SFA Newsletter – February 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from February 2018.

If you manufacture aerospace parts, there are two questions you need to ask yourself: Is your revision control as solid and secure as it should be? Do you know your utilization percentages? Knowing the answers could help you keep customers and grow revenue.

Production Data Management (PDM) and Machine Data Collection (MDC) are two solutions that are critical to your operations. To learn how to improve your machine utilization/OEE and prevent old programs from running on your shop floor, visit our website.

For example, Airbus – this major player in the aerospace division requires that new suppliers provide “a proven track record of operational reliability and delivering on shared commitments.” Even existing suppliers must “meet quality requirements, on-time and on-cost.” On top of performance records, the Defence & Space department of Airbus specifically requires detailed document control (per Ref. ADS.E.0570 Issue 2, page 10 of 28).

As you can see, aerospace companies such as Airbus have high standards for accepting and maintaining suppliers. Having data via machine monitoring software can help to provide proof of uptime, while PDM allows for document control.

The Predator Software Suite provides both MDC and PDM, and Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller and integrator of the software. Call (877) 611-5825 for pricing and integration information. 

Link to the original newsletter or fill out a contact form

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – JAN/FEB 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of the January/February 2018 issue of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter.

Estimated OEE vs Real OEE

A good number of our customers were able to contribute to the phenomenal growth in the manufacturing industry last year because of OEE information gathered by machine monitoring software.

Often the first overlooked step in improved production is not properly tracking utilization and OEE. Our customers at R&D Manco in Phoenix definitely agree with this statement.

We spoke to them recently and discovered that before implementing Predator MDC software, it was assumed that their machines were running at 50 percent utilization. Within a short period of time using the software, they found utilization was more around 30 percent. Uptime is critical to their operations, especially with lead times of 8 months to 1 year for the parts they run.

In a recent issue of Modern Machine Shop (MMS), the company credits machine monitoring from SFA (via Predator MDC) as an essential resource for increasing capacity.

MFG 2017 Review & 2018 Outlook

There is no doubt that 2017 was a fruitful year for manufacturing in America. Confidence in our industry, as well as positivity in future prosperity, is at an all-time high.

There are some concerns going forward to keep the momentum going in 2018. Industry 4.0, IIoT and automation are some of the concerns that we address.

Check out our 2017 Review for USA manufacturing & an optimistic outlook on 2018!

Okuma Floppy Drive Replacement

If you have an Okuma machine with a floppy drive that is about to bite the dust, the time to upgrade is now.

Even if your floppy drive is still functioning, floppy disk technology has been outdated for about a decade and it is best to adapt to new technology now before the worst happens. Best to be prepared than be stuck with a dead floppy drive on your machine.

The best part is that when you send back your old floppy disk drive core from the Okuma within 15 days, we will give you a $695 credit!

Get more information on Okuma Floppy Drive Core Replacements

Get in touch with our sales department by calling (877) 611-5825 or fill out a request for information

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – January 2018

shop floor automations newsletterThe following is an archived copy of the January 2018 Shop Floor Automations newsletter.

In 2018, you could increase your productivity by 25 percent, as well as take on lights-out manufacturing and make more profits without buying new machines. How?

Machine monitoring can help you increase utilization and take an active role in making sure your machines are being used to their potential. Regardless of the manufacturing equipment you use or the industry you are in, your goals are the same: OEE, Productivity, and Profitability.

2017 was a monumental year for the manufacturing industry. Help the Made in America movement thrive by making sure your shop floor is as productive as possible.

Shop Floor Automations is holding a machine monitoring webinar focused on DataXchange January 10th. Be sure to request to be part of this free event, while you still have time!

DataXchange is the ultimate machine monitoring option for the manufacturing industry, and Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller and integrator of the software. Call (877) 611-5825 for DataXchange pricing, which includes affordable Cloud-based options and on-premise solutions. We also encourage you to get in touch with our Sales department with further questions. 

For SFA Newsletter Subscribers

shop floor automations newsletterNot receiving our newsletters, even though you subscribed?

One possibility is that we have tried to reach you because a past email to you has bounced. We invite you to call us at (877) 611-5825 ext 1006 to make sure.

It is also possible you have unsubscribed in the past and forgot. You are welcome to come back and receive emails from us at any time! Just call the number above, or send us an email.

As an added measure, make sure to add these domains to your allowed senders, which is pretty easy to do if you have Outlook:
From domain – mail.vresp.com
Bounce domain – cts.vresp.com

Or have your IT department whitelist this information- IP ranges:

Please consult with an IT person at your company or anyone else who handles webmaster/email duties, if you need further help.

While we figure it out, check out our archive of past newsletters.

Want more info? Call (877) 611-5825 and we will be happy to help you out! 

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – NOV/DEC 2017

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – the NOV/DEC 2017 issue.

shop floor automations NewsletterMachine Monitoring Webinar in January

Do you want to improve your shop floor efficiencies? Would you like to get text messages or email notifications if there is a problem on your shop floor? Our machine monitoring solutions empower managers to identify issues and resolve them quickly.

