MFG Costs, Budgets & Integration ROI

mfg costs mfg budget mfg integratorManufacturing costs are a pain.

When you are thinking of investments to help with production, you have to keep in mind your MFG costs and your budget. While it would be great if all of your costs were predictable, they are not.

There are four variables of expenses when running a manufacturing company, and we have done our best to break it down for you with a driving analogy:

Fixed Costs: You get in your car, you set up your GPS and map out the trip. You know how much time it will take to get there and how many miles. You set the path to avoid toll roads, so you know it will take a little extra time, but you’ve accounted for it. Fixed costs are part of the routine in manufacturing. These cover your utility bills, taxes, property costs, salaries for executives or administrative workers, and general facility maintenance. You can even account for a budget of office supplies and basic salaries for sales people and machinists in this category, too.

Variable Costs: When you plan to take your trip, you account for normal traffic patterns that will add a likely delay to get to your destination. It’s an annoyance we have come to both accept and expect for road trips. Variable costs can best be described as costs directly in relation with production. For example – when you produce more, you ultimately need more raw materials. These patterns are predictable and prescribe to the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money.”

Semi-Variable & Step-Variable Costs: When you’re on your trip, let’s say a horrific accident happens, or you hit an unexpected detour. These unforeseen but likely scenarios can add time to your trip, and let’s face it, most people don’t plan for these events to happen. Semi-variable costs account for costs that can vary, such as commissions for sales people or production-based bonuses. Step-variable costs are costs that remain fixed for a period of time, and can suddenly spike up. Let’s say a machine is producing consistently for a long period of time, but then, it goes down – this downtime is not only costly to production, but hiring a specialist to come out and look at it, or replacing it with another machine, will be expensive.

What is the common factor in all of these examples, though?

If you invested in the GPS, it will reroute you, or add time to your route when you hit traffic or unexpected snags in the road. It is monitoring conditions for you to give you expectations and suggestions on how to improve your route.

How does this relate to manufacturing integration solutions & ROI?

Investing in manufacturing integration solutions is the best ROI when taking into account situations that lead to step-variable costs in your production. It’s essentially giving yourself a GPS to help meet and exceed production goals.

If your machines are consistently having communication errors that cause thousands of dollars in stopped production time, then DNC software or hardware is a drop in the bucket to help prevent this from happening. If there are other issues with machines causing downtime that are not relative to CNC communication failures, then machine monitoring can help for better OEE and for machinists to better communicate issues for proper solutions.

If you are interested in Shop Floor Automations helping you combat production issues head on, we invite you to contact us! You can fill out a form here, or call us at (877) 611-5825 to utilize our decades of experience. 

 

New Manufacturing Techniques

People try out new technologies each day.

They buy new phones, lease new cars, upgrade the software on their phones and computers, or add implements to their homes to improve their quality of life. Embracing new technology is a move that would benefit the manufacturing shop floor industry most.

new manufacturing technologyHere are the Top 3 ways that new manufacturing technology adopted on the shop floor can benefit your company:

1 – You can keep up with the competition. According to recent results from the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, the National Association of Manufacturers states that in 2017, there is a record-high level of optimism in the manufacturing industry. 91.4 percent of manufacturers said they would increase investments, hire more workers, and that they generally feel good about our industry’s growth. Do you fit in this category?

Are pieces of old tech, like floppy disk drives and handheld terminals holding you back? Are you experiencing communication failures due to lack of CNC memory for your programs? These are all problems that new technology can fix, so that you can get in on this wave of prosperity.

2 – Increase profit. When implementing new hardware and software into older machines, this can help drastically decrease downtime. When there is no downtime to deal with, or less of it, machinists are free to perfect their craft. According to SME, there have been proven studies that show on average, time will decrease 5 percent every time the number of completed pieces doubles.

Therefore, if a machinist has more time to actually do their job than deal with machines going down, that will ultimately make the company more productive. Implementing machine monitoring to track machine trends increases OEE and DNC software can help with CNC communication failure, which are two sure fire ways to combat downtime.

3 – More freedom. When there is less worry of machines going down, this can create a better work/life balance for those who work on the shop floor, and in the front office. Machine monitoring, which is a powerful IIoT (industrial internet of things) tool, is an amazing way to get notifications of what is going on with machines not only on the shop floor, but via email or text notifications.

When this proven solution to deal with downtime is combined with more accountability through the means of graphical job scheduling, PDM, and other resources on the shop floor, there is more trust in the workplace. More people can use their PTO to go on vacation, or workers who are home sick can help give guidance when a machine goes down via a notes section through machine monitoring.

