FMEA And The CAD Design Process

FMEA Analysis? What is that?

FMEA stands for Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Not that FMEA analysis has much to do with CNC, but you might come across it in your CAD studies. I will cover FMEA very briefly here. FMEA has really risen to power and prominence over the last few years because of software advancements and computing power increases. To sum up FMEA quickly, you are trying to find where and why some thing would fail or break before it actually does.

FMEA is a risk assessment technique for identifying possible failures in a system, part, assembly, process, etc. The Failure Mode part of FMEA are the ways, or modes, in which something might fail. Failures are any errors or defects that can be potential or actual. The Effects analysis of FMEA refers to studying the consequences of those failures.

CAD Software Price Points

I consider there to be a few different price points in the CAD Software Market. These can be categorized as hobby or professional price points. This is usually a good break as well in the features a program offers. Here is a quick run down.

Hobby CAD Software

Could possibly be free

$0-$500 price point

Could be 2D, 2.5D or 3D capable, usually 2D or 2.5D

Stand alone licenses

Meant for ease of user interface

Probably missing some advanced tools

Professional CAD Software

$500-$10,000 price point

2D, 2.5D and 3D capable

Network version that let multiple designers interact

Different modules or plug-ins like FMEA

Full featured, most every type of tool is available

Examples of Commercial CAD Software Programs

AutoCAD

Turbo CAD

IntelliCAD

Pro/Engineer

CAD Pro

Alibris

Solidworks

QuickCAD

Rhino3D

Before you buy you should really check out all the options. There are many types of software and each one is a bit different. You need to look over the advantages and disadvantages and then make the tough call.

Yoga Arm Balance – The Crane (Bakasana)

I’ve always found it interesting that a specific asana can be loved by some people, while being despised by others. Bakasana, The Crane, is one of those postures which seems to split opinion.

I guess it’s only natural that we should be naturally drawn to postures which we are good at, or which are suited to our own specific strengths and abilities, while shying away from postures which our bodies are not so suited towards (which explains my aversion to upavistha konasana, Wide Legged Seated Forward Bend).

On the face of it that would explain my love of bakasana. To the uninitiated, the posture appears to rely heavily on upper body strength, but in fact, getting into and holding bakasana relies much more on focus and balance than on pure strength.

The name bakasana comes from the Sanskrit word baka meaning crane. It’s easy to see why the asana was given this name, as when seeing a yogi balanced gracefully on the hands with the body tucked in tight, one is reminded of a crane wading through a shallow pool.

To perform bakasana

1. After preliminary work to open the hips, and warm up the wrists, arms and shoulders, squat down from tadasana with the feet flat on the floor. Widen the knees and lean forward, so the torso comes between the inner thighs.

2. Bend the elbows, and place the hands flat on the floor, fingers spread, with the backs of the upper arms close to the armpits against the shins.

3. On an exhale, with the front of the body contracted, lift the heels and lean forward, taking the weight of the body onto the arms. Keeping tone in the abdomen, continue to lean forward and lift the tailbone until the feet lift off from the floor, and balance on the arms.

4. Straighten the arms as much as possible, gazing at a spot on the floor and slightly ahead, but do not lift the head so far as to compress the back of the neck.

5. The posture can be held for 10 – 60 seconds, then exhale and slowly lower the feet back towards the floor into a low squat. Bakasana rounds the spine, so a suitable counter pose would be an asana which takes the spine in the opposite direction, such as ustrasana (Camel).

Effects

Bakasana is of course strengthening to the upper body, particularly the arms and shoulders, and also the abdominal muscles. It massages the internal organs, and develops balance and focus. It’s also a great preliminary for handstand.

Contraindications

Wrist/arm/shoulder injuries, particularly carpel tunnel syndrome.

Pregnancy

Variations

A great variation is the side crow, parsva bakasana, which strangely many find easier than the regular pose. The asana can also be used in a sequence to/from a tripod headstand, or jumping from this posture back to plank or from downward facing dog.

What Types of Sales Compensation Plans Are Generally Available, and How Do I Know Which One is Best?

Before accepting any sales position, it’s highly recommended that you understand the basics of your overall compensation plan. This is especially true if you’re moving from one sales position to another. It goes without saying that you should become very familiar with your compensation plan if you’ve already started a new position.

One of the benefits of understanding your comp plan is that it will help you to identify where the company wants you to focus in the products you offer.   For example, assuming all of the products you offer are of equal benefit to your client base, if your commission plan pays 5% when you sell a particular product or service versus 15% on everything else, this is a clue that your company does not want you to focus on selling the product or service that pays only 5%. This could be for a variety of reasons. Also, there is usually a bonus level that pays more when your sales reach a certain amount. This level tells you what level of production your company highly values from its salespeople.  

Types of Compensation Plans

Most compensation plans fall into one of three categories: commission-only, straight salary, or a combination of the two with or without additional incentives.  

Commission-Only – This type of position pays only when you make a sale, which means that the amount of money you earn is completely dependent upon your ability to close new business with either new or existing clients. There is no pay arrangement for effort or time worked on a sale.   In this type of arrangement, you will receive a percentage of the sale price or gross profit of your product or service once a sale is made. If you sell more than one thing, the percentage may not be the same for every item. America’s top salespeople love Commission-Only compensation arrangements because they usually have the most lucrative terms of payout and potential upside. It is the closest of the three types to being in business for yourself. It is often said that it is like being in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Therefore, only entrepreneurial and highly driven individuals need apply to these types of sales positions.   In order to attract more salespeople to apply, several organizations employ minimum guarantees of income within their Commission-Only plan. Essentially, this gives the company the opportunity to pay on effort and time spent in selling their product even when there are little or no sales that have been closed.   This form of compensation is the most attractive to the salesperson, but the company will be much more discerning about who they hire for this arrangement since their upfront investment is significantly larger than the other two plans.  

