Happy Accident

Skateboard ManufacturingAerospace. Medical. Defense. Skateboarding?! Shop Floor Automations loves fulfilling needs for unconventional manufacturers, so when we learned our customer Professor Schmitt (Paul Schmitt of PS Stix Inc) was going to be the focus of the Edge Factor documentary  “Happy Accident”, we were very excited!

“Happy Accident” premiered at IMTS 2018 with a great response. Jeremy Bout and Larissa Hofman of Edge Factor, alongside Professor Schmitt, screened the film for 1100 students during a private viewing at their school in Lombard, IL.

Professor Schmitt, his career and his colorful personality are focused on in this film. He has manufactured over 15 Million skateboards and still participates in the sport in his 50’s. He works out of two locations – one in Tijuana and one in Costa Mesa. Though he is very spirited, he takes his craft seriously.

The process of making these boards is an art form that is highlighted in the film. First, the board is designed with CAD/CAM. Then we glue, press, drill, shape, router, sand, polish, paint, print, and wrap.

Schmitt crosses paths with competition skater Kelvin Hoefler, where a big component of the story is his career return after a massive leg break. Calibration and performance of the boards is crucial, and without spoiling story points, Hoefler uses his senses as a skateboarder while Schmitt uses his expertise together to combat an unforeseen design issue. It’s a fascinating story!

John MccainAnother documentary to check out from Edge Factor is “Full Circle.” The unexpectedly emotional film focuses on unintentional connections we make in the manufacturing industry and how it helps us all fill the manufacturing skills gap.

The film is dedicated to the memory of John McCain. The late Senator was filmed visiting the Advanced Manufacturing Lab of Westwood High School in Mesa, AZ.

“I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I’m just fascinated. I think it’s incredible. It’s wonderful, so I thank you – everybody who is responsible.” John said, when visiting.

Visit Edge Factor‘s website for more info on how to watch their programming or help with their efforts. If you would like more manufacturing productivity info, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form today. 

MFG Day 2018

MFG Day 2018MFG Day is here again. A great time to celebrate the growth of American manufacturing. It is also a time to address the issue of bringing a new generation of workers in the doors.

In the upcoming documentary “Full Circle” from Edge Factor, the film addresses the oncoming “silver tsunami” AKA the previous workforce soon retiring out. The message is clear – keep developing an action plan instead of continually discussing this skills gap.

What are our customers doing to promote our industry? There are different methods we see employed by customers, as well as some interesting colleagues we have made in 2018 that we wanted to share.

American Manufacturing“In all the companies I work with, their workforce is in their 50’s,” says Ross Bonacci, Tool & Die Marker at FuelCell Energy in Danbury, Connecticut. “In another ten years, they have no one there to continue the work, so it’s a great opportunity to get a trade.”

“I see these kids leave college and they’re in Starbucks or retail, but I feel like manufacturing is really making a comeback,” Ross said. “It’s a very satisfying career.” Ross also goes above and beyond by working a second job as a CNC machinist course instructor at Henry Abbott Tech in the same town that Fuelcell Energy resides!

Bridging a technological skills gap for older machinery with a solution that can be universally used was one challenge a customer of ours had. “I had to find a quick and easy solution that could be utilized by all team members, regardless of technical ability,” says Randy Glover, Project Manager at Fredon Corporation in Mentor, Ohio. He found our hardware fit the bill, in that it was “very intuitive for some of our more seasoned machinists who are not super tech-savvy.”

One interesting place to mention is Rise Up. The machine shop in Santee CA is an 18-month long program providing reformed ex-prisoners with CNC machine operator training, as well as life skills coaching, work ethics lessons, and other forms of support.

“We tell these guys, they know the stigma that they have attached,” says Machine Shop Manager/Instructor Dustin Greeves at Rise Up. Dustin has been in the manufacturing industry for years and has a lot of insight on the subject. “I tell these guys that they train me as much as I train them.” Keep reading below! 

mfg dayThere are solutions that can be implemented in shops to help ease the skills gap, as well. There is not only hardware from SFA to help replace old media, but there are also many forms of software that can assist. For example. the old-school generation who do hand coding or write out their G-code can use CAD/CAM to transfer their skills to new workers.

“First of all – that’s an art form that we shouldn’t ever lose,” says Ben Mund of MasterCam. “But for the folks who do it, the nice thing about CAD/CAM is you can save off what you have done and the work you have.”

“You can pass that [data] on to future generations,” Ben continues. “So, if you’ve got a specific way you like cutting, you have that as a library you can access and make sure that the people in your shop that you are training up have access to your knowledge and your wisdom as you decide to eventually leave the industry and do something else.”

 How are you helping our industry thrive? Share your stories with SFA on social media. If you need help with productivity, please call (877) 611-5825 

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!

 

Titans of CNC

titan gilroy“Titan”: a person or figure of great importance or power, with the word rooting from Greek mythology. It is fitting that a man named Titan would start a free CNC learning program called Titans of CNC, to hand back power to countless people wanting to thrive in the manufacturing field.

Titan Gilroy grew up with a sordid past, complete with a large dose of adversity to overcome. He experienced highs in his life, such as being a Top Ranking boxer, and lows such as spending years in prison with six months of that sentence served in solitary confinement.

“Let’s make the parts faster. Something made in eight minutes is now made in two minutes. So that six minutes, times that by whatever – that’s money you’re saving.”

After prison, he started his machinist career as a saw operator in a machine shop. He eventually moved up the ladder from a CNC operator, to a programmer, eventually making it to being a shop supervisor. When he eventually had to move from shop to shop, the establishments would not fully adapt to his unique ideas about making CNC machines more productive. He then pursued his own machine shop business so he could build his own success.

titans of cnc“In this trade, I have that same tenacity. that same grit. To put the work in…Look into those machines and push those limits.”

