SFA Legacy Blog – Edition XII

shop floor automations blogA big focus of Shop Floor Automations is to help customers access crucial, real-time data. We also value historical data for manufacturing productivity. Here is another edition of our Legacy Blog where we cover past media coverage.

MoldMaking Technology covered our upcoming 20th Anniversary. Speaking of event-related news, MFG Talk Radio shared our piece about MFG Day 2017, as well as Manufacturing Tomorrow sharing it.

Our solutions and how they go hand-in-hand with safety in the manufacturing process was mentioned on the WitzShared blog, which is part of the WarehouseFlow Advisors. Gear Solutions posted our piece on the benefits of machine monitoring software.

In an amusing piece of news – our Marketing Coordinator won a manufacturing talent contest last summer for performing a spoof of a Beetles song. AMT also wrote about our comic strip Shop Floor Man in a past updateFabricating and Metalworking also shared our piece on why spreadsheets are deadweight.

If you would like any further information on our solutions or any articles mentioned above, please contact us. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – January 2018

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThis archived copy of the January 2018 SFA newsletter focuses on machine monitoring options.

In 2018, you could increase your productivity by 25 percent, as well as take on lights-out manufacturing and make more profits without buying new machines. How?

Machine monitoring can help you increase utilization and take an active role in making sure your machines are being used to their potential. Regardless of the manufacturing equipment you use or the industry you are in, your goals are the same: OEE, Productivity, and Profitability.

2017 was a monumental year for the manufacturing industry. Help the Made in America movement thrive by making sure your shop floor is as productive as possible.

Shop Floor Automations is holding a machine monitoring webinar focused on DataXchange January 10th. Be sure to request to be part of this free event, while you still have time!

DataXchange is the ultimate machine monitoring option for the manufacturing industry, and Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller and integrator of the software.

Call (877) 611-5825 for DataXchange pricing, which includes affordable Cloud-based options and on-premise solutions.

We also encourage you to get in touch with our Sales department with further questions. 

Modern Machine Shop – January 2018

modern machine shop

Our customers at R & D Manco were on the January 2018 cover story for Modern Machine Shop.

Shop Floor Automations, the company’s machine monitoring provider, shares the story.

“Machine monitoring has been another important factor in R&D Manco’s success,” states MMS editor Peter Zelinski within the feature piece.

Basic machine status data and studying the data to find downtime causes was very important. It was noted as “the shop’s most powerful resource for realizing machining capacity improvements.”

OEE monitoring is crucial for manufacturers. Knowing the utilization of all production equipment is becoming a daily need on the shop floor.

Read more below!

Read more

Machinists Are Not The Problem

cnc machinistsWhen working production on a manufacturing shop floor, productivity issues happen. Nothing is perfect – this includes your employees and equipment.

Some leaders may automatically assume that machinists are to blame for productivity decreases. They think they are not doing their job since they are directly handling the machines.

Before we jump to this conclusion, we need to ask if we are being fair. Especially to skilled workers who are the backbone of the manufacturing industry.

According to a study shared by Harvard Business Review, “when leaders are fair to the members of their team, the team members display more citizenship behavior and are more productive, both individually and as a team.”

With this in mind, here are three productivity problems and the tools you can use to combat each of them. Read on for more! 

Read more

Software for Less MFG Stress in 2018

manufacturing softwareUnplanned downtime and the impact on production are common aggravation factors in manufacturing jobs. New manufacturing software on your shop floor in 2018 could help with this stress.

Machines go down, other machines can’t pick up that slack, and production is halted. An avalanche of consequences follows. Updating manual spreadsheets to track jobs adds to the pain.

According to an August 2017 piece from MetalForming Magazine, District President for Robert Half’s Accountemps program Bill Driscoll states 52% of workers are stressed on a daily basis.

Three causes of this stress are heavy workloads, hovering deadlines, and perceived unrealistic expectations from management. Address these problems with smart manufacturing.

Read more

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – NOV/DEC 2017

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – the NOV/DEC 2017 issue.

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterMachine Monitoring Webinar in January

Do you want to improve your shop floor efficiencies? Would you like to get text messages or email notifications if there is a problem on your shop floor? Our machine monitoring solutions empower managers to identify issues and resolve them quickly.

