Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – June/July 2017 Issue

2017 June July Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the 2017 June/July Shop Floor Automations Newsletter.

Consider Shop Floor Hardware

It is amazing how much hardware changes our daily lives. Your smartphone, your FitBit, your home assistant devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home – hardware helps improve your life in so many ways. Why not invest in some new hardware for your shop floor?

Add USB to any machine. Drip-feed programs that are too large for your CNC memory. Replace floppy disks or poorly insulated cables that are dropping your program transfers. Coming soon, use hardware that can function via WiFi, RS232 Serial, Ethernet, PLC, and the MTConnect protocol, at the same time. There are so many options at a very affordable cost.

Our customers have turned to our hardware to solve many shop floor problems. One customer found that his company could save money and not risk damaging their shop’s laptop by using our Portable USB Connect instead. Another customer who has been with us for over a decade has been using our wireless CNC machine networking devices in their shop for years. Another customer loves the process control and security of his shop’s programs from using our hardware devices. Just ask us about other hardware benefits!

Mastercam 2018 Rollout 

Our friends at CAD/CAM Consulting Inc. invited us to the Mastercam 2018 Rollout, which took place at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA.

We did a report on the event, which talks about enhancements made to Mastercam for this new version, plus our three best solutions that integrate with Mastercam Software.

We also have a fun, quick video from the event you can watch here.

Consulting a Technician Won’t Break The Bank

Have you ever bought hardware from some off-the-beaten-path discount store, or purchased cheap software, and have been dismayed at the lack of support or detailed documentation? It is so valuable when a technology company offers support for their products, and when offered, it may cost less than you think.

SFA is proud to have some of the best technicians in the manufacturing integration business. They not only offer support over the phone and via remote sessions for customers, but they can also come on-site to help.

We have some great resources on our website that explain why it is a great idea to use a technician instead of attempting to do it yourself. Sometimes cabling can be a little more difficult than you may have thought previously, which you can read about here. We also did a post on how setting up hardware can be a little more complex than imagined, which you can read by clicking here.

For more info, click here to contact us, or call (877) 611-5825. See the original newsletter here

SFA Legacy Blogs – Edition 9

shop floor automations blogThe Shop Floor Automations blog is dedicated to preserving the history of our company. An important part of this history is the press coverage we are always grateful to receive. Here is the latest news we would like to share:

WESTEC 2017 is around the corner and we will be at Booth 1935. We would like to thank  MFG Talk Radio and Today’s Medical Developments for posting pieces about what we will be up to at our booth.

Our popular piece about millennials in manufacturing jobs continues to make its way through our industry. Haas Technical Education Centers published the piece on their blog recently.

We also have some vintage news pieces we would like to share. This piece from Manufacturing Engineering Media (from SME) in 2014 features an interview with our company President Greg Mercurio. This piece from June of 2012 by MFG News was from a time when our floppy drive emulators were still fairly new. American Machinist also published this piece in December 2016 about how recent Scytec updates meant even more MTConnect compatibility.

We were also honored to be in the following recent publications: the CNC West April/May 2017 issue (pages 69 and 73), the MFG News March 2017 issue (in each edition – page 53 Midwest, page 65 West, etc), and the MFG News June 2017 issue (in all editions – page 76 Southwest, page 71 Midwest, etc.)

If you would like more information about how to increase productivity on your shop floor, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form here. Want to see some reasons why customers have stayed with us? Click here to read & view our reviews!

Military MFG Career Fair

Workshops for Warriors Career FairWorkshops for Warriors, a long time friend to Shop Floor Automations, will be hosting its inaugural Employer Career Fair on August 4th. More info is at this link, or read below:

“Employers will come to Workshops for Warriors in San Diego CA first for a tour of the facility, and second to participate in 20-minute ‘speed dating’ style interviews with students and Workshops for Warriors alumni,” Workshops for Warriors (WFW) proclaims in a press release about the event.

