Why Predator DNC is Better than Free Software Alternatives

Why Predator DNC is Better than Free Software AlternativesKeeping your shop running efficiently and minimizing downtime is essential in today’s competitive landscape. Thankfully, DNC software allows you to link all of your CNC programs, offsets, and machine parameters on a single network. There are several options out there for DNC software, but Predator DNC far exceeds what free software alternatives are able to provide.

What is Predator DNC?

Predator DNC is paid software that allows you to link your CNCs and other shop equipment on a single network. This software package allows various methods of connection, including wireless, wired, and Ethernet, and is designed to improve your revision control and streamline the process between you and your CNC program. You will no longer be required to walk from machine to machine as everything will be linked on a single network.

What are some issues with free software that users don’t experience with Predator DNC?

If you are contemplating getting a free software alternative to Predator DNC, it is important to understand the saying “you get what you pay for” in this scenario. Predator DNC is far superior to the free alternatives out there, especially in regards to:


  • Support: When it comes to implementing an industrial network to connect all of your machines and equipment, questions can arise. With free software, the only place you will get any support or assistance is in forums and chatrooms. When working with Predator DNC, you will receive 24/7 customer support should any issues arise.
  • Compatibility: Another drawback that users experience with free DNC software alternatives is limited compatibility. In some instances, free software may only work with a few machines, which doesn’t provide the system-wide network that you’re looking for.
  • System Integration: When you’re working with free software, system integration can also be an issue. Free software is not always reliable and some of your machines can get left off the system. That prohibits you from maximizing shop floor efficiencies.

Contact Shop Floor Automations today if you are interested in implementing Predator DNC at your facility!

If you are interested in the benefits that Predator DNC can afford your shop, Shop Floor Automations can help. This flexible software allows interface options including wireless, wired, Ethernet and USB, which means it’s a good fit for almost any shop floor. Plus, Predator DNC allows you to network all CNCs, EDMs, robots, and PLCs with a single software. If you are looking to improve your shop floor efficiency, Predator DNC might be just the software you’re looking for.

At Shop Floor Automations, we have over years of experience with shop floor automation and machine monitoring. That means you can trust us to not only get the job done right, but to provide the necessary support afterwards. Contact Shop Floor Automations today at (619) 461-4000 to get started implementing Predator DNC in your facility!

Utilizing Scytec DataXchange for On-Premise and Cloud-Based OEE Monitoring

Utilizing Scytec DataXchange for On-Premise and Cloud-Based OEE MonitoringAre you considering implementing Scytec DataXchange for machine monitoring at your facility, but aren’t sure if it’s the right choice? At Shop Floor Automations we know the different types of machine monitoring software inside and out, which means we can help you decide if Scytec DataXchange is the right fit for your facility!

How Can Scytec DataXchange Benefit Your Shop Floor?

Scytec DataXchange is a great tool for facilities that need a machine monitoring solution. Scytec DataXchange doesn’t just let you collect data, but provides data in a way that is easy to understand. By providing access to charts, timelines, and OEE summaries in a real-time dashboard, you can view everything in one place and make informed decisions.

What are the key features of Scytec DataXchange?

You know what Scytec DataXchange is, but do you know what the main features of the on-premise and cloud-based monitoring solution are? Scytec DataXchange offers a real-time overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) dashboard. This allows you to monitor your machine overrides as well as downtime, and you can do so remotely. You can also store the data on a server or in a data center, and you have access to unlimited reporting and charting. Plus, you can easily customize your dashboard to view productivity in real-time. With the flexibility to work with Windows, iOS, and Android, Scytec DataXchange might be just the monitoring solution that your facility needs.

Can Scytec DataXchange easily integrate with business systems?

Yes! Scytec DataXchange can easily integrate with all types of ERP/MRP business systems. Scytec DataXchange can integrate with any business system, utilizing RESTful API, VB Scripts, or simply reading and wring CSV files or database tables. Typical data common from systems include Job (work order) number, job status, description, scheduled start/end date, part number, make quantity, ideal times, and other related job information.

What does it cost to license Scytec DataXchange?

The good news is that there are flexible licensing options for Scytec DataXchange, and that’s for both the On-Premise and Cloud options. The on-premise version starts at $1,000 per machine up front for Bronze level and you host all the data on your server. The cloud-based solutions start at $50 a month for Bronze level features, and one-time activation fee of $1,000. Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels are more expensive, but you have more extensive features at your disposal.

