52 www.CNC-West.com CNC WEST April/May 2019 Hardware for equipment such as CNC machines is at an all-time high demand. Manufacturing integrator Shop Floor Automations reports that manufacturers want to make their current equipment last longer and increase utilization with- out a huge monetary investment. Here are the Top 4 common solutions customers are seeking to improve manufacturing productivity at an eco- nomic price: Hardware for Legacy Manufacturing Equipment. Refreshing Instead of Replacing Machines Provided by Shop Floor Automations Shopfloorautomations.com 1. Control of program storage for better drip-feeding – While DNC software sys- tems are not the answer for every manufactur- ing company, hardware can easily fill this need. Low volume job shops that run the same pro- grams for long periods of time can benefit from a portable DNC box. The device helps save time from needing to walk back and forth from PC to CNC. Drip-feeding is reliable when it’s from a USB stick with pre-approved programs on it. This process ensures the wrong program is not being run at machines. 2. Modernizing floppy drives or RS232 ports – Floppy disks have been outdat- ed technology for years. Trying to find them new or refurbished is a waste of time. Using USB sticks is a more convenient and reliable replacement. It is important that manufacturers understand floppy disk emulators do not allow for larger programs to be run – it is purely a means to be able to use current technology on the shop floor. USB hardware, however, can al- low operators to run larger programs. 3. Replacing cabling systems – Cables on the shop floor are becoming more high maintenance. Costs are going up, whether buying from a vendor, losing time by assuming Cat5 cables will do the job, or attempting to make them in-house. This doesn’t even touch the insurance costs and potential hazards of hanging cables high up and having to tend to them. Adopting a wireless shop floor system will eliminate all these issues that your rats’ nest of cabling in the ceiling causes to your daily manufacturing routine. 4. Enabling modern protocols for legacy equipment – Assumptions that your legacy equipment is restricted from joining the IIoT revolution are false. You can grab data from nearly any age, make and model of equipment in order to increase job capacity. The SRC provided by DataXchange or the MDC adapter from Predator Software allows you to use protocols such as MTConnect to view basic utilization information from your equipment.