CMI Web – Technology First!

technology-first

Technology solves problems. It creates new modes of operating and thinking. It fuels the future as advancements create efficiencies and new ways of overcoming old obstacles. Thankfully technology isn’t limited to computers and IT. Innovations occur in every industry, providing breakthroughs that advance the industry forward.

The field of medicine has long relied on technology to provide new understandings of the causes of diseases and potential cures. Now there are more discussions on how robots can assist medical caregivers and surgeons with tasks. Telemedicine has been providing better medical care to distant and rural communities for a few years as it connects those areas with medical specialists, regardless of the distance. Now “medical robots” could take this idea a step further and provide a two-way screen and medical monitoring equipment to allow these devices to perform routine rounds at a hospital. And robotic surgery, with its 3-D viewing systems, imaging techniques, specialized instruments and robotic arms, can be performed for a number of complex operations less invasively and with more precision. These technologies hark back to science-fiction but are becoming a science-reality.

Even innovations unrelated to medical breakthroughs can impact disease control and cures. Bill Gates is using his fortune, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to seek the eradication of (or at first a severe reduction in the number of deaths from) polio, tuberculosis and malaria through technological innovations. One of those technologies is the development of a super thermo that does not rely on electricity or a battery to keep life-saving vaccines cold for up to 50 days so they can be transported to and used in remote locations. Another is a toilet that does not require plumbing. Better sanitation and toilets can prevent disease when used in communities where currently human waste fills local streams become breeding grounds for disease. Continue reading CMI Web – Technology First!

asset-tags

Track Your Inventory and Protect Against Theft with Asset Tags

Track Your Inventory and Protect Against Theft with Asset Tags

You know that some of your business property is meant to be shared. Business owners print their company logo and contact information on pens, knowing that those pens will make their way into the hands and pockets of many potential customers. The same might be said for printed notepads, brochures, calendars, and other marketing materials.

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However, much of your business property is necessary to the well-being of your business and was never intended to be carried off. For this reason, you want a different type of labeling system; you need asset tags.

What are asset tags?

Asset tags are printed with sequential serial numbers or barcodes allowing you to track their condition and whereabouts through your own database systems. The tags may be constructed of polyester, metalized or silver polyester, vinyl, and other security materials. By applying an asset tag to computers and other office equipment, furniture, and the other expensive supplies which your business relies upon you will be able to deter theft and keep track of assets, no matter how big your company grows.

Advantages of Tagging Your Assets

Inventory Control

Businesses, both large and small, rely on the careful tracking of inventory to determine the worth of the business assets, to provide complete information to the insurance company, and to determine the depreciation of their inventory. The steps you take to monitor your inventory will help you to achieve multiple goals:

  • Prevent equipment from getting lost during a move
  • Determine when aging inventory should be replaced
  • Monitor the movement of furnishings and equipment from one business location to another
  • Obtain reimbursement from the insurance company in case of theft, disasters, and other damages
  • Purchase new equipment as your company grows without overlapping inventory

Reduce Losses

It seems like it would be difficult to lose valuable equipment, such as computers or copiers, and yet this happens, to the frustration of many business owners. When your business grows and upgrades to a larger office, equipment is often lost during a move. If your business operates in more than one location, equipment and furnishings may travel between the multiple locations.

Sometimes, the equipment is lost due to human error and sometimes dishonest people take advantage of the confusion of the move in order to obtain furnishings for themselves.

With the use of asset tags, you can have a record of where the equipment was at any time. You’ll be able to track who was handling the equipment, and who was responsible to see that the business assets made it to their appropriate destination.

Track Missing Inventory

When your business property has been stolen, it will often be taken to pawn shops in return for quick cash. With the appropriate asset tag, pawn shops can be alerted to the theft. You may be able to recover your property and you may be able to locate the thief who made off with your property.

Your business logo, the serial number, and barcode will identify the property as belonging to you. When your stolen property has been recovered, the asset tag information will allow you to claim the return of your inventory. The importance of these tags and the value of the inventory might prompt you to choose the best materials and security tags available.

Monitor Rented or Leased Equipment

If part of your business involves the rental or lease of any of your equipment, then asset tags are naturally indispensable. Some examples of businesses supplying rentals include moving companies, farm implement stores, gardening centers, office supply businesses, contracting supply sources, and home improvement stores. Your business may be large or small, but the loss of equipment which you offer for rental or leasing can translate into costs that you don’t want to pay.

