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!

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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!

Migration for Windows 10

Windows 10 migrationWe often encounter customers who are running old versions of Microsoft on their shop floors. We strongly advise that customers read this quick blog on Windows 10 migration for your manufacturing operation.

Countdown to January 2020

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. This means people will be upgrading their PCs to Windows 10 in the next 18 months. While this sounds like a long window of time, it’s best to take care of it sooner rather than later.

Virtualizing

Customers are virtualizing their servers. This means they take a physical PC/computer and move it to a much larger server that can host many computers virtually. This eliminates the hardware for that PC but generally requires a migration.

Now > Later

We strongly suggest customers take care of this Windows 10 migration now, as a lot can go wrong with a migration. Some issues can be improperly entered codes, incorrect driver configuration, or forgetting to backup critical files. There will also be customers who will be waiting to upgrade at the last moment due to multiple factors, which can be a frustrating feeling.

Need Help?

SFA has a procedure that our technicians follow when doing a migration. Testing and tweaks are typical after a migration due to changes in the operating system. SFA knows what these changes are based on experience.

Call (877) 611-5825 so we can help with your Windows 10 migration process. We also recommend you fill out our contact form if you’re reaching out for the first time. If you are on a current Support contract, fill out a form today

IMTS 2018

IMTS 2018We had a great time at IMTS 2018!

Did you come to the manufacturing technology show in Chicago this year? It’s not hard to believe – attendance was up. There were 129,415 IMTS 2018 visitors versus 115,612 from 2016!

Solutions we had on display:

Machine monitoring – DataXchange real-time OEE utilization monitoring software. Cloud-based and on-premise.

Hardware – Floppy drive replacements, add USB to any CNC & more solutions.

DNC software – CNC networking and program revision control needs for the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations We got a chance to take some photos of visitors to our booth and we put up a gallery over on Facebook! We also shot this short video from the trip.

What did you go to IMTS for this year? What does your manufacturing operation do? Are you a moldmaker? Do you work in fabrication? Or tried-and-true CNC machining?

Call us for manufacturing productivity info at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form so we can get back to you ASAP! 

CNC Remote Request

cnc to pcAs American manufacturing grows, efficient machining is key. SFA is often asked about secure and quick CNC to PC communication. Here, we take a look at CNC remote request procedures.

Otherwise known as a CNC remote call, remote request operations provide the following benefits:

  • Keeping operators at machines allows for better productivity
  • Eliminates walking back forth from PC to CNC
  • Machinists can send, receive & drip-feed programs at machines
  • They have directory listings of CNC programs via every machine tool

Remote requests take place through DNC software. It often comes with additional features, including remote error messages, remote auto name, and the ability to send notifications to higher-ups. These messages usually target maintenance, quality or programming issues.

A followup question we get in relation to this subject is this: Can these secure, remote transfers only be done via a serial machine?

DNC software can be used wired and wirelessly. If wired is the route customers want to go, we always recommend cabling specifically made for shop floor environments for effective RS232 communications. The bottom line is that remote calls do not take place at exclusively serial-based machines.

For older Windows-based machines wishing to achieve successful PC to CNC transfers, we recommend a feature called Secure DNC. This allows secure file transfers to CNC machines through firewalls. For example, you can send directly to the hard drive of the machine without interfering with the network.

Secure DNC is great for shops with heightened security measures. It is especially useful for shop floors that still utilize older Windows operating systems because they currently can’t afford to upgrade machine tools.

A great alternative to DNC software for small shops is USB Connect hardware. Devices store programs at machines via a USB thumb drive. It is worth noting, however, that hardware will not have the same plentiful features that software does.

Want more info on PC to CNC program transfer solutions? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form

 

CNC Revision Control

CNC Revision Control is overlooked in terms of manufacturing productivity. No control over shop programs leads to old ones running at machines. This means wasted raw material, man time, and customer time.

