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Let’s Talk About Industry 4.0 (feat. Justin Dean)



Justin: Yeah, my wife had to set up my first email account.

Dave: So that’s welcome to the, the podcast, Justin Dean, who is a senior industry 4.0 expert all around good guy and has an amazing amount of knowledge in all things in automation. just in general, I feel like Justin, every time we’ve talked, there’s been like four other control systems that you’ve brought in up and you’re like, yes, I know how to do everything on that. and including, including earlier in this conversation and I see you, we both have ignition bottles. You can see Justin re-upping Ignition. He’s going to get a lot of angry phone calls after some people see this. With him only having a hit with him only having one control system, up here. but no, I think something that I’ve, I’m always interested in learning from people. Justin is, you know, how did you get to this point how, how did you get to this point How did you learn everything you did How did our industry that seems to suck people in and never let go pull you in.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah, it was like a long a time. It pretty much started kind of, kind of to step back from it. It’s like I, so like growing up I never was into technology cause I, I mean I’m, and it’s gotten me in a racing situation, but like, so growing up, I remember one time my mother asked me if I wanted a computer and I was like, I won’t ever need a computer. so I was like, I think in high school or something. And then, when I went to college, she asked me about why I probably needed the computer. I was like, no, I don’t need one, whatever. but, yeah, so it was kind of like, so coming out of high school I was, I was just like, I was involved in sports and stuff, so I was, so I ended up going on the, on a track scholarship to, to college, which is pretty much the only way I really got through college pretty much.

Justin: So ultimately I’m in that situation, I was always good at art. And so people’s like, yeah, you should go to school for art. Isn’t that So I didn’t wait. I didn’t know what people did, for careers and things like that. Cause I grew up pretty much in a poverty stricken like situation. Like I think I tell people that yeah, we had to save up. That’d be poor I guess you’d, I guess to certainly raise. So, so in that situation, I was always good at math and I was good at art. So when I went into school, I studied art and ended up taking a class, like a computer aided design class. I guess that the professor taught it from an electrical standpoint. which at the time I didn’t know anything about electrical, anything. So I man it comes on, you know, that’s pretty much all I knew, you know.

Justin: so I was in it for semester and after, after at the end of the semester I started catching on cause it was more about like embedded systems and stuff like that, more or less and motor controls and that sort of thing. So I started catching on to the point, or I could design small circuit boards for the professor because he had another business and stuff like that. So he’s like, well, I think you should switch to electrical engineering, because you’ll make more money in that than you will art. So that’s kind of how I got started, at least from an electrical engineering perspective. And then, just was fortunate enough to work in different umm . Places, early on or I like internships where I was exposed to different things that weren’t this or engineering, but they were, you know, like one of my first internships, I did like circuit board design and for a company to did like driving the simulators.

Justin: So, and then I got into software. So at that time I really, I could write software before I can, I knew how to turn on and off the computer pretty much. I mean, you know, so, that’s essentially, well it was like that situation. So, yeah, I mean that was early on. And then I was actually, a DC motor mechanic. So I repaired, led to go motors, DC, AC, it didn’t matter. so I pretty much, cause at the time I thought I was going to be a motor engineer. So coming out of school, that’s pretty much it. My first job, I was a electrical motor engineer and then I also crossed over doing light automation, like a small light control systems like for test systems for manufacturer who was in the Oil and Gas like space. So that’s kind of how I early on and got involved in like all in gas and well not just only gas but like automation and and control systems.

Justin: Then crossing over into like, doing a little bit of programming, you know, doing like, so visual basic or C plus plus that sort of programming. And then, a lady, and it told me one time, she’s like, you really need to go down the road of learning different, technologies. From an it perspective. Because if you, if you merge what, you know from a engineering perspective to, to, I perspective, then the sky will be the limit. Because her mindset was that at some point, and this is like early, this is like in 2000 so her idea was that Mmm. It and automation would basically cross paths at some point and that people needed to know both sides of the fence. So that’s ultimately how I really, so I pretty much never turned down an opportunity to learn something new, in all these different, you know, times, you know, so, yeah.

