SFA YouTube Transcriptions

Okuma Floppy DriveShop Floor Automations YouTube Transcriptions

For those who are hearing impaired, or just wanted a little more comprehension on our YouTube Automation Insights and Solutions, we at Shop Floor Automations have taken the liberty to not only personally caption our own videos, but to provide transcriptions here.

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The very first transcription best symbolizes what our company is all about, and we encourage you to read more after the page break:

Manufacturing Integrator – CNC Hardware & CNC Software :  Shop Floor Automations sells, installs, and supports software and hardware solutions for the manufacturing industry. We have a variety of solutions that will increase the efficiency and productivity of a shop floor. They range from machine monitoring, DNC software, job scheduling, document control, and more! We also offer hardware solutions to help a shop go wireless or convert to USB.

Our off-the-shelf products are completely customizable, scalable to grow with your company, and able to meet the needs of any company, small to large, in any industry. If you want to optimize performance throughout your shop process, Shop Floor Automations is ready to help.

We’ve been in business since 1998 and we cover the entire United States, parts of Canada, and Mexico. We have a singular focus in providing preeminent automation tools with world-class service. We take great pains to know your products, machines, and methods, inside and out, to build lasting customer relationships and allow us to develop superior customized solutions to help you run a more efficient shop. Shop Floor Automations helps keep you connected to your shop, so you can keep your shop connected to the world! READ MORE BELOW

DNC Networking Software for CNC Machines : Shop Floor Automations has been providing DNC software to communicate to CNC machines since 1998. We provide two leading software product lines: Predator Software and Ascendant Technologies. Most companies have methods to deliver files to machines but are limited to using floppy disks, USB sticks, PCMCIA cards, and tape readers, or even manual typing. These methods use several hours to load programs but offer no revision control, management of proven or released files, or traceability.

With our solutions, we can implement a product that improves productivity and tracks every upload, download or drip-feed to the CNC, while decreasing the time it takes to load programs. Every minute on the shop floor counts, and if we can save you 5 minutes a day, your new system could be paid for in months! We offer wired and wireless solutions, personalized to meet your specific needs. Want to learn more? Call us today.

What is MTConnect? MTConnect was created by the MTConnect Institute, a non-profit company founded to create universally compatible connectivity standards to improve the monitoring capability of machines throughout the manufacturing industry. MTConnect is an open and royalty-free protocol for communicating data between shop floor equipment and software applications such as machine monitoring software.

The MTConnect standard uses HTTP and XML code, allowing integration with existing Ethernet and Wireless networks. Why is MTConnect important? Like any business, shops are always trying to increase productivity and profit. In the information age, businesses are turning to software and data to improve their efficiency.

Every day, there are large amounts of data being produced by machines, such as cycle status, feed rates, spindle speeds, overrides, part counts, and more! Machine monitoring software that uses MTConnect collects and organizes this data for analysis to reduce unplanned downtime and optimize runtime. The automatic reporting of this data allows owners to organize efficient workflow and react proactively to reduce downtime. MTConnect is the go-to protocol for machine monitoring software. It’s commonly available on Okuma, Mazak, Mori Seiki, and other varieties of CNC controls.

With today’s popularity of Ethernet networking on machines, shop floors can easily connect and begin assessing the important business data and metrics through MTConnect compliant software. SFA works closely with the MTConnect Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) to continue to develop open communication standards for real-time data collection software.

More about MTConnect and a compatibility resource page.

Add USB to Any RS232 CNC MachineEliminate floppy disks, PCMCIA cards, or manual data entry methods of CNC communication by adding USB to any machine, any brand, with our USB Connect solutions. Let Shop Floor Automations provide you with this simple, easy to connect, easy to use, flexible system to transfer your CNC programs to your machines. This eliminates the downtime resulting from failing floppy disks, or disk drives, that no longer read the CNC programs that you spent hours to create!

We offer a model that can be mounted on the CNC control pendant, so operators can quickly select the files they want to download, upload or drip-feed to CNC machines. The USB Connect comes with all necessary cables and includes a 2 GB memory stick. If you have several machines or need a backup to your DNC system, our portable USB device is the perfect solution. The unit can be configured to work with machines that have different baud rates, and leverage colored USB sticks for specific program types.

