SFA Offers Predator Basic Machine Monitoring Software

Predator SoftwarePredator Software Machine Monitoring

Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a distributor and service center for Predator Software Inc., has announced the Basic version of Predator’s Manufacturing Data Collection (MDC) Software.

“For many years now, Predator has offered their fully automated, real time MDC system for larger corporations,” said a company spokesperson. “Now they have released the Basic version of the same software targeted toward the small to medium size manufactures looking to capture utilization, with alarm status and part counts.”

MDC Basic is designed to be an affordable way to collect real-time and historical data from the shop floor. It allows for no operator input at the CNC to capture running or idle status along with alarm mode. The customer can also record good and scrapped part counts directly from the CNC interface.

All the collected data is recorded into one of three database platforms: Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQLo r Oracle. Decision makers will have various reports and charts at their fingertips regarding production history, said SFA. Read more below.

Read more

October 2012 SFA Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from October 2012.

Looking for a better DNC solution, but don’t want to spend a lot of
money? Have an old DNC System?

SFA has the answer! We are currently having a clearance sale to clear
out some of our older style hardware. You probably have a wide range
of hardware in your shops, some machines are 20+ years old and others
are a lot newer. We have solutions for a variety of CNC controls.

If you are running on an XP or earlier operating system but don’t
want to deal with the hassle of installing a new PC, we have some
great PCI to serial hubs with 8 or even 16 ports. We also have
bar code readers available for purchase at substantial discounts which
go great with a variety of our products.

Does your Shop need a tune-up? 

How old is your PC? Have you seen performance issues? We can:
-add new machines (including network CNC’s!)
-move software to a new PC or Server  migrate to Virtual Servers
-install current versions of software and drivers
-implement a backup system  update your configuration and streamline processes
-clean up your file structure
-review your current hardware configuration
-optimize baud rates and save machine parameters
-fix cabling issues, grounding issues and more!

Take advantage of our Year End Service specials.
If you are on our Software Support program,
you can purchase service before the end of the year for 25% off
our standard rates. Service will need to be provided by 2/28/13.

Technical Note: Predator Software drops support for Windows 2000.
Read more on our website under About Us \ News Section.

SFA Monthly Survey – Win $25 

Congrats to last month’s winner – Terry Piekarski of Classic Turning Inc.
who won a $25 gift certificate. A randomly drawn winner receives a $25 Gift
certificate to their favorite store.  Ask about a survey today!

Why use a VAR?
Value Added Reseller

To paraphrase BASF “At SFA, we don’t make a lot of the products you
buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.”

We bring our 75+ years of expertise on the shop floor to help
integrate all of the Systems you have in place AND the ones you want
to put in place. We have the broadest scope of knowledge about what
is available and what YOUR shop should have.

Let us analyze your needs and provide you with the best solution to suit your needs! 

* DNC Networking
* Machine Monitoring
* Job Scheduling / Capacity Planning
* Document Control / Paperless
* CNC Editing / File Compare
* USB Solutions / Mobile / PDAs
* Wireless /  Wired Serial Hubs

California Office Tel: (619) 461-4000
Toll Free:    (877) 611-5825
link to original newsletter HERE

September 2012 SFA Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the September 2012 Shop Floor Automations newsletter:

New Tagline for SFA?

Since we do so much, we have often wondered:
What is the best way to describe ourselves?
Perhaps you can help. What few words will give new
and existing contacts the best understanding of all that we do?

We are thinking about “Manufacturing Systems Integrator”
Any feedback or alternate suggestions? Please email sales@shopfloorautomations.com

Book your installations NOW for service for the 4th Quarter!

The 2012 calendar will be filling up soon, so please get your orders
in ASAP (especially if you need to meet year-end budgets for 2012).
Ask your Account Executive about our year end clearances on hardware,
such as bar code scanners, as we close out our inventory levels.

SFA Monthly Survey – Win $25 – Ask us how! 

