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Dan & Josh: Friendly Competition

Two Leading Automation Minds on Race Car Driving and Robotics

If there’s one thing Dan Allford, president of ARC Specialties, and Josh Sooknanan, an aerospace engineer with NASA, can agree on, it’s a need for speed.

Both friends enjoy the thrill of mountain bike racing and the even bigger thrill of race car driving. The first race car Sooknanan competed with was a car Allford loaned to him. Despite the fact that Sooknanan blew that car up during his second race, they’ve continued to race together, with Allford helping instruct Sooknanan in the art of race car driving.

How Fast Cars and Automation Bring Friendly Competition

Another interest – and perhaps friendly competition – these two share is high-level robotics. Having so many interests in common allows Sooknanan and Allford to keep each other on their toes, both on the race track and in their work.

One such example is their ongoing debate regarding the differences between autonomous and teleoperated robots. Allford believes that a machine should run entirely on its own, without human instruction, whereas Sooknanan believes a robot can be autonomous with some level of human instruction, which he refers to as supervised autonomy.

Having a level of supervised autonomy is key in the space industry, according to Sooknanan, so that robots can do their jobs safely.

“You know, with some level of oversight, [we can] make sure we’re not going to take one of these massive manipulators on the outside of a space station and poke a hole in it or something crazy like that,” Sooknanan said.

Allford on the other hand is looking for autonomy where the robot will do the same thing over and over, but also wants it to have sensor systems that give it sight and touch sensors that encourage it to adapt. According to Allford, adding sensor systems is a key element of autonomy.

“It can not only repeat a repetitive task – it can adapt to its environment. It can adapt to its parts, and then do something that it wasn’t originally programmed to do,” Sooknanan said.

A Bond Built for the Long Haul

A little friendly competition is something Sooknanan and Allford enjoy, and they don’t mind disagreeing on robotics.

“I like to pick on Josh, largely to stimulate conversation, because we’re solving similar problems in very different ways. So, by provoking him, I can get him to talk a little bit more,” Allford said.

Robotics aside, the really big question is clear – who is the better race car driver?

“What I like to remind Josh of is that a good instructor is defined by the fact that their student exceeds their skill,” Allford said.

“I concur,” Sooknanan said with a laugh.

Enjoy the Podcast: The Difference Between Robots on Earth and Robots Outer Space


One bright side of the COVID Panic of 2020 is that our favorite Muralista had time to paint the east wall of our lunchroom. Gelson Lemus AKA: w3r3on3 brought his paints and a few assistants to create the mural below. Gelson’s crew the “Insomniacs” tend to paint all night and this was no exception. Gelson worked at ARC and painted all our robots from 2012 to 2016 before he became a full-time artist. If you have been to Houston, Austin, Dallas, Cozumel, Mexico City, Miami, New York, or San Juan, Puerto Rico you may have seen his murals.


Part of the fun of being in business is all the interesting folks you meet. With Gelson, when you commission a mural you never know what he might paint.

Dan Allford

Code is King

Folks who visit ARC Specialties see the robots and machines we are building in the welding, electrical, machine, and assembly shops and think of us as hardware providers. But these machines exist to run our software and that is where the magic resides. It is surprisingly hard to find good industrial software programmers. Real-time motion control is not for the faint of heart.

Below are old photos from our customer appreciation wall and one new picture. The one guy present in all the photos is David Luce “Keith”. Some of the others have retired or moved on but Keith & I always stayed in touch. The success or failure of a robot project often depends on the guy responsible for programming. Keith always impressed me with what he was able to do the ABB plasma welding ‘bot we build for his company. So impressed that when he became available we hired him.

In the first few days at ARC Keith has succeeded in tooling up a KUKA robot for a gasket removal job, wrote the code, and finished the demo. That is the pace we like to work!

Please welcome Keith Luce to the ARC Specialties Team.

Shipping Machines to Essential Infrastructure Manufacturers


Today we shipped a large turbine repair welding system, an essential part of the Energy sector of our Critical Infrastructure. I want to thank Project Manager John Martin and all the ARC staff who designed, built, and programmed this system. I would also like to thank our customers, who make and distribute the food, goods, and energy consumed by Americans. Without you; Americans and the US economy would suffer.

We cannot work from home and build the robots or turbines that our fellow Americans rely on to keep America working. What we can do is continue to observe CDC guidelines by promoting good hygiene and social distancing.