Straight Salary – This form of compensation was rarely used for many years, but it has been employed more in the past ten years. In this age of the savvy consumer, some companies go as far as advertising that their salespeople are not paid commissions at all. This has been used in many retail environments such as department stores, furniture stores, and auto dealerships.   It is, by far, the least used method of compensation for salespeople. Many companies dislike this arrangement because it can make for unmotivated salespeople! Top producers do not like this arrangement because it severely limits their ability to earn a substantial income. This leaves the mediocre or subpar salespeople as the only interested applicants, which can make matters worse for increasing sales. It is an arrangement that offers little incentive to exceed the bare minimums.  

Salary Plus Commission – This is probably the most popular and common compensation plan for salespeople. It allows for a bit of security, while also giving salespeople the incentive to continuously improve and make more sales.   It is very easy to get comfortable with having a salary, but be careful that your salary is not so high that it restricts your ability to earn high levels of commission. When comparing one plan with another, the plan with the highest salary is not usually the best for top producers. This is because by default, many of these plans with high salaries overpay mediocre or low producers at the expense of the top producers.  

Perks – Does your firm offer other types of incentives, such as bonuses, a leased car, an expense account, contests, or advances? These must also be taken into consideration when comparing compensation plans.    It may be difficult to determine at the outset if a firm’s compensation plan will be the most advantageous to you, but make a special effort to understand it in order to plan your finances. Don’t leave it to chance. Understand the principle aspects of your compensation so that you can create a viable budget and avoid living beyond your means.

Determining the Best Type of Fastener to Use For Outdoor Furniture Construction

If you want to learn about selecting hardware for your next outdoor furniture project, then you’ll want to read this article. Specifically, I’ll be telling you about what type of hardware will perform best, why the type of metal used for fasteners and the finish used are important considerations, and how properly protecting or limiting exposure of your furniture to wet and winter conditions can increase life span. After you’re done with this article you will understand that the best choice of hardware for your outdoor furniture project is dependent on furniture style, material used for construction, selected location for the furniture and budget.

Selecting proper hardware for your furniture will help ensure a long life span, as well as improve the overall appearance of your furniture. Part of the problem is knowing what hardware to select when there are so many options available at the hardware store. The typical Lowes or Home Depot carries a huge selection of stainless steel, hot dipped galvanized, bright galvanized, plain steel, coated steel and brass bolts, nuts, washers and screws. Each type of fastener is suitable for certain applications, but not all are ideal for outdoor furniture applications. 

In fact, choosing the wrong fasteners can greatly shorten the lifespan of your furniture, contribute to rot of wood furniture, cause unsightly staining, and even make your furniture unsafe to use. 

One thing that needs to be noted right up front is, do not ever use unprotected steel fasteners for outdoor furniture, They will rust very quickly, and the steel will react with the tannic acid in the wood causing streaks and staining. The tannic acid actually speeds up the corrosion of the fasteners. Have you ever seen a wooden fence with black streaks running down the boards from the nails? This fence was installed with the wrong type of fasteners. The same thing will happen to your furniture. Even worse, as the fasteners rust, they will speed up the decay process of the wood around the rusted fasteners, ruining your furniture and making it potentially unsafe to use.

Hot Dipped Galvanized

Screws and bolts treated by hot dipped galvanizing are specifically designed for use outdoors. Electroplated galvanized or bright galvanized fasteners ultimately will not hold up as well as the hot dipped galvanized hardware. Zinc is used as a coating in both methods, and acts as a barrier against the elements and the tannic acids in the wood. 

I strongly recommend only using screws or bolts in the construction of outdoor furniture, however. The galvanized finish on nails, either electroplated or hot dipped, can easily become damaged while hammering them in, exposing the nail head to the elements and allowing them to begin rusting quickly. 

Adequate care must be taken when installing galvanized screws. Drill pilot holes in hardwoods, and be sure to use a bit that is not worn and susceptible to skipping in the screw head. For whatever reason, the galvanized screws seem to not be as well tempered as other steel fasteners, and are more likely to either snap off or have the heads strip out while installing them. Due to the allowance required for the hot dipped coating, galvanized bolts do not have as tight of tolerance on the threads, and are more likely to strip if over tightened.

Hot dipped galvanized fasteners are a fine choice for many outdoor furniture applications, including Adirondack Chairs, but are not the best choice for use in woods, such as teak.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the best choice for use in woods with higher levels of tannic acid, such as teak. Stainless steel is an alloy or blend of steel, nickel and chrome. The ratio of the other metals with the steel determine the weather and corrosion resistance of stainless steel. Because the steel is mixed with other softer metals, the stainless steel is not as strong, so predrilling of screw holes is highly recommended in all applications, and essential in hardwoods such as teak and mahogany. The added corrosion resistance more than outweighs any shortcomings that the metal may have, especially in outdoor furniture applications. 

While stainless steel fasteners are the most rust resistant, they are also the most expensive of the options we are discussing. However, using stainless steel fasteners will add years of life to your furniture. In the respect, they are an investment that will pay out for years to come.

