General Questions

Can I get on a support contract if I am not using a current version of your software?

Yes, you have the option of doing a 'support only' support contract if you are currently one version behind the most current version of software.

However, please note that choosing a ‘support and upgrades’ contract will allow you to have the newest version of your software installed if you are behind on the software version, or if a new version is released.

Here are some reviews of what we do for customers, from real customer testimonials, here at Shop Floor Automations:

I would like to commend your staff for being so on top of their customer service. -Alex Ceballos, RBC Bearings

Shop Floor Automations updated my computers and loaded Predator DNC plus Predator CNC Editor. They configured the drivers, and got everything going for me. Great job! -Joey Brown, J&S Inc.

Thanks for your prompt reply. It is appreciated. Please tell your people that it is our considered opinion that your product is head and shoulders above anything else on the market. Keep up the marvelous work. – Al Beaver, PCC Aerostructures Prescott

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

If you want your CNC machines to communicate 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 Baker, Amarillo Gear Company

How can I keep track of my CNC machines and collect data from them?

If you want to collect CNC machine data, there are various methods to collect real-time status information from a CNC.

We have solutions that make it possible to monitor all types of machines and equipment from manual machines, boilers, cell controllers, assembly lines, and of course the obvious, CNC machines. all while providing one interface to see real-time status and run historical reports.

Collection methods include network-based protocols, MTConnect, wiring PLC’s to electrical points, bar code scanners, RFID’s, manual user input, and more. We also recommend machine monitoring through Predator MDC and Scytec DataXchange.

More info on the benefits of machine monitoring from one of our customers:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us. -Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing LLC

How can I troubleshoot my CNC that is not communicating?

There are several steps to verify if a CNC is communicating, or if it is a CNC that is not communicating. You will first want to verify the RS232 cable is connected to each device securely. There maybe two ports on the controller or appear to be a port on the front of the unit, however, this may not be connected inside the machine. CNC communication troubleshooting can be time-consuming and frustrating, so we recommend following these hints below:

Hint 1:
Verify information is coming out of the communication port by placing an RS232 mini tester directly on the back from the computer, sending a file from the CNC control, and viewing the status of the tester. This device should show RD or RX activity when the control is sending to the computer. If you do not have this tester, you can contact SFA and purchase this valuable tool for $20, as it will save time and identify if the CNC controller or PC is failing.

Hint 2:
Make sure you are on the correct port on the back of the computer. Remove any switch boxes, adapters, misc. cables and try connecting directly into the computer serial RS232 port. If there is only one port, verify the COM port number in the device manager and match your software to this port. There maybe be various RS232 communications on your PC and you’re unaware of this port. If there are various ports, try moving the cable to the other ports.

Hint 3:
Verify the voltages on the cable are within the RS232 limits. If you are running an Ethernet cable as a serial cable, you may run into serious reliability issues. Ethernet cable (CAT5/6) cable is designed for networking computers and should not be substituted for RS232 cable to interface to a CNC control. You want to adhere to the machine tool builder’s specifications and not damage the port due to improper grounding or shielding. SFA does not sell or recommend Ethernet cable as RS232 as this normally will void warranties and damage equipment.

Note: SFA's RS232 cable uses 8 wires, 3 levels of shielding, and has been proven to handle cable runs over 200+ feet. If you need a lengthier connection, consult our Account Executives for wireless or Ethernet solutions.

How do I get 24 hour support for my machine shop?

Shop Floor Automations provides 24 hour support for all of the products we sell for customers who are on our maintenance service contracts. If you request support after normal business hours (which are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday PST), someone from our team will assess the urgency of the request. If appropriate, you will be contacted within 2 hours. Otherwise, our Support Staff will contact you the following business day.

Here is more info about our service from some of our customers:

The level of professionalism and support we receive is above and beyond any other company we have dealt with. Customer service is a high priority for my company, and your company delivers the level of support we require. – Kyle Isker, Manes Machine & Engineering Co

For years, our company had problems with communication between the computer and the CNC mills. For the first time in a long time, things are operating smoothly. One call to Shop Floor Automations and they had the software plus hardware we needed to fix the problem. -Todd Modrzejewski, Future Tool Inc.

