SFA’s Top 10 Moments of 2016

Shop Floor Automations 2016 Review

2016 was a pretty crazy year! With 2017 racing toward us, we here at Shop Floor Automations wanted to share our Top 10 Moments of 2016, whether they were inspiring, or just sentimental to us!

MOMENT # 10: The NTMA Business Expo night at the Belching Beaver Brewery. We had a lot of fun, and great food, at this NTMA event. We also gave away a USB Connect and the winner was Eddie from Aerotek!

MOMENT # 9: Visiting OSML (Open Source Maker Labs) via NTMA. We loved getting to visit this maker workshop. At OSML, people of all ages get to learn about 3D printing, welding, making robots, woodworking, and much more. You can read about how to participate in what they do at OSML.

MOMENT # 8: Getting inspired by a visit to Workshops for Warriors. Hernán Luis y Prado founded this program where they wish to combat the manufacturing skills gap and give veterans much-needed work that is not only stable but well paying. If you want to help this amazing organization, you can read about our visit. We also got to interview Hernán at FABTECH 2016, which you can watch here.

MOMENT # 7: Another big moment for us was when we premiered our comic character Shop Floor Man. Not only was it a cute idea, but it was also a statement from us that we really want to delve into the new media movement that is growing within the manufacturing industry.

“This is great for social media,” Christina M. Fuges of MoldMaking Technology stated about Shop Floor Man’s creation. She wrote about how our Marketing Coordinator “heard how social media isn’t valuable for this line of busines but believes this could not be further from the truth.”

MOMENT # 6: Social events at our company, such as our office parties, the bowling night we had, and going to the top of Willis Tower in Chicago, were all a hoot. Because some of our employees work in other offices around the country, it can be difficult for all of us to get together. We are grateful for all of the moments we have been able to have all our employees under one roof to get together and enjoy each other’s company.

MOMENT # 5: Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Everyone brought in snacks and we had a costume contest. The winners were Amanda as Beetlejuice, Amy as Wonder Woman, and Greg as a Minecraft character.

MOMENT # 4: Seeing Blue Man Group in Las Vegas during FABTECH 2016. Sam and Greg were “dragged” to see Blue Man Group by Amanda, who is a big fan of the crazy music trio. The guys ended up loving the show and everyone stayed afterward to meet some of the Blue Men. It was a fun bonding experience and our faces were sore from smiling and laughing during the show.

MOMENT # 3: Farewell to John. This is one of the bittersweet moments of 2016. John had been with our company for five years, but he decided that it was time to move on and pursue some of his dreams. We definitely support that he wanted to spread his wings, so we threw him a farewell party at Fuddruckers, one of his favorite places to grab a burger.

MOMENT # 2: Premiering the Multi Connect at IMTS 2016. Although the device is not ready for purchase yet, setting it up for display at IMTS and FABTECH has garnered a lot of interest. We look forward to the possibilities it has, and as you can see, it definitely is a good looking piece of tech!

MOMENT # 1: We love all of the moments this year in which we got to interact with our amazing customers. Whether it was over the phone, at a shop visit, or at a trade show, thank you for making us who we are today.

Honorable mention to Michael at MiniMachine, who posed for this great photo for us at IMTS 2016.  He uses Predator DNC through us and loves our G-code shirts. He actually came to that show already wearing the shirt, and he filmed this customer success story, too!

Happy New Year from Shop Floor Automations! If you want to make 2017 great for your shop floor, call us at (877) 611-5825. 

Top 5 Shop Floor Product Updates in 2016

shop floor technology

Top 5 Shop Floor Product Updates from 2016

With the year quickly coming to a close, we wanted to take the time to share some updates to shop floor software and hardware that you all need to see. Whether you implemented them into your manufacturing routine or you are looking for new tech for 2017, here is what you need to know to obtain the goals of lean manufacturing, continuous improvement, and turning data into actionable items:

1 –  Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring & Data Collection – Many shop floor runners are fans of DataXchange for their $45 per month, per machine Cloud pricing, but they may also want to check out Version 2016.10.03 updates. New features include an MTConnect Data Viewer, which is a testament to DataXchange’s continuing advocacy of the protocol. Scytec Support staff will also be able to remotely restart DataXchange for users without remote access, as well as many utilization tools being updated or refreshed. You can also integrate DataXchange with Bigfoot CMMS from Smartware Group if you are seeking a plant maintenance management system, which you can read more about here.

