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

Helping Machinists Cope with Work Stress

Creating stressed out machine operators without meaning to?

machinist stress relief sourcesThe manufacturing industry is experiencing a lot of growth. This also creates a demand for machinist stress relief resources.

An interesting article in the August 2017 issue of MetalForming Magazine states 52% of workers are stressed on a daily basis. 60% say their work-related pressure has increased in the past 5 years.

This information no doubt impacts the manufacturing field.

“Workers shouldn’t suffer in silence,” quotes Bill Driscoll, district President for Robert Half’s Accountemps program.

“A stressed employee can have detrimental effects on the department or company, including decreased morale and productivity.”

You can help address these issues with team building exercises or casual monthly meetings. Otherwise, here are two large concerns we can help you with:

Concern #1 – Heavy workloads: The looming manufacturing skills gap causes heavier workloads. There are ways to help machinists get their work done faster, even while short-handed.

Machine monitoring software can increase OEE by monitoring CNC utilization. DNC software helps with CNC communication failures, which can cause downtime.

USB connect hardware can for drip-feeding, if DNC is too ornate. CNC Editor software prevents manually managing, editing or comparing files.

Concern #2 – Unrealistic manager expectations: Hey – we are just the messenger. If workers already feel overwhelmed with problem 1, then more work can lead to increased anxiety or resentment.

What can you do, in order to understand your operator’s concerns? Ask the machinists to share the data with you from the tools mentioned above. Manufacturing integration tools are not only for your workers, but they will help make you a better boss!

If you want more information on any of the solutions above to help your operators feel less stressed on the job, please fill out a contact form or call us at (877) 611-5825. 

MFG Day 2017

mfg day 217Shop Floor Automations loves MFG Day.

We recognize that there are some challenges to the manufacturing industry and although our solutions help, there is still a skills gap that needs to be filled.

Around this time last year, we paid a visit to Workshops for Warriors (WFW) and even got to interview their founder Hernan Luis Y Prado about the organization at an event. This year, there has been a lot of progress, but WFW still aims to spread its message further.

“What sets WFW apart from any other Veteran educational organization in the nation are the Nationally-recognized portable and stackable credentials our graduates have the opportunity to earn,” Hernán told Shop Floor Automations. “These credentials are our graduates’ passport to financial freedom, anywhere in the world, for life.”

When Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members attend the programs of WFW, they are earning credentials from many organizations. Significantly, they can gain credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), CNC Software Inc. (MasterCam), SolidWorks, Immerse2Learn, the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), and the American Welding Society (AWS).

Click “Read more” or scroll below for the rest of the story! 

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October 2017 Shop Floor Automations Case Study

We love learning about the results our customers get after integrating our productivity solutions.

In this new Shop Floor Automations case study, our customers at Stollen Machine talk about how our hardware helped combat downtime.

shop floor automations case study

Thanks to Stollen Machine’s Instagram Account for this photo of the MMS article

In this October 2017 case study published in Modern Machine Shop, Doug at Stollen Machine says his inferior cabling was causing communication issues with his machines. After researching and weighing the pros/cons, he decided to go with our Wireless Connect devices in his multi-generation shop.

Investing in six hardware devices from Shop Floor Automations helped to replace an old system that wreaked havoc on Stollen Machine’s shop floor. The study found that they were able to get back 15% more time daily, which is invaluable in the manufacturing process.

Hardware isn’t the only way we help customers, either. Another customer of ours, Tech Manufacturing, attributes using machine monitoring through Shop Floor Automations for helping with overall productivity just by monitoring utilization. With many other solutions on hand, we look forward in the future to sharing more of these case studies with the manufacturing industry.

Check out our other case studies, or if you would like to share your story of how we helped your productivity, participate in a case study today. For more information, call Shop Floor Automations at (877) 611-5825

A little info about Shop Floor Automations: SFA was established in 1998 and will soon be celebrating our 20th anniversary in business. We support efforts to fill the skills gap, such as MFG Day and writing about organizations who focus on this cause. Our focus is to help the Made in America movement by supplying tools and support to combat downtime, increase OEE, organize your shop floor, and help with machine communication issues. Contact us today!

Manufacturing ROI & Manufacturing Integrators

Manufacturing ROI - shop floor automationsAs a manufacturer, you have a lot of daily concerns, such as downtime and productivity. Is your manufacturing ROI an issue that is falling to the wayside?

With a new year coming up fast, your ROI (or return on investment) should be bumped up to one of your largest concerns, if it is not already. You may remember when we did a previous blog explaining different types of costs for a manufacturer. For this blog post, we wanted to take the time to explain the top 3 ways that working with a manufacturing integrator like Shop Floor Automations will help you with ROI!

#1 Reduce procurement costs:

The only time you ever want the amount of money you are spending on raw materials to go up is because your productivity is at sky-high levels. Unfortunately, you may be spending a lot on raw materials due to downtime on the machine interfering with the quality of products. You may even be spending a lot on paper for spreadsheets and other shop floor documents. Using tools such as machine monitoring software can help you increase utilization of machines, and combining products like job scheduling software and PDM software can help you go paperless. Do you still use floppy disks or constantly invest in CAT-5 cable that needs to be replaced and restrung once a year? Invest in new hardware that will replace these processes and old media sources. These solutions should help bring down some significant procurement costs.

#2 Time-sensitive efficiencies:

Manufacturing is one of the most time-sensitive processes in the world. Certain quantities need to be done perfectly and they need to be on time. What happens when downtime takes down one of your machines? Or you have to spend time manually updating spreadsheets for your production schedule? Or your CNC’s have communication failures on a regular basis? Using the tools of DNC software for CNC communications, machine monitoring for combatting downtime, and graphical job scheduling to be able to see production changes in real time, all make for the perfect trinity to help jobs get out to customers on time.

#3 Marketplace advantage:

American manufacturing is coming back to a place of significant prominence. While the industry deals with a skills gap combined with reshoring, you need to make sure you can take on as many jobs as possible to stay ahead of the competition. If you spent less time updating spreadsheets, invested in less overtime to fix human error and were able to prevent more downtime on your shop floor, imagine how many more jobs you can take on. Implementing any of the tools mentioned above can help with productivity and cement your place in this industry as a top manufacturer.

If you are interested in these solutions, please fill out a contact form or call us at (877) 611-5825