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 blogIn this Legacy Blogs edition, Shop Floor Automations shares news of exclusives we will have at IMTS, product news, and coverage in regards to MFG Day.

Shop Floor Automations is once again headed to IMTS (Booth 133240), where 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. Ready to start the conversation about upgrading your shop floor without replacing machines? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form!

 

Legacy Blog – Edition XV

shop floor automations blogIn this Legacy Blog, Shop Floor Automations thanks these digital publications for sharing our recent news about DNC software, machine monitoring, hardware, and more:

Manufacturing Tomorrow posted a piece we wrote about return on investment (ROI) for shop floor automation solutions. “A great example of actually showing your ROI comes from one of our customers who had an ROI sheet showing that their company had 30 machines, they ran two programs per day, and they loaded 300 programs per week…they then showed how expensive this older process was where they were using outdated shop floor media to transfer programs and estimated how much time/money would be saved by upgrading to DNC.”

MFG Talk Radio published quite a few of our pieces lately. They shared news of our new technology, the LAN-USB Connect. They also shared a piece where we shared with manufacturers how to approach decision makers with ways to prove automation ROI.

FabShop Magazine hosted SFA in the MFG ETC section once again. OSHA’s Top 10 safety violations in 2017 that apply to the shop floor were explored and how some automation solutions can help address some of these issues for 2018 onward.

Moldmaking Technology covered our appearance at Mazak West recently. “The company says that hardware implementation for machines that handle Mazatrol CMT files is easily accessible and affordable,” for example. “Mazak machines operators can add USB ports to machines with the USB Connect Mazak pendant model.”

In a throwback, Manufacturing Engineering published a blog about managing and collecting shop floor machine data. Within this piece, SFA owner Greg Mercurio was interviewed.

For our latest appearances in manufacturing trade magazines, check out our press page. Otherwise, we would love to start the conversation with you about automation! Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form.  

 

How to use DataXchange

how to use dataxchangePicking up on a new software system can be challenging. Learning how to use DataXchange, however, is an easy process with lots of resources.

DataXchange machine monitoring software is a solution for manufacturing companies that want to decrease downtime, increase machine capacity, and get real-time notifications of machine issues. Machinists can enter notes if material is needed or lockout/tagout occurs, or shop floor managers can be notified of unplanned downtime.

Here are the top resources on how to learn to use this machine monitoring software system:

1) Videos & FAQs – If you are relatively well versed in using DataXchange, use quick videos on how to use specific parts of the software system. Look at how to use the data entry screen or how to use the modified time stamp. If you have specific questions, it has also likely be answered in our FAQ section focused on DataXchange.

2) DataXchange E-Learning – Get 12 months of access to video courses on every aspect of DataXchange. This is the best option for beginners, or if you want to train someone else to use it. The courses cover the topics of installation, understanding equipment/reporting groups, creating schedule reports, understanding shifts/shift assignments, modifying machine data, an overview of MTConnect, Fanuc FOCAS, specific troubleshooting, configuration, and more. Each section has a quiz and the courses can be revisited for a refresher. Request info on DataXchange E-Learning

3) Schedule a Webinar/Demo – Be part of a DataXchange webinar, or request a software demo. This is the best way to ask specific product questions and get a taste if this software is correct for you.

We encourage you to get in touch with us by calling (877) 611-5825 or schedule a demo/webinar above. Shop Floor Automations is the #1 reseller of DataXchange and we are always happy to have a conversation about the machine monitoring system!

Funny CNC Control Photos

cnc control

Click the photo to see the full detail of these hilarious CNC control operator buttons!

Everyone works differently on the shop floor. Some machinists use sticky notes, or custom stickers on machines, other use full sheets of paper to leave notes, and there are others who embed reminders in their coding. That being said, here are some funny CNC control photos we have seen over the years!

SFA has serviced all manner of manufacturers over the years. We have helped increase productivity for CNC machinists, fabricators, moldmakers – you name it! We are also fascinated with the #instamachinist movement on Instagram. Read more below!

Read more

Legacy Blogs – Edition XIII

shop floor automations blogDocument control. Gcode editing. Machine utilization. Documentation of any variety is important to us at Shop Floor Automations, and not just for our customers. We welcome you back to our Legacy Blog series, where we archive past press coverage.

We appeared in the October 2017 issue of MFG News, with a piece reviewing the top three benefits to machine monitoring appearing from us. Updates to DataXchange and an overview of Touch HMI features were also in the issue. We were also in the August 2017 issue of MFG News.

The benefits of cloud-based machine monitoring are reviewed in this piece from us, published in Modern Machine Shop this past January, plus we were mentioned in this piece on R&D Manco. Speaking of Modern Machine Shop, we were also in the February issue with an ad and an article. We have photos of our appearances in this issue on Instagram, too, so be sure to network with us and the #instamachinist movement!

Finally, in the January 2018 Production Machining Magazine issue, we were part of the annual product directory. You can find us under Software>CAD/CAM, Software>ERP & Other Shop Management, Software>Data Collection Devices, and the general directory.

For more information, we would love to start a conversation with you for your productivity needs. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form so we can get back to you on your time. 

SFA Newsletter – February 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from February 2018.

If you manufacture aerospace parts, there are two questions you need to ask yourself: Is your revision control as solid and secure as it should be? Do you know your utilization percentages? Knowing the answers could help you keep customers and grow revenue.