Just wanted to give you some quick feedback and thank you for the service. Josh is a fantastic tech – I will be happy to have him back for follow-up of the project in October. Very knowledgeable and helpful. I am very pleased with where our money went. – Dominic Schultz, Kingsford Broach

How do I get rid of buffer overflow errors on my CNC machine?

For CNC buffer overflow errors, the process of disabling your 'FIFO-buffer' when using the PC's standard COM ports depends on the version of Windows you are using.

In Windows NT 4:

  • Go to the Control Panel. If 'Ports' is available, double-click on it.
  • Choose the port in question
  • Press 'Settings,'
  • Press 'Advanced,'
  • Uncheck 'Fifo enable.'

In Windows 95-98 (all versions):

  • Go to the Control Panel and open 'System'
  • Find the port under 'Serial ports'
  • Press 'Properties'
  • Press 'Advanced'
  • Uncheck 'Fifo enable’
  • Reboot your PC after these changes

In Windows 7, 8, and 8.1:

  • Go to the Control Panel
  • Open the Device Manager
  • Press the ‘+’ button next to ‘Ports (COM & LPT)’
  • Right-click on the COM port you wish to change
  • Choose ‘Properties’
  • Click on the tab at the top that says ‘Port Settings’
  • Press the ‘Advanced Settings’ button
  • This will prompt you with a window with FIFO settings
  • Uncheck the box at the top and FIFO will be disabled on your device
  • Reboot your PC after these changes

If this does not help, your cable might be too long, or it may be placed next to a power cable, creating a lot of noise.

For the MOXA NPort series, such as 2150A and 5110, you will need to alter the FIFO setting using the proprietary software used to handle the drivers for your product. If you have a Moxa device then you will need to first run NPort Windows driver manager.

Once it starts, select the desired port, click ‘Setting,’ choose the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab, then set ‘FIFO’ to disabled.

For more information, contact us via Email or call us directly, toll free: 877-611-5825.

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 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:-

%

O7777

(LOAD 1234)

M30

%

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

I am currently on a support contract. What are the hours that I can call for support?

If you are on a support contract, you can call us from Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

During After Hours, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via our Web Call Back Form.

Read some reviews about our customer service below:

Our DNC remote system failed to communicate with our server. I heard about SFA through a DELCAM/FEATURECAM rep and Joshua Ray, along with a few other SFA technicians over the phone, helped resolve our issues. We ended up getting DNC boxes that connect the units that were installed on our CNC machines to call up the programs.

The DNC system helps the machine operators and machinists to call the programs in and out of our main server, and we love that we can apply the hardware over the remote system, which was failing to work due to the weak signals from our routers on site. I recommend SFA to any other shops because they are fast, reliable and user-friendly. -Qui Ho, Sumitomo Drive Technologies

SFA updated our DNC system, so we could put it on Windows 7. Made sure everything was working. Made sure all the machines made the transition, in doing what they’re supposed to do. Get them to both load and punch out programs. Email notifications are working – everything seems to be working good! It seemed like it went pretty flawless. -Roger & Kevin, CNC Programmers at Honeywell Aerospace

What if I cannot find, or have lost, my CD for an older version of my software?

Have a misplaced or lost software CD? SFA offers media replacement and 90 days of technical support for any software you have purchased from us.

You can also download recent versions of this software directly from our website. For pricing and details to replace a lost software CD, please email us or call us at (877) 611-5825.

Check out other times we have saved customers from a hassle:

I purchased a used Okuma lathe and proceeded to try to get it to communicate with my DNC software to no avail. After 2 years, 15 cables, 12 manuals, 100s of pages of parameter settings, and advice from every expert I could find, I stumbled across Shop Floor Automations. Between their expert advice, cabling, and Predator Software, I was up and running in 20 minutes. -Charles Napier, Napier’s Auto Body

I have been extremely satisfied with the Predator Software, with SFA and their technical support. You have been very helpful and always available when questions arise. This is not the case with some technical support teams and it is very frustrating when it takes 3 or 4 days to get a response. I rate your technical support and the Predator Software as excellent. -Jim Wade, Mackin & Company

What is ASCII?