Justin: I mean it’s, that’s how I’ve got into sort of the automation and then into skater. It was like, it was pretty much, we built our own SCADA systems. The heart, I guess you could call it the hard way is not where you’re using off the shelf product, but you’re using them basically, you know, you’re doing it like in say visual studio six or you’re doing it like in .NET or whatever, you know. So, and so then, anyway, so I transfer, I transitioned into other roles where I went to work in NASA as a, as a lead control systems engineer where I worked on primary support of the international space station. the flight hardware as well as like the training simulation, I guess facilities as well. So anyway, yeah, pretty much, had been involved in when I pretty much, I look at it as everything technology, I don’t really look at it as like, okay, I’m automation guy or skater guy or our software guy, whatever.

Justin: But yeah, that’s pretty much, you know, so, so are we one, I would take all the Microsoft classes, you know, that you would do flight for MCSS or EMC as DS or whatever. And so that’s sort of where like, you know, I sort of like so knew that those probably would cross paths at some point. And I was a year right now, here we are where you know, it and automation escape up, all live within the same stack pretty much, you know, at this point. and so yeah, I mean like I say as a long time of just different like experiences being stuck in situations like, cause I traveled a lot like overseas, so you’re, but in situations like, well, you don’t have any help, right. So everything from mechanical to electrical to hydraulics to automation and control systems, like I’ve literally like kind of just jumped into whatever it’s been, you know, so really not really get too hung up into certain disciplines and then within the disc was not really hung up on like certain platforms or, types of hardware or anything like that. So

Dave: no, I liked that. And I like how Justin you were describing, well, well first I think it’s really awesome that you work with NASA. and I, I did not know that. so I think that that’s very, I think that that’s really interesting. I like the way that you described the technology. and I think that something that you brought up about working overseas and just kind of being forced into figuring things out. I, I also have learned some of the best things in life by being forced into a situation. almost always completely unprepared. Almost always though, we have to figure it out in order to get through this and figuring it out. You learn a lot more than if you’re just given to it. And I appreciate how you talked about how you feel that your background is much more of a technology background that, that that automation is a part of.

Dave: Then just automation as your background. I also kind of feel a similar way. I feel like being in technology and knowing automation, makes you a much more well rounded individual and does things to help you understand, you know, industry 4.0 a lot better if you can think of it from a technology side, from the it side, from the OT side, understanding what everything looks like it is, it makes it a lot easier and it makes it a lot easier to have those conversations with other people who don’t have the exact same background that you do just to, for example, if they just automation.

Justin: Right. Yeah. No I agree. I think, I think having, not being afraid to get put in like those situations, like in the most of my travels has been like, you know, I worked in a two companies where we basically built like systems, but then our, our group was also in charge of building out entire facilities and so we all sort of, you know, so we have extremely small groups. So we would have, you know, like a couple of mechanical engineers, you have several electrical engineers like myself and then, you know, and then we basically would design these subsystems and then we were in charge of pretty much designed the facility and then we were the ones that would go actually commission everything. So you’re going in situations where yeah, it should take like three or four weeks to commission this facility and then you’re stuck like somewhere like for like 12 weeks or something like that.

Justin: I like the longest I’ve been gone like pretty much like straight to billing about 12 weeks. I was like, in, in a Yemen one time, actually the same town where Osama bin Laden was from I guess, whatever. Cause everything said, said, been London this or been London that or whatever, you know. So, so yeah, I mean I think that, so for me I was always put in those situations, so I, I guess I probably just thought it was normal probably. I don’t know. I mean, well I was, someone asked me that it’s like, well, it’s kind of a hard question to answer because my mindset is always about like even projects that’s came in my business or even places I’ve worked, it’s like I don’t really turn down things because I always try to help someone even if it’s things that I don’t maybe normally do on a regular basis or have done is sort of, that’s been the sort of mindset that I’ve had.