Production Data Management (PDM) and Machine Data Collection (MDC) are two solutions that are critical to your operations. To learn how to improve your machine utilization/OEE and prevent old programs from running on your shop floor, visit our website.

For example, Airbus – this major player in the aerospace division requires that new suppliers provide “a proven track record of operational reliability and delivering on shared commitments.” Even existing suppliers must “meet quality requirements, on-time and on-cost.” On top of performance records, the Defence & Space department of Airbus specifically requires detailed document control (per Ref. ADS.E.0570 Issue 2, page 10 of 28).

As you can see, aerospace companies such as Airbus have high standards for accepting and maintaining suppliers. Having data via machine monitoring software can help to provide proof of uptime, while PDM allows for document control.

The Predator Software Suite provides both MDC and PDM, and Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller and integrator of the software. Call (877) 611-5825 for pricing and integration information. 

Link to the original newsletter or fill out a contact form

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – JAN/FEB 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of the January/February 2018 issue of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter.

Estimated OEE vs Real OEE

A good number of our customers were able to contribute to the phenomenal growth in the manufacturing industry last year because of OEE information gathered by machine monitoring software.

Often the first overlooked step in improved production is not properly tracking utilization and OEE. Our customers at R&D Manco in Phoenix definitely agree with this statement.

We spoke to them recently and discovered that before implementing Predator MDC software, it was assumed that their machines were running at 50 percent utilization. Within a short period of time using the software, they found utilization was more around 30 percent. Uptime is critical to their operations, especially with lead times of 8 months to 1 year for the parts they run.

In a recent issue of Modern Machine Shop (MMS), the company credits machine monitoring from SFA (via Predator MDC) as an essential resource for increasing capacity.

MFG 2017 Review & 2018 Outlook

There is no doubt that 2017 was a fruitful year for manufacturing in America. Confidence in our industry, as well as positivity in future prosperity, is at an all-time high.

There are some concerns going forward to keep the momentum going in 2018. Industry 4.0, IIoT and automation are some of the concerns that we address.

Check out our 2017 Review for USA manufacturing & an optimistic outlook on 2018!

Okuma Floppy Drive Replacement

If you have an Okuma machine with a floppy drive that is about to bite the dust, the time to upgrade is now.

Even if your floppy drive is still functioning, floppy disk technology has been outdated for about a decade and it is best to adapt to new technology now before the worst happens. Best to be prepared than be stuck with a dead floppy drive on your machine.

The best part is that when you send back your old floppy disk drive core from the Okuma within 15 days, we will give you a $695 credit!

Get more information on Okuma Floppy Drive Core Replacements

Get in touch with our sales department by calling (877) 611-5825 or fill out a request for information

Need for Machine Monitoring Expanding

machine monitoringThe industry of machine monitoring is forecasted to expand to be worth $3.4 Billion by 2022, with the United States being the largest market. This stunning estimate from a December 2017 Study on the Global Machine Condition Monitoring Equipment Market is indicative of how fast the manufacturing technology landscape is growing.

“Over the years, the rapid proliferation of machine automation and breakthrough technology improvements in machine capabilities, have created the need for monitoring systems,” the study from Melvin Bright, a market research company focused on data for manufacturing technology, products, and services, states. “Avoiding unplanned outages is the first step towards ensuring process optimization for manufacturing plants and facilities…Demand-driven manufacturing is the need of the hour.”

The study states that while only 25% of large manufacturers were requesting machine monitoring 15 years ago, the number is closer to 50% as of December 2017 with the prospect of growing even more.

Aside from unplanned downtime, there is also a need for monitoring to ensure that manufacturing assets are properly managed. More benefits notes are “higher production reliability, reduced unplanned downtime…higher equipment ROI, higher revenues and profits associated with improved product quality, and reduced risk of manufacturing faults, which pushes up the cost of reprocessing.”

“Diligent tracking of the progress of equipment deterioration also aids in more effective equipment maintenance, repair, and replacement strategies,” the study continues. “While simultaneously reducing operational damage, outages, lost capacity, and maximizing plant value.”

If you want to experience these benefits firsthand, be sure to contact Shop Floor Automations for our machine monitoring solutions. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

 

MTConnect vs OPC UA

mtconnectIn the January issue of Modern Machine Shop, Josh Davids of DataXchange discusses the difference between two different, popular protocols. MTConnect and OPC UA are compared.

“Although OPC UA and MTConnect are both http-based protocols (which makes them usable on internet-enabled networks), the question why MTConnect exists often arises since OPC UA has been around for a while and has wide support throughout industry,” Davids said.

“If we view machine monitoring at a high level, it’s apparent that MTConnect is best-suited for equipment with standardized functions, such as CNC controls or other equipment that has known capability. OPC UA is generally best-suited for one-off integration projects that use programmable logic controllers (PLCs),” Davids continued. “Another difference is that OPC UA can be a read-write protocol, whereas MTConnect is read-only. Nothing can be written back to the machine.”

There is much more insight on why MTConnect and OPC UA are different in Davids’ contribution piece.

MTConnect versus Fanuc FOCAS

MTConnect versus other protocols 

For more information on machine monitoring, DataXchange or MTConnect, please contact us! We are the #1 reseller of DataXchange and we have the distinction of being an MTConnect Institute Roster Member. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form.