Let’s stay well, stay smart, and keep working.

Cross Training During 2020 COVID Pandemic

So far NO COVID at ARC! However, we have started cross-training just in case someone does get sick and self- quarantines. We are determined to continue to support our Essential Industrial Partners.

Benny & Rolando are expert fitters and superb welders with flux core and MIG. So when I gave them a class on Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or TIG welding, they picked it up very quickly. They welded up a stainless rack as a first project. The welds were sound but not up to our visual standards so they ground them. If you have seen our welding Workmanship video you know my opinion of people who grind welds: “If you can’t weld you grind.” Grinding destroys all evidence of workmanship or lack thereof.

I expect Benny & Roland will soon be making good welds that are too pretty to grind.

If you agree that now is the time to train see:

Welding Wire Management


Bulk wire systems for automatic welding machines are desirable for a couple of reasons. First is eliminating 95% of your wire spool changes. In the field of internal Hot Wire Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW-HW) for sour service there is a second more important reason. Stopping in the middle of a critical weld is not recommended. At the same time, the nickel alloys are expensive so you hate to throw away $20+ per pound wire just to ensure that you will have enough to finish your weld.

John Sander with Wire Wizard® loaned us a demo unit of their FLEX Guide module with Wire Pilot® feed assist. Our friends at Special Metals sent us a partial drum of Inconel 625® wire for testing*. Dave Hebble set it up in our lab and you are welcome to visit anytime.

I will let Dave Hebble explain it all in the video


*ARC Specialties does not sell wire or take fees for product placement. ARC does sell Wire Wizard® but accepts no fees for testing.

TiKnee Project

Last year there were over 600,000 total knee replacements in the US. Most implants are made from a cobalt-chromium alloy. But there is always room for improvement. Other metals such as titanium more closely match the modulus of elasticity of bone and have better biocompatibility. But titanium lacks wear resistance. We have sponsored a project with the material science department of a local university to investigate techniques for improving wear resistance of titanium alloys. To quantify our results we designed and built a weight loss wear testing machine. After nearly half-million cycles the machine is ready for the students.

Should you wait on that knee replacement?…probably not. At ARC we sponsor university research projects each year. It is always fun to work with smart young minds. I have a chance to see which students might be ARC candidates. And we always learn something new. We have applied coatings to titanium which make it bulletproof, let’s see if it works for knees!


4 Ways an Automated Case Sealer Could Add Value to Your Operation

Case sealing is the process of closing or sealing your boxes. This is often the last step in the packaging process, occurring before you slap a label on the box and ship it to the customer or load it on the truck and send it to retailers. This process is often done by hand, but it can be automated. Here are four ways an automated case sealer could add value to your operation.

Royalty Free Photo

It Increases Production Rates

Too many production lines experience a bottleneck in the packaging operation. The automated production line churns out a steady stream of products, and your team is clustered at the end putting products in boxes, erecting boxes, sealing them and wrapping them.

This is not just an expensive waste of manpower but a limit on how much product you can ship. Set up case sealers along with other packaging equipment so that your packaging operation can keep up with the production line output and you’ll eliminate the need to pay overtime to packagers trying to keep up with a more efficient production line.

It Reduces Material Use

Packaging automation doesn’t just save money on labor costs and increase production. It also reduces how much packaging material is used. Automated case sealers use as little tape as possible. Furthermore, they’ll use the right adhesive for the job and apply it correctly. This allows you to use less material without sacrificing packaging performance.

If you use less tape, labels and other packaging materials, you’ll be able to tell customers that you’re reducing material use and waste in the facility. This makes packaging automation like case sealers an investment in a greener business. This is even true when you buy a case sealer that can support several tape widths. That machine can be used on multiple products, and it won’t use the widest tape on every single box coming off the line unless it is necessary.

It Improves Employee Productivity

A case sealer and similar packaging automation will improve employee productivity. When they are stuck loading and taping boxes, they’re going to get tired. They’re at risk of repetitive stress injuries, too, that can result in missed work and medical bills. Having a lot of people packing boxes and loading them onto pallets or trucks also increases the risk of other accidents. Every incident results in increased insurance costs for the business and lower productivity for everyone involved.

