Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – JAN/FEB 2018

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThis archived copy of the January/February 2018 issue of the SFA newsletter focuses on machine monitoring data.

Estimated OEE vs Real OEE

A good number of our customers were able to contribute to the phenomenal growth in the manufacturing industry last year because of OEE information gathered by machine monitoring software.

Often the first overlooked step in improved production is not properly tracking utilization and OEE. Our customers at R&D Manco in Phoenix definitely agree with this statement.

We spoke to them recently and discovered that before implementing Predator MDC software, it was assumed that their machines were running at 50 percent utilization. Within a short period of time using the software, they found utilization was more around 30 percent. Uptime is critical to their operations, especially with lead times of 8 months to 1 year for the parts they run.

In a recent issue of Modern Machine Shop (MMS), the company credits machine monitoring from SFA (via Predator MDC) as an essential resource for increasing capacity.

MFG 2017 Review & 2018 Outlook

There is no doubt that 2017 was a fruitful year for manufacturing in America. Confidence in our industry, as well as positivity in future prosperity, is at an all-time high.

There are some concerns going forward to keep the momentum going in 2018. Industry 4.0, IIoT and automation are some of the concerns that we address.

Check out our 2017 Review for USA manufacturing & an optimistic outlook on 2018!

Okuma Floppy Drive Replacement

If you have an Okuma machine with a floppy drive that is about to bite the dust, the time to upgrade is now.

Even if your floppy drive is still functioning, floppy disk technology has been outdated for about a decade and it is best to adapt to new technology now before the worst happens. Best to be prepared than be stuck with a dead floppy drive on your machine.

The best part is that when you send back your old floppy disk drive core from the Okuma within 15 days, we will give you a $695 credit!

Get more information on Okuma Floppy Drive Core Replacements

Get in touch with our sales department by calling (877) 611-5825 or fill out a request for information

Need for Machine Monitoring Expanding

machine monitoringMachine condition monitoring is becoming a huge need on the shop floor. But don’t just take our word for it!

Machine monitoring is expected to expand to a $3.4 Billion industry by 2022. The United States is the largest market for it. This stunning estimate is from a December 2017 Study on the Global Machine Condition Monitoring Equipment Market.

“Over the years, the rapid proliferation of machine automation and breakthrough technology improvements in machine capabilities, have created the need for monitoring systems,” the study from Melvin Bright, a market research company, states.

“Avoiding unplanned outages is the first step towards ensuring process optimization for manufacturing plants and facilities…Demand-driven manufacturing is the need of the hour.”

The study states that while only 25% of large manufacturers were requesting machine monitoring 15 years ago, the number is closer to 50% as of December 2017.

Aside from unplanned downtime, there is also a need for monitoring manufacturing assets. More benefits noted are:

  • higher production reliability
  • reduced unplanned downtime
  • higher equipment ROI
  • higher revenues/profits associated with improved product quality
  • reduced risk of manufacturing faults
  • lowered cost of reprocessing

“Diligent tracking of the progress of equipment deterioration also aids in more effective equipment maintenance, repair, and replacement strategies,” the study continues.

“While simultaneously reducing operational damage, outages, lost capacity, and maximizing plant value.”

If you want to experience these benefits firsthand, be sure to contact Shop Floor Automations for our machine monitoring solutions. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

MTConnect vs OPC UA

mtconnectIn the January issue of Modern Machine Shop, Josh Davids of DataXchange discusses the difference between two different, popular protocols. MTConnect and OPC UA are compared.

“Although OPC UA and MTConnect are both http-based protocols (which makes them usable on internet-enabled networks), the question why MTConnect exists often arises since OPC UA has been around for a while and has wide support throughout industry,” Davids said.

“If we view machine monitoring at a high level, it’s apparent that MTConnect is best-suited for equipment with standardized functions, such as CNC controls or other equipment that has known capability. OPC UA is generally best-suited for one-off integration projects that use programmable logic controllers (PLCs),” Davids continued. “Another difference is that OPC UA can be a read-write protocol, whereas MTConnect is read-only. Nothing can be written back to the machine.”

There is much more insight on why MTConnect and OPC UA are different in Davids’ contribution piece.

MTConnect versus Fanuc FOCAS

MTConnect versus other protocols 

For more information on machine monitoring, DataXchange or MTConnect, please contact us! We are the #1 reseller of DataXchange and we have the distinction of being an MTConnect Institute Roster Member. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form.

SFA Legacy Blog – Edition XII

shop floor automations blogA big focus of Shop Floor Automations is to help customers access crucial, real-time data. We also value historical data for manufacturing productivity. Here is another edition of our Legacy Blog where we cover past media coverage.

MoldMaking Technology covered our upcoming 20th Anniversary. Speaking of event-related news, MFG Talk Radio shared our piece about MFG Day 2017, as well as Manufacturing Tomorrow sharing it.

Our solutions and how they go hand-in-hand with safety in the manufacturing process was mentioned on the WitzShared blog, which is part of the WarehouseFlow Advisors. Gear Solutions posted our piece on the benefits of machine monitoring software.

In an amusing piece of news – our Marketing Coordinator won a manufacturing talent contest last summer for performing a spoof of a Beetles song. AMT also wrote about our comic strip Shop Floor Man in a past updateFabricating and Metalworking also shared our piece on why spreadsheets are deadweight.