Brass

I have seen brass used in some commercially produced outdoor furniture, but do not recommend it. While brass does not form red rust, and is well suited for many wet applications such as toilets and sinks, it does tarnish and corrode. It is also very susceptible to the tannic acids in wood, which will cause it to fail more quickly. Brass screws in particular do not have sufficient strength for outdoor furniture applications.

Outdoor or deck screws

In the past several years a number of manufacturers have introduced outdoor fastening products specifically marketed for deck building. These will typically be green, gray, tan or brown. These screws are either ceramic or plastic coated to delay the metal reacting with the wood acids. The specific coating methods are proprietary to each manufacturer, and can be a combination of electroplated galvanizing and plastic, or a baked on ceramic.

I have used these fasteners in furniture applications and they perform just fine. Unfortunately, I have not come across bolts with this type of finish. The brand of screw I used was Deck Mate, and they were available in tan and brown, so that the color can be selected to better match the wood being used. These screws are ceramic coated, and the manufacturer provided a coated bit for installation, which was designed to not damage the ceramic coating at the screw head. If you choose this type of fastener, be sure to compare the cost with stainless steel, as the price will vary. If the stainless steel is reasonably comparable in cost, it would be the recommended fastener. 

Always be sure to read the manufacturers specifications on the box to be sure that the screws are suitable for your application. 

Other Considerations

If you are building furniture that will be located on a covered porch or patio where it will be protected from the elements, the concern will be the interaction between the wood and the fasteners, much more so than the weather. Furniture that will be exposed to the elements all year, such as a garden bench, or an Adirondack chair in the corner of your garden, will have to be constructed with much more care and concern to ensure that they hold up more than just one or two winters.

Additional considerations must be made beyond just the choice of what type of fastener to use, though this is very important. For example, fasteners should not be located where water where collect and sit on the fasteners for an extended period of time. The screws that attach the seat slats to an Adirondack chair are a prime example- typically these screws will be countersunk below the surface of the wood. This will allow water to collect in the screw holes, shortening the life span of all but stainless steel fasteners, and prolonging the exposure of the wood to water, which will increase the rate of decay. In applications where the furniture will be exposed to the elements year round the screw heads should be driven flush with the surface of the surrounding wood. 

Construction and design of the furniture are also important considerations. Are the horizontal surfaces of the furniture constructed in such a way that will allow them to shed water, rather than collect it? Think of a picnic table with a slatted or board top. The gaps between the boards allow water a way to run off the top and not pool up. 

Conclusion

Stainless steel is usually the best choice for outdoor furniture applications, though the cost may be prohibitive for some. There are other less expensive fastener options available that will perform acceptably. Do not use unprotected steel fasteners for outdoor furniture applications under any circumstances. Know where and how you intend to use your furniture and design it for the conditions it will be subjected to.

Basic Function of Semiautomatic MIG Welding Machine

MIG WELDING MACHINE

Functioning a satisfactory MIG Welding process requires more than just semi operative skill. The setup, voltage, current, electrode extension, and welding angle, as well as other factors, can dramatically affect the weld produced. The very best welding conditions are those that will allow a welder to produce the largest quantity of successful welds in the shortest period of the time with the highest productivity. Because these are semiautomatic or automatic processes, increase productivity may require only that the welder increase the travel speed and current.

MIG WELDING MACHINE SETUP

In complete MIG welding machine setup, we require GMAW or MIG power source, welding torch, wire feeder unit, shielding gas supply, gas regulator, flow meter & heater, shielding gas hoses and MIG wire.

If the shielding gas supply is a cylinder, it must be chained securely in place before the valve protection cap is removed. Standing to one side of the cylinder, quickly cracked the valve to blow out any dirt in the valve before the flowmeter regulator is attached.

Install the reel of electrode (welding wire) on the holder and secure it. B sure the power is off before attaching the welding cables. The electrode and work leads should be attached to the proper terminals. The electrode lead should be attached to electrode or positive (+). If necessary, it is also attached to the power cable part of the gun lead. The work lead should be attached to work negative (-).

CHECK WIRE FEEDER UNIT

Using the MIG Welding Machine that was properly assembled, we need to turn the machine on and thread the electrode wire through the system. Switch on the power and check the gun switch circuit by depressing the switch. The power source relay, feeder relays, gas solenoid and wire feeder motor should all active.

Cut the end of the electrode wire free. Hold it tightly so that it does not unwind. The wire has a natural curve that is known as its cast. The cast is measured by the diameter of the circle that the wire would make if it were loosely laid on a flat surface.

Note: With the wire feeder running, adjust the feed roller compression so that the wire reel can be stopped easily by a slightly pressure. Too light a roller pressure will cause the wire to feed electrically. Too high a pressure can turn a minor problem into a major disaster.

GAS DENSITY AND FLOW RATES

Density is the chief determinant of how effective a gas is for arc shielding. The lower the density of a gas the higher will be the flow rate required for equal arc protection. Flow rates, however, are not in proportion to the densities. Helium, with about one-tenth the density of argon, requires only twice the flow for equal protection.

ARC VOLTAGE AND AMPERE CHARACTERISTICS

The arc-voltage and amperage characteristics of MIG Welding are different form most other welding processes. The voltage is set on the welder, and the amperage is set by changing the wire feed speed. At any one voltage setting the amperage required to melt the wire must change as it is fed into the weld. It requires more amperage to melt the wire the faster it is fed, and less the slower it is fed.

