Home Theater Control – It's The Remote, Stupid!Written by Steve Faber
It’s one piece of equipment that can really make or break your home theater system; remote control. It’s no good to have latest and greatest gear and world’s biggest DVD collection if you can’t figure out how to use anything. True home theater nirvana is a fantastic performing system anyone can use with a single button press.
Many of today’s home theater receivers and surround processors come with a “smart” remote control. Some of these are actually pretty good too. B&K and Denon come to mind. If you know what you are doing, you can get one of these babies programmed to orchestrate your entire system pretty well. If you haven’t time or inclination for such a project yourself, hire a professional installer to bring everything together for you. A great place to start is CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association). They have member firms in every state, and many foreign countries, that are experts in making complex home theaters easy to use.
Remote controls come in several flavors. The one most people are familiar with comes with almost any electronic component you buy these days. For most part it does a pretty good job at making particular component do what you want. Some of these even let you control other components, especially if they are from same manufacturer. This way, for example, you can use your TV remote to also control your VCR or DVD player.
The next rung up remote control ladder is so called “smart remote”. This type of remote is able to control multiple pieces of equipment from different manufacturers. Some can control up to 8 or 10 different components. They are usually set to control each piece of equipment by entering a 3 or 4 digit code. Some of these units will learn control functions from other remote controls. This is helpful if unit you need to control is not in your remote control’s internal database. You usually accomplish learning by entering a “learn” mode on smart remote, pointing “teaching” remote at smart remote and pressing desired button. Viola! Your smart remote has learned command from original remote control.
If you want things even easier than using just one remote to control everything, you need a remote that does macros. These are command sequences initiated by pressing one button. For example, you want to watch a DVD. Typically you would have to turn on your TV, DVD player and surround receiver. Then you would have to switch your TV to component input and your receiver to DVD input. With a macro capable remote, this sequence is programmed into remote. The remote then plays back all commands in appropriate order so you don’t have to.
Lean Manufacturing Through Factory Floor Innovation Written by MDSS-Machine performance
Taking concepts of Toyota System and enhancing them with today’s information systems technology has been key to allow some manufacturers to unlock door that leads to a short-cut in process improvement projects. They are rethinking good ideas of lean manufacturing and are using today’s factory floor information tools to quickly and easily improve factory floor performance, customer responsiveness and their bottom line.
Process improvement through a leaner approach and finite scheduling for factory floor can be demonstrated in a number of ways: Minimize cycle time Minimize inventory Meet customer expectations in quality and delivery Look for ways to improve changeover Empower workers Create a culture for continuous improvement
Creating a “culture” for continuous improvement can be realized through another lean concept… use of visual aids. By making factory floor activity visible through use of Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and measuring flow times of parts on a continuous basis, factory has a benchmark from which to identify areas that need improvement and system to demonstrate those improvements.
For example, of factories that are moving to lean manufacturing, how many have put a machine monitoring equipment in place to measure flow time of a part? If there is a system that allows this basic metric, how many can tell percentage of time that parts are being “value-added” verses waste (or non value-added) time? Time is wasted during a downtime occurrence, waiting for a tool/die/mold or other necessary piece of equipment. Other examples of waste are times spent waiting for a quality check or unnecessary time in changeover/set-up.
With information systems for factory floor data collection, analysis of factory floor processes and flow of parts, sometimes referred to as a “current state map”, can be made visible. If your company is going take action to improve process then why not make process flow visible and available all day, everyday. If improvement is truly continuous, then why make evaluation of flow episodic.