Automating tasks like this frees up employees to do a variety of value-added tasks. Whether this is reloading cases and tape in packaging equipment or handling shipping problems, they’re doing more of the work that can’t be automated.

It Improves Quality

A case sealer will not only close boxes quickly but give it a professional finish. Compare this to the masses of tape sometimes applied by inexperienced or rushed employees. Instead, you’ll get even tape lengths and positions that are consistent across all your boxes.

Retailers and distributors will notice this as well as the impact it has on the supply chain. For example, the well-sealed box is less likely to be tampered with or have products stolen from it. There won’t be as many disputes over whether or not you failed to ship a full order or that something was pilfered before it hit the shelves.

A side benefit of proper sealing is that you’re less likely to have products get damaged in transit. The box is not prone to coming open if it tips over during transport, spilling the contents. It is less likely to get crushed or shift because someone didn’t seal the top properly.


Case sealers are a surprisingly valuable form of automation for the average business. They will directly impact your business’ bottom line while improving quality and productivity across the board.

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Namun pasti akan ada berbagai strategi ataupun cara yang baik untuk dapat bermain dengan cukup benar dan juga tepat agar dapat mendapatkan sebuah kartu yang baik dalam bermain disebuah permainan Judi Online yang memang sudah cukup populer di Indonesia pada sekarang ini. Dan ini akan ada beberapa cara yang baik dalam bermain disebuah permainan Judi Online ini agar dapat mendapatkan sebuah kemenangan dan juga dengan kartu yang baik untuk dapat menjadi seorang pemenang atau pemain yang cukup hkalianl dan juga professional didalamnya yang terutama ialah:
Waktu Yang Terbaik
kalian mungkin akan bertanya-tanya sebuah waktu yang terbaik untuk melakukan sebuah bluffing lawan kalian. Memang pada dasarnya dengan jawaban yang sederhana adalah ketika kalian memang sudah yakin bahwa mereka akan melakukan fold. Itu semua akan tergantung pada berbagai skenario dan juga situasi, karena tidak akan ada dua hand yang pernah sama.
Posisi Akhir
Namun ada sebuah situasi yang tertentu akan dapat lebih menguntungkan daripada yang lain untuk pull out dari menggertak. Misalnya, kalian berada diposisi terakhir di hand adalah dengan sebuah keuntungan yang besar dan memang akan cukup cocok untuk peluang bluffing ketika para pemain bertindak sebelum kalian melakukan check. Sebuah check yang memang biasanya tkalian hand yang lemah dan akan harus sering kali dimanfaatkan ketika kalian memang sedang memiliki posisi yang akan cukup menguntungkan.
Melanjutkan Bet
Jika kalian raise sebelum waktunya tiba, meskipun kartu menjatuhkan diri kalian mungkin telah menjawab kalian, kalian akan dapat untuk dapat membuat kelanjutan bet dan mungkin akan dapat mengambil pot jika sebuah kegagalan tidak akan dapat membantu hand lawan kalian dengan baik. Atau tidak kalian berada dalam situasi draw pasca-flop dengan kemungkinan straight atau flush, maka tentu saja kalian akan mencoba untuk semi-bluft.

Semi-Bluff yang memang berbeda dari bluffing murni yang tidak memiliki hand yang dibuat pada tahap hand, tetapi masih akan dapat memiliki suatu kemungkinan untuk dapat menang hand pada gilirannya atau River jika kalian menangkap salah satu out kalian. kalian akan mencoba untuk meraup pot di semi-bluff dengan para pemain yang lain dengan melakukan fold. Tetapi jika kalian mendapatkan call apapun, maka kalian akan masih memiliki peluang untuk dapat menang.
Terhadap Kartu Kecil
Bluffs juga akan dapat berhasil dengan melawan semua para pemain dengan kartu kecil dalam aksi tournament. Kecuali kartu kecil pada hkalian mereka jauh pada sebuah kegagalan. Mereka mungkin tidak akan mengambil resiko hidup dalam sebuah tournament mereka dengan ikut call taruhan kalian terus fold. Hati-hati adalah cukup penting, namun karena para pemain dengan taruhan yang kecil biasanya akan dapat lebih baik fold atau mempertaruhkan semuanya. Itulah mengapa suatu cara yang tepat dari gaya bermain dan juga kecenderungan dalam bermain lawan kalian selalu penting sebelum untuk mencoba melakukan bluffing.