How can Shop Floor Automations help you implement Scytec DataXchange?

Do you want to take advantage of all the benefits that Scytec DataXchange offers? If so, Shop Floor Automations can help! Since , we’ve been offering software and hardware solutions to improve machine monitoring and shop floor efficiency. We’ve worked with large industrial clients as well as smaller ones and there is no job too big or too small for our talented team to handle. If you’re interested in learning more about Scytec DataXchange or know that you’re ready to move forward but need help implementing it, contact us today at (619) 461-4000! We’ll be happy to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

Trust Shop Floor Automations with Your Machine Automation and Monitoring

Trust Shop Floor Automations with Your Machine Automation and MonitoringSince , Shop Floor Automations has helped countless clients automate their shop equipment and improve their overall efficiencies. With vast expertise and hardware solutions for over 80 brands and hundreds of controllers, you can trust Shop Floor Automations with your machine automation and monitoring. Based in La Mesa, California, we have the hardware, software, and expertise necessary to help take your shop floor equipment to the next level.

Machine Monitoring Software

One of the areas that Shop Floor Automations excels in is machine monitoring software. CNC data collection and machine monitoring are essential for shops looking to gather real-time data and OEE metrics, which can then be used to improve overall shop floor efficiency. Currently, we offer DNC software for any connection type, brand, or age of CNC machine. At Shop Floor Automations, we also offer document management and revision control through production data management that adheres to all ISO standards.

Hardware to Embrace the Industrial Internet of Things

Another area where Shop Floor Automations succeeds is with hardware. By embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), you can connect your machines with wired or wireless hardware and integrate them with a variety of different controls. Not only can the hardware solutions at Shop Floor Automations replace your floppy disk drives, but they can also revolutionize your shop floor, increase the life of your legacy machines, and improve your shop floor network.

Popular Solutions for Your Shop Floor

While we can tackle almost any software or hardware solutions for your shop, there are a few solutions that we routinely implement. These include:

  • DNC Software: This increases CNC networking and allows for the integration of PDM and CNC revision control with other manufacturing automation software.
  • Machine Monitoring: This enables you to gather overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data and real-time analytics.
  • CNC Machine Automation Hardware: If you want to get rid of your old floppy disks, we can add USB to CNC machines, as well as Ethernet ability.

How Can Shop Floor Automations Help You?

Are you looking to shift to lean manufacturing or production? Do you want to reduce downtime and gain more control over the machines on your shop floor? Are you interested in automating your shop equipment? If so, these are all things that Shop Floor Automations can help you with! We’ve been in business since and since then, have consistently delivered proven software solutions, automated countless manufacturing machines with quality hardware, and worked with top-tier and small companies alike on improving their overall shop floor efficiency. If you want to learn more about our capabilities and how we might help you increase efficiency and profits, contact us today at (619) 461-4000!

Visit us on the web at Shop Floor Automations to learn more too!

Utilize MTConnect for Universal Factory Floor Communication

Utilize MTConnect for Universal Factory Floor CommunicationMTConnect is a royalty-free, open factory floor communication standard that is specifically designed for the shop floor environment. This protocol enables data to transfer efficiently between devices and applications across the shop floor. Running machines, controls, software, and sensor packages with the MTConnect standard means that this data is available in XML format in a universal standard that won’t vary by manufacturer.


Utilizing MTConnect, you can monitor everything from machine overrides to performance in real-time. You can also use MTConnect data to view historical reports and other visual representations of your shop’s performance. However, having the latest version of MTConnect allows you to utilize the system most effectively.

What is the latest version of MTConnect?

Version 1.4.0 of the protocol was recently released and consists of 5 parts. Currently, Version 1.5.0 is in development. Note that the standard is developed by the Standards Committee. New versions of the standard must also be approved by the Standard Committee vote. If you would like to access documents, you may do so if you are an SC member.

What Controls Can Shop Floor Automations Facilitate an MTConnect Adapter for?

An MTConnect adapter is a software that essentially translates the data produced by floor equipment into a format that can be processed by the MTConnect app. These adapters are typically created by the equipment provider but can be provided and installed by Shop Floor Automations.