“We will work to connect Employers with students interested in relocating to their area or are interested in the specific jobs the Employers need to be filled. The event will be followed by an off-site networking event.”

WFW is the only accredited school in the nation that provides training, certifications, and job placement for military veterans. This includes those wounded in action and transitioning service members.

“As you may or may not know, veterans get up to four years to be trained in a particular military occupation, but they have less than one week to transition as civilians,” WFW founder Hernan Luis Y Prado said in an interview with Shop Floor Automations. “The challenging part that we have is that we know people love veterans, but loving a veteran does not make them a good machinist, or fabricator, or welder.”

To read more about what WFW does, click here to read about our visit to their school. If you run a manufacturing company and need solutions for better productivity, improved OEE, or better organization, call us at (877) 611-5825. You may also contact us by clicking here

Mastercam 2018 Rollout

mastercam 2018 rollout CAD/CAM Consulting Inc. recently held a Mastercam 2018 rollout event at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA. Shop Floor Automations (SFA) was lucky enough to participate as a vendor whose solutions integrate with Mastercam software.

Guests of the event not only got to sit in on informative demonstrations of new and improved Mastercam features, but they also got to walk throughout this beautiful museum full of aviation history. Lunch was served and a raffle took place at the end of the event – SFA even got to give out our Wireless CNC Connect and the Wired CNC Connect.

Click here to watch our video from the event & subscribe to our YouTube channel

Some of the enhancements reviewed for the event were general, which include analyzing the toolpath, analyzing the distance along the curve, lathe coordinates, and more.  Overall design enhancements, as well as tool enhancements, mill enhancements (2D and 3D), lathe enhancements, and mill-turn enhancements, were discussed.

Some detailed presentations given to attendees touched on customizing your interface with nifty features such as the Quick Access Toolbar. A litany of commands are at your fingertips and your tabs can be customized to your ease of use, which includes selecting the option of displaying large icons. We were also informed that posts from Mastercam which are three versions back or newer can also be updated to the Mastercam 2018 version.

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mastercam 2018 rolloutHow does SFA work with Mastercam? The three best solutions are:

# 1 – DNC Software: Once Mastercam is done building your programs, send them to your machines with DNC Software. Able to store 1000’s of programs securely, you won’t have to worry anymore if your programs are floating around the shop, or if the program is too large for the CNC memory. This is a great upgrade if you find your current CNC communication methods are failing.

# 2 – Hardware: A more economic approach when compared to DNC Software, some opt for our USB Connect hardware (available in units which can be mounted on a machine or in a rugged, portable unit) or they gravitate towards our Wired/Wireless, CNC Connect devices. No longer run from the machine to the PC, or risk damaging your laptop by carrying it around the shop floor. Expensive memory upgrades will now be a thing of the past.

# 3 – Machine Monitoring: Okay, it’s more of an accessory to Mastercam, but it is a great addition to your shop. Monitoring downtime and other machine trends help to increase OEE and drives real-time improvements on your shop floor. Customers report productivity increases of up to 25% just from monitoring the utilization of their machines. Imagine the time you’ll save with Mastercam plus machine monitoring in your shop!

If you want more information on this event or any of the solutions mentioned above, Shop Floor Automations would love to hear from you! Fill out our Sales contact form, or call (877) 611-5825. 

Prison Programs for MFG Skills Gap

America is the land of opportunity and the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) is an unconventional example of this ideal. Those who are behind bars will have opportunities through this program to gain skills that will land them stable jobs and do something productive while incarcerated. There can be mixed feelings about this program, though. Prison industry enhancement certification programs

Here are five basic things to know about PIECP, before going forward:

#1 – It was created by Congress in 1979 with the goal of having inmates contribute to society while offsetting the cost of their incarceration, as well as to pay back the crime victims and support their families.

#2 – Other than monetary reasons, the program was created not only to reduce prison idleness but to increase job skills for those in prison so they have a good transition upon release and help the economy by filling jobs.