Congrats to last month’s winner – Glen Craig of Rochester Manufacturing
who won a $25 gift certificate. A randomly drawn winner receives
a $25 Gift certificate to their favorite store.
Complete the online survey for your chance to be selected at random for a gift card.

SFA is Hiring
We are looking for a qualified Field Technician in the Houston or Dallas area.
Do you or someone you know have the right skills to join SFA?
You can earn a $250 referral reward if we hire your recommendation.
Offer expires when a hiring has been made.

California Office Tel: (619) 461-4000
Toll Free:    (877) 611-5825
Link to original newsletter HERE

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – August 2012

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter from August 2012.

Book your installations and service for the 4thQuarter soon!

Frequently after a large tradeshow, we get really busy. Please plan ahead for your year-end budgets so that we can meet your needs for 2012.  Be sure to sign up for our promotions and end of year clearance on hardware as we close out our inventory levels.  Special bundle pricing will happen immediately after the show on software and hardware packages, so be sure to ask your Account Executive.

USB Connect Portable Backup Solution

It seems to happen to all of us.  The CNC machines are making chips and the parts are on schedule when, all of the sudden, the operator notifies you he cannot transfer the NC program into the machine for the last operation.  He tried several times, checked the cable, reset the hardware and is still unsuccessful.  The PC crashed and IT department has to order a new power supply, which is 3 days out.  Now what??

The rugged, portable, USB Connect is a great solution to interface to any CNC to transfer NC programs or drip-feed large programs using any brand or size USB flash drive.  The LCD display allows the operator to quickly select the file, and load the program into the controller with the supplied RS232 cable.  The unit can be configured for multiple baud rates, flow control and parameters to store a variety of machine configurations.  When the PC crashes, this unit can be the lifeline between production and downtime. Are you prepared?

Did you know?
The Predator CNC Editor Light can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs for editing, saving and printing of G-Code programs.  You can download a copy from our website for FREE and register the product at no charge to help improve editing files over using Windows Notepad.  The CNC Editor integrates with all CAM systems and a great tool for the shop floor or programming office.

SFA in the NEWS

Communicating with the Shop Floor

Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations is interviewed in the August issue of
Manufacturing Engineering

Link to original newsletter HERE

Predator Software drops Windows 2000 Support

Predator SoftwareNo Windows 2000 Support from Predator Software

Predator Software has been supporting Microsoft’s Windows 2000 since it was released to manufacturing back on December 1999. Unfortunately, after almost 12 years, Predator will no longer be able to provide day-to-day support for their applications on this platform as of August 2012.

However, support is ongoing to upgrade Predator applications from an existing Windows 2000 installation to a newer edition of Microsoft Windows. Please call (877) 611-5825 for more information.

More about Shop Floor Automations and Predator Software:

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) started as a small company focused on distributing the Predator Software product line to the San Diego and Los Angeles markets of California.  Within 6 months, the company expanded to cover the entire West Coast as a reseller with the goal to be the #1 reseller in a year.

The goal was met in 1999 when SFA was awarded the status of largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for many consecutive years.

SFA has become the industry leader in Shop Floor Communications and Machine Monitoring Solutions. Totally redefining what “Shop Floor Automation” solutions should be.  With thousands of customers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia, SFA was called upon by other vendors to provide other solutions that could be met by our knowledge, support and sales experience of the manufacturing industry.  In 2010, SFA aligned itself with these vendors to close the loop with maintenance management software, job management and scheduling software, hardware manufacturers, and machine tool companies.

SFA is located in San Diego County, situated in the bustling suburb of La Mesa, California, about 10 miles East of San Diego, ever since our founding year.  We expanded our support offices throughout the USA over the years to meet customer demands.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

Many of our clients know us as the DNC Communications and Data Collection / Machine Monitoring experts and we look forward to helping your company in these areas and with our new product solutions.

SFA in August Modern Machine Shop

Modern Machine Shop

Shop Floor Automations was in Modern Machine Shop for our Cloud-Based software Tracks Cycle Time.