Machine Monitoring Benefits: Every minute on the shop floor counts toward profitability and increased production. If you could eliminate downtime and provide operators, shop managers, and mid-management with real-time dashboards along with historical reports and charts, everyone becomes accountable. Shop Floor Automations provides Predator or Scytec machine monitoring and data collection systems to deliver measurable cycle times, spindle utilization and why CNC machines are idle.

We offer cloud-based CNC monitoring systems starting at $45 per month as well as on-premise solutions that run on SQL or Oracle and can be deployed in weeks. We can also make magic with solutions like MT Connect and a simple MDC adapter. If you want to replace a paper system or whiteboards, or are just looking to learn more about how we can help you, contact us!

Real-Time Machine Monitoring Data to Implement OEE What is real-time machine monitoring and why is it important? Every day, there are large amounts of data generated by the machines just waiting to be collected. Such as feed rates, spindle speeds, downtime, part counts, and more. Collecting and analyzing this data by hand can be tedious and does not provide immediate feedback.

Real-time machine monitoring allows management to instantly identify throughout issues, as they happen. You can receive notifications via email or text to keep the machine running! The advantage of software-based machine monitoring is it collects and organizes important business data digitally while providing real-time analysis and notifications.

How can I monitor my machine automatically? Today, many modern machines have the technology built into them to output the current machine status. Real-time machine monitoring systems can then read that output, save it in a database, then analyze, and report on it.

There are two major standards for machine monitoring capabilities. FANUC FOCAS and MTConnect. FANUC FOCAS is typically found on newer machines while MTConnect is an open source protocol, and is widely used by machine tool builders such as Okuma, Mazak, and Mori Seiki. FOCAS is a feature of the Fanuc I series controller. It captures cycle status,  overrides, spindle speeds, feed rates, alarms, and downtime in real-time.

If your machine does not support FOCAS or MTConnect, Shop Floor Automations has hardware devices that can be attached to your machine in order to collect data. SFA works closely with the MTConnect Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and other innovators in the industry to improve machine monitoring techniques for real-time data collection software.

Wireless DNC Hardware for CNC Machines: How often do you move your CNC machines around your shop floor? Do you have cables strung throughout your shop? Setting up a wireless network for your CNC machines using our Wireless CNC adapters allows you to easily move machines around without having to re-string cable, buy, and re-terminate new cables of different lengths, or reconfigure software. You won’t need to have staff shut down parts of the operation while they’re working above or around the machines. This is particularly beneficial when using machines with overhead cranes, traveling gantries, or in environments with high ceilings.

Our devices include standard RS232 and Ethernet ports to interface to any model of CNC controller. These industrial units are easy to use, secure, allow for higher baud rates to the machine, and come with a lifetime warranty with our technical support at no additional charge! More and more shops are going wireless every month, as they realize all of the benefits. The investment in wireless is often lower than expected, after considering the cost and time to string and repair cables. Cables can get accidentally cut, damaged by caustic environments, and degrade over time. If you’re looking to expand or move your machines periodically, wireless can save you considerable time and money!

Manufacturing Industry Hardware & Software Solutions: Shop Floor Automations sells, installs, and supports software and hardware solutions for the manufacturing industry. We have a variety of solutions that will increase the efficiency and productivity of a shop floor. They range from machine monitoring, DNC software, job scheduling, document control, and more! We also offer hardware solutions to help a shop go wireless or convert to USB. Our off-the-shelf products are completely customizable, scalable to grow with your company, and able to the meet the needs of any company, small to large, in any industry.

We carry the finest brands of software and hardware, including  Predator, Ascendant, Scytec, JobPack, Bigfoot, Digi, Moxa, Symbol, and ADR. DNC networking offers unprecedented advantages for increasing manufacturing productivity, and efficiency in one simple, and easy to use intuitive platform. The ability to seamlessly network and control your CNC machines, coordinate measuring machines, and machine tool probes is key to saving time and money in any machine shop. Control and machine utilization are further enhanced by our MDC software, which collects, reports, and charts the real-time data flowing from the equipment, optimizes machinery, personnel, and materials. If you want to optimize performance throughout your shop process, Shop Floor Automations is ready to help.