2 – The WiFi USB Connect – This new piece of hardware is a wireless USB solution for the manufacturing shop floor. It emulates a USB stick, allowing you to share data from a PC to your machines. No drivers are required, plus Floppy drive emulators and CNC machines with a USB port can now have wireless abilities! The device serves as an easy and economic shop floor upgrade, with more info here from MoldMaking Technology.

3 – Machine Monitoring through Predator MDCWith v11 now available, there are many incredible new updates, and quite a few improved features, that will be beneficial to your shop floor. From being able to access MDC machine monitoring on Android phones, to having a real-time view of data from any browser, many new charts to display information on, and an updated list of Windows Support, MDC is worth checking out.

4 – MTConnect & the Cloud –  More CNC machine controls, and more shop floors are embracing MTConnect. The open, royalty free factory floor communication standard is universal and embraced by shop floor factories. Comparative to Bluetooth technology that allows for plug-and-play connectivity of shop floor devices, equipment, and systems, the protocol helps collect and process data from machines. The concept of software on the Cloud, AKA IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), is also taking off. Cloud tech can becost-effectivee (as you saw above with DataXchange’s Cloud pricing), is easy to implement, and can often come with advanced tech support that will help a company’s IT Department struggle less. Industrial Machinery Digest published a piece about integrating MTConnect, along with machine monitoring, at this link.

5- Predator’s Touch HMI – A big button interface, Predator’s Touch HMI replaces bar code readers, handheld terminals and proprietary shopfloor hardware; simplifies data collection on machine uptime; enables access to information via tablet, PC or CNC; and provides buttons to transfer NC programs or launch the part drawing on the shop floor for the operator. It can also be color-coded for the convenience of individual machinists, and novelty buttons can be added through the magic of IoT. More on Touch HMI via a Modern Machine Shop piece you can read here.

Want to become the hero of your shop floor by helping achieve better machine utilization? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media. Check out any of the products mentioned in our store, or contact us for info on MTConnect & Cloud options.

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 3

shop floor automations

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 3

We know from years of experience that legacy machines are still an important part of the operations for many shop floors. In keeping that spirit of preservation, the Shop Floor Automations blog humbly presents another edition of our Legacy SFA Blogs! 

Back in 2010, we remember when the Floppy Drive Emulator made it’s New Product debut with Modern Machine Shop. This article states this product will “replace 3.5-inch floppy disk drives and media used to store NC programs and other CNC-related files used on the shop floor. The floppy drive replacement features a USB interface to transfer files from a PC with a USB port to virtually any CNC control with a floppy disk drive.” Read the rest of the piece here.

Fast forwarding to the Summer of 2016, Modern Machine Shop also helped introduce another new product for us – the Multi Connect. In this article, they shared that is is “compatible with a range of machine monitoring software packages including Scytec’s DataXchange and Predator’s Machine Data Collection. The device combines a PLC, Wireless, Ethernet, Serial RS232 and MTConnect. The hardware connects to a variety of equipment via built-in digital I/O, which can be overlaid on existing signals for monitoring cycle start, cycle stop, alarm and status indicators such as stack lights.”

MFG News in September of 2016 published our announcement of what we would be presenting at IMTS 2016, which included Predator’s Touch HMI, Scytec DataXchange updates, and new products like the Multi Connect. The same month, they shared our announcement of a new hire, with our brand new Marketing Coordinator.

We have been in business for close to 20 years, with many customers having been with us for over a decade. We would love to start a long term relationship with your shop floor to help increase OEE and productivity. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

First SFA Customer in Japan

shop floor automations

First Japan Shop Floor Automations Customer

As a New Year is around the corner, we at Shop Floor Automations are grateful to see our customer count grow each day. We are especially happy for the rare occasions we can help International customers. While we mostly do business with parts of Canada and Mexico, we are pleased to announce that we have our first customers from Japan! 

The customers who ordered from us were shipped out 2 of our USB Connect External devices, as well as 2 Pendant USB Connect devices. While we did not get to chat much with the customers on why they needed this equipment for their shop, it is possible they could share the same predicament as our first Hawaii customers.

From an earlier blog, our Hawaiian customers needed the USB Connect External to communicate with their Milltronics control. They were also using SD cards,  no longer want to deal with the 2GB restriction, and the cards were also hard to find for them, so this device suited them best.