Shop Floor Automations’ cloud-based Software as a Service (Saas) data collection software is designed to capture utilization, downtime and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) information without upfront purchase costs or the need to install or maintain database or reporting servers.

The system can track multiple types of cycle time, including from a hardware adaptor or through MTConenct or FANUC FOCAS, and report on metrics such as utilization and efficiency. The system can also run both sets of cycle time and then compare data.
The company will also showcase various hardware products, including a wireless device for connecting controllers to networks and USB Connect for adding memory sticks to CNCs. The latter product is available in either a pendant-mounted version that can be attached to a control or a portable unit for use with a variety of machines.

Read more….

Featured in – Modern Machine Shop – Website www.mmsonline.com

More info on MTConnect:

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free, universal factory floor communication standard that is designed specifically for the shop floor environment to enable the efficient transfer of data between devices (such as CNCs) & software applications similar to Predator MDC & Scytec DataXchange. Some users have referenced this as the “Bluetooth” technology we currently experience with our smartphones & daily electronic devices. By establishing an open & extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment, & systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange & understand each other’s data.  It’s like speaking a common language!

If you want propriety software & solutions, MTConnect is not for you! This new standard will bridge your factory shop floor & link you to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  Think of the equipment on your shop floor now that has limits on how they connect, can they connect, can you get real-time data from them, & what if you could make them all speak to each other?  While some equipment would be limited on what can come from it, the information can quickly be displayed on dashboards, smartphones, ERP/MRP systems, & other equipment.

SFA Software featured in Manufacturing Engineering Media

Manufacturing Engineering Media

We at Shop Floor Automations were interviewed in the July 2012 edition of www.ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com for our Manufacturing Software. The Real-Time Viewer application, which can be customized by Scytec, offers user and company based configurable dashboards for shop floor monitoring of OEE data.
Read more….

“We’ve looked at certain solutions that don’t meet all of our customers’ needs and we fill in where the software lacks,” Greg Mercurio says of SFA’s add-on software plug-ins developed for applications like Predator MDC and other packages. “We build some customized software for that and sell it as a solution. One of the biggest things now is smartphones and Androids.

“Shop-floor data management in some aspects is like an ERP or an MRP system, which is what I refer more to as an accounting system,” Mercurio notes. “It’s more involved with ‘Here’s what we should be doing; here’s the order, here’s the traveler, here’s the delivery date that the customer is expecting. But the reality is shop-floor data management or data collection, with Predator or even our solution, differentiates us from an ERP and MRP solution.

“Mostly we are more machine-centric, more concerned about what’s happening on the machine,” he adds, “and so we have the capabilities of tapping into the machine and saying ‘What are you currently doing? Is the machine currently cycling? Is it currently not running because of a certain reason? Is it down because of coolant leaks, or maybe it’s down because of preventive maintenance. Maybe there’s a quality problem or a programming problem as well. From a data-management side, we can actually collect and report real-time what’s happening with the machine, and this can be displayed on some kind of dashboard or on a Web interface. This could be in an office, or across the Web. So the idea is, in real-time, they can see what we advocated—if you put something in front of the operator, they can know where they stand and can be measured themselves.”

For more info on machine monitoring solutions through SFA, please call us at (877) 611-5825

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – July 2012

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archive of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – July 2012.

Manufacturing Engineering Magazine Summarizes Managing Factory Data

Executives, managers, and engineers are constantly looking for ways to streamline data and take control of the shop floor. There are only a few companies that provide solutions to help attain these goals.  For example, monitoring and ERP/MRP are two key areas that are typically considered to be the same; however, they provide different areas of focus and results.   Shop Floor Automations is able to provide you solutions for machine monitoring and ERP/MRP which will help close the gap and manage data effectively within your business system.