What is ASCII? ASCII is the most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet.

In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric, or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined. UNIX and DOS-based operating systems (except for Windows NT) use ASCII for text files.

Newer versions of Windows use a newer code, Unicode. IBM's System 390 servers use a proprietary 8-bit code called EBCDIC. Conversion programs allow different operating systems to change a file from one code to another.

ASCII was developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). A chart of ASCII characters and their decimal or hexadecimal equivalent can be found at asciitable.com (courtesy of asciitable.com)

:'######:::::'###::::'##:::::::'##:::::::::::'######::'########::::'###::::
'##... ##:::'## ##::: ##::::::: ##::::::::::'##... ##: ##.....::::'## ##:::
 ##:::..:::'##:. ##:: ##::::::: ##:::::::::: ##:::..:: ##::::::::'##:. ##::
 ##:::::::'##:::. ##: ##::::::: ##::::::::::. ######:: ######:::'##:::. ##:
 ##::::::: #########: ##::::::: ##:::::::::::..... ##: ##...:::: #########:
 ##::: ##: ##.... ##: ##::::::: ##::::::::::'##::: ##: ##::::::: ##.... ##:
. ######:: ##:::: ##: ########: ########::::. ######:: ##::::::: ##:::: ##:
:......:::..:::::..::........::........::::::......:::..::::::::..:::::..::
'########::'#######::'########:::::'###::::'##:::'##:
... ##..::'##.... ##: ##.... ##:::'## ##:::. ##:'##::
::: ##:::: ##:::: ##: ##:::: ##::'##:. ##:::. ####:::
::: ##:::: ##:::: ##: ##:::: ##:'##:::. ##:::. ##::::
::: ##:::: ##:::: ##: ##:::: ##: #########:::: ##::::
::: ##:::: ##:::: ##: ##:::: ##: ##.... ##:::: ##::::
::: ##::::. #######:: ########:: ##:::: ##:::: ##::::
:::..::::::.......:::........:::..:::::..:::::..:::::

What is Mazatrol CMT?

Mazatrol is a proprietary conversational programming language that is standard on all Mazak mills and lathes. It is primarily used for 2 & 2 1/2 axis work and is especially popular for turning applications.

It has a different format than G-code programming and is supported by Predator DNC by using the Mazatrol link in your commands.

We have a hardware device that specifically can send and receive these programs called the USB Connect - Mazak Model.

The Pendant mount USB Connect – Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol CMT.

The USB Connect device acts as an interface between commercially available USB flash memory and any CNC control with an available RS232 port. Machine tool files can be sent from CNC memory to the USB key, USB key to CNC memory or drip-fed (DNC) from the USB key.

Flexible DNC firmware is built into the USB Connect unit allowing connection to just about any machine tool CNC control. The pendant mount USB controller kit contains all the necessary hardware to integrate a universal display onto a CNC machine tool pendant.

  • Supports Older & Newer Mazatrol Conversion Protocols
  • Supports TAPE I/O (G-code)
  • Supports CMT I/O (Mazatrol Conversion) file transfers
  • Connects via RS232 Serial Port with USB directory listing
  • TAPE I/O Transfers DNC (drip-feed) with single button repeat operation

If you have a Mazak machine and want it to communicate in a smoother manner, we recommend you call SFA today at (877) 611-5825.

What models of controls are supported by FANUC FOCAS?

FANUC FOCAS has two types: FOCAS 1 and FOCAS 2.

FOCAS 2 is Ethernet and high-speed serial based and must be purchased from GE FANUC.

CNC Controls with FANUC FOCAS include series Oi, 15, 15i, 16, 16i, 18, 18i, 21, 21i, 30i, 31i, 32i and power mate i.