ELECTRODE EXTENSION

Because of the constant-potential (CP) power supply, the welding current will change as the distance between the contact tube and the work changes. Although this change is slight, it is enough to affect the weld being produced. The longer the electrode extension the greater the resistance to the welding current flowing through the small welding wire.

With a standard MIG Welding CC power supply this would also reduce the arc voltage, but with a CP power supply the voltage remains constant and the amperage increases. If the electrode extension is shortened, the welding current decreases.

WELDING GUN ANGLE

The term welding gun angle refers to the angle between the MIG Welding gun and the work as it relates to the direction of travel. Slight changes in the welding gun angle can be used to control the weld as the groove spacing changes. A narrow gap may require more penetration, but as the gap spacing increases a weld with less penetration may be required. Changing the electrode extension and welding gun angle at the same time can result in a quality weld being made less than ideal conditions.

Important Steps Required to Restore a Receding Hairline Naturally

When it comes to fighting hair loss, nothing seems to be harder to get rid of than a receding hairline. Despite how much effort you’ve tried to fight this problem, there are ways to go about doing so successfully.

Many have found that no matter what product they purchase for this condition, nothing seems to work. This is believable because in order to truly regrow hair along your hairline area, there are specific steps to take.

First of all hair will not grow where there isn’t sufficient blood circulation. The top, sides, and back of the scalp usually get the most blood flow. The frontal region gets the least amount of circulation. So one step towards regrowth of the hairline is to increase blood circulation there.

Scalp massage always works and can be implemented in such a way to get the most benefits. Rather than massage your hairline with just your fingertips alone, try adding a few drops of essential oils. These would include oils like lavender, rosemary, coconut, jojoba and henna oils. They naturally have stimulating effects that will lead to an increase in circulation as well as more nutrients to your roots.

Just keep in mind that you only need a couple drops of each. These oils are very potent and it is also vital that you wash these away after they have been sitting on your scalp for 45 minutes. There isn’t a need to utilize this remedy every day, three times per week of treatment will suffice.

Athens – The Mouseion Hill and the Monument of Philopappus

The highest, 147 m., and farthest east of the group of hills on the south-west side of the city, the Mouseion, was so called by the Ancient Greeks after the legendary priest, seer and minstrel Museaus, a contemporary of Orpheus and Eumolpus, whose tomb, according to Pausanias, could be seen there. An earlier tradition associates this hill with the Muses; as the “Hill of the Muses”.

Situated opposite the Acropolis, it is commonly known nowadays as the Hill of Philopappus from the monument erected on its summit by the Athenians early in the second century AD in honor of Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappus, a philhellene Syrian prince, citizen of Athens, Roman consul and praetor. This monument, which was in fact a mausoleum, was about 12 m. in height by 10 m. in breadth, and was built of Pentelic marble on a poros platform. It was destroyed in the seventeenth century and only two-thirds of the north-east facade remain today.

This facade is ornamented with a frieze sculptured in relief showing the prince, preceded by lictors, in his chariot, on his inauguration as Roman consul in AD 100. Above the frieze are three niches separated by Corinthian pilasters. In the central niche is a statue of Prince Philopappus as an Athenian citizen; that on the left contains a statue of his grandfather Antiochus IV, the last king of Commagene in North Syria, while the right-hand niche held a statue (now missing) of the Macedonian founder of the dynasty, Seleucus I Nikator.

The fusion of the two cultures, Greek and Roman, was symbolized by the inscriptions on the outer pilasters; that on the left summarizing his public career was in Latin; that on the right setting forth his princely titles was in Greek.

Real And Fake Jewelry-How To Differentiate?

Metal, according to the law, should be marked by the maker. For instance, the numbers 925 (92.5% silver that is sterling) or a stamp with the words ‘sterling’ should be marked for jewelry made of sterling. The mark can be either near the clasp or on a small flat looking ring at the end of a sterling chain, so, remember to check it.

On some people, sterling silver jewelry tarnishes very quickly due to body chemistry while on some it doesn’t. In order to control sterling silver from getting tarnished, it is plated with another metal for protection. This plating is done with a metal known as ‘rhodium’ which is bright and looks very similar to the color of silver. However, a chain could be made of sterling and still have plating on the outside for protecting it from getting tarnished.

Other than the mark, testing is another effective method of telling whether something is made out of sterling silver or not. For instance, an acid test done by jewelers is one such method. You will have to spend some money for getting these tests done. If the chain is not expensive, the test may not be worth, but it can be effective for a large heavy sterling chain.

The best way to avoid buying fake jewelry is to approach a well known jewelry shop. An established shop would never sell fake sterling jewelry but still it is recommended to look for a sterling mark and the manufacturer’s symbol on it. If the marks are not there, the metal is not genuine.

There are many people who perform the bleach test in order to know whether the gold on their bracelet or ring is real or not. But this test can be very dangerous because bleach has chlorine that can spoil your real gold jewelry. Points where the metal (gold) has been hammered bent over or made by chain making machines are most likely to be adversely affected due to chlorine.

Even soldered areas can be get spoiled. White gold tends to get spoilt very fast due to chlorine as compared to yellow gold. A darkening is caused on gold due to this chemical and yellow gold becomes almost pale gray color. White gold sometimes goes darker. This kind of reaction due to chlorine happens in karat gold.

