May 2018 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of our May 2018 newsletter sent May 22nd. Want to subscribe? 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

How to use DataXchange

how to use dataxchangePicking up on a new software system can be challenging. Learning how to use DataXchange, however, is an easy process with lots of resources.

DataXchange machine monitoring software is a solution for manufacturing companies that want to decrease downtime, increase machine capacity, and get real-time notifications of machine issues. Machinists can enter notes if material is needed or lockout/tagout occurs, or shop floor managers can be notified of unplanned downtime.

Here are the top resources on how to learn to use this machine monitoring software system:

1) Videos & FAQs – If you are relatively well versed in using DataXchange, use quick videos on how to use specific parts of the software system. Look at how to use the data entry screen or how to use the modified time stamp. If you have specific questions, it has also likely be answered in our FAQ section focused on DataXchange.

2) DataXchange E-Learning – Get 12 months of access to video courses on every aspect of DataXchange. This is the best option for beginners, or if you want to train someone else to use it. The courses cover the topics of installation, understanding equipment/reporting groups, creating schedule reports, understanding shifts/shift assignments, modifying machine data, an overview of MTConnect, Fanuc FOCAS, specific troubleshooting, configuration, and more. Each section has a quiz and the courses can be revisited for a refresher. Request info on DataXchange E-Learning

3) Schedule a Webinar/Demo – Be part of a DataXchange webinar, or request a software demo. This is the best way to ask specific product questions and get a taste if this software is correct for you.

We encourage you to get in touch with us by calling (877) 611-5825 or schedule a demo/webinar above. Shop Floor Automations is the #1 reseller of DataXchange and we are always happy to have a conversation about the machine monitoring system!

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – March/April 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThis archived issue of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter was first sent to subscribers April 24th of 2018.

A Place to Belong

There are quite a few organizations out there who are working to close the manufacturing skills gap. They are also teaching a trade to those who not only need the guidance but the steady career path that manufacturing provides.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) wanted to share with our audience a local organization called Rise Up Industries.

Trainees of the program become machine operators by trade. They are also taught to overcome obstacles from their past to become productive members of society through various life skills classes.

Their motto is “a place to belong” and we were very touched by our visit to their shop recently. We invite you to check out what they are doing over in Santee, CA!

LAN-USB Connect

You have heard it from us before – you can add USB to your CNC of any make, model, and age. You may have also heard we can add Ethernet to your machines. Why not both?

We present to you the LAN-USB Connect. This hardware packs a one-two punch. It’s easy to install, as it connects to your machine’s RS232 port. You can drag and drop files from, and to, your CNC machine memory. Use the Ethernet connection via FTP, and best of all, no special software is required to install and use the device!

Mazak West Event

SFA will be at Mazak West from June 5th to the 8th, 2018. We will be exhibiting Scytec DataXchange machine monitoring software, showing attendees how to collect real-time data from their Mazak machines.

Ask the MTConnect experts in attendance at Mazak West how the protocol benefits you, how to integrate your legacy machines, and how information collected from your machines can help improve both capacity and productivity. Implementing machine monitoring has many benefits – we can’t wait to show you!

Hardware solutions for new and legacy machines will also be on display. Using wireless, wired and USB solutions will increase your shop floor productivity.

For more information, please call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form.

Funny CNC Control Photos

cnc control

Click the photo to see the full detail of these hilarious CNC control operator buttons!

Everyone works differently on the shop floor. Some machinists use sticky notes, or custom stickers on machines, other use full sheets of paper to leave notes, and there are others who embed reminders in their coding. That being said, here are some funny CNC control photos we have seen over the years!

SFA has serviced all manner of manufacturers over the years. We have helped increase productivity for CNC machinists, fabricators, moldmakers – you name it! We are also fascinated with the #instamachinist movement on Instagram. Read more below!

Read more

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.

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. 

 

The CNC Floppy Emulator – What It Can & Can’t Do

shop floor floppy diskWe get many calls to our office asking questions about CNC floppy emulator hardware. While we invite you to contact us for more detailed information, we want to answer the most asked question: Does your Floppy Connect hardware add memory to my machine?

