CAD CAM Software Resources

Gcode cad cam

Photo credit to DixiePrecision on Instagram

CAD CAM software is a powerful shop floor tool. There is a long-term problem most users don’t consider. What happens to the programs that the software produces?

“CAD CAM makes these beautiful models, then it produces G-code. What’s going to happen to it?” This question was posed by a Shop Floor Automations (SFA) spokesperson on the Manufacturing Engineering podcast.

“It’s going to go onto these USB sticks. You have all of these portable media going around the shop floor, or it’s sitting on someone’s computer.”

Read more below!

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What is IIoT?

IIoT ManufacturingWhat is IIoT? People in the manufacturing field have a lot of questions about the Industrial Internet of Things. We have answers.

For more insight on IIoT, we also have to explore Industry 4.0. Both these topics are widely accepted as a key part of the future of manufacturing.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) recently sat down with Alan Rooks of the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast. We were asked about our view of this trend and how we are implementing these strategies.

“I love to paraphrase Josh Davids of Scytec about Industry 4.0 because people say, ‘okay what exactly does that mean?'” SFA Marketing Coordinator Amanda Rosenblatt says. “Industry 4.0 is the current level of automation in the use of data in the manufacturing industry.”

“Our industry has gone from to a mechanical system, to mass production, or assembly lines if you will,” Rosenblatt explains. “Then computers and automation, and now, Industry 4 is the Cloud.”

Here are just some ways in which IIoT is used to improve manufacturing productivity:

  • Devices/sensors on shop floor equipment communicate via the Internet, modernizing it
  • Data from devices/sensors on machines is stored in the Cloud, so there is no need to house data servers on site
  • Real-time historical analytics are fed into charts and reports for machine monitoring systems, ERP software, and much more
  • MTConnect and similar protocols allow for data to be collected in a non-proprietary manner, which is more cost effective and does not force the purchase of new equipment
  • Hardware such as modified PLCs can help to make legacy machines IIoT-ready

Want more info on IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form!

Lean Manufacturing Newsletter

lean manufacturing newsletterThe November/December 2018 SFA email blast was a lean manufacturing newsletter. It was sent to subscribers November 19th, 2018.

Lean Manufacturing for 2019

Heard of it? Thinking about it? Make 2019 the year to pursue lean manufacturing!
How can you get started? A few of our solutions help towards the goals of shedding excess, managing things outside of your control, and balancing the uneven:
  • Eliminate Floppy Disks: We offer plug and play solutions to replace CNC machine disk drives. We are a leading supplier for Haas, Mazak, Okuma, and Mitsubishi machine tools.
  • Go Wireless: Increase baud rates and reliability by linking your machine tools wirelessly to your network. Any machine connection can be enabled via Ethernet or RS232 serial ports on your controller.
  • Improve Machine Performance: Your ERP system is tracking job status and operator actions, but what is tracking the machine? Get real-time performance metrics on your equipment from anywhere you have internet access. Meet customer delivery dates and reduce unknown downtime.

Portable Drip Feed HardwareBlack Friday Deal

Looking for a great deal on a backup device to load NC programs into your machine?

Tired of using a laptop and cables to load files?

Purchase any USB Connect Pendant model, the USB Connect Portable unit, or any model of the LAN Connect at list price, and get a second unit for $100 Off!

NOTE: Previous orders do not qualify and this deal expires 11/30/18.

Eligible only for the products listed above.

Give Thanks by Helping Others

Thanksgiving Hours of 2018

We will be closed the 22nd and 23rd for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family. We are grateful to all of you.
After-hours Support is available via our web call back form, 24 hours via our site.
Need us? Leave us a message or call (877) 611-5825

USB Connect Portable Hardware Case Study

Fredon Corporation was recently featured in a case study. Results from using SFA’s USB Connect Hardware were discussed.

Today’s Medical Developments recently featured a case study in their November/December 2018 issue.  The article highlights how our hardware bridged a technological skills gap for this Ohio company.