Other metals are also included in jewelry metal of 10 karat, 14 karat and 18 karat during the metal making process. Mostly copper and silver is mixed with pure gold. White gold is usually mixed with palladium or nickel. This mixing is done in order to provide strength to the metal so that it can be used for making jewelry. The mark of karat shows the amount of pure gold present in the mix. For instance, 24 karat is knows as pure gold. 10 karat will be having 10 parts of pure gold and 14 parts will be other metals and this mix will add up to 24 parts. Similarly, 18 karat gold will have 18 parts of pure gold and other metals will be 6 parts.

In case yellow gold comes in contact with bleach, it does not get dangerously affected and with some buffing it can be made ok, but this can happen only with real gold, so always remember this point. You can get your gold jewelry tested in order to determine whether it is real or fake. Your jeweler can either perform an acid test or use any new electronic gold tester for this test.

The Underlying Protocols of the Internet

As development work of the wide area networking was going on in the early 1970s leading to the emergence of the internet, the TCP/IP protocol was also developed. TCP stands for Transmission Control Protocol, while IP stands for Internet Protocol. The adoption of the TCP/IP protocols as an internet protocol led to the integration of networks into one big network that has rapidly grown hitting a mark of approximately 2,267 billion users as at the end of Dec 2011 (Internet World Stats). Today we have many application service protocols co-existing with TCP/IP as the underlying protocol.

TCP/IP is a transport protocol. It can be used to support applications directly or other protocols can be layered on TCP/IP to provide additional features. These protocols include:

  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) – Used by web browsers and web servers to exchange information. On the other hand when a secure connection is required, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol or its successor protocol Transport Layer Security (TLS), which use encryption are used to create a secure connection through the web browser but this time instead of HTTP it uses HTTPS.
  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) – Used to send and receive email over the TCP/IP protocol. Due to its limitation in message queuing it is normally used with other protocols like POP3 or IMAP.
  • TELNET (Telecommunication Network) – Used to connect to remote hosts via a telnet client. This results in making your computer a virtual machine while you work on the remote computer as if it were on your desktop.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – Used to transfer files from one host to another using FTP client software over a TCP/IP network.
  • NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol ) – Used to transport news articles between news servers.

TCP (Transport Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) are both internet protocols used for transport of data. IP (Internet Protocol) works as the underlying protocol of the internet virtual network. It sits beneath the UDP and TCP protocols. IP datagram provide the basic transmission mechanisms for all TCP/IP networks. This includes the internet, ATM, local area networks such as Ethernet, and token ring networks. TCP is reliable and is connection oriented. It establishes the connection first before transmitting the data and the data can flow in either direction. UDP is a datagram protocol with limited capabilities. It has no guarantee of the arrival of the message on the other end. The datagram packets get to their destination in any order and will need to be reassembled. At times UDP is preferred over TCP where there is small amounts of data to transmit therefore the amount of received data at the destination does not take up much time to reassemble causing it to be faster. UDP is also a preferred choice in sending packets of data which need no response. It also provides a checksum capability to ensure all the data has arrived.

Application protocols sit above the two building blocks of the internet protocols; namely UDP and TCP. These two protocols have a unique tradeoff. UDP provides a simple message relaying protocol that has omission failures but has minimal costs due to the fact that there need not be accountability for message relay failure. This protocol is often used for broadcasting; like in video streaming. TCP has guaranteed message delivery, but at the expense of additional messages with much higher latency and storage costs.

Get in More Doors With Better Door to Door Opening Lines

Most of us were taught an opening for door to door sales that guarantees failure. I don’t know who came up with this method but it doesn’t work and gets a lot of door closed that could be warm and open.

The classic opening to avoid goes something like this: “Good morning. I’m Carl Davidson from Acme Inc, the world’s largest distributor of fountain pens. I would like to show you some of our products. Can I come in?”

This common opening contains several major errors. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Error #1 It’s all about you and not about the customer. I agree that we need to identify ourselves but it should just be our first name and company name. Then, immediately switch to what’s in it for the customer. In our example, the customer probably does not care that we are the world’s largest distributor of anything and probably the customer was not inside the home hoping a fountain pen salesperson would come by. They have no interest and when they have no interest, the door closes.

Error #2 is to continue focused on ourselves with the next sentence, “I would like to show you some of our products.” It’s all about us and not the customer. I feel the door closing right now with this approach.

Error #3 Asking a question, “Can I come in?”. This is a giant error because there is no way to recover when the customer says, “no”. Never ask a question they can say, “No” to.

Now, let’s look at alternate ways to restructure your opening to focus in the customer to create enough interest to be allowed in the door.

If you sell something that can be seen from outside the home, try to find something you can point out to create interest and happiness that you stopped by. For example, “Good morning, I am Carl with Acme Roofing. Sorry to disturb you but I was driving by and I noticed that one of your chimney flashings is loose and may cause leaking. Come on out and take a look at it.”

I think you will agree that this opening gets interest. Once they come out with you to see the problem, they are glad you stopped by and you have their attention. Notice it is a statement and not a question and that it does not try to directly sell anything.

For those who sell something you can’t see from the street, there are several other openings that are effective. Let’s take a look at a few:

The Intriguing Question

Try to create an intriguing question that raises interest without trying to sell. If you sell pre-need burial, you might ask something like, “If death were to touch your family today, how many of the 48 decisions you’d have to make immediately are you prepared to make?” If you are selling a freezer plan, you might ask something like, “If our company gave you 50 pounds of steak every year at no charge, would that help you with your food budget?” This is a way of explaining how much they will save but notice there is no direct selling yet. You always get in the door using interest and then start selling.

