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

Shop Floor Automations Updates FD Connect for CNC Controls

Floppy Drive Emulators for CNC Controls

UPDATE, as of the Summer of 2016 – the “FD Connect” has been renamed the Floppy Drive Emulator, as part of the Connect Series (Floppy Connect).

Floppy Drive EmulatorShop Floor Automations has updated its FD Connect solution, which eliminates cumbersome floppy disks on the manufacturing floor. The new model includes support for Mitsubishi WireEDMs, Bridgeport and Siemens controls. The released model is also available in a “Universal” model to allow emulation of drive type such as Sony, IBM, Citizen, Teac and NEC, commonly found in older CNC controls such as Haas, Fadal, Mazak, Okuma, and Anilam.

Shop Floor Automations has updated its FD Connect solution, which eliminates cumbersome floppy disks on the manufacturing floor. The new model includes support for Mitsubishi WireEDMs, Bridgeport and Siemens controls. The released model is also available in a “Universal” model to allow emulation of drive type such as Sony, IBM, Citizen, Teac and NEC, commonly found in older CNC controls such as Haas, Fadal, Mazak, Okuma, and Anilam.

“Floppy disks are easily damaged in the shop environment due to dirt, oil and grime and are becoming impossible to replace. The FD Connect solution eliminates the need for floppy disks making it an ideal program and data storage solution for industrial equipment and machine tools,” said Greg Mercurio, President, Shop Floor Automations. The device is a simple plugin thumb drive that allows easy transfer of files to the Floppy Connect. Users simply remove the existing drive and the FD Connect plugs directly into the ribbon and power cables of the old drive. It is compatible with 720K or 1. 44MB systems.

Read More over at Manufacturing News

More on our Floppy Drive Emulators

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

Your time is valuable in the shop floor environment. Stop using it to search for old media!

  • Interface to the existing ribbon cable
  • Plugs into floppy power connector
  • Supports 720k/1.44MB capacity IBM
  • Support Wired EDM, Mills, Lathes, Robots, & other types of equipment
  • No need for Floppy Disks anymore
  • Our Haas Floppy Emulator is also off-the-shelf in functionality and pricing!

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – June 2012

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is a copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – June 2012 issue.

Changes to our Website

We have recently made a lot changes to our website. Our improvements should make things easier to find and better explain what SFA can do for you. While there is still much work to be done, please visit us and provide us your feedback on what you would like to see on our website.

If you already know what you want, look at the “Software” and “Hardware” drop down menus to see all our available products.

If you are looking to improve your shop floor and looking for ideas, go to the “Solutions” drop down for more information on a broad range of topics.

We sell, service and support a wide variety of software and hardware solutions from the industry’s leading manufacturers. We have brought together the best vendors, to make your shop floor run more efficiently and be more productive.

If you are Upgrading to Windows 7

If you are considering upgrading to Windows 7 soon, we want to make sure you are prepared.

Over the years, many of our customers have purchased serial hardware which uses a serial card inside the PC or is connected via a network cable.  Most of this hardware was introduced in the early 2000’s and compatibility for this equipment from the manufacturer is no longer supported.  We have several options to move forward with new hardware or extend the life of the existing equipment.

Specific Hardware

  • ISA or PCI hardware needs to be updated to Wireless or Wired Ethernet Hardware
  • New SIM? Check the SIM on the back of your PC to see if it’s a parallel SIM, plugged into the printer port.  This will need to be upgraded to USB SIM.
  • Drivers? Hardware uses drivers to communicate between Windows and your machines.  Check to make sure your version is the latest and greatest available from our site.  If not, call us for help with updates or any other issues with your DNC product.

Specific Software

  • Version 9 or newer for Predator
  • xtremeDNC can be upgraded to SFA DNC
  • JobPack needs to be upgraded to the 2012 version
  • Bigfoot includes free upgrades on web versions
Send Us Your Story & Photos

Email us your success story on how SFA improved your shop floor with pictures and (1) winner will be selected from a random drawing for a $100 gift card by 8/3/12

Link to original newsletter HERE.

Add Ethernet to Any CNC

LAN to CNCRS232 to Ethernet for Any CNC Machine

Do you need an RS232 to Ethernet interface? Any CNC controls with RS232 ports can easily be upgraded to the LAN Connect device. Machine tool files can be sent from CNC memory to the device.

Achieve USB stick to CNC memory actions, or drip-feeding (DNC) from the USB. Flexible CNC communication firmware is built into the unit so you can connect to just about any machine tool control.

The device contains all the necessary hardware to integrate a universal display onto a CNC machine tool pendant. The controller is DIN rail mountable inside the pendant or can be reverse-mounted on the display.

A small capacity USB drive is included from Shop Floor Automations. You can upgrade to any size or brand desired to support larger NC programs or storage capacity.

The LAN Connect eliminates having to use DNC software. It also removes the struggles of RS232 cabling.

The device is assigned an IP address and connects to any standard Ethernet cable from the corporate network. Load files from the USB at the machine via a Microsoft Windows Operating System or FTP software.

