What drive do I need for my CNC machine?

If you have a question about CNC machine drives, SFA can point you in the right direction. Many customers come to us because they purchase drives off of eBay that were well-priced, but offered no support and had not been tested to work with their CNC machine.

SFA has tested our drives on the following equipment with proven reliability:

  • Haas
  • Okuma
  • Mitsubishi
  • Charmilles
  • Agie
  • Hurco
  • FANUC
  • Sodick
  • Prototrak
  • Giddings and Lewis
  • Mazak/Mazaktrol CMT
  • Wired EDM
  • Mills
  • Lathes
  • Many more machines, makes and models!

Get toll free, USA based support for our drives. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form to get started 

Why isn’t my USB to Serial cable working?

Why isn’t my USB to Serial cable working? I am having an issue with my USB to Serial adapter.

Simply plugging in the device may not always work. You may need to download the drivers for the hardware from our website prior to installing the device.

Check out this downloads page, call us or fill out a contact form.

Manufacturers turn to our USB to Serial solution when they need the following:

This product is compatible with new and legacy RS232 devices and can be used with mobile, instrumentation, and point-of-sale applications as well. Our USB-to-Serial converter is the perfect accessory for laptop computers that do not have a serial port.

Supports Windows 7, Windows 8 & 10, and 32/64 bit operating systems. DB9 male connector for RS232.

Does Predator Flex Hardware work in Windows 7?

Does Predator Flex Hardware work in Windows 7?

Predator Flex Hardware does NOT work under Windows 7 or 8 due to the lack of support for drivers from the manufacturer. The hardware may fit inside of a PC, but known issues have been found in the reliability of communication to the CNC, as well as instances of blue screens.

We also do not recommend running the hardware in a newer PC due to lost functionality in performance and protocol support.

An upgrade is available from SFA to move towards FLEXN or FLEXW hardware, which is supported by Windows 7 and 8 and uses a network connection and network protocols instead of a dedicated ISA/PCI card on the motherboard to communicate with your FLEXN/FLEXW hardware.

Shop Floor Automations has the hardware for wireless and wired solutions on the shop floor, as well as solutions that work with the MTConnect Protocol and can connect multiple ways. Be sure to contact us for more information on what hardware is best for you, depending on your setup!

Why does the Wireless MOXA unit show only 2 red LEDs for the wireless signal strength?

Why does the Wireless MOXA unit show only 2 red LEDs for the wireless signal strength?

If your Wireless MOXA unit, AKA Wireless CNC Connect, only shows 2 red LEDs for the wireless signal strength, the wireless receiver on the device is receiving a weak signal from the wireless access point.

We recommend using an external antenna or moving the antenna to a better location. The optimal location for any wireless device is going to involve having a direct line of sight from the antenna to the access point you intend to communicate with.

More about our wireless hardware solutions via customer reviews

Our networking machines were a real Frankenstein monster, with loading programs done by multiple devices. My favorite features from the changes implemented are Process control, process security, and enhanced availability of knowledge base information.

The continued support, knowledge of the products, and software are why I would recommend SFA to other shops.Total cost was also very affordable. We got to work with Shawn Dunne in person to install wireless networking and adapters. I originally heard about SFA from a colleague – I also ended up buying a half a dozen of your shirts and gave them out to people here! -James, Amarillo Gear Company

We have been a customer of yours for over 12 years now, and it’s been great with the support. The Wireless DNC has been fantastic for our production. We went from losing the wired system to [choosing] a wireless system, and it actually works very well. It’s been very easy and we keep continuing with a product that works great for us. Yes, we have definitely been recommending you to other shops. -George, Gyford Productions

Can you help make my CNC machines communicate with a wireless hub?

Can you help make my CNC machines communicate with a wireless hub?

If you want to achieve CNC machine communication with a wireless hub, Shop Floor Automations has a variety of ways we can connect your machines wirelessly.

After selecting appropriate hardware, our technicians come onsite to install it or will walk you through how to install it over a remote/phone session.

We use the most current RS232 and networking technology and have thoroughly tested the equipment we sell to make sure they consistently withstand the difficult environments of a machine shop floor.

Check out this review of a wireless system we set up for a customer:

Our networking machines were a real Frankenstein monster, with loading programs done by multiple devices. My favorite features from the changes implemented are Process control, process security, and enhanced availability of knowledge base information.

The continued support, knowledge of the products, and software are why I would recommend SFA to other shops.Total cost was also very affordable. We got to work with Shawn Dunne in person to install wireless networking and adapters. I originally heard about SFA from a colleague – I also ended up buying a half a dozen of your shirts and gave them out to people here! -James, Amarillo Gear Company 

We were looking for a system that would communicate through a wireless network, so we could get rid of the switchbox and old wires running all over the machine shop. Predator DNC Software helped us eliminate our old switchbox…The customer support was great. They were very supportive and fixed errors quick when we had a couple of problems. –Rajikumar, Nell Joy Industries

How to connect CNC Machines to laptop on Windows 7 or 8

How to connect CNC Machines to a laptop on Windows 7 or 8:

Because modern Laptops and PCs don’t come with Rs232 serial ports any longer, you will need to get a USB to RS232 “Industrial grade” adapter and the proper serial cable to connect from the USB to RS232 adapter to your CNC Machine.

