There are lots of creative ideas. That doesn’t mean they are always the right ones. Our ideation sessions encompass all techniques that generate ideas. The rules of engagement in traditional brainstorming techniques typically don’t work with engineers, scientists and business people. Each group will have strong, and often conflicting and competing, points of view. With our guidance and engineering know-how, we understand how to harness that conflict and competition toward the common goal of success. We have facilitated hundreds of technical teams and we know what it takes to keep all groups on task and delivering world-class solutions that will work for the long haul. 



A unique, 2 1/2 day Ideation Session, facilitated by Automation Association, features structured visual brainstorming, small group breakout sessions to deal with detail, team Post-It Notes¨ presentations, and some fun. We have learned over the years that when a team is having fun, creativity can be elevated to new levels. 

We also incorporate "spikers", specialists with specific and non-specific knowledge, to help the group push the thinking "envelope" beyond the boundaries and constraints of your team. We get the issues out in the open so they can be discussed. Creative, novel, and proprietary solutions are consistently delivered with our methodology.


Process development teams need not only doctoral-level theoreticians, but also the machine builders and operators who, working together, will bring a process to reality. Utilizing the Kaizen techniques, we are able to translate theory into practical, cost-effective methods for manufacturing. Ownership of a process begins with ownership of the ideas that created the process. Early involvement with your factory technicians is the key to implementation success.

Automation Association has developed brainstorming techniques to facilitate the open discussion of tough issues. Our “shot pots” are guaranteed to allow everyone’s voice to be heard in a non-threatening environment. In addition, we bring in elements of humor and fun to enhance creative thinking.


Discrete event simulation is a modeling tool that allows the process designer to create models and run experiments of processes involving queues or waiting lines. By testing out ideas in a computer “laboratory,” the process designer can predict the future with confidence, without disrupting the current operation. 

Any business environment, from customer service, to manufacturing, to health care, can benefit from process simulation. And whether an existing supply chain or a manufacturing process is being analyzed, the Automation Association utilizes the same five easy tasks to develop a simulation model and to experiment with the model to improve a business process: 

  • Create a basic model. 
  • Refine the model. 
  • Simulate the model. 
  • Analyze simulation results. 
  • Select the best alternative.


Al Hammel has been providing manufacturing, automation and product design risk analysis to the venture capital community for more than 25 years. During the course of his assignments, Mr. Hammel has saved investors millions of dollars on entrepreneur’s ideas that were not technically viable. In addition, his suggestions for modifications to the product or technology platforms have yielded significant return for investors. Assignments have ranged from SIC codes 20 through 39.

The assignments range from food products, personal hygiene products, window products, chemical products, plastic products, building products, mineral beneficiation, fabricated metal products, industrial machinery products, electronic equipment, alternative energy and miscellaneous manufacturing industries.