Archive for July 2008

Cookie Monster in Carrollton

July 31, 2008

What shows up in the breakroom this morning? A cookie basket. turns out, a prospective employee who had interviewed with Tim Mueller sent the basket as a token of his appreciation.

Maybe he knew that Innovative sends cookie baskets to many of its new customers as part of a welcome pack. Looks like we might have found a new cookie vendor, too.

Also, it’s completely false that Sesame Street renamed the Cookie Monster to Veggie Monster. Just ain’t true. — ph


What Do Dead Armadillos and Once-Great Companies Have In Common?

July 31, 2008

When someone mentions American Airlines, Ford and Yahoo, what comes to mind? What about Southwest Airlines, Honda, and Netflix?

The first group frustrates me with their repeated questionable decisions and poor PR after the poor decisions. The last group is bleeding edge on whatever they do and it’s FUN to be a customer of theirs. I’d much rather fly Southwest than American even if you have to catch a connecting flight.

Our focus in 2008 at Innovative has been redefined. We want to make our Customer’s experience with Innovative LEGENDARY. We want to do whatever the customer needs to help them succeed at their business. Any initiative that we take on this year must have an impact on how we interact with customers. If it doesn’t,  it is put on the shelf.

I ran across this article written by Bill Taylor which helped to reinforce our decision to change our focus and do what other Industrial Automation companies struggle to do.

My favorite comment is:

What do they say in Texas? “The only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.” To which we might now add: “And once-great companies that are slowly going out of business.”

Bottom line…Focus on what you are good at and everything else is just a distraction. You’ll become a Dead Armadillo — entertaining the distraction while the 18-wheeler is heading at you head on! —  Ken Skillett

Good Stuff on Oil

July 30, 2008

The Washington Post ths week is running a special series concerning the demand, supply and price of oil. Interesting reading here.

Countdown to . . . ?

July 30, 2008

Unless you’re in prison or a kid counting down to Christmas or the last day of school, I don’t get it. But co-worker Ken likes to cross off each day as it ends. Britt says she does it, too. Count down to payday? What’s going on here?

Man Struggles With Simple Lightbox Assembly

July 29, 2008

We shot two new Cool Gadget vids last Friday using our new lightboxes and video studio. Gene walked in with a camera while I struggled to assemble these seemingly harmless yet inherently dangerous items. Have you ever put up a tent? That’s what this reminded me of.

A-Team Jason and Mr. Clueless in the Panel Shop

July 28, 2008

Britt and I have been working on a brochure for our expanded 24/7 technical support effort, which we are relaunching this month.

Among other things in the soon-to-be-available brochure were some cutting room floor items, like this photo of a guy who totally knows what he is doing inside this panel box (that would be A-teamer Jason Scott) being watched by The Clueless One (that would be Pepper Hastings).

We build some of the cleanest UL 508A panel boxes in the nation. And we can retrofit your older boxes to bring them up to standard. Email us at and we’ll have a quote for you in hours.

If YOU can build clean panel boxes or are a sharp technical services person, we always are looking for top-notch people. Find out more by going to today.

Impalement Alert: Light Box Assembly

July 25, 2008

We’re shooting another Cool Gadgets vid this afternoon, and we’re trying to improve the lighting. Gene and I drove down into Dallas to pick up some new equipment, since we plan on doing more vids instead of less.

Besides charging us three times the phone quote, the guy at the camera shop starts putting this thing together and tells us to “stand back.” For a minute, I thought we were in trouble.

Bad news is, we still have two more of these things to put together without skewering ourselves.

Robotic Donkey Climbs 35 Degrees, Carries 300 Pounds

July 25, 2008

The video of this beast almost is scary.  A fully automated donkey that can’t be kicked over, walks in snow, scales hills and packs 300+ pounds of payload.

The donkey’s control system keeps it balanced, steers, navigates, and regulates energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a laser gyroscope, and a stereo vision system.

Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, battery charge and others.

Can you imagine 1,000 of these working in a military convoy?

Ramping to 10 Million AC Drives: Yaskawa Milestones

July 24, 2008

In June, Yaskawa said it shipped its 10 millionth AC drive since 1974 of production. 

Raw math says that’s about 300,000 drives shipped per year, but the uptick is much more dramatic than that. Here’s a look at how the demand for Yaskawa AC drives ramped up over the past three decades.

Click on the image (above) for a closer look at this interesting timeline graphic.

Gear-Head Capital of North America?

July 23, 2008

Ever wonder what the Wittenstein North American HQ looks like in Chicago? Got this in my email box this afternoon.

Wittenstein, formerly alpha gear drives, is in a monumental marketing campaign to bring all of its divisions under the name Wittenstein. Stay tuned for trade pub ads, newsletter pushes and logo call outs.

Wonder if there’s any bass in that lake?