Paperless Manufacturing

Many machinists, production managers, and other shop floor workers wish they had paperless manufacturing. It feels like an impossible pipe dream to them.

It may be trendy to do so, but we wish to quote organizational expert Marie Kondo. Her insight is wonderful when thinking of taking on the daunting task of going paperless.

“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking,” Marie says in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away – not the effort needed to get them out.”

Other than the need to be organized, there are far more important reasons to go paperless. Digital revision control, being prepared for audits and keeping track of crucial documentation also weigh heavy on our daily processes.

Yes, the task of going paperless can take time. But it is not an impossible task. Shop Floor Automations has even successfully gone paperless!

There is also a terrific article written by Eli Plaskett of Modern Machine Shop on this topic. His December 2018 piece “Turning the Page on the Paper Workplace” details a few steps to achieve this goal.

First, analyze how to give your workforce digital access to files as appropriate.
Invest in a scanner – for existing paperwork and whatever paperwork comes in the hereafter, scan immediately. Train employees to get into the habit of scanning.

Then, install tablets, network computers or digital station work devices. The next step is to train the workers fully on how to use the system. Show them the ways the system works for their benefit to save time.

Set up simple instructions such as photographing a setup. If you use ERP Software (which integrates with quite a few of our solutions), it can often have tools to enable photos attached with set up instructions or photos via an ERP smartphone app.

SFA has many solutions to help you cut your dependency on paper. We have USB hardware that can store programs in flash drives, and we highly recommend investing in PDM.

Ready to start the conversation? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form

Connect CNC Machine to Computer

Machinists looking to connect CNC machines to computers have different needs. Perhaps they want to monitor OEE, or they want to send programs remotely.

Here are the top three solutions for connecting equipment to your shop floor computer or laptop:

DNC Software – Making sure programs are sent to the machine, as well as revision control and complete CNC networking can be accomplished with one system. DNC (or drip-feeding) is done via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, or wireless Ethernet for thousands of your machines. Control programs from the shop floor PC.

Machine monitoring – Manufacturers want their machine data, and they have a need to see it beyond standing at the machine. Seeing OEE on computers in back offices, or on real-time viewers, or even on the go via laptops or smart phones, are all possibilities.

Hardware – You want to make sure your software interacts with the shop floor environment. Wireless and wired hardware will help with PC to CNC transfers. Modified PLCs will help to grab data off of old machines. Older laptops can be connected to CNCs with the USB to Serial plus an RS232 cable. There are so many possibilities!

Want to convert your RS232 port into USB? Need to replace floppy disks? Want to go paperless? We can help with that, too!

Fill out our online contact form or call (877) 611-5825. We can’t wait to start the conversation!

Manufacturing News

A long standing publication with a classic newspaper vibe – we are proud to have been featured in Manufacturing News many times. The issues focus on different regions and their varying Made in America goals.

Here are some recent pieces that Manufacturing News have featured us in:

Our case study with R & D Manco in Arizona appears in the December 2018 issue. This manufacturer previously had experience with our CNC Editor software and our hardware. However, they implemented an on-premise machine monitoring system after a pilot program. Because of this, they boosted their productivity in a short period of time.

Proving return on investment for automation solutions can be complicated. Because of this, we created an article for decision makers on how to lay these details out. Some pieces of valuable information in this process are equipment compatibility, evaluating processes and having alternative options available. This article appears in the November 2018 issue.

The medical manufacturing industry is a very high-volume business. We constantly work with these shops to find the best automation solutions for them. Specifically, we always recommend OEE (overall equipment efficiency) monitoring. The top four benefits to this software appear in the April 2018 issue.

Check out our other articles on similar manufacturing solutions. Ready to start the conversation about shop floor automation? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out an online contact form