Top 3 Benefits of Machine Monitoring

When Shop Floor Automations brings its machine monitoring solutions to trade shows, once in a while, we have people approach us saying they have a need for tool monitoring. When we clarify our software monitors utilization of machines and not tools (even though we do have tool management, which is different), some start to walk away disappointed. We are able to pull them back in by quickly describing to them the Top 3 benefits of machine monitoring, and we wanted to share that information with you today. 

machine monitoring benefitsReason 1 – Reducing downtime is a universal concern in manufacturing. Driving improvement off of real data that is collected in real-time is crucial to this cause. With machine monitoring, we can find ways to eliminate downtimes, which should increase uptime significantly.

Reason 2 – It gives your operators a voice. The people working on the shop floor want to explain what is going on in a way that someone who is not a machinist can understand and see. They might tell their supervisor about the problems they have, but maybe the info does not get through to upper management, so then upper management just thinks the machinists are not doing a good enough job. Machine monitoring and the data collected gives them the ability to tell everyone in the company why machines are not running, which means that hopefully, a new process can be put in place to help with the concerns of downtime.

Check out our video tutorial on how to use the data entry screen on DataXchange machine monitoring by clicking here!

Reason 3 –  You will have confidence knowing a machine needs to be fixed or replaced. When we take our car to the repair shop, we ask for diagnostic codes of what is wrong with our vehicles so we can do research on what exactly is the problem that needs fixing. This is because we want to determine what kind of investment we can or want to put into an aging machine. With machine monitoring, understanding true utilization of the machines and being able to identify if machines are underutilized or overburdened can help aid a company into seeing why a machine has issues. This can help with decisions on whether new equipment needs to be purchased by being able to track unplanned downtime.

Want more info? Fill out a request to attend a machine monitoring webinar by clicking here, or call us at (877) 611-5825.

 

Jeremy Bout Edge Factor Interview

Jeremy Bout Edge FactorIt is pretty difficult these days to find someone who does not have a NetFlix, YouTube or Hulu account. They are gateways not only for entertainment but also a good resource to learn about different cultures than our own, in the instances of “how to” videos, reality programming (well, some of it) and documentaries. Now, there is a network of programming online for the manufacturing industry, MFG Day & the Made in America movement similar to these platforms called Edge Factor.

The introduction video to Edge Factor is a great window into what they do. It starts with the point of view of the parent, the educator and the employer. It all focuses on how manufacturing jobs are the perfect middle ground for the frustrated parent who paid for a child’s education who does not have a job in that career field, while the employer gets skilled workers, and the educator can get the resources they need to teach in this realm.

Edge Factor The Founder of Edge Factor Jeremy Bout was a typical high school graduate who didn’t quite know what he wanted to do. What was atypical about him was that he experimented with manufacturing by trying out a five-axis machine. He said the experience changed his life significantly.

In an interview with Shop Floor Automations, Jeremy spoke about how the first piece he ever built with a machine set him on a path that would change his life, as well as the lives of others. For Disney, it was all started by a mouse, and for Jeremy, it was all started by an end mill.

“A standard, four flute end mill which looks so simple really became a catalyst for just recognizing that everything is made in using that one tool. Boy oh boy, you can make an awful lot of different parts [with it]. The diversity of things that an end mill can create is shocking and astounding, so for me, the end mill was a gateway to a much, much bigger journey in life.”

Read more after the page break below! 

Read more

Hunting Bigfoot CMMS

Hunting BigfootThere are many elusive creatures and mysteries in the world that people dedicate their lives to finding. One goal which may seem equally elusive to many shop floor workers is in getting rid of downtime. If you are hunting for a solution to help with downtime and plant maintenance, then you should be hunting Bigfoot CMMS.

In a nutshell, some of the best features of Bigfoot CMMS for plant maintenance software are:

1) Keeping organized to reduce downtime – Automatic reminders prevent PMs from falling through the cracks, which reduces equipment downtime.

2) Saving time – A request form saves maintenance department one hour per day by not having to field or respond to calls or emails for non-emergency maintenance requests.

3) Reporting – Identify what work has been done on equipment over time & what’s overdue.

4) Analysis – See how much it costs to maintain a piece of equipment over time, when it’s down, & why.

Want to see measurable results? One company was able to reduce downtime by 76 percent with Bigfoot CMMS. Another company was able to decrease downtime by 90 percent in a span of two years!

bigfoot cmms One amazing aspect of Bigfoot CMMS is that it can be paired with the machine monitoring solution of Scytec’s DataXchange. These are both solutions that Shop Floor Automations can customize and integrate onto your shop floor.

Something technologically to note about Bigfoot CMMS is that it has an app you can access from both Apple and Android phones. This flexibility is definitely an attractive feature for Bigfoot users.

Check out our most recent article on Bigfoot CMMS in the February issue of MFG News by clicking here. For more info, contact sales via this form or call (877) 611-5825.

January/February 2017 SFA Newsletter

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of our January/February 2017  SFA Newsletter.