Justin: Because actually, even though I’ve done all these big systems, you know, when I worked in NASA, when I worked in oil and gas and stuff like that, it’s like, so you know, some of the ones is the stuff you’re working on for the first time or that may be you were brought in to do a certain thing and then you started helping them in some other way. You know, it’s like I was telling someone the other day, it was like, cause they’re asking me about something and I was like, yeah, the about like I ha I feel like I think outside the box I guess. And I said I had a customer that I worked on a project for that we were there, I was pretty much brought in to help them do like the hardware design of this embedded system. And then, and then I was the doing all the Python programming on the system, I guess.

Justin: And then it was like, well, well, well we need to do some video stitching and sell. They’re asking. And there was like a few of us involved in this project and they were like, everybody’s like, well I don’t know how to do that. I’ve never done that. And cell in cell Yasmeen is, I haven’t done it. Well can you help or can you figure it out And I say, yeah, probably kids, whatever. So I went home that night, whatever. I think I stayed up literally like all night studying up on cell video stitching and where would be cause all I had this fits basically four cameras together into one end of drive and sold out, sold out. We basically had one view of, of a pool table basically. And so, anyway, so yeah, I mean so it’s sort of, and then so it’s once, so at the end of the day, like the next day, I guess it’s like I said, well is this what you’re looking for

Justin: And he’s like, Oh you did that overnight, whatever. So I was like, yeah, it’d be cute. Cause for me, if I get pretty much into something, like even if it’s something I’m trying to figure out, like I pretty much like don’t stop until the are at least like sleep or whatever until like I have at least felt like I have accomplished something in it or whatever. So. So maybe that’s why some of these things sort of either they come easier than they do, maybe the other people or something. but yeah, that’s sort of my approach, you know, for things.

Dave: No, I like that. So there was, there was one point where I was working for an OEM machine builder and we were bidding a Greenfield aircraft facility where we were going to build the last couple of pieces, a fuselage. And it was like we’re in the office and it’s like, Dave, you’re here. The manufac, the only engineer in the office literally just went out on maternity leave. Here’s 500 pages of absolute garbage of things that they think they want. They’re almost certainly wrong. They certainly don’t know how to build this from a, from this perspective. Good luck. And you know, we, we literally took over a conference room and built it on the wall of a facility or built a facility on the wall of a conference room. And I’m thinking to myself, Justin, like the technology that we have now compared to that, I mean like we would just simulate it, right

Dave: Like literally the number of hours that it took me to build this and like simulate it on PowerPoint, like going through, showing them as we’re going to build this stuff, man, we just build it in a simulator. It would probably be less expensive. It would certainly be easier. And we could just like in 20 minutes simulate, this is how we’re going to do it. These are all the things and man, so many hours, so many hours of phone calls, calling to search for something. It’s like, okay, I need to move this from point a to point B. No one knows how to do it. No one literally does it this way because no one manufacturers aircraft this way in the States, how are we going to do it And I talked to a guy that, that they made, like these UAV is a decade ago and he’s like, yeah, you guys probably can’t afford them because John Deere uses these to build tractors. And I’m like, dude, we’re building aircraft. We can certainly afford the a, the UAV is the John Deere, currently uses to, to build tractors. So it’s one of those things where I feel, I, I tell people I’m blessed to have been put into many situations that we look back on that weren’t necessarily great situations, but told to go ahead and figure it out and I figured it out and it’s made me a much better person, in these situations.

Justin: Yeah, that’s, yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s how I look. I don’t look at anything like, well, I’ve been stranded somewhere or whatever, like as really bad situations or anything like that. Like, I mean like we’ll end the first job. Well, I used to work out, well, when I got of school, I went to work for Schlumberger, which is a whole a services company. They bought a manufacturer at the time, which is who I guess I worked for. And they had like some other group had pretty much decided that we’re going to build a, they had a facility in Scotland and they wanted to test these pumps in this facility and they wanted to test them in a well and the only place in Scotland that there’s an oil well is inside this facility at this point where you can drill a well in on the shore in Scotland I guess on the ground he goes.