The Neighbor

Another way to generate interest is to explain that you were just at a neighbor’s home and you have a few minutes before your next appointment to test their equipment at no charge.

This not only gets you in the door, but as you inspect, you can usually sell add-ons or upgrades or new equipment. If they say they have no equipment, it is a great time to explain that most of their neighbors do and why.

The Unusual

Don’t be afraid to try unusual thing sand see if they work. One of our customers was assigned calling on unhappy customers who had left the cable company because of poor service.

The opening we worked out was, “I am Carl from Acme Cable. The company sent me to offer you a bribe”. Pause while they try to figure out what you mean. Then explain that they left your company and you have been sent to bribe them into returning. It’s just a different way of saying you have a special offer.

I hope you will try some of these approaches. Don’t stick to the classic ego centric methods most companies teach. Try new approaches. keep what works and discard what doesn’t.

The change will hold your interest too.

Washers Versus Cornhole – Things Washer Players Could Learn From Cornhole Players

Washer Toss and Cornhole, two tossing games that have quite a bit in common, yet these games attract different types players.

Just for fun, I’m going to compare Washer Toss to Cornhole. What follows is a list of things that I think Washer game players could learn from Cornhole game players.

Customize! Cornhole players have gone beyond making boards just for playing a game. Cornhole boards are often times works of art! Some Cornhole boards are so amazingly crafted and decorated that it’s a shame to toss bags of corn at them. Washer boards and boxes are generally well made, too, but most lack that extra effort. Washer boards need color, graphics, lettering, etc. Go that extra mile! Come on Washer Players, let’s see some creativity!

Standardize. Washers is played different ways with different equipment almost everywhere the game is played. Eventually there might be standards for size, hole sizes, hole spacing, scoring, etc. Variety is great, but a standard could really increase the game’s popularity.

BUZZ. I don’t mean from your drink of choice! Cornhole is a ‘trendy’ game right now. It seems to be everywhere, showing up in new places all of the time. That’s not to say there aren’t people all over the country playing washers, too, but there isn’t the same excitement for the game. Build some Washer games, seek out other players, hold your own tournaments, give people games for birthdays and holidays. If you’ve got a passion for the game, let people know.

Share. This is really the summation of the previous points. Cornhole has developed into a very popular outdoor game over the last few years, while Washers has failed to keep the same aggressive pace. I think the lack of Customization, Standardization, and Buzz are the three biggest factors. Cornhole and Washers are both great outdoor games, and hopefully someday everybody will know about both of them.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When the Aquarium Kit’s Boxes Are on Your Floor

Beginning the Aquarium the right way – Even before it is filled

Many people will make their first aquarium purchase on a whim, or suddenly be given a starter kit as a gift. When that happens, there is often not much time or thought given to seven vital factors that can determine the long-term health of the ecology of the fish’s habitat. If you find yourself in this situation, or even when more rationally taking added time before making your first tank purchase, give the following points some serious consideration.

I’m not even talking about the inside fixtures of an aquarium, those will be dealt with in a future entry. No, before you even add the gravel or the first rock decoration, you need to carefully think about where and how the aquarium is situated.

1) Location (location, location). Water is very heavy, it weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, but with all the gravel and decorations, I use ten pounds per gallon as my rule of thumb. That means that even the common ten gallon beginner’s aquarium will weigh about 100 pounds. Most floors can take that relatively well, but when larger tanks are considered, that load should always be placed on a supporting wall. So the very first consideration when placing any tank is that the floor will be well able to support the weight. It just makes sense that that much weight be placed on a supporting wall, preferably on the inside of the structure so as many other factors can be kept under control as possible.

There are a couple other rarely talked about factors to also consider in initial location.

The first; the amount of general traffic around the tank makes a difference for all concerned, fish and viewers alike. If an aquarium is in a high traffic area, the fish will be constantly subjected to lots of noise and visual movement, making them a bit less natural and possibly timid. The correct choice of location is optimized by placement where there is less traffic and movement as well as a comfortable place for viewing. This set-up will allow the viewer to enjoy the living picture uninterrupted for a relaxing period away from the hustle and bustle of the real world. Lack of outside distractions and activity will also allow the fish to concentrate on their habitat and act much more naturally.

The second is an outgrowth of the weight of water. If an aquarium is placed in the middle of a floor that is not strongly supported in a heavily trafficked area, the activity around the aquarium will often cause the floor to vibrate and move, creating constant added movement within the aquarium and causing undue long-term stress to the fish and other inhabitants. The best way to prevent this is to ensure the tank is placed close to a supporting wall

2) Proper Support. So often, people decide that a piece of furniture they own is suitable to support an aquarium. This uninformed decision often sets the stage for a disaster later. There is a real reason why many aquariums are sold with the express warranty rider that the aquarium must be supported on a properly manufactured aquarium stand. This is not simply a ploy to sell an extra accessory, but truly an important safeguard for the aquarium. That strong wood table you are planning to put the aquarium on is usually the reason for a sudden, catastrophic failure. Any strong apparently flat surface simply won’t do!

You need a stand that will properly support the weight, and not suffer from the strain of so much weight on such a localized surface area. Proper support for an aquarium actually isn’t a flat surface under the entire surface area of the aquarium. Solid wood or not, the weight will eventually warp slightly, and if you accidentally drip water on the surface, that warping and swelling happens even more often. The result of a suddenly uneven support placing stress on the glass box is most often a stress crack. It only takes a minuscule shifting of the contact on the side glass panes and bottom to cause a break and leaking. Don’t take the chance of a broken aquarium from a shifting support not made especially for the aquarium that is not able to take the weight over the long term.

