International Women’s Day

Rosie the Riveter Royalty Free Image - International Women's DayFor International Women’s Day, Shop Floor Automations wants to take the time to recognize women in the field of manufacturing and similar jobs. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of women in manufacturing, or women in industrial jobs, is Rosie the Riveter, which is a great place to start.

The real life inspiration for this iconic figure is said to be a woman named Rose Will Monroe. The month of May is extremely significant to Rosie, as the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company came out with the well known “We Can Do It!” poster in May of 1942, while a Norman Rockwell painting inspired by the ad came out in May of 1943. Rose herself passed away in May of 1997.

World War II was a historic time for women in the workplace. Women who would normally work low-paying administrative assistant type jobs, or were stay-at-home mothers, were filling these important positions during this tumultuous time. A great book to read about this era is “A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II.”

When World War II ended, many women either returned to their homes or office jobs, but a good amount remained in the manufacturing industry. Today, there is a need to maintain and bring more women into this field of work.

“According to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, women make up 47 percent of the overall workforce but just 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce,” writes Penny Brown of AMT. “Simply put, it can get lonely for a woman on the factory floor. At a time when manufacturing is seeing a desperate need for skilled workers, it seems that it’s a very good time to address ways to tap this vast talent pool.”

“Like young people, women need to see the value of a manufacturing career, but they also need to feel like there is a place for them in it,” Penny continues. “Whether their skill is design, management, engineering, or some other area of business, diversity is proven to improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation.”

Some encouraging sites in regards to women in the field of manufacturing are the Women Can Build photo exhibit, via the California Institute of Technology, as well as many organizations that continue the dialogue to include women in manufacturing, industrial and technical jobs. Just off the top of our heads, there is SWE (Society of Women Engineers), WiM (Women in Manufacturing), Girls Who Code, and SkillScout, for starters.

There are also modern depictions of Rosie that remain alive to this day, from women who do photo shoots dressed up as her, women who cosplay as her for conventions or Halloween, or even the popular Rosie’s restaurant aboard the Carnival Valor ship, which can fit nearly 3000 passengers for each voyage. No matter how you think of women in manufacturing, whether in vintage or modern tones, it is great to see that the conversation never closed up shop.

If you work on a manufacturing shop floor and want to see better productivity, as well as improved OEE, please contact us for solutions! Call us at (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media

MFG School of the Month: Cardinal Manufacturing

MFG School of the Month - shop floor automationsIn a new blog installment from Shop Floor Automations called MFG School of the Month, we want to take a moment to highlight a place of learning that is helping to keep the Made in America movement going.

We encourage you to check out our previous, separate pieces on Workshops for Warriors, OSML, and Edge Factor, but for now, we want to take a look at what Cardinal Manufacturing is doing.

The Cardinal Manufacturing program from the Eleva-Strum School District has been in operation for 10 years. The public school system is also known for their Digital Learning Initiative. They are clearly striving to keep their students up to date with current technology, as it relates to getting a career.

Conceptualized in 2007, the program was “designed as a localized way to address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and to engage our students in meaningful education,” the school website declares. “We are exposing students to the potential of manufacturing-related careers, sharpening their technical skills, and instilling the soft skills and professionalism that employers crave.”

Cardinal is treated as a fully operational machine shop, where locals can order machining, welding, or fabrication jobs from the students. Check out a video from Modern Machine Shop about this terrific school by clicking here.

The school will be holding a workshop on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 for potential future students to come and see what their futures could look like!

If you want information on how to increase productivity in your machine shop, contact Shop Floor Automations today. Reach us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media

 

Top 3 Benefits of Machine Monitoring

The benefits of machine monitoring - Shop Floor AutomationsWhen 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. 

Reason 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 Factor Interview - Shop Floor AutomationsIt 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.

Jeremy Bout Edge Factor Interview - Shop Floor AutomationsThe 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 Bigfoot CMMS There 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 through Shop Floor AutomationsOne 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

SFA newsletter - january february 2017

The 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 Automations blog - Legacy SFA Blogs - Press Coverage - Media CoverageAt 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?

What is Secure DNC? Predator DNC - DNC Software

Click for larger view – Secure DNC Graphic

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. 

 

 

SFA meets 2017 Manufacturing Technology Trends

Manufacturing Technology Trends 2017 Being a technology-related company, part of what we do is about keeping up with trends. We were definitely excited to see we meet the criteria of this beautifully articulated piece from the ARC Advisory Group on 2017 Manufacturing Technology Trends to watch for.

“The automation industry appears to be evolving at a faster rate right now than at any time in its history,” writes Craig Resnick of ARC, which is a research and consulting group that keeps up with industry changes, especially in terms of IIoT technology. “Commercial technologies continue to infiltrate the industrial automation space, especially wireless and mobility solutions.”

“One of the biggest end user challenges remains unscheduled downtime,” Craig says. ” IIoT-enabled solutions, such as remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, can help minimize, if not totally eliminate this, which would deliver a rapid ROI (return on investment).”

With machine monitoring solutions such as Predator MDC and Scytec’s DataXchange, as well predictive maintenance solution Bigfoot CMMS, we combat the issue of downtime and meet the needs that Craig mentions. It is also worth noting that DataXchange can be integrated with Bigfoot. As far as wireless and mobility solutions, we offer many hardware options, as well as many of our software options being able to be accessed via Smart phones and tablets, where you can receive notifications of any machine issues.

“The Industrial Internet of Things…offers tremendous potential to transform and improve business processes,” Craig continues. “But prospective end users need help to quantify and justify the associated investment, and – in some cases – the associated risk.”

If you need any help with convincing the decision maker of your shop floor to consider these solutions, or if you have doubts before you make these investments, give us a call today! We are toll-free at (877) 611-5825 and we also have a responsive chat feature on our website. We can also be contacted via social media.

 

Greg Mercurio interview with Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Tomorrow Greg Mercurio InterviewGreg here at Shop Floor Automations had an opportunity to speak to Manufacturing Tomorrow about how the manufacturing landscape is changing these days, Industry 4.0, as well as the concepts of machine monitoring and OEE. Here are some quotable bits from the Greg Mercurio interview in question:

“In a nutshell, we provide software and hardware solutions to manufacturing shop floors to help decrease downtime and improve OEE,” Greg said. “We help those working on shop floors gain extra time, productivity and profits.”

On Industry 4.0: “For years, the shop floor as been an island of its own and with the latest climate from the US government and other countries, more companies are seeking integration and connection to the corporate world.”

On how manufacturing will change in the new USA political landscape: “I think we’re going to be very busy in 2017 and hope that’s a trend that will build as time goes on.”

Greg Mercurio is President of Shop Floor Automations. He is a long-time resident of San Diego County and a family man. Shop Floor Automations will soon be celebrating two decades in business. 

To read the whole interview via Manufacturing Tomorrow, click here. You can also call us at (877) 611-5825, and we encourage you to share this article on social media