Improve Brand Recognition

That’s right; even though you don’t intend for these supplies to leave your premises, your tags can still provide the important advantage of improving brand recognition. With your logo printed on the tags, your business name and logo will be in view for all of your customers, employees, and partner businesses. This is just one more way that you can market your business. When your equipment belongs to your business, it might as well be doing some marketing for you.

Today it is easy to get personalized asset tags. You can choose from labels offering top security or labels which can be removed when desired. You can add several layers of identifying information, or you can keep the tag information concise. When your business owns valuable property, asset tags are a vital tool in keeping that property safe.

Four Solenoid Valve Applications

Four Solenoid Valve Applications

A solenoid valve is a type of electromechanical device used to control fluid flow. The basic components include a sleeve to contain a plunger-type actuator, the actuator cylinder, and an orifice. The actuator plugs the orifice during closed operation, and retracts from the orifice during open operation. An electric current controls the state of the plunger. The current flows through a coil wrapped around the sleeve, creating a magnetic field along the axis of the actuator. In the presence of the current, the actuator is in the active state. Without the current, the actuator returns to the inactive state. The inactive state is the normal state. A normally open valve does not close the port until current flows.

Solenoid Vavles

Engineers specify solenoid valves by the following parameters:

  • Current drain – the amount of current required to activate the actuator coil. A transistor can drive this coil in low current uses. For large current requirements, a relay can drive the solenoid. When possible, designers prefer a transistor for lower cost, longer life, and shorter switching times.
  • Cv factor – the factor that relates valve flow to port pressure in the valve. A Cv factor of 1 yields a flow of 1 gallon per minute for a pressure differential of 1 psi.
  • Flow Capacity – the fluid flow for a given set of pressure and temperature parameters.
  • Manual Stem – specified by designers to act as an actuator in failsafe systems.
  • Maximum Operating Pressure Differential (MOPD) – the maximum pressure in either the open or the closed states that allows the valve to operate without failure within specifications.
  • Minimum Operating Pressure Differential – the minimum pressure required to maintain the normal state of the valve.
  • Safe working Pressure — the maximum pressure that prevents valve damage. The main failure point of a solenoid valve is the seals. If the system operates the valve beyond the safe working pressure, the MTBF (mean time between failures) of the valve drops significantly, and repair requires seal replacement.

 

1. Evaporator Temperature Control

This is the first of several application examples that show the design considerations for solenoid valves in real-world applications. This example shows an evaporative coolant system that could be part of a refrigerator or a home air conditioning unit.

During the first design step, the engineer constructs a flow diagram layout. In this case, the diagram includes an evaporator, a compressor, and a receiver, connected in series. A liquid line solenoid valve regulates the input to the evaporator. As the valve remains open longer, the amount of heat extracted from the system increases.

Engineers must remember that a solenoid valve is not a linear switch. It is only a two-state device. This means that the control device, in this case, a thermostat, must only give either a full on or full-off output current. Designers often use hysteresis to prevent rapid state changes in the valve. Conversely, the designer must minimize the temperature hysteresis to a few degrees to save the refrigeration unit from wide temperature fluctuations.  Continue reading Four Solenoid Valve Applications

How Project Planning Software Can Save A Business Big Bucks

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Imagine having a business tool that can predict the future—sound crazy, doesn’t it? Project estimation software might not be a crystal ball, but it is a super powerful tool for developing and analyzing future projects. The high potential cost-savings offered by this software make it the single best thing a business can use in the project planning system; working without one is a risk no business should take.

What Is Project Estimation Software?

Project estimation software goes beyond the planning stage; it is used from the earliest stages of development up to the very end of any project. The first stage in using the software involves using custom or general templates to develop the overall project design; users enter specific data and utilize software tools to map out the overall plan. Once the plan is set out, the software analyzes the plan by using behavioral models, performance metrics, and by comparing it to similar project plans. Project planning software will then provide percentage based probabilities for all aspects of the project, including costs, time tables and how realistic goals are.

