Manufacturing Engineering – Real-Time Manufacturing Data – November 2013

Greg Mercurio in Manufacturing Engineering

President of SFA, Greg Mercurio, is featured in the Manufacturing Engineering November 2013 issue. In the interview, he talks about real-time data and machine monitoring for the shop floor.

“One of the challenges we face every day is trying to educate the manufacturing industry on how critical this data is,” Greg is quoted. “It’s at our fingertips and it’s not being utilized because a lot of manufacturers think it’s too complicated or it’s cost-prohibitive.” 

“Technologies including wireless, bar code readers, touch screens, and tablets have started to drive implementation prices down,” Greg says. “The reality is most shops run only at about 60 percent to 65 percent machine utilization.”

Read the entire piece! Call 877-611-5825 – we invite you to be surprised just how affordable and easy these solutions are!

More about data monitoring (AKA machine data collection and machine monitoring):

Improve manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & make better decisions. Enjoy automatic, error-free, & unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start/end, setup start/end, log on/off, cycle start/end, & more. Data collected includes cycle time, idle time, setup time, teardown time, machine downtime, & scrap reasons.

Drive improvements based on real-time data. In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor. What is the overall equipment effectiveness formula? Ask us!

 

 

October 2013 SFA Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the October 2013 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter.

Loading Offsets 

Many of our customers are faced with streamlining the process
of loading the NC program along with various other files.
Loading tool offsets are common on the shop floor but are typically a manual process.

By using a DNC system, the operator can request the NC program for the desired part
while the software automates the process in the background to look for the NC program
as well as the associated tool offsets.

If the tool offset file is located, it will queue the file and load the correct file
immediately after the NC program is loaded.  This allows the operator
to simplify the task and save time.

CNC Controller with Limited Memory

Limited to the CNC controller memory in your machine?

While some CNCs are arriving on the shop floor with hard drives and
Ethernet connectivity, most older machines are still in production
where programming departments are forced to break up NC programs or
streamline the program to fit into the controller.

There are several options to bypass these limitations and other
programming challenges by automating the process.  Expand the memory using
Behind the Tape Readers, use a tape mode or DNC function on the control
to drip-feed, or implement sub-programs and load them on the fly
from the PC hard drive to reduce the size of the program on the CNC controller.

Predator New CNC Service 

Predator CNC Service is a Windows service designed to monitor Ethernet-based CNCs machines,
Robots and PLCs.  The service now includes support for MTConnect, Fanuc Focas,
OPC and Structured Data type equipment. Various parameters such a CNC mode,
cycle counters, variables, feeds and speeds for all make and models of Okuma Mills
and Lathes with P300, P200 and P100 CNCs can be captured in real-time.

Improve your schedule accuracy and reduce costs using a real-time,
finite production scheduler that maximizes the use of your resources
and meets your delivery promises. Plan, schedule and manage with
one production management software solution.

Customer Success Stories

We would like to have your feedback of how we were able to help
improve your shop floor with our solutions.
Your story may be featured in leading trade magazines or online
website and can include a little background on your company to share.

Celebrating 15 Years

Shop Floor Automations is celebrating our 15th year in business
providing the best in software, hardware and integration services.

We are the premier service and support center for customers
throughout USA for a variety of Software and Hardware brands. This
includes being the #1 distributor for Predator Software and
recognized as “Dealer of the Year” for 10 years running.

Let us analyze your shop for free and provide you with the best solutions 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

Technical Note:

Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft in April, 2014.

In order to maintain support for your computer systems from
Microsoft, you will have to upgrade from Windows XP.

Contact us in advance so we can help walk you through this process.
(877) 611-5825 Toll Free
California: (619) 461-4000

More info about SFA here

Link to original newsletter HERE 

September 2013 SFA Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThis is an archived copy of our September 2013 SFA Newsletter:

Add USB to your CNC Machine with Ease!

The USB Connect device acts as an interface between commercially
available USB flash memory and any CNC control with an available
RS232 port.

Machine tool files can be sent from CNC memory to the USB key, USB
key to CNC memory or drip fed (DNC) from the USB key. Flexible DNC
firmware is built into the USB Connect unit allowing connection to
just about any machine tool CNC control.

The USB Connect is available as a pendant or portable model, and supports the Mazak CMT format.

Updating Your CNC Communication System

Is your DNC System outdated, problematic and/or no longer supported
on Windows NT, 2000 or the serial hardware manufacturer’s warranty expired?

Most DNC systems are still in place from 5+ years ago and Microsoft
announced Windows XP will no longer be supported in April 2014. In
order to maintain support from Microsoft, companies will have to
upgrade from Windows XP.

Now you can swap out your communication system with a new wired
Ethernet or wireless solution. Contact us about upgrade specials for
any DNC product as a competitive upgrade saving over 25% on systems.

Our DNC Solutions are compatible with versions of Windows Operating
Systems including:
Windows 7, Vista, 2003 Server and 2008R2 Server, 32bit or 64bit

Monitor Your CNCs On Your Mobile Device

Are you wondering what’s happening on the factory floor when you

leave the office or are attending meetings offsite?