We’ve been in business since 1998 and we cover the entire United States, parts of Canada, and Mexico. We have a singular focus in providing preeminent automation tools with world-class service. We take great pains to know your products, machines, and methods, inside and out, to build lasting customer relationships and allow us to develop superior customized solutions to help you run a more efficient shop. Shop Floor Automations helps keep you connected to your shop, so you can keep your shop connected to the world!

Machine Monitoring with Predator MDC Are you looking to track your machine tool activity? Have questions about your shop floor productivity? Want to automate your data collection methods? Tired of generic data collection solutions? Want real-time reports and graphs on your shop floor productivity? Frustrated with proprietary database engines? Tired of manufacturing software that does not work together? Want to create your own reports or charts?

Introducing, Predator MDC. Predator MDC is real-time machine monitoring software that automatically collects, reports, charts, and processes real-time shop floor manufacturing data. Including OEE, cycle time, idle time, setup time, teardown time, machine downtime, and more! Predator MDC improves manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations and to make better decisions.

Floppy Drive Emulator – CNC Floppy to USB: Today’s automation insight is about how to replace your floppy disk on your CNC machine tool. We have a device called the Floppy Emulator. A lot of times, we still see the floppy discs out on the shop floor. As you well know, these are too hard to find, hard to maintain, and unreliable! So, we’ve come up with a solution to allow you to eliminate that floppy disc by using our Floppy Emulator.

This device that I’m providing to you today basically allows you to use a USB stick that you can plug into your PC, format it to 1.44 MB, plug it into this device, and deliver your NC program to your machine control. The advantage is that you no longer have to deal with that media and essentially is more reliable, but everybody has a USB stick available at their PC. We supply all the documentation and it’s very simple to connect.

On the back of your machine, you typically will have a power cord and an IDE Cable you plug that in the exact same spot, then it’s up and running! Your machine control believes that it is still using a floppy disc, so procedure on the machine is exactly the same. This is why we prefer and recommend the solution to eliminate the floppy disc, it allows you to breathe life into your equipment, and continue to use your machine tools, but deliver a better method of managing your NC programs, rather than a floppy disc.

Our USB Connect tutorial series is comprised of several different videos.

We have grouped the transcripts together in this area, for your convenience.

Add USB to CNC Machines – Portable Drip-Feeding Device: Today’s Automations Insight is about our Portable USB Connect. The reason why we like this solution is a lot of times, customers are trying to communicate to their machine with an old laptop, or you’re dealing with a power cord, or battery, the RS232 cable, and then trying to make it all communicate on the shop floor.

In this case, this is a portable device that is easy to use and simple to connect to your machine tool. It allows you to use any brand, any size USB stick – we include a 2GB with it – but essentially, you load your files up on this USB stick and then plug it into this device. It will read the data off of it, and then you can upload or download to your machine control, or you can use the display to also drip-feed to the machine, to allow you to run the large programs.

It’s a one-time setup. You program your communication settings and it is easy to use. It’s compatible with all the different machine controllers, makes, and models. It does have an RS232 connection. So essentially, you plug in your RS232 cable and it would allow you to make that connection to your machine, and also have the 110v power outlet on the bottom here, that you would power the device.

Portable USB Connect Package: Upon receiving the Portable USB Connect package from Shop Floor Automations, you want to open it up, and you’ll get the following components: the Portable USB Connect, the power supply 110v, and you’ll also get a red bag. Inside the red bag, you will have a 15-foot serial cable, a USB stick, and the adapter to connect to the CNC machines. Now, all these components will be used to connect to your CNC machine and on this USB stick, you will have Manuals – one Operation Manual & one Set Up Guide to help it up serially.

How to Set Up RS232 USB Hardware: Today, we’re going to talk about the configuration of your USB Connect. As you can see from the main menu, you have four items. CNC to USB, which would mean to save from the CNC. You have USB to CNC, which means we’re going to send from this unit into the CNC control. We have DNC for drip-feeding, and then we have “Set Up.”

