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.

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.

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.

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.

How do you do a remote request from Predator DNC?

How do you do a remote request from Predator DNC?

Remote request through Predator DNC: In many cases, a CNC machine may be located a good distance away from the computer, or perhaps a number of machines are connected to a central computer. In either case, the last thing you want is machine operators running or shouting across the shop, or crowding around the computer.

If your CNC machines are based on a modern operating system, then they might be connected to your company’s Ethernet network and thus able to browse through a remote server’s files. In most cases though, the NC control just doesn’t have any networking capability and are unable to do anything like that.

One thing most CNC’s can do, however, is to send and receive files via RS232. They can’t request files from computers, but they can send files to computers. So, what we can do is create a small program on the CNC, write our request into that file, and sent that file to the computer. As long as the computer, in this example running the software Predator DNC, is expecting such a file, it would see the incoming data, read the request, and complete whatever action was contained within. In this example, Predator DNC has been programmed to expect such simple file requests from pretty much any CNC as long as the CNC is capable of punching out a CNC program through the serial port.

Before you can use the server mode within Predator DNC, you need to set it up and enable it. We’ll explain that in a moment. First, we’ll give an example of what you can do with it. In our examples, we’ll describe usage with a machine like a FANUC because there are lots of other makes and models of CNC which adhere to the same ISO data standards. We can also show you a couple of alternatives, so you can adjust this method to suit other machines.

In the CNC control, we first create a small program using a program number that isn’t used by the machine. We call this program the Remote Request, because we use it to request a program from the PC remotely. Let’s use program number 7 as our Remote program (O7777). You can, of course, use any program number you want. In our example we want the PC to send program number 1234 into the machine. On a FANUC we’d create a small Remote program like this:-



(LOAD 1234)



That’s it: just those five lines. When you’re ready, send (“Punch”) the Remote Request to the computer and quickly switch the CNC into “Input” / ”Read” mode. When Predator DNC receives the request it opens the file, sees the command (LOAD) and the following text (1234) and knows that the CNC is waiting for program 1234. Predator DNC pulls the file from the machine’s default folder, loads it up, and sends it to the CNC.

Keep the Remote program stored on your CNC, so you can use it again. Next time you use it, just edit the text between the parentheses to request any other program. For more remote request info, check out this video from our YouTube channel

How do you license Predator Software Applications?

How do I license Predator Software Applications?

Predator uses the Sentinel Hasp Key (ex: SIMs & Dongles). They are typically plugged into the USB port on the workstation or server to license the product. If you are in a virtual operating system, we have hardware that will allow this USB key to be seen. Contact our sales team for more info on how to license Predator Software applications.

Predator Software can also help with data-driven decision making in manufacturing. More about the concept:

Manufacturing is all about numbers and measurements. Without both of those factors, a manufactured piece would not come out correctly and quotas would not be met. Numbers and measurements are also at the heart of Data Driven Decision Making, and it is a method more American manufacturers can, and should, easily embrace.

Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM) is simply the process of making operational decisions based on information that can be backed up via tangible data. Many of the big companies live the DDDM philosophy, and when you use data to make decisions about HR, logistics, marketing, and territories to expand into – why not use it for the manufacturing process?

“Big data, small data, internal, external, experimental, observational — everywhere we look, information is being captured, quantified, and used to make business decisions,” says Walter Frick of the Harvard Business Review

Check out the full article

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, check out our Predator page


Do Predator v10 applications work in Windows 10?

Is there Predator Software v10 Windows 10 compatibility?

Yes. While official support will come with Predator Software v11 applications, several clients are currently running Windows 10 with Predator Software v10. Do contact our support team for assistance prior to upgrading.

More on Predator Software:

Are you an existing customer using Predator Software?  Maybe you are using an old copy the CNC Editor inside SurfCAM, GibbsCAM, SmartCAM, ProCAM, CAMWorks, or BobCAD-CAM? Consider these options:

* Predator DNC*
Upload, download, drip-feed up to 100+ machines from a single server and eliminate walking to and from your CNCs.  We are offering upgrade specials to bring your legacy system up to speed with new hardware and operating systems with little downtime and effort.  Call us today to learn more and if you want to add your Ethernet-based CNCs, we support those too!
* Predator Production Data Management*
Predator PDM is a manufacturing driven software solution designed to organize and control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents and others files with revision control.  The application works in server/clients environments and supports Microsoft Access, SQL or Oracle.