From most devices connected to the web (such as the Apple iPhone, iPad,

iPad Mini, Android tablet or phone) you can monitor your equipment

in real-time and be notified via text or email of escalation activities.

Connect any brand, age, or type of equipment using our Static Relay Controller,

MT Connect, Fanuc Focus or Macro B / User TaskProgramming.

Let our sales team help you increase your productivity by 10% or more

with our low-cost Machine Monitoring Solutions.

Celebrating 15 Years

Shop Floor Automations is celebrating our 15th year in business
providing the best in software, hardware and integration services.
We are the premier service and support center for customers
throughout USA for a variety of Software and Hardware brands. This
includes being the #1 distributor for Predator Software and
recognized as “Dealer of the Year” for 10 years running.

Let us analyze your shop for free and provide you with the best
solutions 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

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 once the position is filled.

Technical Note: Predator Software is supported in a virtual environment

such as VMware or Hyper-V.  Reduce your server overhead and costs by contacting us for details.

Predator New Releases:

MDC v10.1
PDM v10.2
FLM v10.0
RCM v10.3
Tracker v10.1
Virtual CNC 10.1

(877) 611-5825 Toll Free
California: (619) 461-4000

Original newsletter link HERE

Production Machining – August 2013

Production Machining – August 2013

Check out the latest Shop Floor Automations ad in Production Machining’s August 2013 issue! Our mobile solutions are featured in it. Check out the ad

More about Shop Floor Automations:

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 the largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for the past 15 years running.

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.

Modern Machine Shop – June 2013

Machine Monitoring and Data Collection ad

Check out our latest Machine Monitoring and Data Collection ad in Modern Machine Shop, June 2013.  View the ad here!

More about Machine Monitoring solutions through SFA:

Machine Monitoring gives you the ability to see what your machines are doing in real-time. Collect & process data from your machines using software like MTConnect, Fanuc FOCAS, custom macros, or hardware devices. Optional data collection terminals can be used for additional operator input. Run time, downtime, & OEE data is then presented via dashboards, historical reports, & charts.  Emails or text messages can be sent to notify you of production issues on the shop floor.

Improve manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & make better decisions. Enjoy automatic, error-free, & unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start/end, setup start/end, log on/off, cycle start/end, & more. Data collected includes cycle time, idle time, setup time, teardown time, machine downtime, & scrap reasons.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor.

A good pairing for Machine Monitoring is 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 eachother?  While some equipment would be limited on what can come from it, the information can quickly be displayed on dashboards, smart phones, ERP/MRP systems, & other equipment.

Manufacturing News June 2013

Check out our ad on Plant Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) from Bigfoot in the June 2013 issue of Manufacturing News! See our ad!

More about our Plant Maintenance options:

What is CMMS Software? Otherwise known as a “computerized maintenance management system”, a CMMS is a system used by maintenance departments to keep track of preventive & predictive maintenance-related tasks & asset history. Schedule PM’s, track repair costs, assign work orders, manage purchasing/inventory, & run trend analysis reports.  In addition, you can manage spare parts inventories, track safety events, & manage OSHA required documents. Read more below.

Read more

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – May/June 2013

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter from May/June 2013.

Where do you stand with your competition?  Are you behind on the “automation” curve?

Shop Floor Automations has the solutions and expertise to put your company ahead of your competition. Over the years you have invested in infrastructure, tooling, machinery and people but what about the technology and software?

Are you being pro-active on maintenance of your machines?  Does your documentation reflect the latest version of the part being produced? Are you still using a white board or Excel to schedule jobs?  How are you tracking downtime?  Are you still using floppy disks, PCMCIA or USB sticks to manage your programs?

Swap Your CNC Communication System

Are you currently using serial hubs and RS232 cabling to your machine tools?

Is your DNC System outdated, problematic and/or no longer supported?

We offer two very competitive products to meet your requirements which are completely supported by the industry standards and are forward compatible in Windows 2008R2 Server and Windows 7 32/64 bit systems.

Now you can swap out your communication system with a new wireless solution.   More CNC machines are now network based and require connection to your company LAN.   Why not add our latest wireless CNC adapter to your new machine instead of running an Ethernet or serial cables across the shop floor?

If you still have serial ports on your controls, simply connect to the RS232 port on the device.   Swap your cabled system for wireless! Upgrade your DNC System by calling us and receive up to 25% off the list price for competitive upgrades.

$45 Per Month to Monitor Your CNC

You are constantly getting updates from your family and friends via email, texting, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – but what about updates about your shop floor?

How often have we learned we missed the due date on the job because the machine was down for maintenance, the first article sign-off was delayed and the machine was in “setup”, or the operator indicated there was problems with tooling or the part program.

The answer is Machine Monitoring and Data Collection starting at $45 per CNC each month.  Stay connected to the shop floor by viewing real time data across the web, on your cell phone or on your tablet.

