Posts

Scrap material in manufacturing - Shop Floor Automations

Imagine this: as a manufacturer, one of your engineers or CNC programmers has finally completed a product design for a part worth $75,000. They add the files to a USB thumb drive and run it out to the shop floor to upload the design and work instructions for the second shift. Success, he or she thinks. However, one of your team members made a last-minute change to the files without your knowledge. You won’t find out until the prototype is rejected by the customer, scrapping the part and costing your company thousands of dollars, even more time and effort, further project delays, interdepartmental frustration and a dissatisfied customer. Yikes.

Ideal PDM software ties engineering designs, CNC programs and production documentation for full revision control

In reality, manufacturers today have far greater ability to prevent a scenario like this from occurring in the first place. Modern production data management or product data management (PDM) software solutions are specifically designed to manage your manufacturing documentation, like CNC programs, CMM programs, machine offsets, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), to reduce inaccuracies, improve productivity, security and efficiency and speed up time to market. The revision control features of a well-designed PDM, such as Predator PDM, can allow for revisions per vault item, not per file, allowing you to condense the number of files it takes to run your business. New revisions or status changes are validated once-a-minute on every shop floor PC, and the correct program and work instructions may be selected from a pick list tied with the job scheduled in your ERP or MES system – all features to ensure the right CNC production documentation is sent to the right job at the right time.

Proper PDM software aids the CNC program and documentation process on the shop floor for less waste, faster time to market, increased productivity and more.

The use of Windows folders and other alternatives to fulfill regulated traceability requirements often fall short of meeting compliance standards.

Compliance Tracking for CNC Production Documentation

“Manufacturers and their industry partners are becoming greater generators and consumers of data output from their operations, particularly as automation increases,” wrote the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in late 2023. As regulatory bodies, such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seek to control this data collection and consumption movement, manufacturers are responsible for tracking, restricting and proving the path of all production documentation. Applying traditional means, like pen and paper, text files or Windows folders, to meet the latest traceability requirements lack the revision control, visibility and reliability to fulfill such mandates. Even USB thumb drive usage can be significantly limited or prohibited altogether in order to achieve compliance. With so much regulation and new technology available now, how does a manufacturer find and implement an optimal PDM solution?

A partnership with a manufacturing integrator with experience in your industry – be it aerospace, defense, oil and gas, medical device and pharmaceuticals or another industrial sector – and a broad software and hardware portfolio can help you better navigate options to institute effective and compliant processes to deliver profitable products. Contact a manufacturing expert at Shop Floor Automations to help reduce time to market, decrease waste and enhance the security of your CNC production documentation by visiting shopfloorautomations.com now.

Predator Software Inc logo, which is a blue gear with a bear pawprint in the center.

PDM, MDC and DNC software are among the highest-sought Predator solutions supported by the manufacturing integrator

Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a manufacturing integrator specializing in digitally transformative hardware, software and support solutions, announces its exclusive achievement as the top reseller of Predator software since 2004. This significant milestone represents the integrator’s deep industry and technical expertise and unwavering commitment to customer success by serving thousands of North American manufacturers of aerospace and defense, automotive, oil and gas, heavy equipment and medical device products.

 

“Predator software is a renowned provider of manufacturing automation solutions and leader in Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digital factory and lean manufacturing,” says Greg Mercurio, president and founder of SFA. “By coupling these solutions with the excellent service, skillset and knowledge of our technical team, our customers realize tangible gains and have come to rely on us for all their automation needs.”

Engineer working with DNC Software at his desk.

Shop Floor Automations has served manufacturers as their premier Predator Software reseller for 20 years.

 

Robert Jackson, a manufacturing engineer at Flowco Production Solutions, shared his DNC experience in an SFA customer success story.

 

“I’m responsible for helping to design high-quality parts and manage all the planning for manufacturing,” reported Jackson. “Predator DNC gives me the ability to spend my day doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

 

Today SFA offers the following suite of Predator Software solutions:

 

  1. Predator DNC (Direct Numeric Control) is a robust DNC solution designed to simplify and automate the process of managing CNC programs to ensure secure, reliable and efficient program transfer to CNC machines.
  2. Predator MDC (Machine Data Collection) is an advanced manufacturing data collection system that enables real-time monitoring and analysis of machine performance, production metrics, and downtime, thus empowering manufacturers to optimize processes and maximize productivity.
  3. Predator PDM (Product Data Management) is a comprehensive solution for managing and controlling manufacturing documentation, including CAD/CAM files, setup sheets, work instructions and more, to streamline collaboration, version control, and compliance.
  4. Predator CNC Editor is a powerful editor for CNC program editing, revision control, and backplotting, equipped with features such as syntax highlighting, intelligent search, and customizable templates to simplify programming tasks and ensure code accuracy.
  5. Predator Touch HMI (Human Machine Interface) is designed to enhance operator efficiency and productivity by providing easy access to machine status, job information, and process parameters via touch-enabled interfaces.

 

For more information about SFA and Predator Software to help give your business a competitive edge, call 619-461-4000 or visit www.shopfloorautomations.com.

 

ABOUT SHOP FLOOR AUTOMATIONS

Founded in 1998, Shop Floor Automations (SFA) is a manufacturing integrator specializing in digitally transformative hardware, software and support solutions to increase the productivity, efficiency and profitability of plant facilities throughout North America.

 

Shop Floor Automations has been a trusted reseller of Predator Software for 20 years, and we encourage you to contact our team at any time to find software solutions that give your business a competitive edge. For more information about SFA and Predator Software or to add intelligent automation to your shop floor for better communication, control and improvement, contact Shop Floor Automations at www.shopfloorautomations.com.