If you would like any further information on our solutions or any articles mentioned above, please contact us. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

2017 MFG Review & Looking Ahead

American manufacturingLast year was quite successful for American manufacturing. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Fourth Quarter survey from December of 2017 confirms it.

94.6% of those surveyed in December said they were positive about their company’s outlook. It was only 89.8% in September.

Confidence was only 56.6% in Q1 of 2016. According to NAM, companies expect their production to increase 5%, with an anticipated 5.2% growth in sales, and an expected 2.2% increase to employee wages.

58.7% feel American manufacturing is heading in the right direction. Those who felt it is going in the wrong direction were in the minority at 21.4%. 32.2% told NAM they were “unsure,” but it is in our nature to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Read on!

Read more

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – January 2018

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThis archived copy of the January 2018 SFA newsletter focuses on machine monitoring options.

In 2018, you could increase your productivity by 25 percent, as well as take on lights-out manufacturing and make more profits without buying new machines. How?

Machine monitoring can help you increase utilization and take an active role in making sure your machines are being used to their potential. Regardless of the manufacturing equipment you use or the industry you are in, your goals are the same: OEE, Productivity, and Profitability.

2017 was a monumental year for the manufacturing industry. Help the Made in America movement thrive by making sure your shop floor is as productive as possible.

Shop Floor Automations is holding a machine monitoring webinar focused on DataXchange January 10th. Be sure to request to be part of this free event, while you still have time!

DataXchange is the ultimate machine monitoring option for the manufacturing industry, and Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller and integrator of the software.

Call (877) 611-5825 for DataXchange pricing, which includes affordable Cloud-based options and on-premise solutions.

We also encourage you to get in touch with our Sales department with further questions. 

Modern Machine Shop – January 2018

modern machine shop

Our customers at R & D Manco were on the January 2018 cover story for Modern Machine Shop.

Shop Floor Automations, the company’s machine monitoring provider, shares the story.

“Machine monitoring has been another important factor in R&D Manco’s success,” states MMS editor Peter Zelinski within the feature piece.

Basic machine status data and studying the data to find downtime causes was very important. It was noted as “the shop’s most powerful resource for realizing machining capacity improvements.”

OEE monitoring is crucial for manufacturers. Knowing the utilization of all production equipment is becoming a daily need on the shop floor.

Read more below!

Read more

3 Dead Pieces of Shop Floor Technology

shop floor technology

There is likely old technology on your shop floor that is limiting your productivity. You are being robbed of time, profits, and resources in order to keep replacing them.

Who are the biggest offenders? Here is our top three list of dead technologies you should be replacing on your shop floor immediately:

Suspect 1

Floppy disks, or as kids these days know it, the “save” symbol on a computer word processing program.

Assuming you rightly do not trust used/refurbished floppy disks, you will have to hunt down packages of new floppy disks and hope they work. At about 1.44MB of space on each disk, the question is, why would you want to hang onto this old media source?

Answer: The Floppy Connect (floppy drive emulator) will replace this process. The hardware acts as if the floppy drive were never removed. Need: maximum 2GB USB flash drive for it. Keep using the same stick.

Suspect 2

Switch boxes are best described as manual distribution boxes. They vary from two to 16 switches, or two to 16 connections to one serial port.

You manually have to flick a switch to tell the box which of those you want to send the program to. Remember when you had to get up to change a channel on the TV set? It’s similar to that!

Answer: The USB Connect Switch Box model automatically does the switching for you. It controls data flow into the CNC from the PC. The hardware also has built-in DNC Firmware for CNC flexibility and is easy to use.

Alternate Answer: There is also the Ethernet Connect, which creates virtual serial ports. This means no more manually switching and better yet, it helps you leverage your existing corporate network infrastructure.

Suspect 3

PCMCIA cards are memory cards that have been used in the past on shop floors to get programs uploaded and downloaded to CNC machines. These credit-card-sized antiquities are hard to come by, expensive, and can be damaged by constantly removing them from the controller.

Answer: The USB Connect uses a standard USB drive for program storage and meets the communication needs of a variety of CNC machines. This is regardless of machine’s age, make or model.

Three models available: a Switch Box model, a standard model, and a Mazak model for sending/receiving Mazatrol CMT files.

Alternate Answer: Another replacement solution is DNC software for networking your machines to a PC in order to upload and download programs.

If you are still using any of these old pieces of technology, we urge you to contact us at (877) 611-5825. You would be surprised how easy and affordable it is to modernize your shop floor production.

For SFA Newsletter Subscribers

shop floor automations newsletterNot receiving the Shop Floor Automations newsletter, even though you subscribed?

One possibility is that we have tried to reach you because a past email to you has bounced. We invite you to call us at (877) 611-5825 ext 1006 to make sure.

It is also possible you have unsubscribed in the past and forgot. You are welcome to come back and receive emails from us at any time! Just call the number above, or send us an email.

As an added measure, make sure to add these domains to your allowed senders, which is pretty easy to do if you have Outlook:
From domain – mail.vresp.com
Bounce domain – cts.vresp.com

Or have your IT department whitelist this information- IP ranges: 74.116.89.0/24 74.116.91.0/24 63.251.246.0/24

Please consult with an IT person at your company or anyone else who handles webmaster/email duties, if you need further help.

While we figure it out, check out our archive of past newsletters.

Want more info? Call (877) 611-5825 and we will be happy to help you out!