The answer is no, but don’t let this deter you! The benefit of floppy drive replacement hardware is not adding memory to your machine, but we will also touch on the subject of file sizes later.

There are three main benefits to this CNC upgrade:

  1. Refreshing, not replacing, legacy machines: Just because your machine still has a floppy drive does not mean it’s time to put it out to pasture, in terms of productivity! Using one of our floppy drive emulators will upgrade your machine and prevent you from spending thousands of dollars on a new CNC machine.
  2. No longer hunting for obsolete storage media: Floppy disks have been extinct technology for several years now. Finding them new is hard to do and will cost you. Meanwhile, getting a 2GB USB stick is as easy as making a run down to a pharmacy, a big box technology store, ordering from Amazon, or buying one from Target and Walmart! Remember, a 2GB stick is the standard with our Floppy Connect, and it must be FAT formatted.
  3. Eliminate proprietary upgrades: Having a tech from the machine tool builder come down to evaluate your machines is expensive. It is also cost prohibitive to have them install their specific hardware to upgrade your machine. Our Floppy Connect is a small investment in comparison and works on a large number of controls, with the list growing daily.

replace floppy with usbHow many programs you can store on the USB stick is another big question we get. Since the customer is going from a disk that was once 720k or 1.4MB to a 2GB USB stick, the assumption is that they can store and send big programs from it. This is incorrect.

A USB stick will hold no more than the floppy you would have used in the machine would dictate.  The machine still thinks it’s a floppy reader, so it is going to work within those restrictions. You are essentially fooling the machine into thinking the floppy drive still works, with the benefit of no longer needing those floppy disks. Let’s explore further:

Program sizes for customers typically range from 1kb to 25MB. On floppies, program sizes can range from 1kb to 1.4MB.

Let’s say your machine manufacturer made a floppy disk drive that could only handle DD (double density) floppy disks. This means it could only hold 720kb worth of storage, and could typically hold 110 machine program files on it.

What if your machine could handle 1.4MB floppy disks? This means you used HD (high density) floppy disks, which could hold up to 220 machine program files on it.

Case in point – your machine could only handle the size of those files that could fit on those floppy disks. So even though you are using a 2GB USB stick, it will only hold whatever your machine could handle. Remember though – the goal is not to increase memory. It is to save time and money on the shop floor by ditching old technology!

Want more insight on our hardware? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form so we can get back to you when it is most convenient!

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! 

Read more

Legacy Blog – Edition XIV

shop floor automations blogIn this Legacy Blog, we share media coverage that Shop Floor Automations has been lucky to receive recently.

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!

In need of 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! 

Mazak West 2018

mazak westCome see Shop Floor Automations at Mazak West 2018 this year!

DataXchange will be with us to show attendees the latest in real-time machine data collection and productivity hardware.

Where & When: June 6th and 7th, 2018. 9 AM to 5 PM. The Western Technology Center, 1333 West 190th Street in Gardena, CA.

Quick Info: We invite you to come see demonstrations of DataXchange software. Ask about how our customers have seen benefits of real-time utilization monitoring. We will also have our USB Connect and Wireless Connect hardware solutions on-hand.

Register for this event! If you are going, or wish you were, we also recommend you subscribe to our newsletter list so you can learn more about this event, updates in the manufacturing industry and other solutions from SFA.

Why you should visit SFA at Mazak West: Come for a preview of new technology from Mazak. If you want to make your current Mazak equipment more productive, come visit us at the open house! See how as little as $45 per month, per machine, can help increase your shop floor productivity and OEE. Upgrade your legacy machines with USB and Ethernet connections, and eliminate serial cables by going wireless. We are celebrating 20 years in our industry, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with you!

Can’t make it to the event, but want free insight on hardware or software? Visit our Webinars page and sign up to learn about our various solutions, or schedule an on-site visit with one of our manufacturing integrators.

Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form for more information.