We will be holding a DataXchange machine monitoring webinar on January 10th, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Pacific time.

You will see popular features of the data collection system in action, as well as get a chance to ask us questions.

If you can’t make the webinar, please feel free to contact us and ask about other opportunities to see DataXchange software. We also have quite a few videos on our YouTube channel to check out.

Holiday Discount Code

It is not too late to spend end-of-the-year funds on solutions to help your shop floor. Get a head start on combating productivity issues and eliminating downtime with some of our best-selling solutions:

  • Portable USB Connect – backup for your DNC system
  • Pendant USB Connect – adds USB to any CNC machine
  • Floppy Emulators – replaces the floppy drive on your machine (ask about our Haas Floppy emulator!)
  • Wireless Connect – go wireless with any CNC machine

Use discount code “HappyNewYear” for a discount in our online store. Code expires 1/2/18

DNC Software – The Heart Beat of the Shop Floor

If there was one new piece of technology we would recommend for your shop floor, it would be DNC software. Within weeks or a few months, you will see ROI when you implement this system to streamline your management of CNC programs.

If you want to control which file is delivered to the CNC, you need DNC. If you are still carrying USB sticks or PCMCIA cards out to your CNCs to load programs, you need DNC. If you want a better system to manage your CNC programs while saving time, you need DNC.

Link to newsletter

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info!

Shop Floor Newsletter – November 2017 – Lights Out Manufacturing

lights out manufacturingThe following is an archived copy of our Shop Floor Automations newsletter from November 2017 focusing on lights-out manufacturing:

2018 is coming up fast. What are your main concerns with your manufacturing production? If productivity is a major focus, then getting started with lights out manufacturing is a good goal to reach for.

We previously focused on lights-out manufacturing (AKA lights out manufacturing) in regards to battling rising electricity costs for 2016. However, the power bill for your shop floor is only one of many concerns.

Does the manufacturing skills gap limit what you can manufacture and get out the door to customers? Do you perhaps want to aim for fewer injuries in the workplace, or want better quality of products? Taking advantage of lights-out manufacturing can help with all of these issues.

One crucial part of adopting lights-out manufacturing in your shop helps to minimize labor costs for each part you make, which in turn helps you compete on a global level. This helps the Made in America movement grow stronger while increasing your profits and customer base.

How can Shop Floor Automations help you begin the path to lights-out manufacturing? Production Machining states that machine monitoring is a pivotal part of the process, since “there is always the possibility of machine failure, cutting tool breakage, power outages, and other unexpected issues.”

Put in a request for more info on lights-out manufacturing by calling (877) 611-5825! You can also fill out a request for info form here. Link to original newsletter here

Lights Out Manufacturing

Have you considered lights out manufacturing for 2018?

lights out manufacturing Last year we focused on the economic benefits of lights out manufacturing. Adopting this process may help combat rising electricity prices.

There are even more benefits to lights out manufacturing.

Goals vary: Manufacturers have different needs to address. Examples – better quality/throughput rates, reduced workplace injuries, and increases production during a skills gap.

Enhancing, Not Replacing, Labor:  The lower production costs by replacing manual labor can accidentally cause a stigma across the shop floor. But rest assured – this form of automation will not completely replace workers.

“By minimizing the labor cost for each part made, manufacturers can compete with the low costs encountered from foreign manufacturers,” Aerospace Manufacturing and Design says. “At the minimum, automation is necessary just to stay in business.”

“Shops do not realize how much they rely on operators,” Peter Zelinski writes for Modern Machine Shop. Successful lights out manufacturing can’t happen without the machinists.

Without consulting with operators, errors in the manufacturing process can’t be addressed. They can help pinpoint glitches that can shut down overnight production.

Machine Monitoring is Crucial:  “There is always the possibility of machine failure, cutting tool breakage, power outages, and other unexpected issues,” Mark Eddy writes for Production Machining.

“A number of manufacturers use MTConnect for universal connectivity,” Mark continues. “It is, essentially, a common translator based on Internet standards that enables CNC and non-CNC machine tools…to communicate with each other and with a central production monitoring system.”

If you are ready to take on lights out manufacturing, get in touch with Shop Floor Automations today! Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a sales contact form.