The first thing every person should do when they get the unit is to go to “Set Up,” and you need to just scroll through all these items. The first item you need to do is set up your baud rate to match your CNC machine. You can go up and down using the variety of buttons to choose the appropriate baud rate that your CNC machine is set to.

The next item is going to be “Data” “Parity” and “Stop” bits. You need to choose the appropriate one to match your CNC machine. Next is the “Flow Control,” or as some people call it, the “Software Handshaking.” You need to choose the appropriate method, and then you will go to the next item, which is EOB Delay, which is End of Block Delay. You can choose anywhere from no delay, all the way up to one second. What this does will slow down the transfer on certain controls that it is required.

The next item is “EOB Characters, that is End of Block Characters You need to choose the appropriate combination that your control is using. Line Feed Carriage Return options will be listed, even non-binary.  The last items are “Start Tx” – this is a character that you put at the beginning of the file and as you can see, we have choices of Siemens, for the Siemens control, we have none, null characters, and percent signs. Then, you have “End Tx” characters – this will be the character that is embedded at the end of the file. We have percent signs, null characters, none and EOT, and no change. The last item you are going to do is automatic. We wanna leave it at “automatic,” unless you’re directed [otherwise] by someone at Shop Floor Automations.

The last item you are going to do is automatic. We wanna leave it at “automatic,” unless you’re directed [otherwise] by someone at Shop Floor Automations.

Storing CNC Parameters on USB – RS232 Communication: Saving the settings to the USB Stick – by pressing “save settings,” you’re actually going to store that file to the USB stick so you can use it later on and retrieve. If someone plays with the settings, you want to reset them to the original settings.

So, you press the “save settings” button, and you now choose the file name. We’re going to choose “A000” as the file name, you hit the round “continue” button, and as you see, it says “savings” parameters. Now, there’s “save to the USB stick,” so we can use them later on with the “load settings” button. “Load settings” – you go into it, choose the appropriate file. As you can see, it has “A000,” which we just stored. you hit that, and it’s loading the parameters and loading the setting that we just saved.

How to receive program from CNC – RS232 USB: We’re going to talk about the Portable USB and communicating to a CNC machine. We have the USB stick plugged into our unit, we have the serial cable connected to our Haas control, and we’re powered up!

We’re going to send first from the Haas to the USB. So in the USB Connect, you’d going to choose “CNC to USB” as you can see, it’s accessing the USB stick at this time to verify it has data, or space to write to it. This will take a couple of seconds. We’re going to use a Default name of “CNC1.txt” and we’re going to hit “Start.” Now, we’re ready to receive.

We’re going to go to the Haas machine. We’re going to tell it to send. As you can see over here on the left-hand side of the screen, it’s hard to see, but it’s toggling between the asterisk and the plus sign, indicating that data is coming into the unit. The Haas machine is sending, and this will continue for the length of the file.

One other location – if you look at the bottom of the unit, under the RJ45, you’ll see a yellow light blinking, also an indication that we are receiving data. So, when the data is finished, this will stop blinking.

CNC Program Transfer – portable RS232 USB : Now we have received the program in our USB Connect and we’re going to take the program that’s on the USB stick, and we’re going to send it into our machine. So, we’re going to go down to the selection of “USB to CNC.” We hit the round button and we’re going to select that and now, you will see several files on the stick.

We’re going to choose “CNC1.txt” to send to the machine. We first have to go to the CNC machine and tell it to receive. Now, we go to the USB, hit the “CNC1.txt” round button to get the file in ready mode, and now, we hit the round button again to start the transfer. Again, on the side of the display, you’re going to see a toggle between the asterisk and the pound sign.

You also are seeing on the bottom of the unit the yellow light flashing, indicating data is scrolling out of the unit. This will continue until the file is transferred and the machine will acknowledge that the file has been received.

Ethernet to RS232 for CNC Networking – RS232 Serial: Hello, and welcome to Automations Insights. My name is Greg Mercurio from Shop Floor Automations. Today, we’re going to talk about how to add additional serial ports to your PC.

A lot of times, you have a PC that needs to interface to multiple machines, so in this case, we have a device that will allow you to connect up to 8 different machine tools. In this scenario, we basically have a device that has one Ethernet input, where you connect and program an IP Address to it. There’s a virtual COM port that is installed on your PC and then essentially there are 8 other serial ports here. This will then allow you to run your RS232 cable down to the machine control and have 8 COM ports to send simultaneously to your machine.

