John Best

(so far.....)

In assembling these lists of projects, and particularly on reflecting about SpectruMedix, an 'aha' moment occurred, prompting this linkedin 'article'. It's 'initial thoughts', and if you're into system development and validation and would like to co-author a second revision, feel free to give me a ping.

Thought for 2016: If you could apply 5S to either your hard drive OR your workspace (talk about a false choice) go for the hard drive. (Unless you work with really dangerous stuff.)

Additional details, some relavent narrative, and links to former teammates may be found in separate web-pages for each employer.

Best Shop

Jun 2007 - Present Engineer/Builder/Programmer

My current project is a fully automatic CNC lathe, build from the foundation of a '70's vintage high precision instrument lathe, or watchmakers lathe. This project incorporates the design, manufacture, programming and integration of the following additions to the lathe:
  • 1: Collet opener/closer
  • 2: Bar puller
  • 3: Gang tool system
  • 4: Spindle servo
  • 5: PLC and other interface electronics
  • 6: Mach 3 motion controller

Software Specialists, Inc on contract to: Philips Ultrasound, Reedsville, PA

Jun 2013 - Mar 2015 Test Engineer

  • Established test requirements, equipment and validation process for new vendors for ultrasound cables
  • Lead supply chain effort to harmonize vendor test programs for active ultrasound cables This included the creation of performance requirements documents, and design qualification
  • Lead technical team to solve problems transferring designs to alternate vendors This included cross site technical coordination and actual bench time troubleshooting parasitic feedback to sense amplifiers
  • Developed ROI (Return on Investment) analysis for next generation test stands based on existing testing, and extrapolations of current problems which were appropriate to solve by sampling more sophisticated tests. The plan was adopted.
  • Discovered 6 sigma opportunity, performed statistical study on existing measurement systems to document underutilization of resolution, documented lean alternative plan using existing measurement systems to avoid investing in high overhead replacement systems
  • Assimilated governing internal and external requirements to qualify design changes in an FDA regulated environment. Wrote design change qualification plan which assured regulatory findings would be avoided in future audits.
  • Analysed signal path variance in ultrasound transducers to implement cost-saving redesign
  • Built a novel heating unit which allowed collection of intra-element performance data over temperature.
  • Lead reconciliation of product documentation to improve FDA compliance wrt Apex, a key transducer supplier to Ultrasound (Apex as a Supplier project)
  • Facilitated cross-site strategy development and implementation for Apex as a Supplier project

Best Instrument, Inc., State College, PA

Jun 2005 - Jun2013 Senior Engineer

Responsible for all aspects of starting and successfully running a small manufacturing company for 8 years. Specific technologies and skills (technical, organizational and personal) which are responsible for this success are described below.

7 UHPLC fittings
Examples of fittings developed by John Best while at Best Instrument, Inc. The 'Gemini' fittings shown are the subject of US patents 8,006,367 and 8,887,371.
  • Designed and completed all steps of design and development toward commercialization of a new product, a high pressure liquid flowmeter Wrote and received US patent 7,644,632
  • Developed and manufactured miniature hydraulic fittings for HPLC systems Wrote and received US patent 8,006,367, and 8,887,371 Interacted with research customers to understand requirements and envision niche flow-path products to improve system performance
  • Developed relationships with several global distributors
  • Used CAD and various machining processes to build prototypes and first articles for testing/evaluation
  • Coded and manufactured medium and high volume production components for liquid flow meters, high pressure miniature hydraulic fittings, hydraulic manifolds, and machined packaging
  • Converted CAD drawings to G-Code for machining Set up, operated and maintained CNC machines
  • Manufactured components from 303 and 316 stainless steel and aluminium Occasionally machined cast iron, delrin, PEEK, brass and other materials to manufacture fixtures and jigs
  • Built, ran and maintained an anodizing line Designed, built and programmed ATS (Automatic Test System) for calibration of flow meters using PC based VB data acquisition program interacting with Excel
  • Designed and built various electronics I/O interfaces and PIC micro-controller based automation interfaces Programmed for PIC18F452 and 16F877 in C++
  • Automated a Schaublin lathe using Mach3 CNC program, including sourcing and/or building all drive components and electronic interfaces
  • Retro-fitted an EMCO mill-lathe with X-Y-Z CNC control using a Centroid controller
  • Operated Citizen B12 Swiss style fully automatic precision lathe (with FANUC controller)
  • Skills: Machining, electronics, electro-mechanical design, schematic capture and PCB layout, firmware coding, technical research, writing, sales and general business skills.