3) Lighting Considerations. Another important consideration in aquarium placement is in regard to lighting. Unless you plan to have the aquarium mainly a plant tank with few fish, the illumination in the system should be artificial. Ensure that sunlight cannot hit the aquarium at any time during daylight hours.

A disturbing phenomenon, green water, is caused almost exclusively when sunlight strikes the aquarium for even a short period during the day. Green water is the result of single celled suspended plants termed algae suddenly exploding in population. The main and almost sole cause of this is direct sunlight. Eradicating the problem is very difficult once it begins. As a word to the wise, eliminate the possibility by ensuring that natural sunlight does not get into your new aquarium. If this wasn’t a great reason to keep sunlight out, here is a another one. Sunlight can also temporarily heat the tank as well, making temperature control difficult.

Actual artificial lighting selection is a topic in itself, and will be handled at a later date. For the moment I am assuming that the lighting type is a part of the equipment presently sitting on your floor. That should be installed as per manufacturer instructions when you get to that time. For the moment you still need to ensure you place the aquarium, on its stand where the sun doesn’t shine.

4) Temperature Control. I’m not talking about the aquarium heater that will provide the aquarium temperature needed to keep your tropical fish alive and well. Rather, I am talking about the ambient temperature of the room and how that affects the tank over time. So far you need to put the aquarium on a supporting wall away from direct exposure to sunlight. Now inspect the area you have chosen and ensure there are no air conditioning or heating vents close by that would cause the output of either to strike the aquarium. Either type could make keeping proper temperatures stable almost impossible.

5) Electrical Power Supply. Electrical power is vital to the aquarium, the heater and filter, not to mention the light, require power. The heater will require power at the rated power, from 25 – 300 Watts, but only when it is running. The light will also require its rated power, but probably much less that 100 W unless the set-up is quite elaborate and uses HO bulbs. Generally no more than 40 Watts. If you are using a standard power filter, or even two in combination, the power required is quite small, usually less that 12 W. So the power draw really is not a consideration, it is the number of units that can cause problems, Above I have mentioned three, one more than the normal socket, so a power bar is normally required.

Most people simply leave a power bar on the floor and have no problems. But I have seen too many times when water drips into a power bar and can cause a short. Few people follow the standard electrical requirements for aquarium products contacting the tank in some way, but regulations uniformly require a drip loop. See your electrical product’s instructions for further details. One easy way would be to suspend a power bar above the floor, leaving the actual cord to drop to the floor before rising to the electrical source. The power bar thus cannot be soaked by any possible drips or leaks. This provides maximum safety to the home and aquarium vicinity.

Alternately, the use of a power block, one that increases the number of power outlets from 2 – 6 would automatically keep the power off the floor. Drip loops are almost automatic in this configuration.

6) Water Access. This is pretty much self explanatory, take a few minutes to decide whether your proposed location is close enough to water. You always have to replace evaporated water, but this is minimal assuming you are properly maintaining the aquarium over time. Removal and replacement of water is much more common, and the shorter the distance to carry a bucket – both ways – the better. If two locations are equally desirable for your new aquarium, the one closest to the sink, or the one with less steps should be the one selected. Also, the location where spilled water will do less damage is also a point to consider.

7) Pet Access. Cats love to fish, and your beginning aquarium is like shooting fish in a barrel for any feline friends in the vicinity. Many families are multi-pet owners, so when the final location is determined, make sure other friends, furred or feathered are unable to get into the system. You are making a large investment in both time, effort and money, so make one final evaluation as to the safety of both the fish and all other pets in the family.

Enjoy your new set-up. In later posts I will go over some of the factors you need to know about setting up and maintaining the aquarium through the vital first six weeks. Not all of them are obvious. But for now, ensure you have located your aquarium in an optimal place for the long term enjoyment of the living picture you are getting ready to create.

Picture Lighting – The Most Common Question People Ask

As the operator of a web site devoted to picture light for the last several years, I have encountered questions on just about every aspect of artwork lighting and the methods used to provide it. I have listed the most common questions and the responses that our team of professionals has given to them over that time. The good news about waiting until now to publish a document such as this one is that the answers have been time proven to be effective.

Probably the most common question that we receive, almost daily, is that of addressing the visibility of the cord. The question is always the same and people ask it as a way of determining whether or not they will purchase a picture light. The question of eliminating the cord can be answered best by sharing the multiple ways we have discovered to eliminate the need or to hide the cord leading from the electric outlet up to the picture light.

One of the first and best ways of addressing the cord involves hiding it from sight. By installing a recessed outlet, many times called a clock outlet, directly behind the actual picture the entire cord and circuit can be hidden from sight. Our customers typically take this one step further and then cut the cord to the proper, smaller length and then use a device called a snap on plug to allow for a convenient way to attach an electrical plug to the cord. We then will recommend that the customer install a simmer switch on the circuit.

The use of cord covers can also be very effective. The cord covers can make the appearance of the cord practically disappear. The cord covers are also very easy to install. When people ask where they can get cord covers we recommend that they go to their local home improvement store. The items are usually located in the painting section or the electrical section of the store.