* Predator Data Collection with MDC & Touch HMI*

Machine monitoring is real-time software that automatically collects, reports, charts and processes real-time shop floor manufacturing data including cycle time, idle time, setup time, machine downtime and more.  Predator MDC improves manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations and to make better decisions.
* More Predator Software Products* Call (877) 611-5825 for more info 

What is an MTConnect agent?

What is an MTConnect agent?

An MTConnect agent is software that connects to the adapter and provides access to the data from an MTConnect-enabled device across a network. MTConnect agents format the data to XML and can be accessed by other nodes on the network through HTTP.

More about MTConnect:

We have a few resources to get you acquainted with the open, royalty-free, universal manufacturing communication standard designed specifically for shop floors. You can see a quick video, as well as see our resource page on MTConnect

MTConnect is a great resource on a manufacturing shop floor and machine shops. The reach that the protocol has grown each day and it’s full of surprises. For example, many people assume MTConnect will only work on CNC machines, but did you know it can also work wonders for mold making technology?

Shop Floor Automations has taken the time to compile a list of ways you can use the MTConnect protocol. Please note that this is a general guideline and that MTConnect may not work with all machines. MTConnect Connect compatibility changes constantly, and we strive to keep this list as up to date as possible. These are also not the only machines that can use MTConnect – we encourage you to contact Support with any questions.

What is an MTConnect adapter?

What is an MTConnect adapter?

The MTConnect adapter is a piece of software that translates data produced by shop floor equipment into a format that can be processed by MTConnect applications.

An MTConnect Adapter is usually created by the equipment or software provider, or an integrator.

MTConnect is compatible with:

  • DMG Mori Seiki
  • Mazak
  • Okuma
  • More Compatible Machines below –

Refer to the list below and contact us by sending a message for more info. You may also call us at (877) 611-5825 to get started!

Bosch Rexroth CMS
C.R. Onsrud Machine Doosan
Fagor GF AgieCharmilles
Gleason Hardinge
Hurco MAG
Makino Milltronics
Mitsubishi Siemens
Sodick Southwestern Industries
More info to come!

Please note: You may download versions of software available under some of our SFA product pages, but without an active Software Maintenance Agreement, you will not receive serial or access numbers to install the latest versions.

Shop Floor Automations is a TAG Roster member. We are always happy to talk about the protocol and how it can better your shop floor. Read more about MTConnect and our solutions that work with the protocol

What is MTConnect?

What is MTConnect?

MTConnect is a standard for formatting and transmitting data produced by manufacturing equipment so that it can be processed by software applications.

Common uses for this technology are real-time machine monitoring, and historical reporting using charts, graphs, and other visual representations of a shop’s performance.

More about MTConnect:

As a member for on MT Connect Technology Advisory Board (TAG), we have been part of the development and review of the standards of the solution. Many machine tool builders listed below are part of the ongoing development and support for this standard. We strongly recommend you purchase machines with this standard for future support of automation. This standardized solution has the capability to work with many MTConnect-enabled machine—even monitoring multiple factories in real-time! For a schedule of future TAG events, please visit this page.

Scytec DataXchange and Predator MDC are two software choices, in particular, that mesh well with the MTConnect protocol. 

Mazak is actively supporting MTConnect as a way to provide complete manufacturing solutions, which includes having more than 200 of their machines prepped to accept the MT Connect adapter before they are shipped as well as adding additional MTConnect adapters for existing Mazak equipment in the field.

Okuma machine tools are MTConnect-ready. The Okuma THINC-OSP Control is already configured for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems on your shop floor and front office. These controls support MTConnect Standard v1.2 compliant MT Connect Adapters.

DMG Mori Seki supports MTConnect’s standard communication protocol. As of June 1st, 2013, all new DMG / MORI SEIKI machines equipped with MAPPS control come installed with an MTConnect Standard V1.1 compliant MTConnect Adapters. This standardized solution has the capability to work with many MTConnect-enabled machine—even monitoring multiple factories in real-time!

Other Compliant companies: We provide a list of other compatible machine tool builders on our MTConnect Compatibility resource page. If you want to learn more, please call (877) 611-5825!