#3 – The only prisoners who are allowed to participate in the program are in State prisons (not Federal prison), are medically able to participate, and have minimum disciplinary records while serving time. Only minimum or medium security level prisons may participate in this program and the only prisoners who take part in PIECP volunteer to do so.

#4 – The program also helps with reincarceration rates, since the prisoners who underwent this training and transitioned properly out of prison had non-arrest rates ranging from 60% to 93% meaning more than half of the participants who were monitored did not return to prison.

#5 – These programs help to offset the cost to taxpayers of running prisons, as well as helping prisoners not bounce back into jail to eat up further resources. Information varies from source to source, but via this 2010 study, State contributions via taxes to help run prisons can be as low as $58,065 (total annually from taxpayers in North Dakota) all the way up to $7,932,388 (total annually from taxpayers in California). With inflation and prison populations growing over the years, these amounts have no doubt changed.

Click “read more” or keep scrolling for the rest of the story! 

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Why Up-To-Date Software Matters

shop floor software updatesWe’ve all had those annoying reminders on our computers and our phones about a software update being imminent. Sometimes, we say to ourselves “I’ll get to it later,” but this train of thought is a mistake. This is especially true with shop floor software updates.

One of our seasoned technicians gave some feedback on why keeping your software for your shop floor updated is so important:

“Software updates frequently have new features that support a broader range of protocols. For example, the last release of Predator DNC added support for Fanuc FOCAS to allow hardware-less program transfers. In terms of Predator MDC, support for Gerber, Siemens, and OPC was added in v11.”

He continues with another reason these updates are crucial:

“In terms of security, Predator DNC v11 added SecureDNC to help isolate unsecured controls on the shop floor. Staying up to date is important because of the constant improvement in our security features that help defend against cyber attacks.”

Yes, it can be annoying to keep up with software updates, but as you can see from this blog, it is a vital task to complete. If you want more shop floor insight, call Shop Floor Automations at (877) 611-5825 or fill out this form, and we will get back to you at your convenience. 

Legacy SFA Blogs – Edition 8

shop floor automationsA company does not thrive on satisfied customers alone. That is why we use the Shop Floor Automations blog to show we are grateful for the press coverage we get on our solutions and other company news we like to share. Here is another edition of our Legacy Blogs:

MFG Talk Radio published a piece from us where we discussed the top 3 reasons to get a floppy drive emulator here. Speaking of our hardware, Modern Machine Shop published a blog on our WiFi USB Connect in April here, as well as publishing a piece on the device in their May 2017 issue (pages 136 through 138). MFG News also published a piece about the same device on their blog here, as well as in their June 2017 issue in all editions (page 76 for the Southwest edition and page 62 for the West edition, for example).

We were the May 2017 Tip of the Month for Moldmaking Technology, which you can check out by doing to page 72 of the issue, or check it out hereVeterans Today shared our piece on the great work that Workshops for Warriors is doing at this link.

A recent piece we have done on the top 3 reasons manufacturing jobs are for millennials has been picking up a lot of buzz. MFG Talk Radio published the piece hereMFR Tech published the piece here, and Today’s Medical Developments published the piece hereWhyMFG also published it, as well as Manufacturing Global publishing it hereA2Z Manufacturing Magazine published the piece as well, wherein they referenced Today’s Medical Developments as the source, but we definitely appreciate our work reaching a wider audience, regardless. We love the chance to display our industry knowledge outside of our solutions and are flattered by the attention this piece has been getting.

Want more information on how to get more OEE and better productivity? Fill out a sales contact form here, request a software demo request, or call us at (877) 611-5825. Thank you for visiting the Shop Floor Automations blog! 

May 2017 Newsletter – Machine Monitoring Data

If there are production issues at a manufacturing company, it is likely that at one time or another, a conflict has happened between those on the administrative side and those on the machinist side.

While it can appear as if the machinists are not doing their jobs, it is also likely that the machinists have tried to communicate their problems and lack of resources to the front office. With today’s diagnostic culture in mind, it’s a great idea to implement machine monitoring to help smooth over these communication issues.