More info from our MTConnect page: FANUC FOCAS is a set of library files (.dll), that can be accessed by applications to retrieve most of the information inside of the CNC. The FANUC FOCAS function is normally accessed by using Ethernet or HSSB.

Common data that is available through the FOCAS are CNC state (running, idle, alarm), part count information, program name, number, size, and date modified, tool and work offsets, alarm number and text, feed overrides, parameters, positional data, spindle speed and modal data.

Below is a common list of controllers that would feature FOCAS. Older controls can have the embedded board retrofitted or added to the machine using the Data Server Board by contracting FANUC directly.

Uncommon Possible As Standard
Oi-B 16i-A 16i-B
16-A/B/C 18i-A 18i-B
18-A/B/C 21i-B 3xi-A
Oi-C 3xi-B
Oi-D
30i
31i
32iB

How can I check to see if I have FANUC FOCAS

In order to see if you have FANUC FOCAS available on your CNC, is to first check if you have Ethernet. To do that follow these steps:

  • Press the [SYSTEM] hard key
  • Press [>] approximately 5 times until you see *ETHEPRM*
  • Press [ETHRM] soft key, followed by [OPRT]
  • This will display the ethernet connections available
  • Select a connection (normally EMBEDD or BOARD)
  • Press the [DOWN] hard key. (page 2)
  • This should display FOCAS / ETHERNET

If those steps took you to the Ethernet page and/or the FOCAS page, then you’re good to go! Call us for more info.

MTConnect

Can I monitor machine overrides?

Yes, you can monitor machine overrides with most FANUC FOCAS based controls or MTConnect enabled controls, you can easily monitor when your operators are turning the feed rates down.

More info on MTConnect & FANUC FOCAS:

What is MTConnect? We have a few resources to get you acquainted with the open, royalty-free, universal manufacturing communication standard designed specifically for shop floors.

MTConnect is a great resource on a manufacturing shop floor and machine shops. The reach that the protocol has grows 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 moldmaking technology?

What is FANUC FOCAS? It is a set of library files (.dll), that can be accessed by applications to retrieve most of the information inside of the CNC. The FANUC FOCAS function is normally accessed by using Ethernet or HSSB.

Common data that is available through the FOCAS are CNC state (running, idle, alarm), part count information, program name, number, size, and date modified, tool and work offsets, alarm number and text, feed overrides, parameters, positional data, spindle speed and modal data.

Call for more information at (877) 611-5825.

How can I keep track of my CNC machines and collect data from them?

If you want to collect CNC machine data, there are various methods to collect real-time status information from a CNC.

We have solutions that make it possible to monitor all types of machines and equipment from manual machines, boilers, cell controllers, assembly lines, and of course the obvious, CNC machines. all while providing one interface to see real-time status and run historical reports.

Collection methods include network-based protocols, MTConnect, wiring PLC’s to electrical points, bar code scanners, RFID’s, manual user input, and more. We also recommend machine monitoring through Predator MDC and Scytec DataXchange.

More info on the benefits of machine monitoring from one of our customers:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us. -Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing LLC

What is an MTConnect adapter?

MTconnect technical advisory groupAn 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
  • FANUC FOCAS
  • More Compatible Machines below -

Refer to the list below and contact us here 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 by clicking here

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 here, as well as see our resource pages here and here.

MTConnect is a great resource on a manufacturing shop floor and machine shops. The reach that the protocol has grows 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 moldmaking 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 here.

What is MTConnect and how is MTConnect in manufacturing used?

What is MTConnect and how is MTConnect in manufacturing used? MTConnect is a set of open, royalty-free standards intended to foster greater interoperability between controls, devices and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol.

The common communication data shared is XML language that allows for software designers to download, use, embrace the data from the equipment and provide a reporting tool for management.

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!

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 page here. Our Machine Monitoring products, Predator Machine Monitoring & Data Collection plus Scytec’s DataXchange, are both MTConnect compatible and we provide MTConnect adapters for machines. If you want to learn more, please call (877) 611-5825!

