How To Market Your Business Using Custom Bobblehead Dolls

Custom bobblehead dolls can be used for many different purposes. For instance, for a business, it can be used for marketing purposes. So, if you have a business and would like to attract more customers to your business, you can use bobblehead dolls as your marketing tool. It will give a unique feeling to your business, and more people will become more interested in doing business with you. Here are some tips that you can follow to market your business using custom bobbleheads:

1. Create a bobblehead doll for your company mascot. This is something interesting to think about. If your business has a kind of mascot, which you can easily create if you want to have one, then you can turn your mascot into a bobblehead doll. This will give a positive image for your business, and of course, your customers will give more attention to your business. You can display your bobblehead dolls in your office, and you can even give it to your potential clients.

2. Use custom bobblehead dolls as a special bonus for loyal customers. If you are selling good products, you might want to reward your customers with a special gift. For instance, for those who are loyal with your business for the past 2 years, you can give your customers your custom bobblehead dolls. It can create a more personal connection between your business and your best customers, so that they will keep on coming to you.

3. Package your bobblehead doll with your best product. Whatever product that you are selling in your business, you can always package it with a bobblehead doll. For instance, if you are selling computer accessories, and one accessory become a bestseller, you can include a bobblehead doll bonus for those who buy that bestselling product from you. It will help to increase your product sales. Or, you can give your bobblehead dolls for limited edition products that you release.

Specifying Insulation Monitoring Devices for Utility-Scale Solar Safety

In her recent post, “Ground Fault Protection for Utility-Scale Solar Arrays,” my colleague Vanya Ignatova covered some of the basics to consider when designing ground-fault protection for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays. As she discussed, such protection is critical to prevent the system damage and fires that can result from overheated conductors. Insulation monitoring devices (IMDs) are important elements in such plans, and this post will look at some of the engineers need to know about when specifying and installing this equipment.

Why insulation monitoring matters
Maintaining insulation integrity on the direct current (DC) side of a large PV array is extremely important to fire prevention. The DC side includes the panels, junction boxes, conductors and other equipment leading up to the system’s inverter.

Damaged insulation can cause ground faults to occur in which an accidental contact occurs between an energized conductor and ground or equipment / array frame. Insulation faults can lead to conductor overheating and potential fire. IMDs are used to detect faulty insulation in ungrounded designs.

Specifiers need to consider the following factors when selecting an IMD for use in a PV array:

  • Compatibility with the PV voltage on the DC side of the installation.
  • Suitability for use in networks with a high leakage capacitance, for example up to 2000µF.
  • Durability in harsh environmental conditions, including wide variability in temperature and humidity.
  • Proper insulation fault detection around low insulation alarm thresholds (ie no false alarms), for example as low as 100 Ohms.

Once selected, IMDs also need to be configured for use in PV applications, considering the high leakage capacitance these systems can present. Depending on the product selected, this can require tuning the injection mode to PV use, or setting the maximum capacitance of the network.

Matching IMDs to meet unique PV demands
Proper selection of the IMD is necessary because insulation gets quite a workout in a PV system. Insulation resistance and earth leakage capacitance can vary widely between day and night, and during differing weather conditions, such as the change between clouds and bright sunshine. PV panels, themselves, account for 70 percent to 90 percent of total system insulation, and those panels are obviously on the front lines of weather exposure.

As a result of these varying conditions, field insulation levels can range from just a couple of kiloohms (kOhms) in the morning, up to 200 kOhms during a sunny afternoon’s peak production period. Figure 1 provides data from one PV installation over a two-day period that illustrates this wide variability in operating conditions.

Insulation resistance variations:


Earth leakage capacitance variations:


Given the spikes and troughs shown in these printouts, engineers need to be cautious in setting IMD alarm thresholds, otherwise false alarms can arise simply as a result of the normal variation in network resistance. The International Electrotechnical Commission’s Technical Specification 62548, “Design requirements for photovoltaic arrays,” specifies the following minimum alarm thresholds:


Schneider Electric suggests the best practice is to measure the lowest value of network resistance during normal conditions – that is to say without having an insulation fault. This lowest value may be reached in difficult environmental conditions, for example when humidity is at its highest level. Then the IMD alarm threshold can be set at 50% of this minimum R value. Note that there is no safety risk in having a very low alarm level.

If the alarm level is set at too high a value, the consequence is to have frequent false insulation faults (for example, in the morning, or during stormy weather), which in turn may result in loss of PV production and the generation of multiple alarm messages in the monitoring system. So, when selecting the IMD, it is important to ensure it has a user-configurable low alarm threshold (for example, as low as 100 Ohms) along with accurate measurement of low resistance values to help avoid false insulation alarms. The ability to record and track historical resistance and capacitance values can be useful for a better understanding of baseline operating conditions over a range of seasons and weather events. This data can aid preventive-maintenance efforts by providing early detection of potential problems.