These days, Titan has many things to be proud of. He is the owner of a Northern California machine shop called Titans of CNC, which is an elite aerospace CNC shop. He also stars in, and is the executive producer, for the TV show Titans of CNC (once known as TITAN American Built). He is also the focus of their popular YouTube channel, which is nearing 45k subscribers.

The TITANS of CNC: Academy is the latest pursuit that Titan is highlighting in his career. The program is a free educational platform that teaches students to harness the power of CNC machines and how to be a better CNC machinist.

“We can touch all the lives. We can impact the entire industry, right? Instead of hitting this many who could afford it.”

shop floor automationsAs you can see, we are big fans of this manufacturing maven. Everything he does is a unique solution to closing a skills gap in this industry. He always boasts the goal of fighting for America’s future in the manufacturing industry, which means a better bottom line for all companies that have anything to do with the manufacturing process.

Quotes in this blog come from this video on the Titans of CNC YouTube channel. Help endorse the Titans of CNC: Academy today! Get more info on the Titans of CNC machine shop or the free courses from their academy.

If your machinists are top notch and you are looking for more ways to make your CNC machines productive, contact us! We have software and hardware to help you meet your goals, which can integrate with other software such as ERP, MRP, MES, CMMS, CAD/CAM, and works with protocols such as MTConnect. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form.

Masters of Resonance Official Trailer

masters of resonanceLast week, the long-awaited official trailer for documentary Masters of Resonance premiered. The film follows the path of how a quality drum set is made – from the raw material being sourced, to the concept of the product, to the making of it, to where it actually goes.

We first spoke to Jeremy Bout, Founder of Edge Factor, in February of 2017. Masters of Resonance was a big part of the conversation and was highly anticipated, even then.

“If I had to kind of pick that catalyst moment, definitely it had to be with Neil Peart, the drummer of RUSH,” Jeremy told us, about the film. “His statement was a pretty major one for me because when I started the process, I was building a TV show, and after the statement and processing what he said, I realized it was [instead] a film that needed to be completed.” Read more below! 

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Rise Up Industries – Gang Prevention through Machining

Rise Up IndustriesPresident George W. Bush once said “America is the land of the second chance – when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” Rise Up Industries takes this quote to heart, providing a re-entry program for ex-gang members through life skills courses and notably, their machine shop.

Located in an industrial corner of Santee, California, the relatively new non-profit machine shop started small. It wasn’t even until May of 2017 that they were able to take on more than two trainees, and their very first graduate completed the program in November of 2017.

Check out our video from visiting Rise Up!

Rise Up has lots of Haas machines on hand and beautifully produced parts are scattered in carts among the shop floor. Other than the training they receive on machines, the trainees also take part in life skills training, meet with a case manager, have counseling, and they even participate in a book club every Friday.

“I’ve been in mold making and tool making [for years] – I grew up in it,” says Dustin Greeves, who is the Rise Up Machine Shop Manager. “My grandfather owned his own shop for 25 years and I say this trade will give you everything you give it. It may not happen right away, but it will.” Read on, for more info!

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SFA Legacy Blog – Edition XII

shop floor automations blogWhile a big focus of Shop Floor Automations is to help customers access crucial, real-time data, we also know how important it is to look at important information of the past. 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

MFG Skills Gap & Veterans

Preparing military veterans for manufacturing jobs is an amazing way to give back, but are we preparing them for the MFG skills gap? One school is making sure of it.

mfg skills gapWhen military veterans return home, they will face a series of challenges. Among the most important of these items to tend to – finding a career once their time in the military is over. To coordinate with the MFG industry needing to fill a skills gap, Workshops for Warriors aims to help with this important issue and support veterans at the same time.

Some of you may remember when we visited Workshops for Warriors (WFW) last summer and also when we got to interview WFW Founder & CEO Hernán Luis y Prado. Hernán served in the Navy for 15 years, so this topic hits close to home for him. His message has always been clear – that veterans are the perfect group of people to learn how to use manufacturing equipment to fill these jobs.

Check out a student testimonial from Workshops for Warriors 

One big concern with the manufacturing industry, as well as many industries these days, is the skills gap. While much of the problem in manufacturing is attributed to lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) learning resources for students, there is another looming problem.

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Reflecting on MFG Day 2017

Even with MFG Day 2017 efforts, there is much work to be done to fill the MFG skills gap.

mfg skills gapThere is good news for the manufacturing industry. Last night, the Senate passed a Tax Reform that the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) says is a “critical step forward” for US manufacturers. This is great, considering NAM also reported that 57% of manufacturers will increase wages, 64% will expand their businesses, and 57% will hire more workers if the tax reform was voted into place.

Check out the rest of this story!

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MFG Day 2017

mfg day 217Shop Floor Automations loves MFG Day.

We recognize that there are some challenges to the manufacturing industry and although our solutions help, there is still a skills gap that needs to be filled.

Around this time last year, we paid a visit to Workshops for Warriors (WFW) and even got to interview their founder Hernan Luis Y Prado about the organization at FABTECH 2016. This year, there has been a lot of progress, but WFW still aims to spread its message further.

“What sets WFW apart from any other Veteran educational organization in the nation are the Nationally-recognized portable and stackable credentials our graduates have the opportunity to earn,” Hernán told Shop Floor Automations. “These credentials are our graduates’ passport to financial freedom, anywhere in the world, for life.”

When Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members attend the programs of WFW, they are earning credentials from many organizations. Significantly, they can gain credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), CNC Software Inc. (MasterCam), SolidWorks, Immerse2Learn, the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), and the American Welding Society (AWS).

Click “Read more” or scroll below for the rest of the story! 

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