What is MTConnect?

MTconnect technical advisory groupWhat 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 on-going 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 Stanadard 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 page here. If you want to learn more, please call (877) 611-5825!

What models of controls are supported by FANUC FOCAS?

FANUC FOCAS has two types: FOCAS 1 and FOCAS 2.

FOCAS 2 is Ethernet and high-speed serial based and must be purchased from GE FANUC.

CNC Controls with FANUC FOCAS include series Oi, 15, 15i, 16, 16i, 18, 18i, 21, 21i, 30i, 31i, 32i and power mate i.

More info from our MTConnect page: FANUC FOCAS is a set of library files (.dll), that can be accessed by applications to retrieve most of the information inside of the CNC. The FANUC FOCAS function is normally accessed by using Ethernet or HSSB.

Common data that is available through the FOCAS are CNC state (running, idle, alarm), part count information, program name, number, size, and date modified, tool and work offsets, alarm number and text, feed overrides, parameters, positional data, spindle speed and modal data.

Below is a common list of controllers that would feature FOCAS. Older controls can have the embedded board retrofitted or added to the machine using the Data Server Board by contracting FANUC directly.

Uncommon Possible As Standard
Oi-B 16i-A 16i-B
16-A/B/C 18i-A 18i-B
18-A/B/C 21i-B 3xi-A
Oi-C 3xi-B
Oi-D
30i
31i
32iB

How can I check to see if I have FANUC FOCAS

In order to see if you have FANUC FOCAS available on your CNC, is to first check if you have Ethernet. To do that follow these steps:

  • Press the [SYSTEM] hard key
  • Press [>] approximately 5 times until you see *ETHEPRM*
  • Press [ETHRM] soft key, followed by [OPRT]
  • This will display the ethernet connections available
  • Select a connection (normally EMBEDD or BOARD)
  • Press the [DOWN] hard key. (page 2)
  • This should display FOCAS / ETHERNET

If those steps took you to the Ethernet page and/or the FOCAS page, then you’re good to go! Call us for more info.

DataXchange (Machine Monitoring Software)

Can DataXchange support multiple buildings in different time zones?

Can DataXchange support multiple buildings in different time zones? Yes - this is fully supported with your account.

Why do you need DataXchange? Reviews of DataXchange from our customers:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us.

We’re happy to use cloud-based solutions like Scytec DataXchange! -Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing LLC

We were looking for some machine monitoring software to be able to see the effectiveness of our machines, so we went with Scytec DataXchange to monitor our machines. Amy has connected me with DataXchange and has been really helpful. Been dealing with Shop Floor Automations for a few years with different companies I’ve been at. I originally heard of SFA from word-of-mouth. -Tom Anderson, AMT Senior Aerospace

We’re using Scytec DataXchange and we have been able to increase our productivity by 25 percent just monitoring the machine utilization. SFA did it all remotely and it worked great. The software is very easy to use. -Derek Dover, Aero Precision

About Machine Monitoring: Have 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.

Can I mix and match versions of DataXchange?

Can I mix and match versions of DataXchange? Yes, you can mix and match versions under one account.

More info on DataXchange, from our customers who swear by it:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us.

We’re happy to use cloud-based solutions like Scytec DataXchange! -Jerry, Tech Manufacturing LLC

We were looking for some machine monitoring software to be able to see the effectiveness of our machines, so we went with Scytec DataXchange to monitor our machines. Amy has connected me with DataXchange and has been really helpful. Been dealing with Shop Floor Automations for a few years with different companies I’ve been at. I originally heard of SFA from word-of-mouth. -Tom, AMT Senior Aerospace

We’re using Scytec DataXchange and we have been able to increase our productivity by 25 percent just monitoring the machine utilization. SFA did it all remotely and it worked great. The software is very easy to use. -Derek, Aero Precision

About Machine Monitoring: Have 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.