“A consistent goal of ours is to remain at the front of the manufacturing world,” Randy Glover Jr. at Fredon states. They want “to be able to provide our customers with high-quality parts manufactured in innovative ways.”

“Fredon is small enough to keep a one-on-one relationship with our customers,” Glover was quoted. He also stated they are “skilled enough to surpass the expectations of a facility many times larger [than ours].”

Read more below!

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Lean Manufacturing

Lean ManufacturingLean manufacturing is a hot topic these days. It’s more than a buzzword, though. It’s becoming a necessity.

“Lean manufacturing is a system of techniques and activities for running a manufacturing or service operation.” This quotes comes from Lean Enterprise: A Synergistic Approach to Minimizing Waste from ASQ Quality Press.

Basically, do you want to eliminate any activities from your production that do not add value or contribute to waste? Then you want lean manufacturing procedures in place.

Question is, how can you achieve this goal?

The first step is making the jobs of those on the shop floor easier. “Complex processes typically have a lot of waste, so simplifying a process will reduce waste, improving efficiency,” states this piece on the subject of lean manufacturing from The University of Washington. Keep reading below! 

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Fall 2018 Newsletter

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of our Fall 2018 newsletter.

Decisions to make for Q4

Fall has begun, and before you know it, Winter will be here. Then, surprise, it’s suddenly Q1. Where did all that time go?!

Take a moment to think if you have any of the following issues on your shop floor:

    • CNC communication failures?
    • Old revisions running on machines, with programs floating all over the shop floor?
    • Still using a CNC floppy drive instead of USB?
    • Old cabling causing too much of a hassle?

Check out DNC software combined with shop floor hardware from Shop Floor Automations. These investments are more affordable than you would assume, and the ROI is exceptional!

If excessive downtime is a concern, scroll to the bottom of this newsletter for information about running a machine monitoring trial!

Want even more info on DNC and hardware? Check out articles about our solutions in publications such as Modern Machine Shop, Moldmaking Technology, CNC West, MFG News & more –

IMTS 2018 is a wrap!

We were completely floored by the number of people who visited us in Chicago! Many of whom were prospects who have quickly become customers, as well as our valued existing customers coming to pay us a visit.

Did you make it into one of our photos on our photo album from the show?

Didn’t get to go? Watch our video from IMTS 2018 on YouTube!

Check out our post-show report

What is your OEE?

If you do not know your true rate of utilization, how can you truly be on the path to improved productivity?

Ask us about a machine monitoring trial! It’s affordable, flexible and illuminating on how productive your equipment really is.

Request info on a DataXchange Machine Monitoring trial

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info! 

Link to original newsletter 

IMTS 2018

IMTS 2018We had a great time at IMTS 2018!

Did you come to the manufacturing technology show in Chicago this year? It’s not hard to believe – attendance was up. There were 129,415 IMTS 2018 visitors versus 115,612 from 2016!

Solutions we had on display:

Machine monitoring – DataXchange real-time OEE utilization monitoring software. Cloud-based and on-premise.

Hardware – Floppy drive replacements, add USB to any CNC & more solutions.

DNC software – CNC networking and program revision control needs for the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations We got a chance to take some photos of visitors to our booth and we put up a gallery over on Facebook! We also shot this short video from the trip.

What did you go to IMTS for this year? What does your manufacturing operation do? Are you a moldmaker? Do you work in fabrication? Or tried-and-true CNC machining?

Call us for manufacturing productivity info at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form so we can get back to you ASAP! 

CNC Remote Request

cnc to pcAs American manufacturing grows, efficient machining is key. SFA is often asked about secure and quick CNC to PC communication. Here, we take a look at CNC remote request procedures.

Otherwise known as a CNC remote call, remote request operations provide the following benefits:

  • Keeping operators at machines allows for better productivity
  • Eliminates walking back forth from PC to CNC
  • Machinists can send, receive & drip-feed programs at machines
  • They have directory listings of CNC programs via every machine tool

Remote requests take place through DNC software. It often comes with additional features, including remote error messages, remote auto name, and the ability to send notifications to higher-ups. These messages usually target maintenance, quality or programming issues.