The benefit of this device here is it will allow you to eliminate any kind of switch box or manual unplugging and plugging of your cables. So this is the most common device we see on the shop floor to replace the switch box or maybe something that had a card that went inside your computer. It’s basically an Ethernet to Serial device that will allow you to connect to all your machines.

A couple of things I want to point out is that we do use our serial cables that are designed directly for your machine controls. One side is an RJ45, so it will plug right into this serial device. The other side is a DB25 which will plug into your machine control. Again, the simplicity here is you can run your RS232 and you can put this hub out on the shop floor, maybe closer, so your RS232 cable run is a lot shorter down to the machine control to use the baud rate and the benefit of that, versus having to deal with lower baud rates, which sometimes is a challenge.

RS232 Cabling Solutions for CNC Machines: Today’s automation insight is about the RS232 Cables. One of the challenges our customers face is how to link their machine tools, and we’ve seen all types of solutions out there from Cat 5 Cables to your standard telephone cable, but it is critical that you use the right solution when trying to deliver a file to the machine. That entails the RS232 cable.

So, what I have here is a cable that we pre-make in our offices and this allows us to deliver the best solution It’s an 8 wire conductor, it’s triple shielded & it’s pre-terminated for ease of use! Essentially, you tell us what type of connector you have on the PC side, what type of CNC control, and we have predefined adapters that allow you to easily connect to your machine control. Simply call us up & say “I need 25, 50, 75” up to 300 feet, and we can provide you with that solution.

Adding FANUC FOCAS with Predator CNC Service: Today, we are going to demonstrate the Predator CNC Service Manager that is included with every Predator MDC installation. There is no additional charge for this feature, or function on the application to collect data off machines using your Ethernet-based connections.

Predator CNC Service typically runs on a server running (Windows) 2008 or 2012. It is running 24/7 as a CNC service. When the product is launched, you will see the screen above. To add a machine, there are different configurations for the software. When you press “Add Machine,” you will be prompted to the dialog box screen shown above. There are several options when connecting to your machine – we support Okuma Thinc, which is something you can actually install on your control and the CNC service will run on the machine control in the background, allowing you to collect real-time data off of your machine. We also support remote and local protocols, which include FANUC Backup, FANUC FOCAS, FANUC Robot, Heidenhain, MTConnect, OPC & others. These are typically used to communicate to your machine through the Ethernet connectivity on the machine control.

For this example, we will select the FANUC 31. This is an “i” series control that may have FOCAS. As you will see, there are many different dialogues that are defined. You are able to name your machine, select the type of protocol. In this case, FOCAS. Define the IP address of the server where Predator is residing and the port number. If this is correct, the checkbox will show (as) green. We also have several different dialog boxes here to show you where to connect and how, or what data, you can capture. In this example, we are using the Connection dialog box. This is either Ethernet or High Speed to the FANUC control, the IP address of the machine, which you may type in here. The port number is typically 8193. You notice, in my example, that there is an exclamation mark over here that typically would indicate if the machine is Pingable. What it did is it checked the machine to see if it was reachable and it confirms that it has FOCAS. We also set the Query Frequency and this can define how to choose how frequently you want to capture the data off of the machine. We also have a “time out,” so if there’s a response from the machine, will indicate this in our log.

We won’t go into too many details, but you will notice in this screen that we have a “Status” tab that will show you the options that are available to capture from the machine. In this example, we have an idle state, cycle, paused, auto, and then also, we have an indication of single block and block-and-feed hold and also, if the machine goes into emergency stop, or generates a CNC alarm. We are able to determine the specific alarm number if the machine is generally alarmed, or other details. If we look at the other tabs that are available in this dialog box, there are spindle feeds and rates.

We also have counters, so we can count how many good parts, as well as the program number, the line that it is on, the tool number, length offsets, as well as diameter offsets. We also have the ability to read variables, as well as change the digital IO of a machine. We have details within the program that we can look at, where for example, we can look at a specific program running on a machine, such as “set up.” A warm-up program might be indicating that the machine is not running. These are just a few options that are available under the FANUC. In future videos, we will discuss Okuma and Mazak, and we hope that you found this video informative.

