Summer 2017 Predator Software Updates

Predator SoftwareShop Floor Automations is excited to share with you these Summer 2017 Predator Software Updates:

  • In August, July & June, there have been the following updates to MDC:
    • v11.0.248 (August 10, 2017) Improvements for Favorite Reports. Improved New Events Touch manual collection of user logins, machine downtime, good parts, scrap parts, and more. Machine Events Reports improved. Bugs fixed for Machine Downtime and Cost chart legends, and overall load on the database instance has been reduced. Many more improvements made.
    • v11.0.246 (July 14, 2017). Improved MDC APIs and bug fixed with running reports from View Components.
    • v11.0.245 (July 7, 2017). Duration of Chart has been added to header.  Automatic and manual refresh logic improved. Multiple display elements improved. Overall chart performance, use of arrow keys, part serial number permissions, and similar features improved. More updates, as well as some bug fixes, included in this version.
    • v11.0.241 (June 8, 2017). Chinese, Japanese, and Korean style reports added. Improvements made to MDC Service Manager, View Machine Status, View OEE Status, Chinese language resources, Production Trend Analysis Chart display, and more features. Bugs fixed and more improvements made.
    • Android compatibility was also improved for MDC in late June 2017.
  • On July 16, 2017 – Predator Tracker v11.0.55 was released. Same as PDM – FIPS compatibility with FLM v11.0.0.2. improved. New imports and API abilities added. Improved process for Check in/Check out to Departments, Locations and Groups. Bugs fixed with View Components reports, editing tool rework operation definitions, and more.
  • On July 15, 2017 – Predator PDM v11.0.174 was released. FIPS compatibility with FLM v11.0.0.2. improved. Part serial number permissions, importing manufacturing/quality requirements, online help, and PDM APIs have been improved. Bugs fixed with assigning icons to custom commands, and more.

There have also been updates for Predator CNC Service, Predator Travelers, and Predator FLM over the summer.

If you would like more information, please contact SFA by calling (877) 611-5825 or fill out a contact form at this link

MFG Costs, Budgets & Integration ROI

mfg costs mfg budget mfg integratorManufacturing costs are a pain.

When you are thinking of investments to help with production, you have to keep in mind your MFG costs and your budget. While it would be great if all of your costs were predictable, they are not.

There are four variables of expenses when running a manufacturing company, and we have done our best to break it down for you with a driving analogy:

Fixed Costs: You get in your car, you set up your GPS and map out the trip. You know how much time it will take to get there and how many miles. You set the path to avoid toll roads, so you know it will take a little extra time, but you’ve accounted for it. Fixed costs are part of the routine in manufacturing. These cover your utility bills, taxes, property costs, salaries for executives or administrative workers, and general facility maintenance. You can even account for a budget of office supplies and basic salaries for sales people and machinists in this category, too.

Variable Costs: When you plan to take your trip, you account for normal traffic patterns that will add a likely delay to get to your destination. It’s an annoyance we have come to both accept and expect for road trips. Variable costs can best be described as costs directly in relation with production. For example – when you produce more, you ultimately need more raw materials. These patterns are predictable and prescribe to the old saying “you gotta spend money to make money.”

Semi-Variable & Step-Variable Costs: When you’re on your trip, let’s say a horrific accident happens, or you hit an unexpected detour. These unforeseen but likely scenarios can add time to your trip, and let’s face it, most people don’t plan for these events to happen. Semi-variable costs account for costs that can vary, such as commissions for sales people or production-based bonuses. Step-variable costs are costs that remain fixed for a period of time, and can suddenly spike up. Let’s say a machine is producing consistently for a long period of time, but then, it goes down – this downtime is not only costly to production, but hiring a specialist to come out and look at it, or replacing it with another machine, will be expensive.

What is the common factor in all of these examples, though?

If you invested in the GPS, it will reroute you, or add time to your route when you hit traffic or unexpected snags in the road. It is monitoring conditions for you to give you expectations and suggestions on how to improve your route.