Scientific Systems, Inc., State College, PA

Nov 2002 - Jun 2005 Electronics Engineer / Programmer

Responsible for electronics circuit design including schematic generation, component sourcing, schematic capture, PCB layout, testing and documentation for various electronics devices related to high pressure pumping systems and related scientific instrumentation. Wrote firmware for PIC micro-controllers used in above in C+. Wrote and documented data acquisition software in C++ and VB including Excel model interfaces for end user applications and in-house automated testing systems. Project samples include:
  • Motor control systems for new pump designs
  • Flow monitoring and calibration system (ATS) using Sensirion flow sensors
  • Pump control (flow sequencing) plug-in for EZChrom HPLC software, export to EXCEL in real time
  • Design and PCB layout for stepper motor drivers, optical sensors, and various digital I/O interfaces
  • Modelled pulsation in output flow due to fluid compressibility in dual piston reciprocating pumps. Worked with mechanical engineers to develop adjustable volume pump cylinder for compressibility compensation.

SpectruMedix LLC., State College, PA

Mar 2001 - Nov 2002 Senior Electronics Design Engineer

Responsible for hardware design, documentation and agency certifications (CE / UL) for model SCE9610 Genetics Analysis System.
Model SCE9610 Genetics Analysis System
These systems contained a 30kV power supply, 35W laser, high pressure (approx 4000 PSI) gel pump, and a pneumatic/stepper motor driven sample handler. The system was controlled from National Instrument interfaces and Labview. The initial design was inherited, and contained numerous instrumentation, design and safeguard problems. On more than one occasion, these early 'prototypes' caught fire in the field. Through careful dissection and redesign, a reliable and safe system was placed in production and over 100 systems were sold. Unfortunately, changes in technology by ABI and others made the SCE9610 relatively expensive, and Spectrumedix failed.
  • System design responsibility for CE/UL/FCC certification of genetic sequencing systems using class IV lasers and high voltage
  • Significantly modified design of prototype genetic sequencer to pass CE (Compliance European) EMC standards System passed on first try
  • Project leader for UL/CE approval of support components
  • Design, PCB layout, build, test and validation of support devices such as polymer dispensing pumps, temperature controller calibration system, and sub-systems to the SCE9610. These sub-systems included optical isolation and high power control sub-systems, arc-over detection system, motor control logic, etc.
  • Micro-controller programming, embedded uP programming, C
  • Mechanical design, PCB design, layout, documentation and production implementation
  • Engineering support interface for Marketing, Production and Service departments
  • Supervised activities of Electronics engineer, Mechanical designer and Documentarian

ELMDAS Co., Alexandria, PA

Nov 1989 - Mar 2001 President / Proprietor

Responsible for all phases of operation of a small company that manufactured scientific imaging instrumentation for the research and development community. The primary product was the DRV-2000 PC based imaging system, shown below.

Software, and all aspects of hardware design and manufacturing were accomplished in the garage of John Best. Approximately 250 systems were sold nationwide to clients which represent the apex of US technological innovation. These clients included national laboratories, major universities, and R&D departments of major technology corporations.

When the SEM manufacturers introduced the first truly PC compatible SEM models, DRV-2000 sales were limited to upgrading older SEM models, even though the DRV-2000 retained many features not found in the new SEM's of that day (2000) and of today. Installed systems were replaced through normal capitol equipment replacement of the SEM's whose useful lives they extended. The last known active client is: Bart Cannon, at Cannon Microprobe:
DRV-2000, software and interfaces
The DRV-2000 SEM->PC image acquisition system. This kit allowed SEM users to have the electron beam of their SEM scan under PC generated coordinates, as the PC generated a scan, images were digitized and recorded in TIFF format, ready to import into any PC based software for analysis, processing, or report generation. This saved significant quantities of Polaroid film, which at this time, around 1989, was the only method to take a hard-copy of an image from an SEM.

LeMont Scientific Inc., State College, PA

Jul 1985 - Nov 1989 Electronics Engineer