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Martin Fairbank

Blogs - Martin Fairbank

Opening the door to innovation

Opening the door to innovation

Patents are supposed to spread knowledge by making those filing for a patent describe the innovation in detail. But patent lawyers are masters of obfuscation, and try to make claims that cover every permutation they can think of, whether they've tried it or not. Their competitors then try to find a way around the patent to avoid paying royalties. It could be argued that patents actually slow down innovation, especially when ideas can be copied much more easily in the information age than in the 1700s when the current patent system began.

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

Poka Yoke for easier and safer work

Poka Yoke for easier and safer work

If you've had any exposure to Lean Manufacturing, you'll be familiar with the term Poka Yoke, invented by lean guru Shigeo Shingo in the 1960s. It means mistake-proofing....

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

Reduce, Recycle, and Rethink

Reduce, Recycle, and Rethink

According to the OECD , Germany recycles or composts 65% of its waste. The remainder is incinerated, since there are no landfills in the country. Compare this with the situ...

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

The Evolution of Maintenance Philosophies

The Evolution of Maintenance Philosophies

Maintenance philosophies have come a long way in the last few decades. In the beginning there was reactive maintenance, i.e. only fixing something if it breaks or causes ...

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

Data Mining 101

Data Mining 101

I heard it said recently that in the last ten minutes, more data have been generated than since the prehistoric era until 2003. Measuring things and storing the acquired ...

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

A History Lesson on Paper Tariffs

A History Lesson on Paper Tariffs

In January 2018, the US Department of Commerce slapped a tariff ranging from 0.65% to 9.93% on Canadian producers of uncoated groundwood paper. This followed a tariff app...

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Blogs - Martin Fairbank

Four Seasons of Papermaking

Four Seasons of Papermaking

Unless you live near the equator, you are aware of seasonal changes and how to react to them. But did you know that papermaking can also be affected by season? In this bl...

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