How does this relate to manufacturing integration solutions & ROI?

Investing in manufacturing integration solutions is the best ROI when taking into account situations that lead to step-variable costs in your production. It’s essentially giving yourself a GPS to help meet and exceed production goals.

If your machines are consistently having communication errors that cause thousands of dollars in stopped production time, then DNC software or hardware is a drop in the bucket to help prevent this from happening. If there are other issues with machines causing downtime that are not relative to CNC communication failures, then machine monitoring can help for better OEE and for machinists to better communicate issues for proper solutions.

If you are interested in Shop Floor Automations helping you combat production issues head on, we invite you to contact us! You can fill out a form here, or call us at (877) 611-5825 to utilize our decades of experience. 

 

New Manufacturing Techniques

People try out new technologies each day.

They buy new phones, lease new cars, upgrade the software on their phones and computers, or add implements to their homes to improve their quality of life. Embracing new technology is a move that would benefit the manufacturing shop floor industry most.

new manufacturing technologyHere are the Top 3 ways that new manufacturing technology adopted on the shop floor can benefit your company:

1 – You can keep up with the competition. According to recent results from the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, the National Association of Manufacturers states that in 2017, there is a record-high level of optimism in the manufacturing industry. 91.4 percent of manufacturers said they would increase investments, hire more workers, and that they generally feel good about our industry’s growth. Do you fit in this category?

Are pieces of old tech, like floppy disk drives and handheld terminals holding you back? Are you experiencing communication failures due to lack of CNC memory for your programs? These are all problems that new technology can fix, so that you can get in on this wave of prosperity.

2 – Increase profit. When implementing new hardware and software into older machines, this can help drastically decrease downtime. When there is no downtime to deal with, or less of it, machinists are free to perfect their craft. According to SME, there have been proven studies that show on average, time will decrease 5 percent every time the number of completed pieces doubles.

Therefore, if a machinist has more time to actually do their job than deal with machines going down, that will ultimately make the company more productive. Implementing machine monitoring to track machine trends increases OEE and DNC software can help with CNC communication failure, which are two sure fire ways to combat downtime.

3 – More freedom. When there is less worry of machines going down, this can create a better work/life balance for those who work on the shop floor, and in the front office. Machine monitoring, which is a powerful IIoT (industrial internet of things) tool, is an amazing way to get notifications of what is going on with machines not only on the shop floor, but via email or text notifications.

When this proven solution to deal with downtime is combined with more accountability through the means of graphical job scheduling, PDM, and other resources on the shop floor, there is more trust in the workplace. More people can use their PTO to go on vacation, or workers who are home sick can help give guidance when a machine goes down via a notes section through machine monitoring.

If you are interested in new technology for your shop floor and experiencing the benefits listed above, contact us by filling out a sales form here, or call (877) 611-5825.

 

Top 5 Shop Floor Product Updates in 2016

shop floor technologyWith the year quickly coming to a close, we wanted to take the time to share some updates to shop floor software and hardware that you all need to see. Whether you implemented them into your manufacturing routine or you are looking for new tech for 2017, here is what you need to know to obtain the goals of lean manufacturing, continuous improvement, and turning data into actionable items:

1 –  Scytec DataXchange Machine Monitoring & Data Collection – Many shop floor runners are fans of DataXchange for their $45 per month, per machine Cloud pricing, but they may also want to check out Version 2016.10.03 updates. New features include an MTConnect Data Viewer, which is a testament to DataXchange’s continuing advocacy of the protocol. Scytec Support staff will also be able to remotely restart DataXchange for users without remote access, as well as many utilization tools being updated or refreshed. You can also integrate DataXchange with Bigfoot CMMS from Smartware Group if you are seeking a plant maintenance management system, which you can read more about here.