CNC Revision Control“Revision control is the management of modifications done to software applications, sites, documents or any set of information,” says Techopedia.

Techopedia lists benefits including record keeping and performance analysis. There’s also streamlined collaboration and conserved disk space.

Modern Machine Shop columnist Wayne Chaneski says – “It is hard to know if a process needs to be fixed if it is not being followed as intended.”

He continues that “valid processes that have veered off course may require additional employee training or better communication of expectations.”

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Legacy Blog – Edition XVI

shop floor automations blogHere are some SFA exclusives we will have at IMTS. There is also product news and MFG Day coverage. Manufacturing Tomorrow especially shared a few of our pieces.

Shop Floor Automations is once again headed to IMTS (Booth 133240). 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. Call us at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form!

 

May 2018 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of our May 2018 newsletter sent May 22nd. Subscribed, but not receiving newsletters? Get more info on this page!

shop floor automations NewsletterDoes getting your shop floor paperless, organized, ready for an audit, and functioning sound impossible? Trust us. It’s not.

The Predator Software Suite contains a solution called PDM, or Production Data Management. You can use PDM to organize programs, safety procedures (such as lockout/tagout and other OSHA standards), setup sheets, quality documents, and more. Use PDM to help obtain revision control, as well as to finally go paperless.

Every department can find a benefit from PDM. Whether they work in engineering, programming, or quality – everyone on the shop floor has a reason for document control. Especially when auditors will be checking if you have management and sign-offs for your processes and files, this solution is especially crucial.

PDM will integrate with other pieces of the Predator Software Suite, such as DNC (CNC networking software), CNC Editor, MDC (Machine Data Collection), and Tool Tracker. It will also integrate with ERP and MES software systems.

Seeking out CAD/CAM software for your growing manufacturing operation? Especially one that can integrate with our solutions?

BOBCAD is a CAD/CAM company we have been working with for quite a few years. Especially since it integrates with some of our most popular solutions, such as DNC software, machine monitoring software, and our USB Connect hardware. Yes, it will even integrate with the PDM software mentioned above!

Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller/integrator of Predator Software. Call (877) 611-5825 for a quote and more information. Link to original newsletter

Haas Demo Day 2018

Haas CNC machine Haas Automation is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Haas VF-1 vertical machining center with Haas Demo Day 2018!

Via your local Haas factory outlet on Wednesday, May 9th, there will be a celebration of the release of this groundbreaking CNC machine.

There will be machine demonstrations and a chance to network with others in the industry. Better yet, you will get some delicious food and refreshments, as well as an opportunity to win a Race Weekend Giveaway! You will also walk away with a limited edition shirt just for attending the event (that we are sure would look great in your closet next to our G-code shirt).

Register for Haas Demo Day 2018 and celebrate how far manufacturing equipment has come! 

We certainly know the significance that Haas machines have on our industry and we carry multiple solutions for Haas users. Let’s see if you have any of the following concerns:

Don’t see your concern listed above? No problem! Call (877) 611-5825 or zip us over a message. We have worked with thousands of customers over the past two decades and can point you in the right direction for improved productivity. 

 

Legacy Blog – Edition XIV

shop floor automations blogHere is more archived SFA press coverage. Controlling CNC programming with DNC software is part of the focus.

MFG News published a piece from us that lists 4 reasons medical manufacturers can benefit from machine monitoring software.

Moldmaking Technology also published a piece touching on how DNC software is crucial to moldmakers.

MFG Talk Radio published a piece on our new hardware product, the LAN-USB Connect.

Our 20th anniversary of being in business has been graciously covered by many publications in our industry.

We thank these publications for helping us continue our success: Modern Machine ShopCNC WestModern Metals, Cutting Tool Engineering, Fabricating & Metalworking, FabShop, FFJournal, and many others!

Need a laugh? Check out our latest Shop Floor Man comic strip, in which his recent absence is explained.

Otherwise, if you need solutions to increase productivity, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form to get in touch with us!