Predator CNC Editor Light Registration Process: In today’s video, we’re going to demonstrate the registration of Predator CNC Editor Light. A light mode allows us to use the CNC Editor at no charge and is a great tool to edit NC programs that are needed for CNC programmers and others on the shop floor.

Once you have installed the CNC Editor, you will see an icon on your desktop, shown here. The next step you will want to do is right click on the icon, and choose “run as administrator.” This will allow us to put [in] the license, as required. When you select and launch the software, you will be prompted to the registration screen, shown here. Go ahead and type in your name, and your company information. Under the Serial Number, you will want to type in the word “light.” You can leave the access code blank and the license type should be set as “unknown.” Press “OK.”

At this point, the Predator CNC Editor will launch in the appropriate Light mode. From here, you have options to open a new file, save a file, and many different options.

Floppy Disk Emulator Set Up for Haas CNC Machine – First, you’re going to take the emulator and plug it into your normal connections for your floppy drive. You’re going to want to make sure that you have the red wire in PIN1 of the IE cable. Next, before you start the machine, you going to want to make sure to plug the USB into the emulator. Now that everything is plugged in, we can start the machine.

The floppy emulator allows you to get rid of your floppy disks and instead, use USB drives, which are more reliable and more dependable. First, we going to go to LIST PROGRAM, and then, as you can see, we have the instructions for the normal floppy drive at the bottom. These instructions are going to be the same for the USB floppy emulator.

So what we’re going to do now is first, show you how to retrieve the Directory that is on the USB drive. To do that, press F4, it’s going to say FLOPPY DIR for “floppy directory,” and then FLOPPY DONE. As you can see, the program titled “Directory List” has shown up in our list of programs. Once that comes up, you can go to EDIT, and it will show you a list. This USB drive is empty, but normally, it will you a list of programs by 0 number.

Now what we’re going to do is show you how to send a program to the USB drive. So, we’re going to use this program and send that to the drive. Now, to send a file to the floppy emulator – first, we’re going to take the cursor and navigate up to the program we want to send. Hit SELECT PROGRAM, type in the name we want, and I’m just going to choose “01”. Then, you’re going to press F2 to send the file to the floppy. It will say FLOPPY WRITE, and then SENDING, then FLOPPY WRITE, and now, it says FLOPPY DONE. So now, we know that the program has been written to the USB drive.

So now, we’re going to hit F4 to retrieve the directory list. It will overwrite the old one that we already have saved in here. As you can see, once it is done retrieving it, it selects it, you go down to the program, then you press EDIT, and as you can see, now we have the file that we sent to the USB drive that we decided to name 0.

Okay, so, now I’m going to show you how to retrieve a program from the USB drive. First, you are going to type in the name of the program that you want to pull from the drive. I’m choosing 01 because that’s the same one that we sent to the drive. Then, you’re going to press F3 to retrieve it from the drive. It’s going to say FLOPPY READ, LOADING, and then FLOPPY DONE. As you can see, the program we requested from the drive has been sent to the machine.

Remote Request from a Bar Code Reader – I’m going to be showing you how to remotely request a program using two different bar codes on your bar code reader. First, you’re going to go to the list of programs, by hitting “list program”, then, you’re going to hit “page down” until you get to “all,” then hit “receive”.

Once you do that, you’re going to scan your first bar code, and then your second bar code shortly thereafter. Ok so as you can see, it took the two bar code numbers, combined them, went and found the file, and then sent it out to the machine. So now, if we look at the machine, we should see it come in.

Initially, once you scan the bar codes, you’re going to see the Haas say “waiting for data” then once you give it a minute for Predator to retrieve the file, you’ll see it say “loading 00001.” Then your program will be at the top of the list. Here, you can see if we hit “edit,” you go down through the entire program, you can see that the whole program downloaded to the machine successfully.  There it is – M30. So you can see, we got both programs successfully and it changed the 0 number to 1, from whatever the previous 0 number was.

