There are two sides to the digitization and automation in manufacturing. On one side, executives are eager to implement new technologies that improve efficiency, but nothing revolutionary is in sight to deliver a huge boost in a way that might affect employment. That’s great news for machinists because from their perspective, job security is solid. New hires are often scarce, and even with new hires, the beginners lack skill, knowledge and experience. Expert machinists are right to feel secure, for the moment. Wages for machinists are steadily increasing during a time that many other occupations have stalled out. But fall is in the air, the leaves are changing and 2018 is right around the corner. Change is due.

Since manufacturing technology improvements are more evolutionary rather than revolutionary at the moment, now is a good time for machinists to invest in career development and stay ahead of the game. We recommend sweeping away some of the old unnecessary baggage, like cutting tool catalogs, to start these operations anew, digitally. The following list is the most popular benefits reported by MachiningCloud users who’ve digitized their cutting tool workflows over the past year.

Efficiency & Visibility
By far the most popular benefit users report is increased efficiency. For those who haven’t already done so, it’s time to put down the catalogs. All of your cutting tool research, selection, assembling, viewing, reporting and 3D model exporting is easily available on your desktop, laptop or tablet. Cutting tool digitization shaves off 75% of the time from a machinist’s cutting tool workflow.

There’s no need to scour forums to figure out the best cutting tool for a job. Manufacturer specific application advice such as speed & feed recommendations for your workpiece and assemblies are available in one place. You can even search for cutting tools by application to see what cutting tools vendors recommend for your job. Then, you can share a job that’s saved in the cloud for collaborators to see and use.

Collaboration Instead of Silos
Beyond a digital cutting tool workflow’s ease and power, connecting with other users and sharing jobs minimizes duplicate orders and helps transfer knowledge. Collaborating with coworkers digitally means that expert machinists can easily train new employees in the art of tool selection, 3D modeling and simulating a job.

Data doesn’t just stay in the app either. For non-users, PDFs and spreadsheets are exportable for easy handoff. With your cutting tool workflow is digitized, you’ll wonder why anyone still does it manually.

Automation Instead of Manual Processes
Since no Google searches, emails, phone calls, catalogs and whatever else machinists use for their cutting tool processes are necessary, the entire cutting tool workflow is streamlined. The dynamic search filters help you find what you need. Then, export a 3D model of the final tool assembly to run a simulation and validate your selection. For beginners, validation that they have the right assembly before ordering tools is crucial.

MachiningCloud is razor focused on making the cutting tool process as easy as possible, and it does this by integrating with industry leading CAD/CAM software, tool managers, and simulators. That way, machinists can always use the best solutions that are available for the task at hand and their data can flow smoothly between each application.

Solutions Instead of Systems
Machinists already oversee a suite of software that grows larger by the year, and that’s a really good problem. While it might be a pain to learn a new application, it’s much easier than learning an entirely new system, like an ERP. Systems are designed to be robust, so they can do anything for anyone, but they normally don’t do any single thing particularly well.

Solutions, like MachiningCloud or whatever simulator program you use, are designed specifically for you, the user, to do one thing in the best possible way. ERPs will probably always have a place in businesses and plant floors, unfortunately, but most solutions are relatively easy to pick up within an hour or two of use. Solutions are especially easy to adopt when they are cloud-based.

Services Instead of Products
Adopting a new software product often requires getting many divisions involved, such as accounting, IT and procurement. Cloud services decrease the friction associated with adopting a new software solution by giving individual machinists control over the adoption and integration process. All they have to do is install it on a device.

Cloud-based solutions don’t require servers, new hardware, backups, or IT maintenance of whatever sort. There’s no maintenance involved, so if a computer get’s wiped or replaced, machinists can just reinstall a cloud app and start right off where they left without worry. A simple software update every-so-often is all that’s necessary to utilize cloud services. When solutions come in the form of a service instead of a product, users gain the ability to connect with other users through the cloud and to always see the most updated information available.

For machinists that want to do better at their job in 2018 than in 2017, a cloud-based solution that automates manual processes and fosters collaboration for improved efficiency should be high on their list. For machinists who want to maintain their job security well into the future, we have a pretty good idea of where to start.