Benjamin Moses:          "Here's something to hold. Oh, I'm getting it back as a gift. Thanks."

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          That's pretty good. Thanks, Steve. I'm excited to take a little trip down to Florida and-

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, good for you.

Benjamin Moses:          ... Just to spend time off-

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh Florida, you're getting old, man.

Benjamin Moses:          We spend a lot of time in Florida. We're going to do a lot of theme parks this year.

Stephen LaMarca:         Good. I mean, he's going to love that.

Benjamin Moses:          She's going to love it. I'm going to go broke because the prices are based on the day-

Stephen LaMarca:         Just the season.

Benjamin Moses:          Just the season go broke, it's American way. So, I'll spend all my moneys down there, and then hopefully we'll try and rebuild it when I come back.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, save a little bit for the appending economic downturn we keep hearing about.

Benjamin Moses:          Man, that's a problem for the future.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Hi everyone. Happy holidays.

Stephen LaMarca:         Happy holidays. Bye everybody. You can find out more about us by going to amtonline.org/resources. Like, share, subscribe.

Benjamin Moses:          Thanks Steve. Bye.

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Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
Steve’s car’s blood (oil) test returned negative for abuse, so more track days will come in 2023! Ben had a blast at the Tech Departments end of year trip to the gun range...
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Steve is going to a manufacturing industry adjacent tradeshow that he and Ben have been trying to get into for a long time; Ben will for sure go next year (2024), though. Stephen also talks about how it felt to cut the first part off the new testbed CNC...
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