Shop Floor Automations has been in business since 1998. We have racked up thousands of frequent flier miles, have attended many trade shows, are very active in the manufacturing industry’s social media landscape, and are supporters of such endeavors as The Association for Manufacturing Technology, the MTConnect protocol, and America’s MFG Day. We will soon be approaching two decades servicing the manufacturing industry. Ask us about the thousands of shop floors, machine shops and job shops we have helped with productivity over the years! 

Does DataXchange support FANUC FOCAS?

Does DataXchange support FANUC FOCAS? Yes. Call us for more info at (877) 611-5825.

How can I check to see if I have FANUC FOCAS?

FANUC FOCAS is a set of library files (.dll), that can be accessed by applications to retrieve most of the information inside of the CNC. The FANUC FOCAS function is normally accessed by using Ethernet or HSSB.

Common data that is available through the FOCAS are CNC state (running, idle, alarm), part count information, program name, number, size, and date modified, tool and work offsets, alarm number and text, feed overrides, parameters, positional data, spindle speed and modal data.

In order to see if you have FANUC FOCAS available on your CNC, is to first check if you have Ethernet. To do that follow these steps:

  • Press the [SYSTEM] hard key
  • Press [>] approximately 5 times until you see *ETHEPRM*
  • Press [ETHRM] soft key, followed by [OPRT]
  • This will display the ethernet connections available
  • Select a connection (normally EMBEDD or BOARD)
  • Press the [DOWN] hard key. (page 2)
  • This should display FOCAS / ETHERNET

If those steps took you to the Ethernet page and/or the FOCAS page, then you’re good to go!

A Focas Library tool has been developed by Predator Software, to determine if these libraries are installed and activated on the FANUC controlled CNC machine tool. By downloading, installing and connecting your machine to the network, you will be able to verify.

Got Focas? Test your machine with the Predator Focas tester

Does DataXchange support MTConnect?

Does DataXchange support MTConnect? Yes.

MTConnect is a set of open, royalty-free standards intended to generate greater communication between CNC controls, device and software applications by publishing data over networks using the Internet Protocol. Scytec DataXchange is the software application used to collect, report and chart the results of the data collection via a cloud-based solution.

MTConnect is specifically for the shop floor environment to enable the efficient transfer of data between devices (such as CNCs) & software applications similar to Predator MDC & Scytec DataXchange. Some users have referenced this as the “Bluetooth” technology we currently experience with our smartphones & daily electronic devices. By establishing an open & extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment, & systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange & understand each other’s data.  It’s like speaking a common language!

If you want propriety software & solutions, MTConnect is not for you! This new standard will bridge your factory shop floor & link you to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  Think of the equipment on your shop floor now that has limits on how they connect, can they connect, can you get real-time data from them, & what if you could make them all speak to eachother?  While some equipment would be limited on what can come from it, the information can quickly be displayed on dashboards, smart phones, ERP/MRP systems, & other equipment.

How can I keep track of my CNC machines and collect data from them?

If you want to collect CNC machine data, there are various methods to collect real-time status information from a CNC.

We have solutions that make it possible to monitor all types of machines and equipment from manual machines, boilers, cell controllers, assembly lines, and of course the obvious, CNC machines. all while providing one interface to see real-time status and run historical reports.

Collection methods include network-based protocols, MTConnect, wiring PLC’s to electrical points, bar code scanners, RFID’s, manual user input, and more. We also recommend machine monitoring through Predator MDC and Scytec DataXchange.

More info on the benefits of machine monitoring from one of our customers:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us. -Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing LLC

May I have Scytec DataXchange General Information?

May I have Scytec DataXchange General Information? The user interface will vary some between the Apple iOS applications and the Google Android applications, however the functionality between the two is generally the same.

The Scytec DataXchange application must be used to collect data and to setup basic information, such as Users, Password, and the Equipment. The mobile application will utilize the information entered in DataXchange as well as utilize settings such as the translation assignments.

For example, if Spanish is set as the translation for a user, then the mobile device will utilize the same Spanish translations.

