Machinists Are Not The Problem

cnc machinistsWhen working production on a manufacturing shop floor, productivity issues happen. Nothing is perfect – this includes your employees and equipment.

Some leaders may automatically assume that machinists are to blame for productivity decreases. They think they are not doing their job since they are directly handling the machines.

Before we jump to this conclusion, we need to ask if we are being fair. Especially to skilled workers who are the backbone of the manufacturing industry.

According to a study shared by Harvard Business Review, “when leaders are fair to the members of their team, the team members display more citizenship behavior and are more productive, both individually and as a team.”

With this in mind, here are three productivity problems and the tools you can use to combat each of them. Read on for more! 

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Software for Less MFG Stress in 2018

manufacturing softwareUnplanned downtime and the impact on production are common aggravation factors in manufacturing jobs. New manufacturing software on your shop floor in 2018 could help with this stress.

Machines go down, other machines can’t pick up that slack, and production is halted. An avalanche of consequences follows. Updating manual spreadsheets to track jobs adds to the pain.

According to an August 2017 piece from MetalForming Magazine, District President for Robert Half’s Accountemps program Bill Driscoll states 52% of workers are stressed on a daily basis.

Three causes of this stress are heavy workloads, hovering deadlines, and perceived unrealistic expectations from management. Address these problems with smart manufacturing.

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Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – NOV/DEC 2017

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – the NOV/DEC 2017 issue.

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterMachine Monitoring Webinar in January

Do you want to improve your shop floor efficiencies? Would you like to get text messages or email notifications if there is a problem on your shop floor? Our machine monitoring solutions empower managers to identify issues and resolve them quickly.

We will be holding a DataXchange machine monitoring webinar on January 10th, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Pacific time.

You will see popular features of the data collection system in action, as well as get a chance to ask us questions.

If you can’t make the webinar, please feel free to contact us and ask about other opportunities to see DataXchange software. We also have quite a few videos on our YouTube channel to check out.

Holiday Discount Code

It is not too late to spend end-of-the-year funds on solutions to help your shop floor. Get a head start on combating productivity issues and eliminating downtime with some of our best-selling solutions:

  • Portable USB Connect – backup for your DNC system
  • Pendant USB Connect – adds USB to any CNC machine
  • Floppy Emulators – replaces the floppy drive on your machine (ask about our Haas Floppy emulator!)
  • Wireless Connect – go wireless with any CNC machine

Use discount code “HappyNewYear” for a discount in our online store. Code expires 1/2/18

DNC Software – The Heart Beat of the Shop Floor

If there was one new piece of technology we would recommend for your shop floor, it would be DNC software. Within weeks or a few months, you will see ROI when you implement this system to streamline your management of CNC programs.

If you want to control which file is delivered to the CNC, you need DNC. If you are still carrying USB sticks or PCMCIA cards out to your CNCs to load programs, you need DNC. If you want a better system to manage your CNC programs while saving time, you need DNC.

Link to newsletter

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info!

Manufacturing Job Safety

manufacturing job safetyAccidents in the workplace happen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,122,960 non-fatal workplace accidents happened in the manufacturing sector in 2016. OSHA says 4,500 workers per year die on the job.

314,530 of these injured workrs were out-of-commission for more than a month (I.E. took more than 31 days to recover). With such a significant manufacturing skills gap, we need as many workers on deck as possible. Over 310k people off the job is a scary number.

Shop Floor Automations spoke to Phil Mendelowitz – a workplace safety, compliance, and leadership advisor with over 25 years of manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution experience.

Phil is part of WarehouseFlow Advisors and runs a popular safety blog called WitzShared. He shared insight on keeping safe in a manufacturing environment. Check out the rest of this story!

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Shop Floor Newsletter – November 2017 – Lights Out Manufacturing

lights out manufacturingThe following is an archived copy of our Shop Floor Automations newsletter from November 2017 focusing on lights-out manufacturing:

2018 is coming up fast. What are your main concerns with your manufacturing production? If productivity is a major focus, then getting started with lights out manufacturing is a good goal to reach for.

We previously focused on lights-out manufacturing (AKA lights out manufacturing) in regards to battling rising electricity costs for 2016. However, the power bill for your shop floor is only one of many concerns.

Does the manufacturing skills gap limit what you can manufacture and get out the door to customers? Do you perhaps want to aim for fewer injuries in the workplace, or want better quality of products? Taking advantage of lights-out manufacturing can help with all of these issues.

One crucial part of adopting lights-out manufacturing in your shop helps to minimize labor costs for each part you make, which in turn helps you compete on a global level. This helps the Made in America movement grow stronger while increasing your profits and customer base.