Machine MonitoringWith machine monitoring data collection from Predator Software via MDC, it can help start a dialogue with your shop floor and its managers. Using the machine timeline dashboard via the Predator Machine Monitoring Client Software can help to plan a stand-up production meeting.

A manager can display this data on a shop floor screen and review with the team what the machines did yesterday during second and third shifts. This can encourage communication and understanding between those who work directly with machines, and those who work in the front office.

Also, the assumption that machine monitoring only works on CNC machines could be causing some shops to avoid investing in machine monitoring. For instance, an aerospace company that paints airplane parts needed their environment monitored for changes in humidity and temperature. We have also helped set up monitoring for a dairy farm, as well as testing the future possibilities of monitoring autoclaves and forklifts.

These unconventional machine monitoring capabilities have been possible with Scytec’s DataXchange and our industrious technicians. It also starts at $45 per month, per machine, which is a great way to get your feet wet with the concept of machine monitoring.

Visit our website for more machine monitoring info 

by clicking below, or by calling (877) 611-5825 today!

Want to try out our software
before you commit to buying it?
Ask about our trial packages.
 
Request a demo by clicking here! Link to original newsletter here.

Customer Spotlight Blog: Honeywell Aerospace

We at Shop Floor Automations always aim to show appreciation for our customers. We offer discounts and free merch when customers fill out certain surveys, but we feel it’s not enough. Once a month, we want to take the time to highlight certain customers and what they are doing to change the modern manufacturing industry, as well as the day to day life of American consumers.

honeywell aerospaceThis Customer Spotlight Blog will be focused on Honeywell Aerospace.

Their mission, via their website: “Honeywell Aerospace innovates and integrates thousands of products and services to advance and easily deliver safe, efficient, productive and comfortable experiences worldwide.” They work on a wide variety of products, such as business jets, airplanes, aviation defense tools, space travel, and more.

News on the map: “Honeywell introduced global, high-speed inflight Wi-Fi to airlines and business jets with its latest JetWave satellite communications system.” Source

Did you know? They hit their 80th anniversary of operation recently in 2016. Honeywell Aerospace has also kindly done a video testimonial for us about using our solutions, which you can watch here.

Want to be featured in our Customer Spotlight Blog? Contact Marketing@ShopFloorAutomations.com

Need software or hardware solutions for your manufacturing shop floor? Call (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on one of our various social media channels

SFA at WESTEC 2017

Shop Floor Automations will be exhibiting at WESTEC 2017 at Booth 1935 from September 12th to the 14th, where the west coast manufacturing community will come together to learn about new solutions, network with each other, and enjoy like-minded industry company!

Add us to your WESTEC schedule here.

Want free tickets to WESTEC 2017?

Click here and when the prompt comes, enter code “10605599” for a pass, on us! Deadline = July 27th

westec 2017

Coming soon – FABTECH 2017 Contest Info!  

Follow Shop Floor Automations on all of our various social media channels. You can like us on Facebook, tweet us on Twitter, subscribe and watch our YouTube videos, check out our Instagram posts, or connect on LinkedIn. Shop Floor Automations has been in business since 1998 helping manufacturing shop floors with OEE, productivity, and preventing expensive memory or machine upgrades. Come to Booth 1935 to see how we have made automation in manufacturing an obtainable goal for any production!

Past or Present Customer of SFA? Visit our Booth, film a video testimonial/review, and get a free SFA GCode T-Shirt! More WESTEC promotions TBA.

westec 2017

At FABTECH, we anticipate presenting:

  • Hardware solutions, such as the Pendant USB Connect, Floppy Emulator & more!
  • Displaying Predator’s Touch HMI
  • Showing new Scytec DataXchange machine monitoring updates

We have more info here, plus you can contact us for more info, or visit us at Booth 1935 at the show to ask us more. For WESTEC, use hashtag #shopfloorautomations so we know you visited us!