We offer many solutions to help machinists and other workers on manufacturing shop floors communicate better with their machines. From software to the hardware solutions we mentioned earlier, our goals are to help your shop floor eliminate downtime, increase OEE and get the most utilization out of your machines. Even legacy machines still have a lot of potential just waiting to be discovered.

If you have manufacturing shop floor needs, or you have purchased from us in the past and want new solutions, contact us here. Time to renew your Support contract with us? Call to find out at (877) 611-5825. 

 

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 2

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 2

Shop Floor Automations specializes, among many things, in legacy machines on the manufacturing shop floor. In the same spirit of preservation, we present Edition 2 of our Legacy SFA Blog Series from the Shop Floor Automations blog!

shop floor automationsIn February of 2016, MoldMaking Technology published an article about our machine monitoring solutions through Scytec DataXchange. “Scytec DataXchange software from Shop Floor Automations (SFA) is a machine monitoring software that provides detailed data collection and real-time reporting on a dashboard, enabling users to instantly track productivity, and plan for increased efficiency and time savings on the shop floor.”

You can read the whole article here. The same article was also published in the March 2016 MoldMaking Technology issue on page 47.

Recently, Shop Floor Automations made a brand new hire for a new position. Amanda came on board as our Digital Marketing Coordinator (she is now simply our Marketing Coordinator) and AMT (the Association for Manufacturing Technology) published the announcement here.

As a bit of a throwback, Advanced Manufacturing (formerly known as Manufacturing Engineering Magazine) published this piece on us in October of 2014. Patrick Waurzyniak writes “More people than ever are looking to automate their processes, said Greg Mercurio, president of Shop Floor Automations Inc. (La Mesa, CA), a reseller of Predator Software’s manufacturing data collection suite and of the cloud-based Scytec data monitoring solution. ‘Time is money, and now there’s more in-process probing and automatic collection of data,” he add. “The key is everything is done at the machine tool.’” You can read more here.

Want more information on the solutions we offer? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media

FABTECH Event Review

FABTECH 2016FABTECH 2017 Review

Shop Floor Automations had a very productive, and fun, visit to FABTECH 2016 in Las Vegas this year. We thank everyone who came by Booth C13109 to check out our solutions.

Here is a review of what we did:

Our main FABTECH video – link here

An interview we got to do with Hernan Luis Y Prado, the Founder of Workshops for Warriors, talks about the importance of filling the manufacturing skills/job gap with military veterans who have, or will be, transitioning to civilian life – link here

Our Facebook photo album from the event – link here

Need shop floor solutions? Came by our booth, but didn’t get scanned? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media, and we will get back to you soon!

More about Shop Floor Automations at Trade Shows: Because Shop Floor Automations works with clients all over America (even some International folks), tradeshows are an essential part of our lives as a company. This is your resource page to see where you can find SFA at upcoming shows!

SFA will be at HOUSTEX 2017 and WESTEC 2017. We commonly give away our famous G-code T-Shirt and some of our hardware solutions, as well. We always make sure that your visit to an SFA booth is informative and fun.

 

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 1

shop floor automationsLegacy SFA Blogs – Edition 1

We at Shop Floor Automations know that your legacy machines are important to you. We also take the same care in preserving our past press appearances, so we welcome you to our Legacy SFA Blog Series from the Shop Floor Automations blog!

In the first edition, we invite you to look back on articles and ads in:

CNC West, November 2016 – pages 88, 89 and 70 – where we had our new products appearing at our FABTECH 2016 booth, as well as an ad for our Multi Connect, which will also be on display at FABTECH.

Manufacturing News, October 2016 – page 35 (for the West issue) – In this issue, we talk about Predator Touch HMI and why it will benefit your shop floor manufacturing needs. The machine monitoring, big button interface is a program we have been excited to share with the public the past few months, and we are glad the manufacturing publications are helping us spread the word. Read the piece from MFG News.

Modern Machine Shop, October 2016 – on page 149 (and on their website) – We got to talk further here about Predator’s Touch HMI. “The HMI is designed to provide an easier way for operators on the shop floor to interact with management and Predator Software. Shop Floor Automations can customize color coding, layouts, prompts and third-party applications.” We invite you to read more.