How can Shop Floor Automations help you begin the path to lights-out manufacturing? Production Machining states that machine monitoring is a pivotal part of the process, since “there is always the possibility of machine failure, cutting tool breakage, power outages, and other unexpected issues.”

Put in a request for more info on lights-out manufacturing by calling (877) 611-5825! You can also fill out a request for info form here. Link to original newsletter here

MFG Skills Gap & Veterans

Preparing military veterans for manufacturing jobs is an amazing way to give back. Are we preparing them for the MFG skills gap? One school is.

mfg skills gapWhen military veterans return home, they will face a series of challenges. Among the most important of these items to tend to – finding a career once their time in the military is over.

To coordinate with the MFG industry needing to fill a skills gap, Workshops for Warriors is stepping in. They aim to help with this important issue and support veterans at the same time.

Some of you may remember when we visited Workshops for Warriors (WFW) last summer. We also got to interview WFW Founder & CEO Hernán Luis y Prado.

Hernán served in the Navy for 15 years, so this topic hits close to home for him. His message has always been clear – that veterans are the perfect group of people to learn how to use manufacturing equipment to fill these jobs.

Check out a student testimonial from Workshops for Warriors 

One big concern with the manufacturing industry is the skills/training gap. While much of the problem in manufacturing is attributed to lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) learning resources for students, there is another looming problem.

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Lights Out Manufacturing

Have you considered lights out manufacturing for 2018?

lights out manufacturing Last year we focused on the economic benefits of lights out manufacturing. Adopting this process may help combat rising electricity prices.

There are even more benefits to lights out manufacturing.

Goals vary: Manufacturers have different needs to address. Examples – better quality/throughput rates, reduced workplace injuries, and increases production during a skills gap.

Enhancing, Not Replacing, Labor:  The lower production costs by replacing manual labor can accidentally cause a stigma across the shop floor. But rest assured – this form of automation will not completely replace workers.

“By minimizing the labor cost for each part made, manufacturers can compete with the low costs encountered from foreign manufacturers,” Aerospace Manufacturing and Design says. “At the minimum, automation is necessary just to stay in business.”

“Shops do not realize how much they rely on operators,” Peter Zelinski writes for Modern Machine Shop. Successful lights out manufacturing can’t happen without the machinists.

Without consulting with operators, errors in the manufacturing process can’t be addressed. They can help pinpoint glitches that can shut down overnight production.

Machine Monitoring is Crucial:  “There is always the possibility of machine failure, cutting tool breakage, power outages, and other unexpected issues,” Mark Eddy writes for Production Machining.

“A number of manufacturers use MTConnect for universal connectivity,” Mark continues. “It is, essentially, a common translator based on Internet standards that enables CNC and non-CNC machine tools…to communicate with each other and with a central production monitoring system.”

If you are ready to take on lights out manufacturing, get in touch with Shop Floor Automations today! Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a sales contact form.

SFA Legacy Blogs Edition XI

Shop Floor Automations Blog – Legacy Edition 11

shop floor automations blogWelcome to another edition of the Shop Floor Automations legacy blog. Our archive is full of news about the CNC software and hardware we provide to manufacturers. Here is what we have to share for Edition 11:

In the October 2017 issue of Modern Machine Shop, a case study we did with one of our customers is featured. FabShop Magazine also featured us in their “MFG etc.” section, talking about machine monitoring for fabrication machines plus other unknown monitoring benefits in October 2017.

Here is a throwback: we also remember when Industrial Machinery Digest first wrote about our comic strip called Shop Floor Man. We were also grateful when Manufacturing Global wrote about Shop Floor Man, proclaiming it was a step to “make an impact on a younger generation of manufacturing professionals.”

Fabricating and Metalworking wrote about how DataXchange and MTconnect were two great combined solutions on the shop floor to increase OEE.

That will do it for this edition of the SFA Legacy Blogs. If you have any questions about combatting shop floor downtime, please give us a call at (877) 611-5825. You can also fill out a contact form and we will get back to you when it is most convenient. 

Reflecting on MFG Day 2017

Even with MFG Day 2017 efforts, there is much work to be done to fill the MFG skills gap.

mfg skills gapThere is good news for the manufacturing industry. Last night, the Senate passed a Tax Reform that the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) says is a “critical step forward” for US manufacturers. This is great, considering NAM also reported that 57% of manufacturers will increase wages, 64% will expand their businesses, and 57% will hire more workers if the tax reform was voted into place.

Check out the rest of this story!

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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