How to use the DataXchange Data Entry Screen for Machine Monitoring

I’m going to show you the Scytec DataXchange Data Entry Screen. A lot of our customers tell us that the value from the system comes from tracking downtimes and downtime reason codes. We can collect some downtimes from your machines automatically, but there are a lot of downtimes that a human needs to tell us, and this is the interface that we are going to use.

So let’s go over what we are looking at here: I have got the screen set up to show three different machines, so maybe this would be in a cell of three machines. This application will run on a PC, Windows tablet, Android, or iPad. The interface will look exactly the same, no matter which interface you are running it on. But if I want to enter a downtime, it is really easy- I just choose which machine I want to control. So the EDM at the top here is going to show me that I am controlling the EDM.

Over here on the right, it is going to show me a little bit about the status of what is going on with that machine right now. What status it is in. How long it has been in that status. So, if I want to put, for instance, an unplanned downtime, I would click that button and I would get a drop-down list. This list is user-definable. You can have as many reason codes as you want.

But maybe I am having a quality issue – I can just highlight that reason code and hit “start new status” and instantly, the database sees a new status and starts collecting time against that. You will see the color here has changed, and each of these colors represents the current status of that particular machine.

I can have planned downtimes, such as breaks, setup, maybe teardown. I have an in cycle button – this is really only used if you’re manually tracking cycle time. In most cases, we’re actually going to get the cycle time from your machine automatically, but perhaps you have a manual process you want to track? So maybe you could have a cycle time called “inspection”? And the human can just push a button to start a timer to say they’re inspecting parts.

We can import your part numbers from your ERP system, and somebody could go in here and type that they are looking for a specific part number. It will filter it down. They can choose the part number, start a new status. Now anytime that we collect will be applied to that part number. We could collect the part counts from some machines, but if we can’t, they can manually enter a part count here.

You can enter your scrap reasons and scrap count. So you plug in your number, and you have reason codes for your scrap – again, completely user definable. Custom commands – this is used for things such as email. We might have an email in the system called “email maintenance” so there would be a pre-canned email where the operator can just hit this button, say enter, and an email would be sent off to maintenance, so they know the EDM just requested it. That concludes this overview of the data entry screen!

DataXchange Modified Time Stamp – Machine Monitoring 

In this video, I want to talk about our feature called Modified Time Stamp that is in the DataXchange Data Entry Screen. You can give this permission to your users, or not – it’s completely up to you, but what it does is exactly what it says. It allows them to modify the time stamp of events.

So let’s look at this EDM, for example. Currently, it is in a downtime called “unknown downtime.” It has been in that downtime for about a minute. So, if I am the operator of this machine, and I had walked away, came back to the machine, and realized “oh, it stopped running,” and the reason is stopped running was a tooling issue.

Well, do you want all of this time that’s already been collected to count towards that tooling? If you do, you let them say “modified time stamp,” it automatically jumps back to the exact date and time that the last event stopped. They can’t go back further in time. Just to when the last event stopped.

They hit “set” – “start new status” – it updates the status and you will see here, the duration still says 1 minute, 40 seconds. So, it backdated all that time. This is a great feature to be more accurate with your downtimes on the shop floor.

Okuma Floppy Disk Drive Replacement Installation – Before we begin this tutorial, Shop Floor Automations reminds users to please power off their machines completely before repeating any steps of this process. Please be sure to also follow lockout/tagout procedures and other OSHA standards. Thank you.

First, open the control panel and remove the power cord. Remove the ribbon cable, which is connected to the motherboard. Using a small screwdriver, remove the screws. Once the ribbon cable and power cable are unplugged, remove the nuts that are holding in the drive. You will need a socket wrench in order to do this.

Once you have removed the screws and nuts, carefully remove the core from the housing of the cabinet. Save all the screws and components, as you will need them in order to reinstall. Slide your core unit, received from SFA, into the original spot. Be sure to clear all cables as you slide the hardware back in.

Reattach the nuts that you removed from the original housing to hold the unit in place. Be sure that everything is mounted properly in the orientation shown. Then, reattach the power cable and ribbon cable. It is ideal that you first attach the ribbon cable before powering on the unit.