Justin: And so literally this group of engineers or whatever had bought like all the equipment that they thought was going to be required, but none of them knew how to put it together or knew how like, so the system actually wasn’t designed beforehand. It was like they bought all this stuff and then they was like, just, we need you to go to Scotland. And so I show up, there’s all this stuff and like, so literally you basically have to design a system around the stuff that you have to work with. So, and then basically at the same time, while, while now you hadn’t need to have software that controls all this. So, so we basically, built and designed and developed a software all this or have onsite like size spent, you know, it was all done. It was probably like six, eight weeks, something like that.

Justin: But basically in the middle of Scotland or wherever. I think in Barrera’s Gotland was the name of the town I was in. But yeah, I mean, so I said I was in like those kinds of situations. So like any situation, like even today it’s like, like if someone has a problem with a, with like something and in the end you need to like go in there troubleshooting, but you’re not familiar with their system. Like, I mean, a lot of people get sorta like, why I need all this information and all this or stuff beforehand. I think when you’ve been in those other situations, like I just described like that don’t matter. Like it’s just like, okay, let’s go make this thing work somehow, you know, or, or resolve these issues, you know. So, I mean, I don’t really get hung up into like being really stressed out about in those like hot situations when, you know, obviously it may be more a sensitive to the customer because of whatever is going on there, you know

Justin: But yeah, I mean, so Sue, so that’s kinda like my approach, you know, for pretty much everything I sort of interact with, whether it’s automation or software or electrical stuff or anything or mechanical. I mean it’s like, cause actually like I’ve been in situations too, I’ve opened my mouth and said, well how about we do this And then he’s like, okay, well a swamps, you just do it. And I’m like, well I’m not a mechanical engineer. And they’re like, we’ll figure it out wherever I’d be wrong. I actually designed a pump one time now I’m probably the only thing, well, I’ll design other mechanical stuff before, but I’ve only designed to pump once, but basically it’s a glorified blender. But, so, so it was used going, it was going to be used, up in Canada in the, they have an area called the sag D fields or whatever, which is like a high temperature, the fluids, like very thick.

Justin: So it’s almost like pumping like a chocolate syrup almost. And so it’s very Sandy environment too. So, so they had this issue, well, it’s, we need to be able to, all, all the sane is getting stuck in our pumps or whatever. And I was like, well, why don’t you build a pump to like chop up the sand And they’re like, and they were like, okay, well I’ll swap you design it. And I’m like, well, I’m not a pump designer, so I’m basically, I worked with a pump designer. He basically, you know, he, you know, like I understood pumps and all that source of, cause I worked for this pump company that we did multistage pumps you wherever. So I knew pretty much the ins and outs of pumps, but I had never, you know, I had never been that situation. So, yeah, I mean, so like I said, I sort of like from probably the age of like probably 2223 I had sort of been or even pilot earlier than that.

Justin: Been sort of the sort of mindset of just figure things out if you haven’t ever came across it before. And also I, I listen to like I have other people that I’ve been around, I tried to absorb information from, cause I’m pretty well educated I guess. But also I’ve learned probably more from people that maybe weren’t as educated I guess. And so I’ve sort of always like try to take information from a variety of people. And so that’s why like even now when you look at LinkedIn, you know, I listen to pretty much, you know, like your stuff, Walker’s stuff. Like even folks that really aren’t in the automation or any, any of that source of, cause I always tried to sort of gather knowledge, you know, so I’d know it well I may not be using it right now for this particular instance or whatever, but I may as far as it may be useful at some point in the future or whatever is how I look at, you know, some of these things, you know. So that’s how I look at things then. And that’s how I approach pretty much things on a daily basis, you know, so

Dave: no completely. I think that we both try to gain as much knowledge cause you never know when you’re going to need that knowledge. And I was laughing over here. You’re pumping.

