SFA’s Top 10 Moments of 2016

Shop Floor Automations 2016 Review

2016 was a pretty crazy year! With 2017 racing toward us, we here at Shop Floor Automations wanted to share our Top 10 Moments of 2016, whether they were inspiring, or just sentimental to us!

MOMENT # 10: The NTMA Business Expo night at the Belching Beaver Brewery. We had a lot of fun, and great food, at this NTMA event. We also gave away a USB Connect and the winner was Eddie from Aerotek!

MOMENT # 9: Visiting OSML (Open Source Maker Labs) via NTMA. We loved getting to visit this maker workshop. At OSML, people of all ages get to learn about 3D printing, welding, making robots, woodworking, and much more. You can read about how to participate in what they do at OSML.

MOMENT # 8: Getting inspired by a visit to Workshops for Warriors. Hernán Luis y Prado founded this program where they wish to combat the manufacturing skills gap and give veterans much-needed work that is not only stable but well paying. If you want to help this amazing organization, you can read about our visit. We also got to interview Hernán at FABTECH 2016, which you can watch here.

MOMENT # 7: Another big moment for us was when we premiered our comic character Shop Floor Man. Not only was it a cute idea, but it was also a statement from us that we really want to delve into the new media movement that is growing within the manufacturing industry.

“This is great for social media,” Christina M. Fuges of MoldMaking Technology stated about Shop Floor Man’s creation. She wrote about how our Marketing Coordinator “heard how social media isn’t valuable for this line of busines but believes this could not be further from the truth.”

MOMENT # 6: Social events at our company, such as our office parties, the bowling night we had, and going to the top of Willis Tower in Chicago, were all a hoot. Because some of our employees work in other offices around the country, it can be difficult for all of us to get together. We are grateful for all of the moments we have been able to have all our employees under one roof to get together and enjoy each other’s company.

MOMENT # 5: Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Everyone brought in snacks and we had a costume contest. The winners were Amanda as Beetlejuice, Amy as Wonder Woman, and Greg as a Minecraft character.

MOMENT # 4: Seeing Blue Man Group in Las Vegas during FABTECH 2016. Sam and Greg were “dragged” to see Blue Man Group by Amanda, who is a big fan of the crazy music trio. The guys ended up loving the show and everyone stayed afterward to meet some of the Blue Men. It was a fun bonding experience and our faces were sore from smiling and laughing during the show.

MOMENT # 3: Farewell to John. This is one of the bittersweet moments of 2016. John had been with our company for five years, but he decided that it was time to move on and pursue some of his dreams. We definitely support that he wanted to spread his wings, so we threw him a farewell party at Fuddruckers, one of his favorite places to grab a burger.

MOMENT # 2: Premiering the Multi Connect at IMTS 2016. Although the device is not ready for purchase yet, setting it up for display at IMTS and FABTECH has garnered a lot of interest. We look forward to the possibilities it has, and as you can see, it definitely is a good looking piece of tech!

MOMENT # 1: We love all of the moments this year in which we got to interact with our amazing customers. Whether it was over the phone, at a shop visit, or at a trade show, thank you for making us who we are today.

Honorable mention to Michael at MiniMachine, who posed for this great photo for us at IMTS 2016.  He uses Predator DNC through us and loves our G-code shirts. He actually came to that show already wearing the shirt, and he filmed this customer success story, too!

Happy New Year from Shop Floor Automations! If you want to make 2017 great for your shop floor, call us at (877) 611-5825. 

An Exciting Visit to Open Source Maker Labs


Open Source Maker Labs Visit 

The future is what you make of it, and when it comes to the people who use Open Source Maker Labs (OSML), making is literally their future. The digital fabrication lab in Vista CA was the location of the latest NTMA San Diego Chapter meeting, where members learned about what OSML is up to.

The presentation began with a sample of what the kids, and adults, who visit work on. The mission statement of the makers who come in is to formulate an idea, design it, redesign it, prototype it, then polish the final version.

Some of the focuses at OSML are in metalworking, welding, 3D Printing, woodworking, electronics, and much more. Aside from the physical aspects of creating, those who create also learn how to use CAD (computer aided design) software, and how to work with coding and computers.

One of the projects they are most proud of is their involvement in the Vulcan1 rocket launch from May of this year. As a collaboration with the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) at UC San Diego, OSML’s lab was used as a resource to do a “cold flow” test of the team’s 20-foot-tall liquid-fueled rocket.

OSMLThe test utilized a steel-framed test rig, made by OSML’s Dan Hendricks and his daughter in a 14-hour project, to hold the object in place for a test of the rocket’s control valves and fluid systems. OSML also hosted a launch party at their lab for those who could not make it to the launch site, when Vulcan1 went airborne.

They had a few visitors for MFG Day 2016, including other businesses and a home-schooled family, which speaks to the future of the manufacturing industry. One of the members, an instructor from Kearney High School in San Diego County, reflected on how one of his former students, who is actually employed here at SFA as a technician, would have loved to come to this lab when he was growing up.