Revive Your Older CNC Equipment with Ethernet

As new CNCs with Ethernet communication are added to the shop floor, old CNCs are left behind. RS232 communication via switchboxes, PCMCIA cards or USB is not the only solution.  Using our latest LAN Connect Remote device you can now send files from your office or pull them from the CNC using FTP and Ethernet.  There is no software to purchase, simply attach to your existing (or provide a new) network and you are able to leverage 2GB of storage with on-board memory.  Our LAN Connect Remote device is easy to install, simple to use and a great, low-cost solution to bring everything into the 21st century.

Support Center

Frustrated with limited support Monday – Friday and short hours? Are you leaving voice mails all day waiting for a response with other companies?

SFA’s Web Callback is available 24/365.  Visit our website under “Contact” to reach us ANYTIME! We have a dedicated staff of Engineers ready to respond within hours.

Link to original newsletter HERE.

SFA is hiring in Houston, TX

Shop Floor Automations in Texas

We are looking for a quality candidate for our Texas Support Department. The Field Technician will be based out of Houston TX or Dallas TX. For more information, go to About Us>Careers

We are also offering a $250 referral reward to the person that brings us our next great employee!

More about SFA and working for us:

At SFA, we are not only coworkers, but we also treat each other like family. There is a reasonably flexible schedule when you work with us, as well as benefits and, if you are in our main San Diego office, Friday company lunch meetings every week.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) started as a small company focused on distributing the Predator Software product line to the San Diego and Los Angeles markets of California.  Within 6 months, the company expanded to cover the entire West Coast as a reseller with the goal to be the #1 reseller in a year.

The goal was met in 1999 when SFA was awarded the status of largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service, and Support for many consecutive years. We are also known for our other Software and Hardware solutions from brands like MOXA, Scytec, Smartware, Ascendant, and more!

If you are technically savvy or want to learn more about how to contribute to the growing American manufacturing industry, send us your info. You may be our next great team member!

Shop Floor Automations Helps Manufacturers Perform Preventive Maintenance with Bigfoot CMMS

CMMS from Shop Floor Automations

Shop Floor Automations, a DNC networking, communications and automation solutions provider, announced that its manufacturing customers are gaining full control of plant floor maintenance operations by using newly enhanced Bigfoot CMMS.

Shop Floor Automations“ Typically maintenance operations teams try to keep up with equipment repairs, and the barrage of mobile calls and text messages from beleaguered machine operators,” said Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations. “By implementing Bigfoot CMMS, we are helping maintenance teams shift from high-stress reactive mode to an organized preventive maintenance culture, handling routine maintenance and ad hoc repairs ahead of breakdowns and before complaints start rolling in. Bigfoot customers report saving more than 40 percent in annual maintenance costs.”

Bigfoot CMMS is a web-based solution that fundamentally automates preventive maintenance schedules for Every piece of plant floor equipment and all components entered into its database. Personnel submit requests for repairs through Bigfoot that generates work orders. Bigfoot captures data from work orders to drive calendar and meter-reading based preventive maintenance schedules. Additionally, Bigfoot collects valuable information to use on replace/repair decisions, outside vendor repair cost negotiations, capital investments and new hires.

Bigfoot’s advanced capabilities include predictive maintenance, asset life cycle analysis, parts replacement inventory, and history tracking with built-in reporting. Latest features include:

• PM balancing analysis.

• Assigning work orders to multiple people.

• Work order/asset criticality (RIME) analysis.

• Enhancement requests – direct to appropriate staff based on priority, type, etc.

• Employee certifications tracking.

• Enhanced tracking of replacement parts inventory.

• Bar coding work orders for easy access and retrieval.

• Additional languages have been added. Bigfoot is available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, and Hebrew.

Bigfoot Web is now supported by Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.

“Through work order information capture, analysis and reporting on all aspects of equipment maintenance, Bigfoot optimizes preventive maintenance, and ensures that all monitored assets achieve maximum up time, safety and longevity,” said Mr. Mercurio.

More over at Manufacturing News