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

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 demo 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

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!

Read more

What is IIoT?

IIoT ManufacturingWhat is IIoT? Here are the basics about the Industrial Internet of Things.

IIoT and Industry 4.0 are very similar topics. Both topics, however, are widely accepted as a key part of the future of manufacturing.

Alan Rooks of the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast recently interviewed SFA. The interview touched on what exactly Industry 4.0 is.

First, manufacturing was purely done via mechanical systems. We moved forward with mass production (assembly lines). Then we reached computers and automation. Now, we arrive at Industry 4, which is the Cloud.

Here are some IIoT resources used to improve manufacturing productivity:

  • Devices/sensors on shop floor equipment communicate via the Internet
  • 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 – more cost-effective overall
  • 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

Shop Floor Automations 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

RS232 to USB Want RS232 to USB hardware results before purchasing? Check out this case study with Fredon Corporation!

Today’s Medical Developments published this study in Winter 2018. USB Connect hardware bridged a technological skills gap for this Ohio manufacturing company.

A constant goal at Fredon is to remain at the front of the manufacturing world. They seek to provide customers with high-quality parts, to manufacture with innovation, and keep close relationships with customers.

Randy Glover Jr. at Fredon says operators are “skilled enough to surpass the expectations of a facility many times larger [than ours].” But there was a big productivity problem to address.

Read more below!

Read more

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! 

Read more

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 –

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 

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