Making Remote Work Convenient for CNC Programmers

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Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) digitally transforms machining.

While this is a significant step forward in process automation, it still requires skilled people to lead it. These optimized production settings, precision laser cuts and tight tolerance measurements all depend on the CNC programmer controlling the machine with software such as ESPRIT, BLMelements and Mastercam.

Two trends should be watched. The first is that the adoption of CAMs should increase. Global industry analysts forecast the CAM market to grow to reach $4.6 billion at a CAGR of 8.4% from 2022 to 2026. This growth is fueled by increased use in specific sectors, such as automotive and aerospace, and companies are creating smart, connected processes that take advantage of Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things technology. objects (IIoT).

Second, as CAM becomes more ubiquitous, so will remote work. Research by Ladders estimates that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of this year. Also, as The Great Resignation continues and manufacturers compete for talent, they should keep in mind GoodHire’s research which revealed 68% of Americans choose remote work over working in an office, and 85% prefer to apply for jobs that offer remote flexibility.

The outcrop forced by these trends is that more CNC programmers and product engineers will work from home.

Manufacturers need a comprehensive work-from-home strategy

Manufacturers who quickly transitioned to remote working during the pandemic have found it easier to allow work from home than to give a CNC programmer a VPN connection. Productivity depends on being able to work as quickly at home as in the office with an Internet connection with adequate bandwidth and quality of service.

Also, remote employees will not suddenly work independently. They are always part of a team. There is a need to deploy solutions that facilitate teamwork, such as Unified Communications (UC) solutions to facilitate messaging, voice and video communications, and collaboration solutions like Jira or Backlog. Additionally, manufacturers will improve their operations by moving to cloud solutions. The transition from on-premises solutions to the cloud will result in greater agility, accessibility and scalability. Managers will also benefit from better access to data to monitor productivity and other key performance indicators (KPIs) related to their areas of responsibility.

Build a Securing the teleworking strategy

Manufacturers also need to expand their security policies to include remote working. Remote programmers and engineers should use company-owned devices configured with security software and dedicated solely to work-related tasks. Manufacturers should also require multi-factor authentication (MFA) to use the device to prevent unauthorized people from unlocking it.

Additionally, while no one wants to incur the expense of replacing a lost or stolen laptop, a company’s IT department must plan for this eventuality and maintain visibility and control to prevent the loss of corporate data. However, manufacturers also need a strategy that ensures that expensive software licenses are not lost as well. A USB key server allows programmers or engineers to use copy-protected software licenses over the network. With a USB dongle, software does not need to be downloaded to laptops, but the user experience is the same as if it were. Therefore, if the laptop is lost or stolen, the software license and the data stored on it are not lost with it.

To advance

Remote work will be a reality for the foreseeable future. Manufacturers need to address the work-from-home trend to stay competitive as an employer and need to develop a strategy that ensures remote work is productive, efficient, and secure. Optimizing every facet of the work-from-home model will help ensure that the same accuracy, precision, and efficiency of CAM processes continues, regardless of where the programmer or CNC engineer is working.


About the Author

Mike Majewski is CEO at HES Technology. SEH is a manufacturer of high quality network solutions. With over 35 years of experience in printing and networking, we have a breadth and depth of solutions expertise in these areas for all types of business environments. Worldwide distribution is through our US and UK subsidiaries and an extensive network of partners, distributors and resellers.

Feature image: ©Green-Butterfly


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