A followup question we get in relation to this subject is this: Can these secure, remote transfers only be done via a serial machine?

DNC software can be used wired and wirelessly. If wired is the route customers want to go, we always recommend cabling specifically made for shop floor environments for effective RS232 communications. The bottom line is that remote calls do not take place at exclusively serial-based machines.

For older Windows-based machines wishing to achieve successful PC to CNC transfers, we recommend a feature called Secure DNC. This allows secure file transfers to CNC machines through firewalls. For example, you can send directly to the hard drive of the machine without interfering with the network.

Secure DNC is great for shops with heightened security measures. It is especially useful for shop floors that still utilize older Windows operating systems because they currently can’t afford to upgrade machine tools.

A great alternative to DNC software for small shops is USB Connect hardware. Devices store programs at machines via a USB thumb drive. It is worth noting, however, that hardware will not have the same plentiful features that software does.

Want more info on PC to CNC program transfer solutions? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form

 

IMTS 2018 Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations IMTS 2018 newsletter. Add us to your IMTS schedule!

IMTS 2018 NewsletterWant improved productivity and increased profits? Stop by Booth 133240 at IMTS! 

Shop Floor Automations has software solutions that help improve CNC communications and increase machine utilization by delivering OEE metrics using machine monitoring software. Our hardware solutions include wireless, ethernet, and USB technology to replace floppy disks, PCMCIA cards, and serial ports on your machine tools.

Solutions we will have on-hand at IMTS 2018:

  • Scytec DataXchange – Machine monitoring has become a crucial element for manufacturing productivity. Evaluate your machine tool performance and give your machinists an easy method to communicate shop floor issues. See the latest features, such as the addition of work orders and the new operator data interface. Ask how we can add the MTConnect protocol to your equipment!
  • Go wireless – Tired of serial cables and slow baud rates to your equipment? Use our Wireless CNC Connect to interface to any age, brand or type of connection on your shop floor. See this hardware in action with Predator DNC software!
  • Replace floppy disk drives – Floppy disks are obsolete. Replace them with a USB thumb drive. We have specific models for Haas, Mazak, and Okuma machines, as well as a universal model to eliminate any floppy drive on any equipment. Just provide your machine’s make and model of the current floppy drive info, and we will have you up and running.
  • Add USB ports to any machine – If you want an economical way to add memory to the machine control and to modernize all of your CNC machines, ask us how we can transform your RS232 port into a USB port!
  • Standardize on Ethernet – Do you still have legacy CNC’s with serial ports and you’re looking to standardize on a network connection similar to your new machine tools? Stop by and check out our LAN Connect device. Simplify your file transfers and modernize your shop floor!

Shop Floor Automations has been in business helping manufacturers since 1998. Call (877) 611-5825 for more information.

Link to the original newsletter 

Legacy Blog – Edition XVI

shop floor automations blogHere are some SFA exclusives we will have at IMTS. There is also product news and MFG Day coverage. Manufacturing Tomorrow especially shared a few of our pieces.

Shop Floor Automations is once again headed to IMTS (Booth 133240). Our booth will be shared with Scytec DataXchange machine monitoring.

New features of DataXchange will be displayed, as well as their E-Learning program. Thanks to MFG Talk Radio for covering both pieces of news!

For product news, we thank Manufacturing Tomorrow for covering the news of our latest hardware release, the LAN-USB Connect, which adds USB and ethernet abilities to your machine. MFG Talk Radio also published this piece from us – a top 3 reasons list of why moldmakers need to embrace the IIoT.

Moldmaking Technology also published an article talking about how machine data collection software helps combat downtime.

Finally, it’s never too early to start talking about MFG Day (also known as “manufacturing day”). Fabricating and Metalworking shared our piece last year on shaping the Made in America movement, where we highlighted three organizations helping to make manufacturing great again.

Our newest article from Manufacturing Tomorrow on this holiday highlights three manufacturing companies SFA has worked with and how they are helping to close the skills gap.

SFA has been helping manufacturing companies increase productivity for 20 years now. Call us at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form!