HOUSTEX 2017

HOUSTEX is around the corner and Shop Floor Automations (SFA) will be at Booth 1616 with our solutions for better OEE and productivity. This trade show in Houston, TX will feature some amazing technology, and our booth will be included. We will have Predator, Scytec and JobPack solutions on-hand to discuss with attendees.

There is still time to get free admission to HOUSTEX, courtesy of Shop Floor Automations. Check out machine monitoring, DNC software, and other solutions we will have at the show, as well as how to get a free pass, by clicking here.

What is Secure DNC?

If you have taken the steps to invest in DNC Software for your shop floor, you also want to be sure these programs are secure and your manufacturing operation isn’t taken for a ride by hackers and other shady characters. How many new machines do you have that are just plugged into the network?

Ask us about Secure DNC – a Windows application designed to be installed on Windows-based CNC machines, CMMs, test stands, and other equipment.

It supports a wireless or wired Ethernet interface via TCP/IP. It eliminates the requirements of corporate domains, workgroups, or Windows Shares for DNC transfers. Further good news is that it supports older versions of Windows, which reduces the need for costly Windows updates on CNC machines. Read more about Secure DNC!

Consider: Job Scheduling 

“Shops often share their data management woes, so when I came across these five reasons for making the change from spreadsheets to a real-time, graphical job scheduler, I just had to pass them along,” declares Christina from MoldMaking Technology, regarding our article where we boldly declare spreadsheets to be “dead weight.”

Spreadsheets in the manufacturing industry have to be given the boot, for a number of reasons. Having a responsive program that can help you plan up to 365 days into the future for production schedules is a great step forward for your shop floor. We would love to help you transition to this technology. See more about our job scheduling solution JobPack!

Original SFA newsletter link HERE

BONUS ANNOUNCEMENT: We are in the San Diego area and selling the following – a metal truss in a wooden crate, discontinued (but still working) discounted bar code readers, and two folding metal literature racks. If interested, please call our office for information at (619) 461-4000 ext 1006.

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 5

shop floor automationsAt SFA, we not only work every day to help improve your business, but also to preserve our business history. We hope you will enjoy the newest installment of our archived pieces of news from the Shop Floor Automations Blog Legacy series! 

In MFG News, we have appeared a few times recently. In this month’s issue (February 2017), we have a press release on Bigfoot CMMS  (page 18 of the West Edition) and in the Southwest Edition, we have an ad about the machine monitoring solutions we will have on hand at HOUSTEX 2017 at Booth 1616.

A piece from Robotics Tomorrow back in October 2016 talked about our Wi-Fi USB Connect product. “Floppy drive emulators and CNC machines with a USB port can now have wireless abilities! You will also have different transfer modes to customize your storage solutions.”

The Fabricator also published facts about the Wi-Fi USB Connect back in November of 2016. “Users will see the files at their machines on the USB as soon as they are added to the shared folder. They will not need to walk to the programmer or find them to get needed answers.”

Speaking of the aforementioned MFG News, we were also in their December 2016 issue (all Editions) talking about our character Shop Floor Man and social media in the manufacturing industry, which you can read about here. Modern Machine Shop also gave a nice mention to Shop Floor Man in this blog here.

Want to know ways to increase your shop floor’s OEE and productivity without investing in new machines? Call (877) 611-5825 or use the chat function on our site to see how we can help! You may also fill out this Contact Form.

What is Predator Secure DNC?

secure dnc software

Click photo for a larger view

If you invested in DNC Software for your shop floor, you also want to rest assured that these programs are secure and your manufacturing operation isn’t taken for a ride by hackers and other unsavory characters. How many of your newer machines are just plugged into the network?

This is where Secure DNC comes in – a Windows application designed to be installed on Windows-based CNC machines, CMMs, test stands, and other equipment. This application from Predator DNC supports a wireless or wired Ethernet interface via TCP/IP.

Secure DNC eliminates the requirements of corporate domains, workgroups, or Windows Shares for DNC transfers. Further good news is that it supports older versions of Windows, which reduces the need for costly Windows updates on CNC machines.

“The best way to explain how it’s helpful is that it allows secure file transfers to CNC machines through firewalls,” said one of our techs at SFA, who is experienced with Secure DNC. “For example, if a shop has Windows-based machines and strict network security, they can send directly to the hard drive of the machine without interfering with the network, or without creating additional security risks.”Another one of our techs also added that “you no longer need to share unsecured folders on machines.”

Using Secure DNC, which is a component of Predator DNC Software, is a beneficial combination for your shop floor. Here is what some of our customers had to say about Predator DNC:

We have experienced faster, easier file transport [for our CNC machines]. -Daniel, Benét Laboratories for the US ARMY

We needed to be able to communicate our CNCs and improve the ability of our mill.  -Shane, Power Repair Service Inc

We were looking for a system that would communicate through a wireless network, so we could get rid of the switch box and old wires running all over the machine shop. DNC Software helped us eliminate our old switch box. -Rajikumar, Nell Joy Industries

Want more info? Call us at (877) 611-5825. You can also request more Predator DNC info via this Sales contact form.

We also have a chat feature on our site, as well as a few social media channels to reach us at.