The reports produced by the software are available in charts, graphs, and other forms that display a working model of how the project will likely play out. Estimation software is also able generate alternate options for projects; users can input variables and trade-offs to get an idea of how different approaches or changes will work. Users are able to continue to use these tasks during the actual project, giving them up to the moment estimates and the ability to assess progress on the go. Continue reading How Project Planning Software Can Save A Business Big Bucks

Brand Loyalty

Branding an Ecommerce Website

Most companies understand that branding is the most important part of marketing.  Many large companies organize their marketing departments by Brand Manager.  It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure that when a customer thinks of a general product, that they think of the company’s product, and develop an unbreakable association.

Brand management consists of advertising, a hook (or brand), and a superior product.  Advertising starts by creating demand in the mind of the customer.  The hook is a way for the customer to remember the product.  This can be the distinctive logo of a famous sports shoe or the talking lizard for a famous car insurance company.  Finally, the superior product seals the deal by attaching customer satisfaction to the hook.  This process leads the customer to associate the product with the hook, or brand.

Website Branding

Online marketing has introduced a new kind of branding to marketing: the website brand.  This goes beyond presenting the logo on a website, but additionally creates a link between the website itself and the product.  Bookstores were one of the first industries to utilize website branding.  National booksellers initially created websites as convenience sites for those that preferred to shop and make their purchases online.  Continue reading Branding an Ecommerce Website

social-media-marketing

Three Flawed Assumptions Regarding Social Media Marketing

There are a few fundamental assumptions about social media marketing which can lead to marketing mistakes on the part of businesses. There aren’t the only mistakes a marketing team might make but they are some of the most common. By identifying these assumptions early on you can avoid making costly mistakes when deploying marketing messages with the help of various social media websites.

1. Assuming social media marketing is easy

Social media is a global phenomenon. Facebook currently has more than 1.2 billion users; according to a 2012 survey conducted by MacWorld Facebook users average 15 hours and 33 minutes of account use each month. Part of what makes networks like Facebook so popular is how easy they are to use. Only minimal computer literacy is needed to create an account and start using it. Because using social media sites is so easy, many people assume that using social media for marketing purposes is similarly easy. This leads to the first pitfall of social media marketing. Sometimes it is better to just buy a few trade show displays at hit the trade show circuit.

Social media users desire fresh content on an on-going basis. They rely on the accounts they’ve networked with to provide that content. Those accounts can belong to friends and family and they can also belong to you, a marketer. Consistent account usage is necessary and fresh content needs to be ready to go on a regular basis. Don’t assign the task of managing a social media account to an inexperienced online marketer. Make sure that whoever has the task of managing your business’s social media account has the time, resources, and experience necessary to make the most of your business’s account. Continue reading Three Flawed Assumptions Regarding Social Media Marketing

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The Rise Of The Infographic

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If you have logged onto a computer and jumped onto the internet within the past few months, you might be hard-pressed not to find an infographic on one of your favorite sites. There are many reasons why these pictures that display valuable information have become so popular. Here are some of the reasons why I think the infographic has reached stardom on the web.

The purpose of Infographics

If you’re like me, you may browse the internet and stop at pages that have a plethora of pictures with text coming second in terms of importance. Infographics are basically a way to share information with others online in a way that is attractive, yet informative. Many companies have started using infographics to share information about their business and various organizations have also started to use this tool to get a message out to mass amounts of people. Most infographics follow a basic structure of a combination of large and small pictures to emphasize what is most important followed by a few lines of text that can be ready quickly.

Why they are so popular

So why exactly are infographics so popular? Here are a few reasons that explain why the infographic has exploded in popularity on the internet. Continue reading The Rise Of The Infographic

Is it time? Choosing a New Project Manager

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Is it time to choose a new project manager? Finding the right project manager for your company is a critical decision to make. A good project manager can help teams run like a well oiled machine. But the wrong project manager can really throw a wrench into the whole operation. Don’t rush into hiring a project manager, let’s talk about how to find this new hire in the best way.

Begin by getting input from your employees about the project manager position. A project manager works closely with many employees and it is helpful to get input on what they think is most valuable about a project manager. There may be things your most recent project manager did that weren’t included in their official job description. There may be technical skills or qualifications that are vital to your industry that departments will want a project manager to have. This input will help you find the best project manager for this position. Continue reading Is it time? Choosing a New Project Manager