If you are interested in new technology for your shop floor and experiencing the benefits listed above, contact us by filling out a sales form here, or call (877) 611-5825.

 

Cloudy with a Chance of OEE

“By 2020, a corporate ‘no-Cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today.” This is a bold claim from Gartner, a respected information technology research company. With the growing dependence on this technology, Cloud IIoT Security is becoming a major concern in the manufacturing industry.

IIoT Cloud OEE MFGShop Floor Automations is a big proponent of Cloud tech, especially in terms of the Industrial Internet of Things, or the IIoT. One of our hottest sellers is DataXchange from Scytec, with it’s $45 per month per machine pricing policy for Cloud-based services. We also realize that secure drip-feeding is a concern of note, as well, in the manufacturing community.

For those who are apprehensive about adopting IIoT Cloud tech or any kind of software/devices to help with drip-feeding via DNC Software, here are three resources to help you make an informed decision:

Cloud tech is more reliable than you previously thought.  A publication called Enterprise Tech states that Global IT spending should increase close to 3 percent in 2017 – the projected $3.46 Trillion spent this year on worldwide IT is in part due to the Cloud infrastructure being so significant, as time goes by. In keeping with this fact, Cloud-based machine monitoring has helped many of our customers. One such manufacturer has even been able to run their existing five-axis CNC machines for 24 hours at a time at increased productivity, rather than feeling the need to invest in more machines to achieve their production goals. That definitely speaks to the trust of this Cloud-based program!

Implement a cyber security assurance program along with your Cloud solutions. The Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) for industrial control systems from a global safety science organization UL was introduced for IMTS 2016. “UL CAP is intended for control system manufacturers who need support in assessing security risks while they continue to focus on product innovation to help build safer, more secure products,” states Mark Albert from Modern Machine Shop. “These steps will help protect the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The program should benefit OEMs, machine tool builders, system integrators, and retrofitters who want to mitigate risks by sourcing products assessed by an expert third party.”

SecureDNC makes DNC software communications safer.  This is a Windows application designed to be installed on Windows-based CNC machines, CMMs, test stands, and other equipment. This application from Predator DNC supports a wireless or wired Ethernet interface via TCP/IP. It not only supports older versions of Windows, which reduces the need for costly Windows updates on CNC machines, but it is also a good measure against unauthorized access via hackers. Read more about SecureDNC here.

Ready to get started? Contact Shop Floor Automations for better, and safer, OEE through IIoT. Call (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media

Comfort for Cloud Technology Concerns

machine monitoring

Click graphic for a larger view

If you use cloud-based machine monitoring or have been thinking about it due to the affordable cost of it, there is likely one big question on your mind: what happens to my data?

We have provided a configuration graphic for your reference in this blog about where exactly the data is pulled from, where it goes, and how it gets back to you. Other than this concern of how the data is grabbed and presented, there are a few other concerns people can have with using a service that is cloud-based versus on premise. Let’s explore those concerns here:

What is the cost and what kind of commitment do I need to make?
The $45 per machine, per month option from machine monitoring solution DataXchange has been a very attractive addition to many shop floors. The best part is that this monthly option does not require a long-term commitment, and it includes software updates, plus support.

Paying as you go is a great option for customers to feel if at any time it is not working for them, they can try something else. It also allows them more financial freedom to invest money into other areas of their business, such as marketing or hiring more people to fill the manufacturing skills gap.

I am uncomfortable with my data not being only on my company’s network. From the 2015 International Conference on Computational Science, a study on the sources of uncertainty in Cloud technology state that the biggest parameters of uncertainty are effective performance, bandwidth, available memory, and the number of processors available via the Cloud technology provider. DataXchange meets the demand of all these needs.

The study also stated that Cloud tech which has load balancing and adaptive scheduling, and explaining these concepts in detail, can help those with uncertainty in committing to the Cloud. With DataXchange being developed from over 15 years of experience in creating OEE software solutions, they have thought ahead to meet consumer uncertainties when it comes to the valuable data of customers.

A publication called Enterprise Tech also states that Global IT spending should increase close to 3 percent in 2017 – the projected $3.46 Trillion spent this year on worldwide IT is in part due to the Cloud infrastructure being so significant, as time goes by.

What existing results are out there that can convince me to adopt Cloud monitoring?

Shop Floor Automations has been a trusted reseller of Scytec’s cloud-based machine monitoring through DataXchange for years. You can read this case study about how one manufacturer used DataXchange through Shop Floor Automations for a 10 percent efficiency increase in just over two years.

Cloud-based machine monitoring has helped many of our customers. One such manufacturer has even been able to run their existing five-axis CNC machines for 24 hours at a time at increased productivity, rather than feeling the need to invest in more machines to achieve their production goals. That definitely speaks to the trust of this Cloud-based program!