American Machinist, November 2016 – on their website – our new WiFi USB Connect product is featured. The post states “The device serves as an easy and economic shop floor upgrade. Data can be stored on a remote PC, or locally in the device’s memory, with the device itself providing up to 128 MB of storage.” Read more.

Speaking of Modern Machine Shop, they also published a piece on our new creation, Shop Floor Man, in early November 2016! “With an eye toward a younger manufacturing audience, the company has launched a Web comic series called ‘Shop Floor Man Presents’ with the intention of carving out a space for manufacturing-related humor on social media, especially Twitter.” Read the piece.

Want more information on our hardware, software and support solutions? Call (877) 611-5825 to tell us what is going on with your shop floor! You can also fill out a contact form.

MFG Day Comic was a Success

mfg day shop floor man

MFG Day Shop Floor Man Comic

One of the final posts we put up about MFG Day 2016 was a specially themed Shop Floor Man comic to celebrate the day. It received a good amount of buzz on social media, and we wanted to share it here. 

Shop Floor Automations is an official endorser of MFG Day and we realize the importance the holiday has. It is so important that future generations be involved and get interested in the manufacturing industry. Be it a machinist, a programmer, an engineer, etc. – the industry must continue to thrive. We reviewed the reasons why manufacturing makes a difference for the USA in this previous post.

Shop Floor Man is our newest creation to help exemplify the benefits of upgrading your shop floor. He is a reflection of the frustrations and crazy things that happen in this industry, and we hope you enjoy his presence on the interwebs!

More about Shop Floor Automations and how we help shop floors:

  • Check out our archived newsletters with industry topics & event wrap-ups here
  • Read testimonials & see videos of what our customers have to say about us here
  • Check out the FAQ section about our software & hardware solutions here
  • See our case studies here and we have webinars coming up here
  • We are on social media here, and you can call us at (877) 611-5825 for more info!

 

Fabtech 2016 Contest

fabtech 2016 Fabtech 2016 Contest

Shop Floor Automations will once again be attending Fabtech. With another tradeshow in our sights, you know what that means? Another contest!

When you get your badge scanned at our Booth, you will be entered into our drawing for free giveaways. Options of prizes for winners are:

Two Wireless CNC Connects – Wireless CNC info

One Wired CNC Connect (1 Port) – Ethernet connected CNC info

Many opportunities for T-Shirts each day of the show

Winners will be notified after the show and the confirmed choice of prize will be sent to them via UPS. The Hardware prizes will be on a first come, first serve basis. Cash equivalent to the value of the prizes is not an option. The cost of shipping is complimentary from SFA, however, prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes or International addresses. One prize per winner.

More about tradeshows we attend: Because Shop Floor Automations works with clients all over America (even some International folks), tradeshows are an essential part of our lives as a company. We will be attending Fabtech 2016, as well as Houstex 2017 and Westec 2017. Look into our Booth information and other details. Read our main Fabtech 2016 post.

MFG Day 2016 is Coming

 

mfg dayMFG Day 2016 is Coming

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) will present to our audience a week-long celebration of MFG DAY, which takes place October 7th. The National Holiday is a celebration of how the industry has evolved in recent years, with a heavy focus on pulling in a future generation to keep the job field thriving.

SFA will roll out the red carpet for MFG DAY by providing followers a day-to-day parade of content relative to the Holiday the week it occurs. Informative blogs, a video, maybe even an infographic, will be just some of the fun content to experience. We may even give out one of their hilarious G-code T-Shirts, but definitely, count on a discount to celebrate the Holiday in our online store!

Could an MFG DAY related strip from our new comic series called “Shop Floor Man” (which is pictured to the top left and may be clicked on to magnify) be coming? We are also reaching out to some of their amazing customers in the Manufacturing field to get their stories and insight from the work they do, which will hopefully be included in these celebrations.

Follow what we will be up to on Twitter at both @SFA_inc and @ShopFloorHumor. We are also on Instagram and Facebook under the username ShopFloorAutomations. Look for all of our MFG Day related content on our website blog. Fill out our contact form, so we can get in touch with you on your time.

We are also be exhibiting at FABTECH from November 16th to 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Check us out in the Center Hall of the Metalform section at Booth number C13109.

Remember – when tweeting about MFG Day, please use the tag #MFGday16 or use it to keep up with the fun events on this momentous day!