September/October 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of our September/October 2017 Shop Floor Automations newsletter:

shop floor automations newsletterModern Machine Shop Case Study

Do you have CNC communication issues? You may be surprised at what can cause these shop floor problems.

One of our customers, Stollen Machine, took the time to explain how replacing their inferior shop floor cabling with our Wireless Connect hardware units helped increase their productivity. Modern Machine Shop published the case study in their October 2017 issue.

Whether it’s hardware or software, we want to help you combat downtime.

MFG Day 2017

Shop Floor Automations is a proud supporter of MFG Day and other efforts to fill the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. It is important not only to us but to the American economy, that manufacturing stays prosperous.

Recently, Hernan from Workshops for Warriors and Jeremy from Edge Factor spoke with us about their roles in helping make manufacturing jobs more appealing. While what they do is different and appeals to separate groups of people, it is still valuable to get these jobs filled.

We also got to interact with a lot of our Instagram followers about why they love working in the manufacturing industry. The answers varied, whether they loved the daily challenges, the creativity, or the fact that they were continuing a family tradition. The common bind amongst them was that they loved their jobs!

Manufacturing Integrators & ROI

Return on Investment, or ROI, is one of the most important elements on a shop floor. You want to make sure everything you purchase for your production adds to your profits.

Have you taken the time to think about the money you spend on paper and file cabinets? Or how much time spreadsheets take to manually update? Are you still taking time to seek out old media for your shop floor, such as floppy disks?

A manufacturing integrator can help you reduce procurement costs, help with time-sensitive efficiencies, and help you maintain a marketplace advantage in a newly-revitalized American manufacturing landscape.

 

For more information on these solutions mentioned above, please call (877) 611-5825

Original Newsletter Here

July/August 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the July/August 2017 Shop Floor Automations newsletter:

Communication Issues You Can’t Ignore

You may have heard about DNC Software recently, but what exactly does it do? What benefits does it have that you need?

Here are three quick reasons DNC Software is a necessity on the shop floor:

  1. End CNC communication failures and stop manually managing your programs. One network for thousands of your CNC programs. Drip-feed, download and upload programs that are too big for the CNC memory. Make sure these crucial jobs are actually getting done at the machines on the shop floor.
  2. Hardware just won’t cut it. If you have a small shop with one or two machines, then using a Portable USB Connect may be enough for you, for now. But once your shop grows, you will get more machinery and more employees. You might already be a large company experiencing growing pains, coupled with CNC communication failures or wondering where on the shop floor your programs are floating around. Buying hardware or adding a USB port, though both actions are a great first step, won’t control your programs or get you the latest version of a file.
  3. The value is unmatched. When you invest in Predator DNC, it can be integrated with Predator MDC for machine data collection, or linked up with Predator PDM to help with paperless document control, or used with Touch HMI to make working at the machine easier. There are many integration possibilities – collecting machine trends can help improve OEE, while going paperless saves you time, and Touch HMI can replace old proprietary hardware like bar code readers.

SFA & The MFG Community

Shop Floor Automations loves being involved in the manufacturing community. We see the community is quickly growing as an influx of younger generation workers enters. This is especially true for the manufacturing community’s social media presence.

SFA has been involved with the manufacturing community in a multitude of ways over the last few years. We have given away hardware prizes at events, we have toured Workshops for Warriors, we have visited Open Source Maker Labs, and our Marketing Coordinator participated in (and won) a talent contest from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Coming to WESTEC 2017?

SFA is heading out of the San Diego area and up to Los Angeles to exhibit at WESTEC in September. Come and see us at the show!
Visit Booth 1935, where our hardware and software will be on display, as well as some of our talented staff, who can answer your questions about shop floor productivity.  We will also be giving out free shop floor swag.

If you would like to be reminded about WESTEC coming up in September, please shoot us an email and we can add you to our WESTEC emailing list.

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info. Link to the original newsletter here.

Special Edition Newsletter: WESTEC 2017

The following is an archived copy of our WESTEC 2017 email blast:

westec 2017Shop Floor Automations will be at WESTEC 2017 this year to show attendees the latest in smart manufacturing.

Where & When: Booth 1935, the Los Angeles Convention Center, September 12th through the 14th.

Quick Info: Come see demonstrations of DNC software, machine monitoring, job scheduling, and more. We will also have our USB and wireless solutions. Free giveaways of hardware, t-shirts, and mousepads will be available.

Why you should visit SFA at Booth 1935: Learn about Predator’s Manufacturing Suite of Software, which includes DNC, Document Control, Machine Monitoring, Tool Crib Management, and our integration services. See how as little as $45 per month, per machine, can help increase your shop floor productivity and OEE. Upgrade your legacy machines with USB and Ethernet connections, and eliminate serial cables by going wireless. We are celebrating almost 20 years in our industry, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge.