Celebrating 15 Years

Shop Floor Automations is celebrating our 15th year in business providing the best in software, hardware and integration services.

We are the premier service and support center for customers throughout USA for a variety of Software and Harware brands. This includes being the #1 distributor for Predator Software and recognized as “Dealer of the Year” for 10 years running,

Let us analyze your shop and provide you with the best solutions 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

Link to original newsletter HERE 

Predator MDC Video – How to get started

Predator MDC Video

Predator MDC creates a continuously up to date knowledge base of your manufacturing performance. It quantifies how well your machines, people and parts are produced. Predator MDC can establish and compare continuous improvement results for lean manufacturing efforts. Predator MDC organizes your real-time data into actionable metrics for availability, quality and performance. Metrics for specific machines or rolled up metrics for an entire department across multiple plants are available with a few mouse clicks. Refer to the following major features

Predator MDC supports automatic, error-free, and unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start and end, setup start and end, cycle start and end, to name a few of the events that can be monitored. This type of data is collected automatically using software, hardware, custom macros and other methods without requiring operator training or input.

Predator MDCPredator MDC also supports manual monitoring of events that are initiated by machine operators such as machine login/offs, downtimes, and scrap reasons. Predator MDC can be used to manually collect data using several methods including Remote Request, swiping bar codes, touch screen PCs or standard PCs.

Predator MDC supports up to 4096 CNC machines, robots, PLCs, ATE Test Stands, band saws, dot peen markers and other equipment per PC for simultaneous cycle time, setup time, teardown time, downtimes with reasons, good parts, scrap parts with reasons and an unlimited number of user defined events.

Keep score of your shop floor productivity with Predator MDC. Every second is tracked per machine, job, part, operation, shift and person. Real-time dashboards displays current machine, part, job, operation and personnel status. Multiple engineers, supervisors and managers can view the dashboard from any networked PC. Leverage the power of the Internet and VPN from anywhere in the world to see the status of your shop floor.

Dedicate one or more large screen monitors on the shop floor for real-time digital signage. Create slides of charts, dashboards and reports with specific filters and details. Eliminate manual posting of paper reports and charts. Provide a focal point for standup shop meetings while enforcing productivity and manufacturing metrics that management, engineering and quality departments care about.

Want more information? Call (877) 611-5825 and ask us how we can help you increase OEE on your shop floor!

Manufacturing News April 2013

Floppy Drive Emulators and Serial Port Accessories

A Shop Floor Automations ad about services for Floppy Drive Emulators and Serial Port Accessories. See our Ads here Southwest Manufacturing News and here Midwest Manufacturing News

More about our Hardware Solutions:

Do you have a small shop? A large shop? Regardless of your number of machines, or types of controls, SFA has you covered with a complete hardware connectivity suite. Don’t shop around & waste time trying to find the lowest prices – using our 18 years of experience & full support (onsite & digital) will pay for itself with working solutions.

We make our own cables & regularly test hundreds of models of controls with our equipment to confirm what works with wired, wireless, USB, & floppy disk drives for CNCs to eliminate downtime.

Introducing, our Connect Series!

Ethernet Connect – Link via Ethernet to your CNCs, wired & wirelessly
Wireless Connect – Go Wireless to any CNC, use Wireless Access Points, & additional wireless solutions
Serial Connect – USB to Serial, RS232 Serial Cables, RS232 Adapters, Testers, Fanuc cables, & more
USB Connect – Add USB to any CNC, plus Mazak or Switchbox USB solutions
Floppy Connect –  Off-the-shelf Floppy Emulators will replace floppy disks with USB media
Multi Connect – One device to do it all for DNC & Machine Monitoring
Tape Reader Connect – Behind the Tape Reader (BTR) users will want these solutions
Accessories – Antennas, Bar Code Readers, & exclusive SFA gear, like our G-code Shirt

Follow the various social media channels of Shop Floor Automations via the resource page here.

Call & speak to our team at Toll Free (877) 611-5825. We aim to understand your needs & deliver the best solutions for them. Let us tell you about the thousands of customers we have served – you have no obligation to make a purchase!

Modern Machine Shop March 2013

Shop Floor Automations in Modern Machine Shop

See our latest Shop Floor Automations ad on eXtremeDNC in Modern Machine Shop featuring our own Tech, Joshua.

More info on SFA’s DNC Communication options:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office  & Windows Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Predator DNC Software

  •  Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to & from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols, including Mazatrol (CMT), Okuma B & Xmodem, supported
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to up to 4,096 devices
  • Highly flexible interface options include wireless, wired, Ethernet, & USB

Ascendant eXtremeDNC Software

  • Simultaneously push/pull files to CNCs from PC/Remotely
  • Reliable RS232 communication via Wireless & Wired
  • Support for all major CNC protocols including Mazatrol, OkumaB, & more
  • Self-Install & SFA install (Remote or Onsite) available
  • Support for Windows XP, Vista, 7, Server 2003/2008R2 – 32bit & 64 bit systems
  • Originally written for Windows NT 3.5 (“C” Language) for future compatibility

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info!