Soon, the operator will be up and running and be able to use USB sticks instead of floppy disks. Please refer to your setup guide for further instructions or call SFA for further assistance. Thanks for watching!

DataXchange Machine Monitoring from SFA

Knowing your OEE and increasing utilization is the key to better manufacturing productivity. That is why you need DataXchange machine monitoring. Shop Floor Automations is the number one reseller of DataXchange and a manufacturing integrator since 1998.

DataXchange is versatile for its different methods of data collection – it can work with popular protocols such as MTConnect, Fanuc FOCAS, and OPC UA. MTConnect is an open, royalty-free protocol that is becoming a popular choice for shop floors as more machine types support the protocol. Machines with Fanuc iSeries controls can opt for Fanuc FOCAS while PLC driven machines captured data through OPC UA. Hardware such as the SRC pictured helps to capture data from legacy machines.

DataXchange is perfect for operators to help keep track of machine performance and be actively involved in the utilization process. This is achieved through shop floor PCs and data entry tablets. Data from the machines can be collected in easy-to-understand charts and reports. This data includes cycle time, scrap reasons, utilization, breaks, overrides, downtime, and more!

DataXchange is often used to display on real-time dashboards across the shop floor. The data can also be used for stand-up production meetings. DataXchange is available via bronze, silver and gold editions. With each level, it features different sets of abilities and prices.

Many customers prefer cloud-based DataXchange monitoring in order to pay per month, per machine with no long-term contract. We also have an on-premise solution for customers who prefer that their data servers be housed on-site.

DataXchange E-Learning Tutorial 

Today, I wanted to take you on a short tour of the Scytec DataXchange E-Learning website. This is a new feature where you can purchase a year-long subscription and have access to online training courses. This way, you or your employees can learn at your own pace and at your own time.

One of the courses here is called “initial DataXchange configuration” – we’ll take a look at this one. So this has a couple of sections to it. The first section is called “customer configuration.” This has four lesson plans with a quiz. Then there’s a second section called “configuring and setting up auto login,” which is one lesson and one quiz. We’ll take a look at that.

You click on there – there’s the video. You watch the video. It will tell you all about auto login. Once you’re done with the video, then we’ll take a quiz. is  The quiz in this case, is only one question because it is a short section. It says “when setting up an auto login, you can have DataXchange start on any tab within the toolbar” True or false? True.

Complete the quiz – it will grade you 100 percent! So, this is a good tool again for you to utilize for your employees.

Intro to DataXchange Operator Data Interface

Today I’m going to show you a new feature from DataXchange. It’s called the operator data interface. Essentially what it’s going to do – It’s going to be a modern replacement for this DataXchange data entry screen that you see in front of you that you can access by clicking on the Data Entry button.

So what I’m going to show you guys is that you can toggle back and forth between the ODI screen and the Data Entry screen. This is going to be allowed for a specific period of time. It’s to help make the transition to the ODI a lot easier.

As you can see right now, all you can see is the Data Entry tab, but these two features are actually able to coexist right now. So what we’re going to do, and make sure that you are logged in as an administrator to be able to do this. Click on Manage. Go over to this Data Entry button on the right and click on Operator Data Interface Settings.

What you can do on this screen is you can scroll down and where it says ODI Visibility Status. Right now, it’s likely just showing Data Entry Only for you. If you want to be able to have access to both of those screens you can click on Show both Data Entry and ODI. They will be up top as you can see, but after a while, once you are familiar with the ODI, we’re going to recommend that you have it show only the ODI visibility.

As future DataXchange updates come along, eventually, you will only have access to the ODI. So that is why we recommend after a short period of time familiarizing yourself with it, you can kind of remove those Data Entry training wheels, so to speak. Eventually, what you’ll do is show ODI only. Now if you are an administrator and you’re logged in as such, then this change should be permanent.

So what we’ll do is log out. Once we log back into DataXchange, Once it pops back up, you’re going to see that only the ODI is available as an option.

So if you have any questions about toggling back and forth from the ODI screen or anything else, you can click on the right for the help file and that will pull up the website for you. Or you can contact us here at Shop Floor Automations with all your DataXchange questions. Thanks for watching!

Want more information? Call (877) 611-5825