Manufacturing ROI & Manufacturing Integrators

Manufacturing ROI - shop floor automationsAs a manufacturer, you have a lot of daily concerns, such as downtime and productivity. Is your manufacturing ROI an issue that is falling to the wayside?

With a new year coming up fast, your ROI (or return on investment) should be bumped up to one of your largest concerns, if it is not already. You may remember when we did a previous blog explaining different types of costs for a manufacturer. For this blog post, we wanted to take the time to explain the top 3 ways that working with a manufacturing integrator like Shop Floor Automations will help you with ROI!

#1 Reduce procurement costs:

The only time you ever want the amount of money you are spending on raw materials to go up is because your productivity is at sky-high levels. Unfortunately, you may be spending a lot on raw materials due to downtime on the machine interfering with the quality of products. You may even be spending a lot on paper for spreadsheets and other shop floor documents. Using tools such as machine monitoring software can help you increase utilization of machines, and combining products like job scheduling software and PDM software can help you go paperless. Do you still use floppy disks or constantly invest in CAT-5 cable that needs to be replaced and restrung once a year? Invest in new hardware that will replace these processes and old media sources. These solutions should help bring down some significant procurement costs.

#2 Time-sensitive efficiencies:

Manufacturing is one of the most time-sensitive processes in the world. Certain quantities need to be done perfectly and they need to be on time. What happens when downtime takes down one of your machines? Or you have to spend time manually updating spreadsheets for your production schedule? Or your CNC’s have communication failures on a regular basis? Using the tools of DNC software for CNC communications, machine monitoring for combatting downtime, and graphical job scheduling to be able to see production changes in real time, all make for the perfect trinity to help jobs get out to customers on time.

#3 Marketplace advantage:

American manufacturing is coming back to a place of significant prominence. While the industry deals with a skills gap combined with reshoring, you need to make sure you can take on as many jobs as possible to stay ahead of the competition. If you spent less time updating spreadsheets, invested in less overtime to fix human error and were able to prevent more downtime on your shop floor, imagine how many more jobs you can take on. Implementing any of the tools mentioned above can help with productivity and cement your place in this industry as a top manufacturer.

If you are interested in these solutions, please fill out a contact form or call us at (877) 611-5825 

Summer 2017 Predator Software Updates

Predator SoftwareSummer 2017 Predator Software Updates

Shop Floor Automations is excited to share with you these Summer 2017 Predator Software Updates:

  • In August, July & June, there have been the following updates to MDC:
    • v11.0.248 (August 10, 2017) Improvements for Favorite Reports. Improved New Events Touch manual collection of user logins, machine downtime, good parts, scrap parts, and more. Machine Events Reports improved. Bugs fixed for Machine Downtime and Cost chart legends, and overall load on the database instance has been reduced. Many more improvements made.
    • v11.0.246 (July 14, 2017). Improved MDC APIs and bug fixed with running reports from View Components.
    • v11.0.245 (July 7, 2017). Duration of Chart has been added to header.  Automatic and manual refresh logic improved. Multiple display elements improved. Overall chart performance, use of arrow keys, part serial number permissions, and similar features improved. More updates, as well as some bug fixes, included in this version.
    • v11.0.241 (June 8, 2017). Chinese, Japanese, and Korean style reports added. Improvements made to MDC Service Manager, View Machine Status, View OEE Status, Chinese language resources, Production Trend Analysis Chart display, and more features. Bugs fixed and more improvements made.
    • Android compatibility was also improved for MDC in late June 2017.
  • On July 16, 2017 – Predator Tracker v11.0.55 was released. Same as PDM – FIPS compatibility with FLM v11.0.0.2. improved. New imports and API abilities added. Improved process for Check-in/Check-out to Departments, Locations and Groups. Bugs fixed with View Components reports, editing tool rework operation definitions, and more.
  • On July 15, 2017 – Predator PDM v11.0.174 was released. FIPS compatibility with FLM v11.0.0.2. improved. Part serial number permissions, importing manufacturing/quality requirements, online help, and PDM APIs have been improved. Bugs fixed with assigning icons to custom commands, and more.

There have also been updates for Predator CNC Service, Predator Travelers, and Predator FLM over the summer.

If you would like more information, please contact SFA by calling (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form at this link