Click to learn more about Schneider Electric’s IMD products and Conext SmartGen  and solar inverter solutions.

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How IIOT, IT/OT convergence, and your ERP will finally truly help you …

Efficiency / Productivity: where are we?

In the last 10 to 20 years, a lot of companies have optimized their “business processes” by implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, etc.

On the other hand, these same companies have optimized their “manufacturing or operating processes”, mostly by implementing more automation.

Both efforts above have brought strong productivity gains to these companies, but most of industrial companies in “advanced economies” are now facing a strong reduction in their productivity rate (see charts below).


Productivity Statistics from OECD

IT/OT convergence: the next big step in productivity

We can and should certainly continue to make productivity gains in our business processes and our operational processes. Those gains however will be more and more marginal. The next big step forward in productivity and efficiency is to bring together the information coming from the business and the information coming from the operational, industrial processes. And therefore to reach one global optimum for the company performance instead of trying to achieve two local optima that are mathematically less performing.

By fully combining all the knowledge about our customers and our business that come from our ERP’s and CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) with a real time knowledge of what our processes can deliver and how they deliver it, we’ll be able to breach the ceiling of productivity and also make additional gains on quality and traceability.

This is very often called the convergence of IT with OT.

Are we ready? Is it now?

The software needed to bridge the gap between the ERP and the operational process (or for the more technical, between “the SCADA” and “the ERP”) are available now. They are called MES, historians, analytics, etc … and they can be implemented immediately and will deliver immediate value.

However, to realise the full value of this convergence, the industry will need to lower and simplify the cost to access to the data. The industrial internet of things (IIOT) associated with new network architectures and new PLC innovation, coming on the market now, are key enablers.

Finally, the industry will need to merge the process/OT networks with the business / IT networks. That, will bring additional cybersecurity constraints to the operational / industrial processes. A whole new set of services to implement cybersecurity while preserving the high availability requirements which is so critical in industrial processes, is emerging and becoming available to enable a smooth integration.

So a combination of software, new automation architecture and cybersecurity services, all available now, are the key ingredients for the next productivity step-up of the industry.

Industrial companies that look to survive, to out-perform their competitors, the call to action is now!


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Mineufacturing: Lessons in Partnerships

MineufacturingToday, we are seeing the transformation of many mining companies to move to a manufacturing way of thinking or what we call “Mineufacturing”.  The level of maturity in managing variability and costs by the manufacturing industry is the aspiration of many mining companies today due to the pressures of low commodity prices and increased competition.

The manufacturing industry has been faced with decades of continued cost pressures arising from free trade agreements and globalization.  Manufacturing operations in first world nations faced going down the drain due to cheap foreign labor and the only way to circumvent this is either by relocating to lower cost regions or to improve their product quality and reduce cost through the use of technology.  Mining companies today face the same dilemma except that they don’t have the option to relocate to lower cost regions by virtue of the industry – you cannot move a mine.  So are there lessons from the manufacturing industry that miners can use when looking at leveraging technology to remain competitive?

Let’s look at two of the most successful business models in the past 40 years of manufacturing.  The terms “Keiretsu” from Japan and “Chaebol” from Korea are good lessons in vertical integration of businesses to gain market efficiencies but it is also here that we can take lessons on how the most successful companies of these industrialized nations operate when it comes to selecting vendors.  The key learning these manufacturing giants employed was to establish partnerships with their vendors so that they can achieve a level of trust and transparency so true collaboration can exist amongst an ecosystem of synergistic vendors.  This allowed for both customer and vendor to better understand how each other works, removes rivalry, jointly develop capabilities, share information more openly and most importantly, enable all parties to collaborate on joint improvement activities.  The trust built through such partnerships mean that vendors are not just trying to meet the contractual commitments but exceed them through mutual motivation to garner further goodwill.  Most mining companies today still rely on tendering processes that divorce loyalty from the decision making process.  If Mineufacturing were to become a reality, true partnerships with technology vendors must become a strategic imperative in order to for mining companies to undergo the Digital Transformation process that is essential to remaining competitive today.

Schneider Electric and RungePincockMinarco (RPM) realize that Mineufacturing solutions will require innovation across an ecosystem of vendors.  As two leading mining solutions vendors, Schneider and RPM have partnered to create a commercially available off-the-shelf software solution to address the need for Short Interval Control (SIC) in mining operations.  This closed-loop, near real-time process improvement solution has its roots in the manufacturing industry.  Having worked in partnership with mining giants globally, both organizations have combined their expertise and deep industry knowledge to enable SIC today for traditional mining operations.  Combining Schneider’s Integrated Planning and Optimization Solution and RPM’s XECUTE product, this partnership offers a platform for innovation to miners looking to evolve their operating models by taking advantage of the Digital Transformation momentum within the mining industry.

Mineufacturing has now arrived through our Partnership and Innovation.  Witness this first hand through a demonstration at MINExpo 2016: Please register for your desired time.


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