If you are interested in learning more about cloud-based machine monitoring, or any kind of machine monitoring software, please contact us today! We are available at (877) 611-5825 or you can reach us via this website’s chat function, as well as on social media

 

Top 5 Shop Floor Product Updates in 2016

shop floor technologyWith the year quickly coming to a close, we wanted to take the time to share some updates to shop floor software and hardware that you all need to see. Whether you implemented them into your manufacturing routine or you are looking for new tech for 2017, here is what you need to know to obtain the goals of lean manufacturing, continuous improvement, and turning data into actionable items:

1 –  Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring & Data Collection – Many shop floor runners are fans of DataXchange for their $45 per month, per machine Cloud pricing, but they may also want to check out Version 2016.10.03 updates. New features include an MTConnect Data Viewer, which is a testament to DataXchange’s continuing advocacy of the protocol. Scytec Support staff will also be able to remotely restart DataXchange for users without remote access, as well as many utilization tools being updated or refreshed. You can also integrate DataXchange with Bigfoot CMMS from Smartware Group if you are seeking a plant maintenance management system, which you can read more about here.

2 – The WiFi USB Connect – This new piece of hardware is a wireless USB solution for the manufacturing shop floor. It emulates a USB stick, allowing you to share data from a PC to your machines. No drivers are required, plus Floppy drive emulators and CNC machines with a USB port can now have wireless abilities! The device serves as an easy and economic shop floor upgrade, with more info here from MoldMaking Technology.

3 – Machine Monitoring through Predator MDCWith v11 now available, there are many incredible new updates, and quite a few improved features, that will be beneficial to your shop floor. From being able to access MDC machine monitoring on Android phones, to having a real-time view of data from any browser, many new charts to display information on, and an updated list of Windows Support, MDC is worth checking out.

4 – MTConnect & the Cloud –   More CNC machine controls, and more shop floors, are embracing MTConnect. The open, royalty free factory floor communication standard is universal and embraced by shop floor factories. Comparative to Bluetooth technology that allows for plug-and-play connectivity of shop floor devices, equipment and systems, the protocol helps collect and process data from machines. The concept of software on the Cloud, AKA IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), is also taking off. Cloud tech can be cost effective (as you saw above with DataXchange’s Cloud pricing), is easy to implement, and can often come with advanced tech support that will help a company’s IT Department struggle less. Industrial Machinery Digest published a piece about integrating MTConnect, along with machine monitoring, at this link.

5- Predator’s Touch HMI – A big button interface, Predator’s Touch HMI replaces barcode readers, handheld terminals and proprietary shopfloor hardware; simplifies data collection on machine uptime; enables access to information via tablet, PC or CNC; and provides buttons to transfer NC programs or launch the part drawing on the shop floor for the operator. It can also be color-coded for the convenience of individual machinists, and novelty buttons can be added through the magic of IoT. More on Touch HMI via a Modern Machine Shop piece you can read here.

Want to become the hero of your shop floor by helping achieve better machine utilization? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media. Check out any of the products mentioned in our store, or contact us for info on MTConnect & Cloud options.

SFA Product Featured in MoldMaking Technology

MoldMaking TechnologyWe are excited to see our company’s press release featured in MoldMaking Technology, the most comprehensive magazine for mold, tool and die shop managers. Click here to view the article on the MMT website or read our full press release below.

La Mesa, CA – January 28, 2015 – Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a leader in automation solutions and technology is excited to announce the release of a new product version of Scytec DataXchange Software.

DataXchange is simple and easy-to-use machine monitoring software that can increase efficiency and save time on the shop floor. Detailed data collection is no problem with a monthly billing system and no long term contracts. DataXchange also offers real-time reporting presented on the user dashboard in order for shop owners and operators to instantly track productivity and plan for increased efficiency in their shops.

DataXchange version 2016.01.27 offers new features and functionality. With the addition of an Application Program Interface (API), DataXchange can easily integrate with other software and hardware. Additionally, new charting and reporting functions have been introduced as well as enhanced MTConnect communication. Featured in the photo, the new Target Utilization chart displays a desired utilization number next to the actual utilization for each piece of equipment. Colors are used to identify how close the actual values are within the defined targets. With an improved interface and Data Entry Screen, Scytec DataXchange is truly a state-of-the-art tool that no machine shop should operate without.

For more information: www.shopfloorautomations.com, email: info@shopfloorautomations.com,

Tel: 619-461-4000, fax: 619-461-5918, toll free: 877-611-5825.

Are You Improving Operations With Data Collection?