More about this solution:

You may have tried the low-end USB to Serial Converter for your CNC and wonder why things don’t work.  Well, we are here to share the right solution to connect your CNC controls with your computer using USB.  We were there 5 years ago and finally found the one that works, every time, with 100% reliability.

This product is compatible with new and legacy RS232 devices and can be used with mobile, instrumentation, and point-of-sale applications as well. Our USB-to-Serial converter is the perfect accessory for laptop computers that don’t have a serial port. Support Windows 7 and 8, 32/64 bit operating systems. DB9 male connector for RS232.

  • Reliable USB to Serial converter
  • Compatible with Windows, plus new & legacy RS232 devices
  • Use with mobile, instrumentation, & point-of-sale applications
  • Great for laptop computers without a serial port
  • CNC Control Compatible

Call for more info on how to connect your CNC machines for the best communication at (877) 611-5825

What is a Status Relay Control (SRC)?

What is a Status Relay Control (SRC)?

Via our DataXchange product page, the Status Relay Control (SRC) helps simplify ease of collection from equipment via a signal/combo of signals.

Connect to outputs from another system (EXAMPLE: a CNC, a PLC, or devices like a proximity sensor). Scytec DataXchange reads all inputs of status to help users create a better understanding of their machines.

More information about it:

  • for machines not MTConnect of FANUC FOCAS based
  • no programming required & has a low price
  • can be wired or wireless
  • has 8 data collecting inputs
  • 6 outputs for triggering
  • has an RS232 serial interface
  • is powered off 24 volts
  • typically used with Serial to Ethernet converter

For more information, contact the SFA Sales Department for an in-depth brochure on the SRC.

More about machine monitoring through Shop Floor Automations: 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.

What is a Predator MDC Adapter?

What is a Predator MDC adapter?

From our Predator MDC product page – Hardware-based data collection for older CNCs, manual machines, and other equipment are supported by the Predator MDC Adapter. Predator MDC Adapters are din rail mounted and are wired into signal lamps, light towers, extended M functions or any digital input or output. Predator MDC Adapters are available in 5, 12, 24, 48, 110 and 230 volt editions. Domestic and international editions simplify installation and configuration.

NOTE: The Predator MDC Adapter pictured above converts electrical input from any machine into text messages. To date assembly lines, band saws, dot peen markers, CNC machines, manual machines, robots, PLCs, ATE test stands and many other machines types have leveraged the power of the Predator MDC Adapter.

More about Predator Software through Shop Floor Automations:

Founded back in 1998, we 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, we 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. We have been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service, and Support for many 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, we were 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.

Does the Wireless CNC Connect have a DB25 connector?

Does the Wireless CNC Connect have a DB25 connector?

No, the Wireless CNC Connect has a DB-9 serial port, but SFA sells those units as a KIT and the KIT includes a 5 ft serial cable that will connect the DB-9 serial port of the wireless CNC Connect to the CNC machines serial port.

Provide the Make and Model of the controls on your CNC machines that you are using the wireless units on and SFA will ship with the proper 5 ft serial cable when the order is placed.

More info on the Wireless CNC Connect:

The most popular and advanced LAN-Based DNC system available, now through wireless technology!

No need for custom RS232 cables. No worrying if your insurance covers employees or contractors running cable in dangerous spots of your shop floor. No more second-guessing if a caustic environment will eat through your cables.

Move around machines effortlessly without losing data! The Wireless CNC Connect comes with an IP address assigned to it and they are then put onto your network.

SFA offers industrial grade wireless devices with quick installation to connect to your CNC machines. Consumer level devices, like DLink or Netgear products, cannot withstand the manufacturing environment. Our products allow you to connect your RS232-based machines to your existing wireless network & we can even help if you lack an existing wireless network!

Costs of stringing cable will vanish. Machines with overhead cranes, traveling gantries, or those simply too far to cable are efficiently & reliably networked. Want to move your CNC machines? No need to change cables or reconfigure software. Best of all, nearly any CNC machine can be connected using wireless! Any PC with a WiFi compliant network card on this wireless network can be configured to access the wider PC network.

Encryption & spread spectrum technology, thanks to WEP, WPA, & WAP encryption features, means wireless DNC is the most secure & interference-resistant way to network CNC machines.

Does SFA’s latest LAN Connect support long file names?

Does Shop Floor Automations’ LAN Connect support long CNC file names?

Yes, our newest version of the LAN Connect (LAN to CNC) will support long file names for ease of use with drag and drop functions. Easily add Ethernet to your machine. The best part? No proprietary software is needed.

More info on our Ethernet Connect line of products:

Your CNC machines have RS232 ports & SFA can connect them to your network with Ethernet RS232 hardware. With our Wired CNC Connect, Wireless CNC Connect & LAN Connect, you have many options available. Leverage your current IT infrastructure on the shop floor & replace the long RS232 runs of older style hubs. Take advantage of your company’s wireless network & get rid of cables all together!

The benefit to using Ethernet is that it allows multiple PCs to be able to access machines on the shop floor. Ethernet can go longer distances, which keeps the RS232 connection short, & that means more reliable DNC communication. Wireless CNC Connect devices stay mounted to the machine – confirm you have a dependable wireless signal, move your CNC machine, & it is always connected to the DNC system.

Corporate networks expand beyond front offices & engineering departments on a daily basis. Network backbones are found on 80 percent of manufacturing shop floors.