At Shop Floor Automations, we have been in the business since 1998. Our experience enables us to facilitate MTConnect adapters for the following controls:


  • MTConnect for Celos
  • MTConnect for Citizen (Adapters available for your M7/M700/M800 controls)
  • MTConnect for Doosan
  • MTConnect for Fanuc
  • MTConnect for Haas
  • MTConnect for Makino (Available on Pro5, ProF, ProP and Pro3 controllers)
  • MTConnect for Mazak (Adapters available for more than 200 of their machines)
  • MTConnect for Mitsubishi machines
  • Mori Seiki DMG/MAPPS
  • MTConnect for Okuma (OSP Control types P100 Type II, P200, P200A, P300, & P300S)
  • MTConnect for Siemens

In addition, MTConnect Adapter also comes preinstalled on DMG Mori Seiki via their standard protocol. Since 2013, all DMG / MORI SEIKI machines come with MAPPS control.

Contact Shop Floor Automations to Learn More!

If you want to learn more about MTConnect and how Shop Floor Automations can help you improve the shop floor communications and manufacturing productivity at your facility, contact us today at (619) 461-4000 or info@shopfloorautomations.com! With over years in the industry, you can always trust the experience and expertise that Shop Floor Automations brings to the table day in and day out.

How to Improve CNC Machine Shop Productivity and Efficiency

How to Improve CNC Machine Shop Productivity and EfficiencyManufacturing is always evolving. As a result, machinists that used to have a leg up on the competition are struggling to keep up with the diminishing skills gap that the industry is experiencing. As more CNC tools are becoming automated and demand for quality parts continues to grow, shops are putting an increased emphasis on improving productivity and efficiency. Time is money when it comes to CNC manufacturing and it is important to keep your operation running flawlessly. Keep reading for three tips for improving the efficiency and productivity of your manufacturing process.

  1. Increase the Life of the Tool
  2. No one wants to experience downtime on the shop floor. When equipment breaks down, it means slowed or stopped productivity. When time is money, it is essential to prolong the life of a tool or piece of equipment. In order to keep your CNC machine running smoothly, there are a few ways to prolong its life:

    • Utilize a high-pressure coolant system
    • Increase the concentration of the existing coolant system
    • Frequently inspect the tool holder and inserts
    • Consider aluminum oxide coatings for your tool holder
    • Invest in a cryogenic machine
  3. Improve Overall Organization
  4. Another way to increase efficiency and productivity is to become more organized. It might seem insignificant, but lack of organization can lead to lost money and manpower. It is essential to arrange your shop floor and workspace for maximum efficiency. 

    Also, when you are done with something, put it back in its specified place. That will reduce the amount of time spent scurrying around the shop floor looking for something. 

    In addition, you can also try organizational tactics like improving your labeling system, boosting shop cleanliness, and investing in high-quality shadow boards and tool draws.

  5. Invest in a Proper Equipment Management and Monitoring System
  6. Last, but not least, it is also important to utilize an equipment monitoring system. While most manufacturers have a basic set up that tells them when a piece of equipment is down, it provides little information beyond that. Advanced machine monitoring software will let you know why machines are down, how long processes are taking, and other valuable information. When implementing a machine monitoring system, it is also important to make sure that they are all on one shop floor network so all of the machines can communicate efficiently. Using a protocol like, Fanuc FOCAS, OPC UA, MTConnect that standardizes communication across the floor can make this even more cost-effective.

Shop Floor Automations Can Help Improve Your Shop’s Productivity

If you are looking to implement a machine monitoring solution in your shop to increase CNC productivity and efficiency, Shop Floor Automations can help! Since , we’ve been helping manufacturers seeking to improve their shop floor processes. From providing proven software like Scytec and Predator Software and automating manufacturing machines to implementing measures to improve shop floor efficiencies, we’ve done it all. Contact us today at (619) 461-4000 to learn how we can help you improve your shop efficiency and productivity.   

How Lean Manufacturing Can Improve the Efficiency of Your Manufacturing Process  

How Lean Manufacturing Can Improve the Efficiency of Your Manufacturing Process  

Manufacturing is typically a very competitive field. Competitors are looking for any means necessary to cut costs or scale up production in order to increase profits. One strategy that companies are using to improve the operations at their shop is to shift towards lean manufacturing.

What is lean manufacturing?