OSML is open evenings and weekends for makers of any age, with monthly membership prices varying from $60 a month to $140 a month. The lab has tools, equipment, work space, and other resources to bring their concept to life. Some of the tools available are CNC machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, a panel saw, soldering tools, a computer lab, and more. Membership includes (among access to tools) free classes, free parts and materials, project kit discounts, meet ups, free parking, free maker humor (as you can see in the photo to the left), and coffee with snacks.

See our photos from our OSML visit .

To keep OSML thriving, as you can see what they look like on a weekend in this video, they are always in need of new members. They also would love a donation of an old Haas machine and are always open to suggestions on how to further help OSML.

For more information on OSML – go to OpenSourceMakerLabs.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. You can also call them to ask how else you can contribute at (760) 998-1522.

Check out our NTMA San Diego Chapter page. You can also contact Shop Floor Automations, a proud NTMA associate member, by calling (877) 611-5825 or reaching us on social media.


NTMA Labor Law & HR Compliance Event

NTMA Event: Labor Law & HR Compliance

The San Diego Chapter of NTMA (National Tooling & Machining Association) will be holding a Chapter Meeting tomorrow night on the subject of Labor Law and HR Compliance at the Barrel Harbor Brewing Company. The event is in Vista CA and starts at 5:30 p.m., so be sure to plan accordingly for traffic, and bring $15 for the event, which includes dinner. There is a discount price of $10 for students.

ntmaAttorney James Roth (also goes by Jim) will be heading the event to talk about “labor policies for everything from overtime pay, to social media, to anti-discrimination and harassment” issues in the workplace. Jim is an expert in this field and will be discussing in particular new overtime rules that will be going into effect December 1st of this year.

Jim will be there to speak and to answer any business-legal related questions you may have for him. The event is hosted by Tim St. Martin (formerly of AlphaTec Spine and current CEO of Barrel Harbor Brewing Company).

$15 for dinner AND legal insight from an expert? That is truly a bargain and yet another example of NTMA providing amazingly helpful events. Read coverage of another NTMA event Shop Floor Automations attended with Workshops for Warriors.

Events NTMA has going on in October of 2016 are a Free Technology Career Institute special event on October 6th in Carlsbad from 5 to 7:30 p.m. with no admission price listed, but it looks like RSVPs are needed. They will also have a Chapter Meeting October 27th at Open Source Maker Labs at 5:30 p.m. in Vista CA with a $15 cost per person (again, it includes dinner).

Going to any of these events? Tweet us at @SFA_inc or interact with us on Facebook. You can also call us to discuss what your shop floor is up to at (877) 611-5825. Fill out our contact form to get in touch with us, too.

April & June 2016 NTMA San Diego Events

ntmaNTMA San Diego Events

Shop Floor Automations is proud to be an associate member of the National Tooling & Machine Association as part of the San Diego Chapter. Here are some NTMA events that SFA was part of in April and June of 2016!

The Business Expo, Hosted by Associate Members Shop Floor Automations, Champion Risk, & Silvergate Bank, took place at the Belching Beaver Brewery.

Congratulations to Eddie Escobar, winner of the grand prize Portable USB Connect! As a part of Aerotek, a manufacturing staffing firm, Eddie is a perfect candidate to receive this prize and put it to good use. We hope you enjoyed the event and we look forward to seeing everyone at the next one.

Our Grand Prize was a Portable USB Connect External with a retail value of $700! This device includes 2 GB USB flash memory drive,  portable unit with USB connector, display, RS232 cable and power supply.

See more photos from the event via our Facebook page here

On June 23, 2016 SFA attended a Chapter Meeting at Workshops for Warriors

We saw how this organization wants to rebuild America’s advanced manufacturing workforce, one veteran at a time. Workshops for Warriors’ 16-week classes result in nationally recognized, third-party credentials from the National Institute of Metal Working Skills (NIMS), SolidWorks, Mastercam, and the American Welding Society.

We wrote a blog about the visit and how to use their resources here.

Getting Military Veterans Manufacturing Jobs

workshops for warriors Workshops for Warriors Visit

Every day, the manufacturing industry furthers its legacy by attracting a younger generation to pick up the future mantle. The industry is also being empowered by the organization Workshops for Warriors, who seeks to obtain for military veterans these current, and future, crucial jobs.

On June 23rd, Shop Floor Automations got to attend an NTMA (National Tooling & Machining Association) event where the organization spoke of the resources it provides to veterans who come home from serving us. Workshops for Warriors also prides itself on helping those soldiers who come home wounded, who can have anxieties about re-joining the workforce due to physical limitations and PTSD.

Check out a student testimonial from Workshops for Warriors 

The event drew a sizable crowd who met in the main office, which was a large, sunny room with communal desks and awards scattered throughout. Hernán Luis y Prado, the founder of the program, was all smiles as he shook everyone’s hand and led them on a tour of the facilities outside.

“It’s great to love our veterans,” Hernán said during the tour. “But love alone doesn’t get our vets these jobs.”

Hernán definitely means business when it comes to helping out his fellow veterans. Having served in the Navy, he saw firsthand that transitioning from serving in the military to civilian life was a struggle. The current Workshops for Warriors center, with a large workstation of computers, $6 Million worth of equipment donations (from Haas and Reliance Steel & Aluminum), and various other niches of the manufacturing field to learn about, is truly “the school that America built,” as Hernán puts it. Read more below!

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