2 – The WiFi USB Connect – This new piece of hardware is a wireless USB solution for the manufacturing shop floor. It emulates a USB stick, allowing you to share data from a PC to your machines. No drivers are required, plus Floppy drive emulators and CNC machines with a USB port can now have wireless abilities! The device serves as an easy and economic shop floor upgrade, with more info here from MoldMaking Technology.

3 – Machine Monitoring through Predator MDCWith v11 now available, there are many incredible new updates, and quite a few improved features, that will be beneficial to your shop floor. From being able to access MDC machine monitoring on Android phones, to having a real-time view of data from any browser, many new charts to display information on, and an updated list of Windows Support, MDC is worth checking out.

4 – MTConnect & the Cloud –   More CNC machine controls, and more shop floors, are embracing MTConnect. The open, royalty free factory floor communication standard is universal and embraced by shop floor factories. Comparative to Bluetooth technology that allows for plug-and-play connectivity of shop floor devices, equipment and systems, the protocol helps collect and process data from machines. The concept of software on the Cloud, AKA IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), is also taking off. Cloud tech can be cost effective (as you saw above with DataXchange’s Cloud pricing), is easy to implement, and can often come with advanced tech support that will help a company’s IT Department struggle less. Industrial Machinery Digest published a piece about integrating MTConnect, along with machine monitoring, at this link.

5- Predator’s Touch HMI – A big button interface, Predator’s Touch HMI replaces barcode readers, handheld terminals and proprietary shopfloor hardware; simplifies data collection on machine uptime; enables access to information via tablet, PC or CNC; and provides buttons to transfer NC programs or launch the part drawing on the shop floor for the operator. It can also be color-coded for the convenience of individual machinists, and novelty buttons can be added through the magic of IoT. More on Touch HMI via a Modern Machine Shop piece you can read here.

Want to become the hero of your shop floor by helping achieve better machine utilization? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media. Check out any of the products mentioned in our store, or contact us for info on MTConnect & Cloud options.

Predator Software Version Upgrades Released

Predator SoftwareAt the end of 1st quarter of 2015, Predator Software has released v10 product suite.

Over 115,000 companies in over 40 countries rely on Predator solutions to network, monitor, revise, control, organize, verify, manage and automate their shop floor and improve productivity. Users are now able to upgrade to the latest versions to support Windows 8 and Server 20012, with enhanced support for virtual operating systems.

Predator Machine Monitoring and Data Collection included several new features: two new OEE dashboards, bar charts for good/scrap parts, 4 new components (cost centers, work center, machine type and report type), chart filters, and 125 machine time reports.

To learn more about the services Shop Floor Automations provides, which includes Predator, we invite you to check out our YouTube channel for tutorials, insights, and more. Our channel is here, and our transcripts, which include technical guides, are here.

SFA is also located on other social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & more! Click here to see our list of resources.

Predator MDC Video – How to get started

Predator MDC creates a continuously up to date knowledge base of your manufacturing performance. It quantifies how well your machines, people and parts are produced. Predator MDC can establish and compare continuous improvement results for lean manufacturing efforts. Predator MDC organizes your real-time data into actionable metrics for availability, quality and performance. Metrics for specific machines or rolled up metrics for an entire department across multiple plants are available with a few mouse clicks. Refer to the following major features

Predator MDC supports automatic, error-free, and unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start and end, set up start and end, cycle start and end, to name a few of the events that can be monitored. This type of data is collected automatically using software, hardware, custom macros and other methods without requiring operator training or input.

Predator MDCPredator MDC also supports manual monitoring of events that are initiated by machine operators such as machine login/offs, downtimes, and scrap reasons. Predator MDC can be used to manually collect data using several methods including Remote Request™, swiping bar codes, touch screen PCs or standard PCs.

Predator MDC supports up to 4096 CNC machines, robots, PLCs, ATE Test Stands, band saws, dot peen markers and other equipment per PC for simultaneous cycle time, setup time, teardown time, downtimes with reasons, good parts, scrap parts with reasons and an unlimited number of user defined events.

