New Device from Shop Floor Automations Combines Ability to Add USB & Ethernet To Machines

New Device from Shop Floor Automations Combines Ability to Add USB & Ethernet To MachinesShop Floor Automations (SFA), a notable Automation Supplier for the CNC Machine Tool Industry, has released a new hardware product to add USB and Ethernet connectivity to any machine. This new hardware, LAN-USB Connect, packs a one-two punch by providing the user the ability to drag and drop files to and from the CNC machine, utilizing an Ethernet connection via FTP protocol. No logon is required because you can use anonymous logins or configure security. Even better, these functions are achieved with no special software required.

With LAN-USB, network outage protection also occurs via a local server to CNC connection that is independent of the shop floor’s network. The USB function of the device allows it to act as an interface between commercially available USB sticks and any CNC control with a functioning RS232 port. Machine programs can be sent from the CNC memory to the USB stick, USB to CNC memory, or can be drip-fed (DNC) from the USB.

Flexible CNC communication firmware is built into the unit. This allows for a connection to a large variety of machine tool controls. The device buffers the entire program at the machine, and acts as a dedicated computer that responds instantaneously to data flow changes from the CNC.

Positioning this device on the control allows the machine to run at its maximum baud rate. This will prevent a machinist from having to walk back and forth from the DNC PC to the machine in order to initiate machine operation. This important feature allows the LAN-USB to increase your shop floor efficiency by maximizing productivity and reducing downtime.

More benefits of this device come with the financial freedom of keeping an older machine in operation longer, rather than retrofitting a machine with new controllers or replacing a machine altogether. The hardware replaces cost-prohibitive measures of adding OEM memory or USB to the machine in a proprietary manner from the machine tool builder.

The LAN-USB Connect works with the majority of CNC controls on the market with a serial port. It has been tested with Haas, Mazak, Hurco, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Mori Seiki, Okuma, Siemens, and other brands. This device is also available in a “headless” version, as well as a low-cost wireless version.

Interested in the LAN-USB Connect? Contact Shop Floor Automations Today!

If you are interested in adding the LAN-USB Connect to your shop floor equipment today, contact Shop Floor Automations. With over years of experience, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to get your equipment set up with the LAN-USB connect so it can easily interface with your CNC controls. Give us a call today at (619) 461-4000 to learn more or get the order process started!

Machine Monitoring: More than Utilization Numbers

Machine Monitoring: More than Utilization NumbersWhen most people think of machine monitoring, they think of increasing utilization, but there are other benefits to consider as well. Monitoring can provide valuable information to help with preventative maintenance, can act as a communication tool between the shop floor and management, and it can be used on all types of shop floor equipment.

Here are three benefits of OEE monitoring systems that often get overlooked:

  1. This system can integrate with other software to help optimize machine capacity.
  2. For example, ERP systems are a great fit for machine monitoring. Also, CMMS systems paired with OEE monitoring helps to provide a more realistic PM schedule. Actual run times on your machines are monitored and the data feeds into the CMMS to create an accurate PM schedule. For manufacturers without a CMMS, a simple spreadsheet with PMs to complete sometimes is enough. The software also integrates with protocols such as MTConnect and OPC UA to make shop floor data more universally available.

  3. Machine monitoring is not just for CNC machines.
  4. Manufacturers with autoclaves, manual machines, press brakes, PLC-driven machines, and more can monitor their productivity. Those in the fabrication and mold making industries can benefit heavily from utilization monitoring. The software is also not limited to looking at shop floor monitors or your desktop PC on location because notifications on the go via text alerts, emails, or viewing dashboards via a mobile device or tablet are all available.

  5. Machine monitoring helps operators working at machines convey important information to those not working on the shop floor.
  6. Via data entry screens and tablets at the machines, machinists can enter notes and let back-office employees know why certain machines are down. It also helps with machine maintenance since there are notes on what causes downtime for machines. In addition, machine repairs can be anticipated so there can be planned downtime, which allows employees to map out a more streamlined process.

The Bottom Line

Machine monitoring is not only a method for knowing machine utilization, nor is it only for CNC machinery. It helps the people who are making parts at machines communicate issues that need attention in an easily understandable manner. It enables a shop floor to know what equipment needs attention in order to be more productive.

If you are interested in adding machine monitoring software to your shop floor, call us today at (619) 461-4000!

Top 3 Solutions for Improved, Secure CNC Networking

Top 3 Solutions for Improved, Secure CNC NetworkingYour programs are your livelihood on the shop floor. They make the parts that keep you in business. You want to make sure no one is stealing them or changing them without authority, and that they are securely loaded into your CNC machines. What measures are you taking to make sure your machine programs are on track for success? Let’s take a look at Shop Floor Automations Top 3 list of solutions for better CNC networking.

DNC Software

If controlling program communication for over 4,000 devices sounds impossible, you’ll be surprised. One network for all the equipment on your shop floor is more than a pipe dream. DNC is available for many controls, including Haas, DMG, Mazak, Fagor, Okuma, Fanuc, and more. Communication can be achieved wirelessly, via ethernet, and through RS232. Another benefit of Predator DNC is Remote Request. Using this feature through the software helps machinists improve productivity, as they can send, receive, and drip-feed programs at the machine. Since they have directory listings of programs at their machine tool, they no longer need to walk back and forth from the PC to the CNC.

Secure DNC

Some companies are prioritizing hiring new workers to fill in the manufacturing skills gap as the previous generation of workers retires out. When old machine tools can’t always be replaced right away, older, Windows-based controls can instead use a Predator feature called Secure DNC. Secure file transfers can take place through firewalls for these machines. You can send programs directly to the hard drive without interfering with the shop’s network or adding them to the domain. This exclusive Predator feature has been sought after especially by companies that have concerns about cybersecurity in their shops.

CNC Revision Control

A critical element to manufacturing productivity, CNC Revision Control is often overlooked for the processes of hand-coded programs and programs floating around the shop on portable media. No control over shop programs leads to old programs running at machines or inaccuracies in the part, which can generate wasted raw material, man time, and unhappy customers. Our customers have stated that implementing revision control helps with better throughput, saved money, improved margins, and more accuracy in delivery times. Predator PDM (Production Data Management) can help with achieving these goals.

Are you ready to implement any of these solutions? Contact Shop Floor Automations today at (619) 461-4000 or info@shopfloorautomations.com!