Can’t make it to WESTEC, but want some free insight on hardware or software? Visit our Webinars page and sign up to learn about our various solutions, or schedule a site visit in your shop with one of our manufacturing integrators.

Call (877) 611-5825 for more information!

Original Newsletter Here

July 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

shop floor automations newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from July 2017:

The buzz is out. The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, lean manufacturing, and OEE for manufacturing are all hot topics for our industry. Machine monitoring is one way to measure what you have before you can start improving, but what does it take to get started?

 

Is it affordable and compatible with your equipment? What about Cloud-based products that are low-cost and hosts data offsite? If you haven’t yet been persuaded, it’s likely because you’re wondering what exactly happens to your data. 

 

Many customers have turned to our Cloud-based solutions not only due to low cost, the ability to get email or text notifications of production issues, and no long term commitments but also because of proven reliability. One of our customers stated they were able to run their five-axis CNC machines for 24 hours a day to increase productivity instead of investing in more machines. That’s a big deal! 

 

“By 2020, a corporate ‘no-Cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today,” states Gartner, which is a highly respected information technology research company. As the current workforce in manufacturing grapples with a mass departure of experienced workers who are retiring, a younger workforce that is likely more adaptive to modern technology trickles in. 

 

If you’re still on the fence about Cloud-based tech for your shop floor, read this blog from our site where we map out how exactly your data is handled for DataXchange machine monitoring. We also have this interesting blog that discovers how IIoT and Cloud tech can help cut down on maintenance costs and help with the current manufacturing skills gap.

Fill out a contact form for more information by clicking here. Link to the original newsletter here

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – May/June 2017 Issue

2017 June July Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the 2017 June/May Shop Floor Automations Newsletter.

Consider Shop Floor Hardware

It is amazing how much hardware changes our daily lives. Your smartphone, your FitBit, your home assistant devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home – hardware helps improve your life in so many ways. Why not invest in some new hardware for your shop floor?

Add USB to any machine. Drip-feed programs that are too large for your CNC memory. Replace floppy disks or poorly insulated cables that are dropping your program transfers. Coming soon, use hardware that can function via WiFi, RS232 Serial, Ethernet, PLC, and the MTConnect protocol, at the same time. There are so many options at a very affordable cost.

Our customers have turned to our hardware to solve many shop floor problems. One customer found that his company could save money and not risk damaging their shop’s laptop by using our Portable USB Connect instead. Another customer who has been with us for over a decade has been using our wireless CNC machine networking devices in their shop for years. Another customer loves the process control and security of his shop’s programs from using our hardware devices. Just ask us about other hardware benefits!

Mastercam 2018 Rollout 

Our friends at CAD/CAM Consulting Inc. invited us to the Mastercam 2018 Rollout, which took place at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA.

We did a report on the event, which talks about enhancements made to Mastercam for this new version, plus our three best solutions that integrate with Mastercam Software.

We also have a fun, quick video from the event you can watch here.

Consulting a Technician Won’t Break The Bank

Have you ever bought hardware from some off-the-beaten-path discount store, or purchased cheap software, and have been dismayed at the lack of support or detailed documentation? It is so valuable when a technology company offers support for their products, and when offered, it may cost less than you think.

SFA is proud to have some of the best technicians in the manufacturing integration business. They not only offer support over the phone and via remote sessions for customers, but they can also come on-site to help.

We have some great resources on our website that explain why it is a great idea to use a technician instead of attempting to do it yourself. Sometimes cabling can be a little more difficult than you may have thought previously, which you can read about here. We also did a post on how setting up hardware can be a little more complex than imagined, which you can read by clicking here.

For more info, click here to contact us, or call (877) 611-5825. See the original newsletter here

May 2017 Newsletter – Machine Monitoring Data

May 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

If there are production issues at a manufacturing company, it is likely that at one time or another, a conflict has happened between those on the administrative side and those on the machinist side.

While it can appear as if the machinists are not doing their jobs, it is also likely that the machinists have tried to communicate their problems and lack of resources to the front office. With today’s diagnostic culture in mind, it’s a great idea to implement machine monitoring to help smooth over these communication issues.

Machine MonitoringWith machine monitoring data collection from Predator Software via MDC, it can help start a dialogue with your shop floor and its managers. Using the machine timeline dashboard via the Predator Machine Monitoring Client Software can help to plan a stand-up production meeting.

A manager can display this data on a shop floor screen and review with the team what the machines did yesterday during second and third shifts. This can encourage communication and understanding between those who work directly with machines, and those who work in the front office.

Also, the assumption that machine monitoring only works on CNC machines could be causing some shops to avoid investing in machine monitoring. For instance, an aerospace company that paints airplane parts needed their environment monitored for changes in humidity and temperature. We have also helped set up monitoring for a dairy farm, as well as testing the future possibilities of monitoring autoclaves and forklifts.