Keep score of your shop floor productivity with Predator MDC. Every second is tracked per machine, job, part, operation, shift and person. Real-time dashboards displays current machine, part, job, operation and personnel status. Multiple engineers, supervisors and managers can view the dashboard from any networked PC. Leverage the power of the Internet and VPN from anywhere in the world to see the status of your shop floor.

Dedicate one or more large screen monitors on the shop floor for real-time digital signage. Create slides of charts, dashboards and reports with specific filters and details. Eliminate manual posting of paper reports and charts. Provide a focal point for standup shop meetings while enforcing productivity and manufacturing metrics that management, engineering and quality departments care about.

Want more information? Call (877) 611-5825 and ask us how we can help you increase OEE on your shop floor!

SFA Offers Predator Basic Machine Monitoring Software

Predator SoftwareShop Floor Automations (SFA), a distributor and service center for Predator Software Inc., has announced the Basic version of Predator’s Manufacturing Data Collection (MDC) Software.

“For many years now, Predator has offered their fully automated, real time MDC system for larger corporations,” said a company spokesperson. “Now they have released the Basic version of the same software targeted toward the small to medium size manufactures looking to capture utilization, with alarm status and part counts.”

MDC Basic is designed to be an affordable way to collect real-time and historical data from the shop floor. It allows for no operator input at the CNC to capture running or idle status along with alarm mode. The customer can also record good and scrapped part counts directly from the CNC interface.

All the collected data is recorded into one of three database platforms: Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQLo r Oracle. Decision makers will have various reports and charts at their fingertips regarding production history, said SFA. Read more below.

Read more

Data Collection Made Simple

machine status viewCapturing real-time data from the shop floor does not have to be complicated.  Using your existing infrastructure and computers, our data collection solution Predator MDC can be added to your equipment with ease. Here is info on Data Collection for CNC Machines made simple.

Works with any type of  CNC control, including Mazak, FANUC, Haas, Okuma, Siemens, and Cincinnati. Compatibility also includes Robots, press brakes, bar feeds, welders, and more.

Report, chart and display on any workstation or LCD Monitor the current status of the machine to start.  Later, you can expand multiple plants, capture jobs, part counts, scrap reason and more with our Enterprise MDC. Learn More

More about our Machine Monitoring and Data Collection services through Predator MDC, as well as Scytec DataXchange:

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.

Improve manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & make better decisions. Enjoy automatic, error-free, & unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start/end, set up start/end, log on/off, cycle start/end, & more. Data collected includes cycle time, idle time, setup time, teardown time, machine downtime, & scrap reasons.

 

 

SFA will exhibit at Anaheim Tool & Mold Expo

Even though Anaheim is known as the land of Disney, we at Shop Floor Automations will be resisting the call of the Mouse. SFA will exhibit @ Anaheim Tool & Mold Expo from October 29-30, 2003. Visit us in Booth #5011 with Integrated MFG Tech to see the latest DNC Connect and MDC Connect Software Products!

More about our presence at expos & trade shows:

Because Shop Floor Automations works with clients all over America (even some International folks), tradeshows are an essential part of our lives as a company.

We commonly attend FABTECH, IMTS, HOUSTEX, and more shows. We love meeting new and existing customers in these settings. We wish to expand our customer’s knowledge of DNC communication, machine monitoring, CNC editors, plant maintenance, job scheduling, PDMs, hardware, and more for their manufacturing shop floor.

Get in touch with Shop Floor Automations today for shop floor solutions! Call (877) 611-5825 or visit us on social media.

SFA is located in San Diego County, situated in the bustling suburb of La Mesa, California, about 10 miles East of San Diego, ever since our founding year.  We expanded our support offices throughout the USA over the years to meet customer demands.

Shop Floor Automations is appropriately positioned to provide our customers with a complete technology environment. Customers are not looking for products so much as they are seeking solutions to their business problems. Our total solution approach for manufacturing customers provides hardware and software packages, installation and support services, and expert consultation where required. Our principal goal is to help customers save time and make money.