The theory behind lean manufacturing is pretty straight forward. You simply want to eliminate waste from the manufacturing process. The trick is identifying waste and learning how to eliminate it. In definition, waste is any activity that adds no value from the customers perspective. One example of this is keeping inventory levels as low as possible. Customers don’t actually care how much excess inventory you have, just that you’re able to deliver their specified orders on time.  

With studies showing that 60% of production activities in a typical manufacturing process are waste, it means there are plenty of opportunity areas. You just need to be able to identify them.

What are the benefits of lean manufacturing?

The reason many manufacturers are taking advantage of lean manufacturing is that there are many benefits. Lean manufacturing can improve overall efficiency, increase productivity and reduce waste. More specifically, the benefits of lean manufacturing are:

  • Increased product quality: With increased efficiency, more employees and funds are freed up for quality control and innovation measures.
  •  Sustainability: With less waste and better adaptability, lean manufacturing facilities are primed to thrive in an unpredictable future.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Employees no longer have a workday packed with unnecessary work, which boosts morale and satisfaction.
  • Faster Lead Times: Streamlined manufacturing processes means that you can respond more quickly to demand and other shifting market variables.
  • Higher Profits: If done correctly, with less waste, better quality products, and more productivity, those using lean manufacturing are likely to become more profitable.

What are some examples of waste that can be eliminated?

Removing waste is essential for lean manufacturing, but what does that actually mean? A few examples of removing waste are:

  • Matching production to the rate of customer demand
  • Create processes with continual flow instead of stoppage
  • Avoid continually changing job priorities or roles
  • Matching manufacturing specifications to customer requirements to avoid over-processing
  • Bringing in raw materials only as needed
  • Design quality control processes to detect and correct abnormalities right away
  • Going paperless  

How can Shop Floor Automations help me shift to lean manufacturing?

If you are interested in shifting towards lean manufacturing, it is important to have a knowledgeable partner like Shop Floor Automations on your side. While much of lean manufacturing centers on reducing waste, improving productivity is another important aspect. This can be done by looking at the human potential of your team. Your employees are the ones running the equipment to keep your operation running smoothly and it’s important to give them the right tools to do their job well. A machine monitoring system like Scytec DataXchange or Predator Machine Data Collection Software is great for giving your employees the information they need to maximize shop floor efficiencies. Contact Shop Floor Automatics at (619) 461-4000 to learn more!

Check Out Shop Floor Automations at the 2019 FABTECH Conference!

Check Out Shop Floor Automations at the 2019 FABTECH Conference!

Founded in 1998, Shop Floor Automations has the knowledge, experience, and connections necessary to successfully automate your plant and improve your shop floor processes. With over 20 years in the business, we can offer insight on MTConnect, data-driven decision making, lean manufacturing, and other essential MFG topics. One area that we specialize in is machine monitoring using Scytec DataXchange and helping others take advantages of the benefits it provides.

Shop Floor Automations Will Be at the 2019 FABTECH Conference

If you want to see Shop Floor Automations in action, check us out at the 2019 FABTECH Conference. Held from November 11th to 14th in Chicago, the FABTECH conference is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event. Every year, FABTECH brings a wealth of innovation and technology solutions where more than 48,000 attendees can view the offerings and presentations of over 1,700 exhibiting companies. Plus, admission to FABTECH is free if you register by November 82019. After that, it’s just $50, which is a small price to pay to learn from the experts in the industry.

Where can you find us at the conference?

FABTECH is held at McCormick Place, located at 2301 S. Martin Luther King drive in Chicago, IL. In McCormick Place, you can find Shop Floor Automations at Booth A5174. We will be there from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Monday, November 11th, and from 9 am to 5 pm November 12th and 13th. On Thursday, we will be there from 9 am to 3 pm, so be sure to check us out!

What will Shop Floor Automations be demonstrating at the FABTECH Conference in Chicago?

At the 2019 FABTECH conference, Shop Floor Automations will be demonstrating one of our specialties, Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring. Scytec DataXchange can actually collect OEE metric data like utilization, part count times, and downtimes. In addition, it is capable of collecting data automatically from older and fabrication machines using SRC, which is our low-cost hardware module. DataXchange offers unlimited users, charts, reports, and dashboards that allow you to collect and analyze the data necessary to monitor OEE and reduce downtime. This Cloud or On-Premise analytic manufacturing machine monitoring system is what you need to help increase shop floor productivity, and Shop Floor Automations will be happy to show you how it works at FABTECH.

