How to do USB to RS232 Transfers

USB to RS232

Modernizing your manufacturing equipment is easier and more affordable than you may otherwise assume. Operators love USB to RS232 transfers of machine programs for many reasons.

This CNC upgrade hardware helps machinists save time, it assists with basic program revision control and the devices that perform these actions help increase memory. Also, since these devices are positioned close to the control, it allows the machine to run at its maximum baud rate.

Here are quick videos with easy steps in which to perform USB machine transfers:

The devices come in pendant models that are dedicated to one machine. There is also the popular portable model, which saves machine operators even more time.

Our list of CNC machines that USB Connect hardware is compatible with includes Siemens, Anilam, Bridgeport, Cincinnati, Fadal, FANUC, Haas, Yasnac, Brother machines, Mitsubishi, and others. Special models also perform Mazak and Switchbox functions.

Ready to learn more? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

DNC CNC Software

DNC CNC

Our article on DNC software functions and benefits was published by MoldMaking Technology recently. “A company’s programs are their livelihood on the shop floor. They make the parts that keep a business going.”

The three different DNC CNC benefits discussed were remote requests, compatibility (different machines and methods to use DNC), and program revision control.

We also wanted to discuss in this blog a rumor about certain DNC MACROs for manufacturing multitasking. We recommend you read the article for more in-depth information.

Operators with older machines may have limited memory and will need to drip-feed large programs with DNC. Machinists also like using DNC for remote requests or pull mode. While drip-feeding pushes the program (downloaded from the DNC server), the program can instead be requested from the CNC machine.

While remote requests and the diversity of drip-feeding make machinists jobs easier, there is also the added stress of incorrect programs being run at machines. CNC revision control controls this problem and prevents this issue from occurring.

Some operators say they can use DNC in order to perform very basic machine monitoring. Items sent via RS232 can be observed with a specific G-code function.

While this G-code function has been discussed on various machinist forums, we highly recommend you do not rely on it for monitoring CNCs. The information the MACRO provides alone is not good enough. For example – you can feel when your leg is injured, but you won’t know if it’s a sprain or a fracture until you have professional insight.

This G-code MACRO hack will not be able to tell you in-depth when machines are down, why, for how long, what processes can be improved upon, or overall efficiency of your equipment. It also can’t send notifications via email or text when machines are down. DNC can easily be integrated with OEE monitoring software for combined productivity uses.

Ready to start the conversation about DNC software? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form.

RS232 to Ethernet

Operators with legacy CNC machines experience RS232 communication limitations. Because of this, they want to know if RS232 to USB or RS232 to Ethernet upgrades possible and affordable.

You can easily modernize manufacturing equipment with RS232 ports. The LAN Connect device helps with Ethernet abilities.

Benefits of this LAN hardware device:

  • Replace RS232 cabling or DNC software for smaller shops
  • Connect to nearly any machine control with built-in CNC communication firmware
  • Mount inside the pendant or reverse-mouse with a DIN rail
  • The device is assigned an IP address – connects to any standard Ethernet cable from the corporate network
  • Combine Ethernet abilities, increased program storage (via USB stick or internal memory), and larger programs with the LAN-USB Connect

What are the best benefits of this hardware? Run at a maximum baud rate by connecting the device to the CNC controller.

Because of this setup, operators save time versus running from PC to CNC to begin machine operation. IT Departments also prefer this option when they dislike interfacing with serial cabling and complicated DNC software.

So now we come to pricing – the cost to add Ethernet functionality from machine tool builders can be expensive. This third party upgrade is a minimal cost in comparison.

Ready for a quote? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out an online contact form

January February 2019 Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from January/February 2019. The focuses of this email blast are RS232 port upgrades, OEE monitoring and more.

Do you really know what your OEE is?

Overall equipment efficiency (OEE) is a key element to better manufacturing productivity. Sadly, most shops gravely overestimate how well their shop is performing and manage without numbers. 

2019 is the year to know how often your machines are down and why. Improve your machine uptime with reports, charts and dashboards to give you a competitive edge. Two models are available: on-premise with in-house data servers/database, or through flexible, low-cost, monthly Cloud monitoring. 

Give machine operators a voice. Communicate machine data easily and automatically. Interface with CNC machines, lasers, water jets, grinders, robots, and more! Start a machine monitoring trial

Manufacturing in 2018 & 2019 Outlook

American manufacturing last year was incredibly successful. We grew from a $2.2 trillion industry in 2017 to $2.33 trillion in 2018.

How do we keep this momentum going for 2019? We need to face certain issues in our industry head-on.

Other than the ever-present training skills gap, we also need to foster better technology relationships on the shop floor.

Solutions For Your CNC’s – RS232 Port Upgrades

Hardware from Shop Floor Automations is one of our hottest categories of merchandise. It’s a sign that people in the industry are further looking to extend the life of their existing equipment and save money versus buying new machines.