These unconventional machine monitoring capabilities have been possible with Scytec’s DataXchange and our industrious technicians. It also starts at $45 per month, per machine, which is a great way to get your feet wet with the concept of machine monitoring.

Visit our website for more machine monitoring info 

by clicking below, or by calling (877) 611-5825 today!

Want to try out our software
before you commit to buying it?
Ask about our trial packages.
 
Request a demo by clicking here! Read the original newsletter

March/April 2017 Newsletter – PDM, EdgeFactor & More

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter – the March/April 2017 issue:

Top 3 Reasons for PDM

shop floor automations newsletter Is your production flourishing or failing? One of the key factors in having a successful manufacturing operation is keeping organized, so if you feel there are any issues at all with your shop floor, this is a great place to start.

There are many reasons to research Product Data Management (PDM), but these Top 3 Reasons are key: it helps you go paperless, it can make your job easier, and it can help you rest assured that you are following the law, as a manufacturing operation.

What is Edge Factor? 

Has your shop floor been affected by the manufacturing skills gap, or do you wish you knew more about your industry? If so, you should definitely look into investing in Edge Factor.

Edge Factor, which can be described as a Netflix-style video program for the manufacturing industry, is a new asset to this community. It is being used to bring new interest into the American manufacturing industry, and it’s also great for those already in the industry to learn more about it.

Adding Wi-Fi is Easy

Have you ever wished that you could make your CNC machine wireless, but thought it was out of your price range? It may be easier than you think to take a step forward in technology for your shop floor.

The Wi-Fi USB Connect will help you transmit data from an old machine in your shop wirelessly. It adds Wi-Fi to the machine via a USB port, allowing it connect wirelessly to a shared folder. 

As long as the machine in question has a USB port, you are good to go! The best part – you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars or take part in a complicated install process.

For more information on any of the topics above, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out an inquiry form here. Link to original newsletter here

March 2017 Special Newsletter – IIoT

IIoT Newsletter

Adapting to the IIoT can help you stop hovering over machines & waiting for a problem to occur. Shop Floor Automations can easily help implement this new technology. 

IIoT newsletterEmbracing manufacturing shop floor automation and the Industrial internet of things (IIoT) will help the American manufacturing sector as it tries to keep pace with the millions of manufacturing jobs that need filling. Implementing automation tactics such as machine monitoring, DNC software, job scheduling, CMMS, and more, does not intend to replace people who could do these jobs.

But what exactly is the IIoT? “Although there is no exact definition for what this phrase means, it undoubtedly refers to the strategy of linking machine tools, and other shop floor equipment, to a web-enabled network that makes manufacturing increasingly data-driven,” says Mark Albert of Modern Machine Shop in their January 2017 issue.

The power of the IIoT is more than a fad nowadays; it’s revolutionizing maintenance operators. Nearly every asset in a manufacturing environment has the capability to provide critical information. This capability can come directly from the machine using handheld devices, such as pressure calibrators or multimeters, or machine-mounted sensors to collect and feed critical asset data to a single system of record.

Cloud-based software, such as Scytec DataXchange or Predator MDC, can easily monitor CNC machines that already have the necessary interfaces to connect to a network and the internet. For legacy machines that do not have a readily available Ethernet port, SFA has found easy-to-deploy solutions to establish Cloud connectivity.

Want a quick laugh? Check out our machine monitoring themed Shop Floor Man comic strip by clicking the image below. Machine monitoring is definitely a big part of the IIoT and we would love to tell you more about it, so contact us anytime!

Quick announcement: Our friends at Workshops for Warriors are holding an inaugural gala aboard the USS Midway here in San Diego on April 20th, 2017. The event will honor military veterans and raise money for their cause of gaining manufacturing industry certifications for veterans.

If you would like to attend or donate, please click here for more info or email AmandaD@wfwusa.org to see how you can help contribute!

For more information on any of the topics above, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out an inquiry form here. Link to the original newsletter here

Special Edition Newsletter – HOUSTEX 2017

The following is an archived copy of our HOUSTEX 2017 email blast:

HOUSTEX 2017Come visit us at HOUSTEX 2017, Booth 1616! From February 28th to March 2nd, we will be in Houston TX at this great tradeshow.

Why you should visit Booth 1616: See the latest in Machine Monitoring, CNC Communications, Document Control, Job Scheduling, CMMS, and more software solutions. We will also have the WiFi USB Connect, the Floppy Emulator, and other hardware solutions on display for attendees.

Can’t make it to HOUSTEX 2017, but want some free insight on software? Come to our Webinars page and sign up for one of them to learn about our software solutions, such as machine monitoring or DNC software.

Call for more info at (877) 611-5825

Original Newsletter Here 

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.

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.