Justin: Oh yeah, I’m sure. Yeah. Cause those are are like where the archive, store. I have lots of those. But yeah, there’s so

Dave: do I, I was laughing because I also have, so I think we both learned that the hardest, the same hard lessons maybe. Maybe a few times.

Justin: Yeah. I was telling him my, my son long, like the other day, like I think yesterday evening I said, yeah, I’ve learned things the hard way. Like at least from a career perspective, and technical things like sometimes like, you know, like I was explaining to him how I learned, cause he was asking him about like, well how’d you learn about like computers I mean I in fact that a friend is, is that worked at Microsoft for bill Gates, like in the early days or whatever. But, and I’d go to his house, he had computers in like every room or whatever and I was still like computers or whatever, you know. And so I was telling him, I said, yeah, my wife had to set up my first email account, which I’m sure she sees this podcast. Interesting. But,

Dave: that’s going to be the clip right there. Justin Dean and my wife had to set up my first email.

Justin: Yeah. So, so, yeah, that’d be pretty cool. Yeah. So, it was interesting because when we were like dating or whatever is like, she said my first GMO account or showed me how to do it. And then probably like I did an internship somewhere where I was going to have to work with computers and stuff like that and ended up, I think they asked me, they said, have you ever worked with windows in T And I was like, yeah, I think I’ve seen it somewhere. All I’d ever seen, I think all I’d ever seen was the splash screen. I think that’s the only thing that I had ever seen. And I think I was using the computer at the diamond, whatever. So, and, and I in so many ways, so yeah, I pretty much learned that or thinking about six months, I, you know, I was helping, you know, so fix people’s computers, you know, like say family members.

Justin: So, so I went along with, he call our house, like they come a wife, whatever, they’d have a computer issue. She’d say, okay, well I’ll have to transfer you to, to the it department or whatever. So anyway, yeah, it’s about three, six months into that when I use whatever. But yeah, it’s kind of strange how you sort of, and so now all you do at work with the computer like is literally like what I mean, cause like I was telling you earlier that my mom asked me if I wanted to go beat her when I was in college and I was like, no, I’m going to be electrical engineer. I need a computer. And so I was like, I was like pretty dumb or something that I didn’t realize probably how much, like you were actually gonna use the computer, especially today. So, yeah, I love party. Interesting.

Dave: It is. So, so that, that actually brings me to, to, to, to my other question that I have for you. just and you, you know, so this is the beginning of April, 2020. we’ve got Kovac 19 and coronavirus going on. w we had talked before and a lot of the companies that we work with because they’re manufacturers are considered essential services and they’re, they’re up and running. oil and gas isn’t doing all that great. at the moment. And, we should take a moment just to say, you know, our thoughts and prayers as Justin and I have talked about go out for everyone who is, you know, adversely affected by it, more than us. And, that kind of brings me to the question of what do you think is the future of industry 4.0 coming from the guy who wanted to be an electrical engineer, didn’t think that he was going to need a computer in college, is currently sitting in front of at least one computer, could be up to like five computers with the most professional podcasting setup of, of the two of us.

Dave: like what is your predictions for, for industry for in the future industry 4.0 in the future

Justin: I mean, I, I, they, I think really in a nutshell, I think the industry for the future of industry 4.0 is going to be when you have situations like you’re in right now, when things are like shutting down, you know, like you’re talking about like shutting down the whole whole countries wherever as companies are going to be looking at, are we looking at, well I can’t afford to be like, just shut down. So we have, even if I can’t have people doing these things, I need to still be moving along. Right And so I think that you’re going to see more and more opportunities for, all the different things that involve industry 4.0. So if you look at like automation in particular is you’re going to be looking, you’re going to see more and more of those things. Maybe like computer vision or you know, stuff like that going into, assisting these situations in terms of like keeping things moving along because you’re gonna be, cause you do have the situation right now where people can’t work right in there.