You can select the file to transfer to the machine using the LCD display. Run at a maximum baud rate by connecting the device to the CNC controller. This also prevents the operator from having to run back and forth from PC to machine to begin machine operation.

The benefits of this device has been said to reduce the cost of adding DNC Software required to communicate to machines. Ease of implementation and connection to the machine can be accomplished with IT Departments whom normally resist interfacing with CNC machines using serial cabling.

The cost to add Ethernet functionality to any machine from the machine tool builder can be very expensive. This third party upgrade is a minimal cost in comparison.

The LAN Connect device works with any CNC control on the market with a serial port. Some compatible brands are Haas, Fadal, Mazak, Hurco, Yasnac, Cincinnati, Bridgeport, Mitsubishi, Mori Seiki, Siemens, Okuma, and more.

For more information, contact our sales department by calling (877) 611-5825 

USB Emulator Replaces Floppy Disk Drive

Floppy Emulator YouTube

USB Emulator Replaces Floppy Disk Drive

Update, as of 2016 – the FD Connect is now known as the Floppy Emulator from the Floppy Connect line.

Shop Floor Automations has introduced its new FD Connect solution, which will eliminate floppy disk media and drives on the manufacturing floor.

Floppy disks are easily damaged in the shop environment due to dirt, oil and grime and are becoming impossible to replace. The FD Connect solution eliminates the need for floppy disks making it an ideal program and data storage solution for industrial equipment and machine tools.

The device is a simple plug in a thumb drive that allows easy transfer of files to the Floppy Connect. Users simply remove the existing drive and the FD Connect plugs directly into the ribbon and power cables of the old drive. It is compatibility with 720K or 1.44MB systems.

For more information, contact our sales department at (877) 611-5825. Read more below.

Read more

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – May 2012

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – May 2012.

Machine Monitoring for as low as $45 Per Month!

Scytec’s Hosted DataXchange is the most cost efficient and simple method of Machine Monitoring available. It can scale for those with limited budgets up to sophisticated 200+ machine shops with assembly lines and robotics.  DataXchange allows customers to collect machine data remotely and store in a secure offsite location. It is available starting at $45 per machine per month and includes volume discounts.

You may have seen our advertisements in the press and on the web! Act now while our setup fee is discounted through May 31st.  Schedule an online web demo or onsite visit by contacting our sales department.

Tech Tip
#4 of 4 Mistakes Manufacturers make:

Working extra hours of overtime to create a cushion that can be called upon for hot jobs

Overtime labor is expensive. Not every employee wants to work overtime, either. If you know that a large order is imminent and you want to clear your schedule to accommodate the order, then perhaps working overtime makes sense. But, what if the order does not arrive when it is expected? What if the order requires manufacturing resources you didn’t plan to deploy?
The JobPack Master Scheduler is a real‐time finite capacity scheduling tool that loads production jobs to maximize the use of machines and other resources and immediately identifies what resources will be overloaded. This allows you to adjust the production schedule to reduce the overloads and meet your customer delivery promises. Add overtime if you need it. Move jobs to other machines or work centers. Schedule jobs into the future as far as your lead times require.

Link to original newsletter here.

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – April 2012

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – April 2012 issue.

Congratulations to our contest winners!!!

Our “Success Stories” contest winner is Nathan Pierce from Lesco Automotive Industries in San Luis Obispo, CA. He won a $250 gift certificate to Amazon.com for submitting the best success story.

Hosted Machine Monitoring is now available!

Josh Davids from Scytec Corporation unveiled his company’s latest product – Hosted DataXchange. It allows customers to collect machine data and store it in a secure offsite location. Hosted DataXchange is available starting at $45 per machine per month without any long term commitment.  Volume discounts are also available starting at just 6 pieces of equipment. Collect multiple types of real time cycle status and have access to reporting and charting from anywhere with internet access.  Hosted DataXchange is easily integrated with network based machines using Fanuc Focas or MTConnect on Mazak, Okuma, and many others.

For Shop Floor Automations customers, until the end of May, we can offer 50% off the already low setup fee of $1,000. Call to set up a personal online presentation today!

Tech Tip

#3 of 4 Big Manufacturer Mistakes:

Padding a job with extra hours OR giving the customer a padded delivery promise

When you have no faith in the accuracy of your production schedules, the way to cushion the schedule is to deceive yourself by padding the time standards or padding the delivery promise dates. Rather than “just‐in‐time”, you now have “just‐in‐case” production management. Anytime you put incorrect information into the system, you make all of your answers incorrect. The problem becomes larger because the inflation of rates and dates grows as employees become less confident about the information they receive.

With JobPack Master Scheduler, the real‐time, finite capacity scheduling system, the accurate time standards and accurate machine/resource capacities deliver a reliable, achievable production schedule with dependable customer delivery dates. As production jobs are completed and reported on, you capture the actual performance results, so you can use the actual performance to fine‐tune the time standards for future production jobs. Gradually, employees and customers believe the accuracy of the production schedule. This reduces the amount of work‐in‐process inventory, minimizes expediting costs, and improves overall customer satisfaction.

Link to original newsletter HERE