SFA Newsletter – February 2018

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from February 2018. Aerospace manufacturing plays a big role here.

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 NewsletterThis archived copy of the January/February 2018 issue of the SFA newsletter focuses on machine monitoring data.

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 monitoringMachine condition monitoring is becoming a huge need on the shop floor. But don’t just take our word for it!

Machine monitoring is expected to expand to a $3.4 Billion industry by 2022. The United States is the largest market for it. This stunning estimate is from a December 2017 Study on the Global Machine Condition Monitoring Equipment Market.

“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, 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.

Aside from unplanned downtime, there is also a need for monitoring manufacturing assets. More benefits noted are:

  • higher production reliability
  • reduced unplanned downtime
  • higher equipment ROI
  • higher revenues/profits associated with improved product quality
  • reduced risk of manufacturing faults
  • lowered 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.

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!