Machine Data Collection Case Study

We know that results from a machine data collection case study are imperative before making such an investment. We are pleased to announce a new one from Manufacturing News

Our customers at R&D Manco have been featured on all regional issues of the publication. The article focuses on results from using Predator MDC from Shop Floor Automations. 

Kevin Beach, the General Manager, is responsible for machine productivity and tasked with optimizing utilization. He decided to look for ways to implement an OEE solution with his existing equipment. The buzz about IIoT and OEE was definitely an attractive direction for him to proceed with.

R & D Manco

R & D Manco of Phoenix Arizona began in 1964 with owner Virgil Manion. It was then purchased by Chuck and Patricia Wyckoff in 1972. They started a sister company, R & D Specialty, in 1984.

After a series of events where the main company was sold, ownership shifting back and forth, the two shops merged. Chuck and Patricia named the combined shops R & D Specialty/Manco in the 1980’s. The company name would be shortened to R & D Manco in 2016.

In late 2017, the shop began a pilot program of Predator Machine Data Collection (MDC) on three machines. SFA, a Predator Software reseller and manufacturing integrator, implemented the machine monitoring system and was able to shed light on their current utilization rates.

Check out the rest of the piece, and call R & D Manco at (602) 278-7700. If you need improved shop floor productivity, call SFA at (877) 611-5825. We also can answer inquiries by filling 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? 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

Manufacturing Automation Podcast

Manufacturing Automation PodcastShop Floor Automations recently was interviewed by Manufacturing Engineering‘s Editor in Chief Alan Rooks. Our Marketing Coordinator Amanda Rosenblatt was part of the manufacturing automation podcast to talk about our industry.

“What we do is, we are a manufacturing integrator,” Rosenblatt said of the company, which has been open since 1998. The ultimate goal is to increase manufacturing productivity.

“Our customers vary in size and industry,” says the Marketing Coordinator. Examples included automotive, medical and oil industry clients. CNC machine shops, moldmakers, fabrication shops, and a wide variety of manufacturing equipment can be serviced.

Ease of use when using automation, Industry 4.0 and IIoT solutions was also discussed. “It can’t be too technologically prohibitive or people aren’t going to use it. They’re not going to get the benefit of those tools.”

CNC Shop Automation“Everything we have is really user-friendly. It really depends on what the solution is.”

She continues, “With our hardware, some of it is plug and play, while some of our solutions like our USB Pendant Connect requires about a four hour time commitment to install it.”

Rosenblatt stated a list of training materials via YouTube tutorial videos, brochures, helping customers on site, remote sessions, or programs such as DataXchange ELearning for machine monitoring training.

Automation integration, including DNC Software combined with CAD/CAM Software, was a big focus of the podcast. ” It’s going to organize those programs, it’s going to communicate them to the machines, and it’s going to do that revision control.”

The company’s involvement with the manufacturing social media community was also highlighted. “I know that’s a new concept in our industry, but we like to use that to promote the manufacturing community.” SFA are official MFG Day endorsers and are vocal supporters of Workshops for Warriors and Rise Up Industries.

 Be sure to call SFA for any automation needs at (877) 611-5825 or fill out an online contact form

Lean Production

Lean ProductionWhat is lean production? One can view it as an alternative term for lean manufacturing, but we wanted to take a deeper look.

“Lean production is centered on determining what activities or processes add value by reducing other aspects,” this Techopedia article explains.

So there is our concept: instead of focusing purely on the bad (what processes to get rid of), we choose to focus on what is working. What can we magnify in order to increase production?

The first part of the equation is always your talent on the shop floor. Without people at the equipment doing the work, nothing happens. So how can we help?

“In lean-production systems, a manufacturer’s employees are organized in teams,” this Economist article explains. The article goes on to explain how the team structure works.

“These tasks are less narrowly specialized than those demanded of the worker in a mass-production system,” they describe. “This variety enables the worker to escape from the soul-destroying repetition of the pure assembly line.”

What kind of teams can you form on the shop floor to help with productivity? We suggest taking on these projects with Shop Floor Automations’ help towards the overall goal of lean production:

  1. Lights Out Manufacturing – This will require a specialized team to evaluate where there are snags in the process in order to do 24/7 machining. Especially if you have team members who work different shifts, this helps them to compare data and see what is happening.
  2. CNC Revision Management – Assign a team to investigate if programs are floating around the shop floor that needs to be better controlled. This team will help make sure old revisions aren’t running at machines.
  3. Going Paperless – Have a team designated to help the shop floor go paperless. Take on a system of real-time dashboards versus spreadsheets or whiteboards. This team can even help the front office out for a real sense of teamwork.

For solutions that will help with these team goals, contact SFA. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form today.

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 

Legacy Blog – Edition XVI

shop floor automations blogHere are some SFA pieces of product news and MFG Day coverage. Manufacturing Tomorrow especially shared a few of our pieces.

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!

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