A less expensive and convenient approach to lessening the visibility of the cord is to simply paint it. Just about every cord on lamps that our store sells is paintable. While I am not completely certain for the cords of other picture lights, ours are all paintable. Painting the cord the same color of the wall will allow it to blend in so well that the cord will barely be able to be seen.

Another less expensive alternative that does not involve electricity is to place plants, furniture, display tables or other decor in a position to hide most of the cord. In my house we have taken this approach and it seems to work great in the longer hallway where the picture lights are installed. We have used a larger staple to directly attach the cord to the baseboard. This keeps the cord straight and dramatically improves its appearance.

Finally, we recommend that our customers consider using a battery powered picture light. The lights will provide attractive minimum light and will last up to 45 hours. A few models are even rechargeable.

The History and Uses of Turnstile Gates

When you attend a football match, use a train station or visit an amusement park there is a high chance you will have to use a turnstile. While in the modern era their primary job is to limit entry to one person at a time, the original purpose of such gates was to allow people to pass from field to field, while keeping their livestock penned in.

The Origins of Turnstiles

Clarence Saunders, who founded the Piggly Wiggly chain of supermarkets in the early 20th century, is credited with being the first to install turnstile gates into his shops to help to avoid overcrowding and mass hysteria, as shoppers flocked to the world’s first supermarket.

The technique soon caught on as a means of limiting and controlling the entry and exit, and before long they were being used in venues that hosted large crowds. The first recording of turnstiles being first used at a UK sporting venue was at the original Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow. They were also installed in 1915 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, in order to help control the summer crowds.

Why Would You Use Turnstiles as an Access Control System?

While primarily used for crowd control, a turnstile gate can be used for a variety of other purposes:

  • Restricting pedestrian access into a venue
  • To create fare gates (entry via paid access)
  • Increased security
  • Monitoring of numbers of people entering or leaving a venue
  • Preventing access or exit in emergency situations

What Are the Different Types of Turnstile Gates?

Turnstiles may be more beneficial to your organisation if they are integrated with other security systems such as CCTV, intercoms and barriers. There are various types of turnstiles which are best suited to different purposes, such as crowd control, controlled admission into a venue or to provide security.

Swing Gate – These can be used for either single direction or multi directional access, which allows both entrance and exit through the same gate. Swing Gates are not as secure as other designs but they can still be used to successfully restrict entry to areas. They can feature manual or automatic controls.

Drop Arm – These turnstile gates have three arms, which spin as the user enters. They are normally operated using a coin, ticket or card. They can also be activated remotely using push button release. The major issue with this type of barrier is that it is relatively easy for people to jump over them.

Full Height Turnstiles – These turnstile act like a revolving door and reach a height of around 2 metres. This height makes it impossible for someone to jump over the barrier, making it popular in football stadia and other sporting arenas around the globe. Operated using a number of methods such as, card reader, via a scanner or manually, these gates offer the best secure entry system.

The Benefits of Turnstile Gates

The installation of turnstiles provides a range of benefits, not only do they increase pedestrian safety by slowing down the rate of entry and crowding in reception areas and platforms, they also provide a vital means of assisting security screening before entering secure areas, such as a court room or airport. They also provide a way of ensuring that no revenue is lost when they are used to validate payment for entry.

Electrical Control Systems – 3 Types That Could Transform Your Business

Electrical control systems apply control systems engineering to the ability to maintain system performance to known parameters. Simply put, systems that have the ability to monitor and control processes utilize the basic fundamentals of electrical control systems. These include: circulation pumps, air compressors, manufacturing systems, utility analysis and metering, refrigeration plants and motor control panels. Electrical control systems are doubly beneficial by saving money through modeling and controlling for predictive behaviors as well as reducing applicable output which include carbon emissions.

But let’s look more closely at three specific types of electrical control systems or processes that could transform and change the way you do business:

1) Industrial Automation Systems: Regardless of the type of manufacturing business you operate: discrete parts, batch or continuous process, management, information flow and control are vital to your business’ success. Automating important functions of your business could show you immediate and long term financial gains. Much of your manufacturing business could be automated increasing your productivity and ability to report immediately on various systems which are inefficient. Imagine your manufacturing business automating its inventory control systems, down time, production monitoring and reporting, database systems, routing optimization and more. Being able to quickly react to changes in your business via statistical analysis and automation is one of the more critical deciding factors in a business’ profitability.

2) PLC Programming (Programmable Logic Controller Programming): Manufacturing automation would not exist without PLC programming. It’s a digital computer used for electro-mechanical processes like machines on a factory line. Earlier automation systems used thousands of individual relays and timers. In most cases, a PLC allows all of the relays and timers within a factory to be replaced with a single controller. PLC Programming can be found in paper machines and pulping processes, conveyor systems, bottling lines, web handling lines, packaging operations, mixing, batching and blending and so much more.

3) Risk Assessment: Most plant engineers, maintenance supervisors, operators and managers will ask themselves at some point: “how safe is my machine”. Although no machine is ever considered to be completely safe, the answer should be a truly unbiased assessment. A risk assessment consists of a comprehensive review of your machine which analyzes operating and maintenance procedures, identifiable risks (analyzed and categorized by established and accepted national/international standards), mitigations for these risks, and all the information you will need to make your system meet the applicable standards.

Electrical Control Systems are changing the way companies are doing business with critical automation from PLC programming, industrial automation systems and risk assessment. Effective manufacturing process control and information systems continue to make businesses not only more efficient, but profitable as well.