We will be holding a DataXchange machine monitoring webinar on January 10th, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Pacific time.

You will see popular features of the data collection system in action, as well as get a chance to ask us questions.

If you can’t make the webinar, please feel free to contact us and ask about other opportunities to see DataXchange software. We also have quite a few videos on our YouTube channel to check out.

Holiday Discount Code

It is not too late to spend end-of-the-year funds on solutions to help your shop floor. Get a head start on combating productivity issues and eliminating downtime with some of our best-selling solutions:

  • Portable USB Connect – backup for your DNC system
  • Pendant USB Connect – adds USB to any CNC machine
  • Floppy Emulators – replaces the floppy drive on your machine (ask about our Haas Floppy emulator!)
  • Wireless Connect – go wireless with any CNC machine

Use discount code “HappyNewYear” for a discount in our online store. Code expires 1/2/18

DNC Software – The Heart Beat of the Shop Floor

If there was one new piece of technology we would recommend for your shop floor, it would be DNC software. Within weeks or a few months, you will see ROI when you implement this system to streamline your management of CNC programs.

If you want to control which file is delivered to the CNC, you need DNC. If you are still carrying USB sticks or PCMCIA cards out to your CNCs to load programs, you need DNC. If you want a better system to manage your CNC programs while saving time, you need DNC.

Link to newsletter

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info!


September/October 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of our September/October 2017 Shop Floor Automations newsletter:

shop floor automations newsletterModern Machine Shop Case Study

Do you have CNC communication issues? You may be surprised at what can cause these shop floor problems.

One of our customers, Stollen Machine, took the time to explain how replacing their inferior shop floor cabling with our Wireless Connect hardware units helped increase their productivity. Modern Machine Shop published the case study in their October 2017 issue.

Whether it’s hardware or software, we want to help you combat downtime.

MFG Day 2017

Shop Floor Automations is a proud supporter of MFG Day and other efforts to fill the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. It is important not only to us but to the American economy, that manufacturing stays prosperous.

Recently, Hernan from Workshops for Warriors and Jeremy from Edge Factor spoke with us about their roles in helping make manufacturing jobs more appealing. While what they do is different and appeals to separate groups of people, it is still valuable to get these jobs filled.

We also got to interact with a lot of our Instagram followers about why they love working in the manufacturing industry. The answers varied, whether they loved the daily challenges, the creativity, or the fact that they were continuing a family tradition. The common bind amongst them was that they loved their jobs!

Manufacturing Integrators & ROI

Return on Investment, or ROI, is one of the most important elements on a shop floor. You want to make sure everything you purchase for your production adds to your profits.

Have you taken the time to think about the money you spend on paper and file cabinets? Or how much time spreadsheets take to manually update? Are you still taking time to seek out old media for your shop floor, such as floppy disks?

A manufacturing integrator can help you reduce procurement costs, help with time-sensitive efficiencies, and help you maintain a marketplace advantage in a newly-revitalized American manufacturing landscape.


For more information on these solutions mentioned above, please call (877) 611-5825

Original Newsletter Here

July/August 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

Shop Floor Automations NewsletterThe following is an archived copy of the July/August 2017 Shop Floor Automations newsletter:

Communication Issues You Can’t Ignore

You may have heard about DNC Software recently, but what exactly does it do? What benefits does it have that you need?

Here are three quick reasons DNC Software is a necessity on the shop floor:

  1. End CNC communication failures and stop manually managing your programs. One network for thousands of your CNC programs. Drip-feed, download and upload programs that are too big for the CNC memory. Make sure these crucial jobs are actually getting done at the machines on the shop floor.
  2. Hardware just won’t cut it. If you have a small shop with one or two machines, then using a Portable USB Connect may be enough for you, for now. But once your shop grows, you will get more machinery and more employees. You might already be a large company experiencing growing pains, coupled with CNC communication failures or wondering where on the shop floor your programs are floating around. Buying hardware or adding a USB port, though both actions are a great first step, won’t control your programs or get you the latest version of a file.
  3. The value is unmatched. When you invest in Predator DNC, it can be integrated with Predator MDC for machine data collection, or linked up with Predator PDM to help with paperless document control, or used with Touch HMI to make working at the machine easier. There are many integration possibilities – collecting machine trends can help improve OEE, while going paperless saves you time, and Touch HMI can replace old proprietary hardware like bar code readers.

SFA & The MFG Community

Shop Floor Automations loves being involved in the manufacturing community. We see the community is quickly growing as an influx of younger generation workers enters. This is especially true for the manufacturing community’s social media presence.

SFA has been involved with the manufacturing community in a multitude of ways over the last few years. We have given away hardware prizes at events, we have toured Workshops for Warriors, we have visited Open Source Maker Labs, and our Marketing Coordinator participated in (and won) a talent contest from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Coming to WESTEC 2017?