Take a moment to evaluate if any of these items apply to your shop floor:

  • Are you carrying a laptop around the shop floor in order to make sure programs make it to the CNC? 
  • Considering turning an old RS232 port into a USB port?
  • The cost of cabling continues to rise. Are you ready to go wireless?
  • Stuck using floppy disks versus USB memory drives? 
  • Need file control and management of NC programs on one network? 

We have various shop floor hardware solutions that suit all of your manufacturing needs. These investments are affordable and the ROI is outstanding! 

Want more information? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

CNC Automation for 2019

cnc automation

What are your CNC automation plans for this new year? If you are drawing a blank, never fear – here are three quick ideas!

1 – CNC Data Collection – Do you know often your machines are running? Or worse – how often your machines are down? Set up a machine monitoring trial to see what is actually happening during production!

OEE monitoring software will help you track planned and unplanned downtime. Know how long a broken tool or lockout tagout takes so the process can be improved. Evaluate how to increase manufacturing machine capacity.

2 – CNC Program Revision Control – Do incorrect programs run at your machine frequently? Are programs floating around the shop floor stressing you out? Set up a DNC Software webinar or ask for a demo!

DNC software will assist for controlling correct programs running at machines. The software also ensures that programs are making it to the CNC without communication failures.

3 – RS232 to USB – Legacy equipment can be refreshed for optimized productivity. Turning an RS232 port into a USB port will help in order to utilize modern media and increase memory at the machine. There are many hardware options to help freshen up your equipment!

Other hardware for CNC machines helps to convert floppy drives in order to use USB sticks. You can also go wireless in order to eliminate shop floor cables.

Shop Floor Automations is ready to assist in your mission to increase manufacturing productivity! Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form.

Manufacturing Tax Benefits 2019

The 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought about many changes that have set the pace for 2019. There are important manufacturing tax questions we are asking ourselves or should be. Shop Floor Automations has some tips you should check out!

What kind of benefits can manufacturers seek out? Section 179 is a big resource for our industry we should all be utilizing. Especially if there are upgrades crucial to your productivity you want to write off.

“If you purchase or lease qualifying equipment, like CAD CAM software, you can fully deduct the total purchase price from your gross income,” a representative at BobCAD CAM says. “The price limit is set at $500k, but businesses that exceed that limit can take a one-time, bonus depreciation of 50 percent the amount that exceeds the limit.”

Another benefit that has been significant for manufacturers has touched on equipment depreciation. When pursuing equipment financing via loans, nontax leases or tax leases, owners have been able to deduct depreciation expenses. The TCJA will still allow this to be done.

“The centerpiece of the TJCA – a reduction in the maximum corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent – drastically reduces tax liability for many manufacturers,” says Toni Larson, who wrote a piece on Tax Reform in January’s issue of MetalForming Magazine.

Other benefits Larson suggests looking into for 2019:

  • 100 percent expensing for equipment placed in service after 9/27/17 and before 1/1/23
  • Investment Tax Credit (ITC) as well as the aforementioned Section 179
  • Find an expert in equipment leasing who can provide specific knowledge based on your equipment needs and business goals

Get in touch with us about investments you can make for your 2019 manufacturing operation! Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

2018 Manufacturing Wrapup & 2019 Outlook

SFA services CNC machinists, moldmakers, metal fabricators, & more industries for 2019

At the start of January 2018, optimism for our industry was high. For all of 2017, manufacturing in America produced $2.2 Trillion of our gross domestic product. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Made in America just kept growing!  

At the start of January 2018, optimism for our industry was high. For all of 2017, manufacturing in America produced $2.2 Trillion of our gross domestic product. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Made in America just kept growing!  

According to financial news site The Balance, American manufacturing contributed $2.33 Trillion towards our gross domestic product in all of 2018. We comprised 11.6 percent of the USA’s economic output, with every dollar spent translated to $1.89 going towards business growth in related sectors (defense, medical, aerospace, etc.)

While symbiotic B2B manufacturing transactions are part of the story, American consumers helped a lot. According to a Thomas survey from October 2018 (shared by A2Z Manufacturing Magazine), 61 percent of Americans prefer products made in America. Shoppers in the USA are helping to facilitate this growth by insisting on American-made products.

Our industry also became more environmentally conscious this year. For example, a partnership of over 200 manufacturers took part in the Better Plants Initiative. Together, they helped to save $5.3 Billion in energy costs in 2018!

For 2019, the outlook for our industry varies. John Hitch, Manufacturing Trends writer for Industry Week, says we may see a slowdown due to the ever-lingering skills gap in our industry. Overall, the sentiment is optimistic, as we need to embrace IIoT and see more decision makers help their workers use new technology to “reach new levels of productivity.”

The PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) according to the Institute for Supply Management said January 2018 started at 59.1 percent for manufacturing. By June, we were at 60.2 percent. PMI dropped to 54.1 percent by December, so the goal for 2019 is to get back to where we were, and higher.

Our take on the 2019 outlook? We have some of the best customers in the industry who are ready to take on the challenges of the new year. Whether you’re an existing customer, or looking for manufacturing productivity needs for the first time, let’s start the conversation!

Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form to get in touch with us today!

Other good reads we recommend about our industry growth: