IT Manager & Former Ceramics Instructor
City Academy – St. Paul, MN 55130
My little kiln just happily fired itself and reported all manner of good things to me. I am impressed. Over 20 years ago I went to college, and minored in ceramics. In the intervening decades, I have become an IT guy as the way to pay bills. When I got the project to put in a new kiln, it was a neat combination of a few different hats for me.
Over the years, I have worked with a variety of technologies and been through my share of sales gimmicks, odd projects, and gizmos that do not live up to the hype. Your KilnLink box – I bolted it to the wall, plugged it in, and used the name and password you sent me. That is it.
The application itself is blissfully clean, simple, and provides useful information in a very functional way. It’s rare I see something this elegant and functional – nicely done. I have been running around with my laptop and phone showing co-workers text messages and graphs from the kiln, and I am quite sure they think I’ve gone nuts 🙂
Pamela Owens –Owner of Ceramic Store of Houston on KilnLink
Actually most of the school districts think it’s a pretty good deal. Since they’re able to have access to information on every kiln in the district, while Skutt can simultaneously see the same info by accessing their account, Skutt can help diagnose problems remotely. You see, the Kiln Link doesn’t just send the info to your PC. It sends it to Skutt as well.
The district kiln repairman can also log on with his user code and enter information regarding repairs, element resistance, etc., giving Skutt additional information at any time to help the teachers troubleshoot issues, free of charge, even when they can’t reach us or their repairman. The same information can help forecast future repair expenses. They’re able to look at all the firing profiles, compared to a normal profile, and get an idea of how fast the element life is declining and when it might be necessary to replace them.
It may not be for everyone, but for a Fine Arts Coordinator to be able to have Perry run diagnostics from Portland, analyze the data, relay the information back to the teacher and to the coordinator in layman’s term, and subsequently forward the info to the repairman, it’s a bargain that pays for itself in the first use. Schools frequently have to pay for two service calls because the repairman can’t get enough information from the teacher to bring all the needed parts for the diagnostic visit.
It saves a lot of time, too. Even when the repairman is backed up, the parts could be ordered and en route, rather than waiting for the initial service call. Teachers just can’t afford the time it takes to schedule two visits, especially when it’s down to the wire.
This February, I was out at Odyssey, in North Carolina. I was able to see what it was like to have 10 kilns hooked up, several of them firing, half of them cooling, and the remainder waiting for the next load. We could look up firing history on any one of them, with the click of the mouse. The lab tech was able to schedule his work time around when the kiln would be cool enough to unload, just by checking his I-phone. I wasn’t sold until then. I thought about all the time I wasted when I was the tech, checking on the kiln progress during the firing, waiting for the kiln to cool, and when the power went out, having no idea where the kiln was in the firing profile. To be safe, we usually just re-fired. Granted, when the power goes out, you’ve probably lost your connection, too, but Skutt hasn’t, and the information is still there on the server. I’m not a technophile, but I can see the value. To see the video interview of Odyssey on Kiln Link click here.