SFA is heading out of the San Diego area and up to Los Angeles to exhibit at WESTEC in September. Come and see us at the show!
Visit Booth 1935, where our hardware and software will be on display, as well as some of our talented staff, who can answer your questions about shop floor productivity.  We will also be giving out free shop floor swag.

If you would like to be reminded about WESTEC coming up in September, please shoot us an email and we can add you to our WESTEC emailing list.

Call (877) 611-5825 for more info. Link to the original newsletter here.

Special Edition Newsletter: WESTEC 2017

The following is an archived copy of our WESTEC 2017 email blast:

westec 2017Shop Floor Automations will be at WESTEC 2017 this year to show attendees the latest in smart manufacturing.

Where & When: Booth 1935, the Los Angeles Convention Center, September 12th through the 14th.

Quick Info: Come see demonstrations of DNC software, machine monitoring, job scheduling, and more. We will also have our USB and wireless solutions. Free giveaways of hardware, t-shirts, and mousepads will be available.

Why you should visit SFA at Booth 1935: Learn about Predator’s Manufacturing Suite of Software, which includes DNC, Document Control, Machine Monitoring, Tool Crib Management, and our integration services. See how as little as $45 per month, per machine, can help increase your shop floor productivity and OEE. Upgrade your legacy machines with USB and Ethernet connections, and eliminate serial cables by going wireless. We are celebrating almost 20 years in our industry, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge.

Can’t make it to WESTEC, but want some free insight on hardware or software? Visit our Webinars page and sign up to learn about our various solutions, or schedule a site visit in your shop with one of our manufacturing integrators.

Call (877) 611-5825 for more information!

Original Newsletter Here

July 2017 Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

shop floor automations newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the Shop Floor Automations newsletter from July 2017:

The buzz is out. The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, lean manufacturing, and OEE for manufacturing are all hot topics for our industry. Machine monitoring is one way to measure what you have before you can start improving, but what does it take to get started?


Is it affordable and compatible with your equipment? What about Cloud-based products that are low-cost and hosts data offsite? If you haven’t yet been persuaded, it’s likely because you’re wondering what exactly happens to your data. 


Many customers have turned to our Cloud-based solutions not only due to low cost, the ability to get email or text notifications of production issues, and no long term commitments but also because of proven reliability. One of our customers stated they were able to run their five-axis CNC machines for 24 hours a day to increase productivity instead of investing in more machines. That’s a big deal! 


“By 2020, a corporate ‘no-Cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today,” states Gartner, which is a highly respected information technology research company. As the current workforce in manufacturing grapples with a mass departure of experienced workers who are retiring, a younger workforce that is likely more adaptive to modern technology trickles in. 


If you’re still on the fence about Cloud-based tech for your shop floor, read this blog from our site where we map out how exactly your data is handled for DataXchange machine monitoring. We also have this interesting blog that discovers how IIoT and Cloud tech can help cut down on maintenance costs and help with the current manufacturing skills gap.

Fill out a contact form for more information. Read our original newsletter

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter – May/June 2017 Issue

2017 June July Shop Floor Automations Newsletter

The following is an archived copy of the 2017 June/May Shop Floor Automations Newsletter.

Consider Shop Floor Hardware

It is amazing how much hardware changes our daily lives. Your smartphone, your FitBit, your home assistant devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home – hardware helps improve your life in so many ways. Why not invest in some new hardware for your shop floor?

Add USB to any machine. Drip-feed programs that are too large for your CNC memory. Replace floppy disks or poorly insulated cables that are dropping your program transfers. Coming soon, use hardware that can function via WiFi, RS232 Serial, Ethernet, PLC, and the MTConnect protocol, at the same time. There are so many options at a very affordable cost.

Our customers have turned to our hardware to solve many shop floor problems. One customer found that his company could save money and not risk damaging their shop’s laptop by using our Portable USB Connect instead. Another customer who has been with us for over a decade has been using our wireless CNC machine networking devices in their shop for years. Another customer loves the process control and security of his shop’s programs from using our hardware devices. Just ask us about other hardware benefits!

Mastercam 2018 Rollout 

Our friends at CAD/CAM Consulting Inc. invited us to the Mastercam 2018 Rollout, which took place at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA.

We did a report on the event, which talks about enhancements made to Mastercam for this new version, plus our three best solutions that integrate with Mastercam Software.

We also have a fun, quick video from the event.

Consulting a Technician Won’t Break The Bank

Have you ever bought hardware from some off-the-beaten-path discount store, or purchased cheap software, and have been dismayed at the lack of support or detailed documentation? It is so valuable when a technology company offers support for their products, and when offered, it may cost less than you think.

SFA is proud to have some of the best technicians in the manufacturing integration business. They not only offer support over the phone and via remote sessions for customers, but they can also come on-site to help.

We have some great resources on our website that explain why it is a great idea to use a technician instead of attempting to do it yourself. Sometimes cabling can be a little more difficult than you may have thought previously, which you can read about via another blog post. We also did a post on how setting up hardware can be a little more complex than you imagined.

For more info, send us a message, or call (877) 611-5825. See the original newsletter