Interested in Learning More About Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring?

If you are interested in learning more about Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring, but cannot make it to FABTECH or you can’t wait until November for answers, feel free to contact us today at 1-877-611-5825. Our knowledgeable staff has over 20 years of experience and will be happy to discuss how Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring works and how it might be of use to you and your business.

For more information, check us out at Shop Floor Automation.

Paperless Manufacturing

Many machinists, production managers, and other shop floor workers wish they had paperless manufacturing. It feels like an impossible pipe dream to them.

It may be trendy to do so, but we wish to quote organizational expert Marie Kondo. Her insight is wonderful when thinking of taking on the daunting task of going paperless.

“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking,” Marie says in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away – not the effort needed to get them out.”

Other than the need to be organized, there are far more important reasons to go paperless. Digital revision control, being prepared for audits and keeping track of crucial documentation also weigh heavy on our daily processes.

Yes, the task of going paperless can take time. But it is not an impossible task. Shop Floor Automations has even successfully gone paperless!

There is also a terrific article written by Eli Plaskett of Modern Machine Shop on this topic. His December 2018 piece “Turning the Page on the Paper Workplace” details a few steps to achieve this goal.

First, analyze how to give your workforce digital access to files as appropriate.
Invest in a scanner – for existing paperwork and whatever paperwork comes in the hereafter, scan immediately. Train employees to get into the habit of scanning.

Then, install tablets, network computers or digital station work devices. The next step is to train the workers fully on how to use the system. Show them the ways the system works for their benefit to save time.

Set up simple instructions such as photographing a setup. If you use ERP Software (which integrates with quite a few of our solutions), it can often have tools to enable photos attached with set up instructions or photos via an ERP smartphone app.

SFA has many solutions to help you cut your dependency on paper. We have USB hardware that can store programs in flash drives, and we highly recommend investing in PDM.

Ready to start the conversation? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out our contact form

Connect CNC Machine to Computer

Machinists looking to connect CNC machines to computers have different needs. Perhaps they want to monitor OEE, or they want to send programs remotely.

Here are the top three solutions for connecting equipment to your shop floor computer or laptop:

DNC Software – Making sure programs are sent to the machine, as well as revision control and complete CNC networking can be accomplished with one system. DNC (or drip-feeding) is done via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, or wireless Ethernet for thousands of your machines. Control programs from the shop floor PC.

Machine monitoring – Manufacturers want their machine data, and they have a need to see it beyond standing at the machine. Seeing OEE on computers in back offices, or on real-time viewers, or even on the go via laptops or smart phones, are all possibilities.

Hardware – You want to make sure your software interacts with the shop floor environment. Wireless and wired hardware will help with PC to CNC transfers. Modified PLCs will help to grab data off of old machines. Older laptops can be connected to CNCs with the USB to Serial plus an RS232 cable. There are so many possibilities!

Want to convert your RS232 port into USB? Need to replace floppy disks? Want to go paperless? We can help with that, too!

Fill out our online contact form or call (877) 611-5825. We can’t wait to start the conversation!

Manufacturing News

A long standing publication with a classic newspaper vibe – we are proud to have been featured in Manufacturing News many times. The issues focus on different regions and their varying Made in America goals.

Here are some recent pieces that Manufacturing News have featured us in:

Our case study with R & D Manco in Arizona appears in the December 2018 issue. This manufacturer previously had experience with our CNC Editor software and our hardware. However, they implemented an on-premise machine monitoring system after a pilot program. Because of this, they boosted their productivity in a short period of time.

Proving return on investment for automation solutions can be complicated. Because of this, we created an article for decision makers on how to lay these details out. Some pieces of valuable information in this process are equipment compatibility, evaluating processes and having alternative options available. This article appears in the November 2018 issue.

The medical manufacturing industry is a very high-volume business. We constantly work with these shops to find the best automation solutions for them. Specifically, we always recommend OEE (overall equipment efficiency) monitoring. The top four benefits to this software appear in the April 2018 issue.

Check out our other articles on similar manufacturing solutions. Ready to start the conversation about shop floor automation? Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out an online contact form