Data Driven Manufacturing Data Collection“Cloud” applications can be found virtually everywhere today, and for good reason. Join us on April 14th at 12:00 p.m. PST to learn how cloud-based machine monitoring and data collection can make predictive maintenance a reality in your operations.

The webinar will be hosted by Smartware Group, Inc., makers of Bigfoot CMMS, and Scytec, makers of DataXchange. These experts will introduce the latest technologies to monitor and collect asset data and integrate this data for actionable and results-oriented operations and maintenance management.

Register for this machine monitoring webinar to glean real-world examples of the benefits of cloud-based machine monitoring and asset management, and see how high your utilization and asset management strategy can soar.

Get more information and to register, click here.

Smarter Shop Floor With Cloud-Based Monitoring

Cloud-Based Monitoring Project Introduction:

Tech Manufacturing, a long-time manufacturer of machined metal parts for aerospace clients such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bombardier, needed to raise production capacity and reduce lead times for their clients’ largest and most urgent orders. With their 5-axis CNC machines already running 24 hours a day up to 7 days a week, Jerry Halley, Chief Engineer at Tech Manufacturing, looked towards smarter operation and real-time performance data to increase the productivity and useful life of their existing machines.

“We needed a better understanding of how our machines were actually performing for us in real-time,” said Halley. “Live and historical machine performance data would also help us identify technical or process issues that were detrimental to productivity.” With a combination of hardware and software, a CNC monitoring system would collect, analyze, and visualize the necessary performance metrics. However, Halley needed to weigh the productivity gains of such a system against the cost and effort of deployment, especially if it involved a new and unfamiliar server-based IT infrastructure. The ideal system would be easily deployed without specialized IT equipment, knowledge, or effort, and would not require repeated software installation, updates, or configuration.

manufacturing technology trendsApplication Requirements:
-Live dashboard with alerts based on historical and target performance metrics
-Easy to use with existing CNC machines that may not have built-in Ethernet interface
-Does not require investment or expertise in specialized IT infrastructure, servers, or software
-Knowledgeable and experienced integration and vendor support team

Solution:
Tech Manufacturing selected Shop Floor Automations, one of the most prominent systems integrators in North America specializing in CNC monitoring systems, to assist with cloud-based monitoring. Each CNC machine was connected to the existing local area network, so no additional IT infrastructure was required. For legacy machines that did not have a readily available Ethernet port, Shop Floor Automations provided an easy-to-deploy solution that was developed with Moxa. “The industrial networking units from Moxa make it easy for us to get our clients’ legacy machines connected to the cloud,” said Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations.

“For industrial users like Tech Manufacturing, these solutions are invaluable in extending the capabilities and useful life of their still-functional but older CNC machines.” With the local network connected to the Internet, machine performance data was easily viewed and analyzed by cloud-based software such as Scytec DataXchange or Predator Machine Data Collection. Key performance metrics were organized on a visual dashboard so owners and machine operators were able to see exactly how productive each cell was, down to the machine level. Read more below.

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Southwest Manufacturing News – May 2015

In the May 2015 issue of Southwest Manufacturing News, we proudly ran two ads to let the manufacturing industry further know of our services. Our big highlight focused on cloud data collection services for $45 per month, per machine.

Scytec Hosted DataXchange through Shop Floor Automations means the client will not need servers, have access to a real-time dashboard, and many more benefits. Better yet – they will see up to 10 percent productivity on an immediate time frame!

You can see our Southwest Manufacturing News ad by clicking here.

We also announced the opening of a regional office in Texas. You can see this ad by clicking this link.

Contact us to find out what data you can gather and store in the cloud. Click here for machine monitoring info, or call (877) 611-5825

Machine Monitoring gives you the ability to see what your machines are doing in real-time. Collect & process data from your machines using software like MTConnect, FANUC FOCAS, custom macros, or hardware devices. Optional data collection terminals can be used for additional operator input. Run time, downtime, & OEE data is then presented via dashboards, historical reports, & charts.  Emails or text messages can be sent to notify you of production issues on the shop floor.

CNC Software And OEE Hardware Products in MFG News

Greg Mercurio Shop Floor AutomationsManufacturing News spoke with Greg Mercurio about some of our OEE software and CNC hardware this month.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA), distributor of Scytec Data Xchange, will be presenting its latest data collection in a cloud SAAS product along with its latest automation products for the shop floor.

CNC Software

SFA will showcase a cloud-based machine product to capture utilization, downtime and OEE data as well as display real-time machine performance. SFA will demonstrate how real-time utilization and OEE information can now be collected with no database or reporting servers to install or maintain. The pricing model is designed to allow users to explore machine monitoring without a huge upfront cost or unknowns.

Read more below

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