Justin: like they normally were, so like, say manufacturing environments or whatever where they might have people now staying at home because those situations may have not, you know, like right now may not be very automated or wherever. But because of this, I think you’re going to find, there’s going to be more of that is going to start to happen. People are going to invest in automation because they know like, okay, if this happens again or if you go into phase two or three of this where you have a bigger situation, which I believe this is really only like phase one, even though I’ve heard people say this is like maybe phase four or whatever, but, I think you’re gonna see it from that perspective is how I see sort of like the future of like industry 4.0 considering like whatever, what is going through like right now today, you know So,

Dave: no, completely. I, I agree with you. I know that you talk about industry 4.0 a lot and I talk about industry 4.0 and digital transformation. And I’ve been telling everyone that I talked to, you know, this right here right now is an inflection point. All of the Deloitte and McKinseys of the world who have been saying that there’s going to be, you know, a a hundred billion, gazillion dollars invested in manufacturing in these initiatives over the next few years. And most of us have been wondering where they think all this money is going to come from and like what’s going to be the thing that pushes people into it. I feel like unfortunately this is going to be the thing that pushes people into looking at industry for looking at digital transformation and looking at automation and overall technology solutions. Because the old adage of we’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing because it works is literally no longer true that that is no longer an answer because things that we’ve done in the past are no longer going to work into the future and we’re going to have to find new innovative ways to do that.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think, well even like, like as we have a customer that is in a, is in an industry like I think the water industry or something and like they have all these projects and we have, you know, some projects we need to get done well you have to travel well, we have to travel to a certain part of the country or much there is no travel going there cause pretty much the whole state’s like shutdown and so it’s like well so now it’s okay well now okay well it’s time to set up remote access and things like that to do even like simple things like studies, right Like assessments and stuff like that. You’re going to see like people now are going to have started looking at like the whole working from home or working remote, all that whole idea. People been against it for a number of years to a certain extent.

Justin: Like you always had certain certain companies that sort of thought forward saying okay I can have all these resources. Right. All these employees who work from wherever they live because they don’t need to be at the office or whatever situation is there, but now you’re seeing it more be, it’s more amplified now. So that’s probably why, you know. Well, so now you see more people own zoom and stuff like that. I’m sure now for sure. and so I think that that’s sort of like, kinda just going to be the normal moving forward. I mean, you’ve proved out that everyone can work from home or work remote when they have to. Yup. And so, and so that’s where I think a lot of people right now, at least in my, in, in some of the industries I’ve help, I guess is that, is that, is that, that’s been proven.

Justin: So now they’re like, okay, well I’m accessible now for someone working remote even after this thing’s gone because it makes sense or whatever. You know, if things do continue to get done. On the flip side, you got people that were used to going into an office or into, into their work or whatever, and now they’re been asked to work from home. And it’s like culture shock. Like you basically, I mean it’s like, okay, well how do I, how do I work from home Like, you know, like, I mean it is a challenge for some people. Like I am seeing that like some the folks that I work with for my customer and stuff that I see where, how they struggle because they’re used to going to work every day. And I, I don’t have an issue with it cause I work remote and I’ve done all of the above I guess. So it’s really not that big a deal, especially if you work for integrator. It’s sort of like, I guess a mixture of all of it anyways. So, but yeah, I mean I see where there is that is sort of word’s been proven that it can be done, but also it is a struggle for people to sort of just change the whole, their whole mindset to like, well this might be how it is for a while. Anyway, you know

Dave: No, I, I completely agree with it. Justin. And I think that that is a good stopping point with the promise to everyone listening to this that we are going to have to get Justin back on in the future to continue talking, to continue talking about this, to continue to see how as the world changes what Justin is seeing, what I’m seeing, what everyone else is seeing a happening in manufacturing, in technology and industry 4.0 and digital transformation, all of the above.

Justin: Definitely.

Dave: Perfect. So I’m a wave goodbye to, well, if you can see me from my Newfoundland picture wave wave goodbye to everyone. We’ll see you guys soon. Bye. Bye.