Mobile apps are available for iPad and iPhones. The apps allow real-time viewing and automatic updating of the equipment status along with the ability to generate a variety of historical charts.The iPad and iPhone apps are available on the Apple App store. Click the App Store link or scan the QR code to go to the App Store to purchase and download the app.

Google Android AppsMobile apps are available - coming soon for Android phones and tablets. The apps allow real-time viewing and automatic updating of the equipment status along with the ability to generate a variety of historical charts.The Android tablet and phone apps will be available on Google Play very soon.

The iPhone and iPod Touch view of the current status for all of the equipment. The current status updates automatically once a minute.

What are the different Scytec DataXchange Settings?

The Scytec DataXchange Settings page displays the Account Settings, along with the Settings to enable automatic login into the applicaiton.  In addition, the initial page that is displayed after login can be set up, as well.

More about Scytec DataXchange from some of our customers:

We were looking for some machine monitoring software to be able to see the effectiveness of our machines, so we went with Scytec DataXchange to monitor our machines. Amy has connected me with DataXchange and has been really helpful. Been dealing with Shop Floor Automations for a few years with different companies I’ve been at. I originally heard of SFA from word-of-mouth. -Tom Anderson, AMT Senior Aerospace

We’re using Scytec DataXchange and we have been able to increase our productivity by 25 percent just monitoring the machine utilization. SFA did it all remotely and it worked great. The software is very easy to use. -Derek Dover, Aero Precision

What do I need to use DataXchange on my FANUC CNC Machine?

What do I need to use DataXchange on my FANUC CNC Machine?

You will need:

  1. Focas option on FANUC CNC (Active)
  2. Embedded network port on FANUC CNC (Active)
  3. Network cable ran from your network to FANUC CNC machine
  4. Static IP address for FANUC CNC
  5. A valid subscription to a version of DataXchange
  6. PC that has Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (This PC must be running at all times)

FANUC FOCAS is a set of library files (.dll), that can be accessed by applications to retrieve most of the information inside of the CNC. The FANUC FOCAS function is normally accessed by using Ethernet or HSSB.

Common data that is available through the FOCAS are CNC state (running, idle, alarm), part count information, program name, number, size, and date modified, tool and work offsets, alarm number and text, feed overrides, parameters, positional data, spindle speed and modal data.

Below is a common list of controllers that would feature FOCAS. Older controls can have the embedded board retrofitted or added to the machine using the Data Server Board by contracting FANUC directly.

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.

Predator Software

Can I install an older Predator DNC version on my new Windows 7 machine?

Can I install an older Predator DNC version on my new Windows 7 machine? No.

The first Windows 7 version compatible of Predator DNC is Version 9. However, version 9 and version 10 are both compatible with Windows 8 and 8.1.

If you have an older version but would like to use Predator DNC on a Windows 7 machine, call us!

More DNC Software info:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Can I send a NC file to my machine from Predator PDM?

The simple answer to "Can I send a NC file to my machine from Predator PDM?" is yes, as long as you have the permission setup for each user. If you need more help with setting up your Predator PDM software, contact us.

More info on Predator PDM:

Predator PDM includes best practice workflow wizards for release, unrelease, revise, rollback, check-in and checkout. Every wizard honors user and group permissions and includes ISO 9000-style history.

Integrate your ERP and MES system with Predator PDM’s open APIs (application programming interface) with 300+ methods all fully documented. Develop ERP and shop floor validation, flow part and job numbers from ERP directly into Predator; numerous other automation projects can be completed with C#, C++, VB.Net, VB6, VB script, Windows Script, Delphi and other compatible programming languages. Predator PDM is based on an open architecture client/server database standard. Select from Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

Machinists using Predator PDM can download released CNC programs to their CNC machines using Predator DNC with a single click. CNC programmers using Predator PDM can verify CNC programs with full 3D machine simulation using Predator Virtual CNC with a single click. CNC programmers using Predator PDM can revise, compare and backplot their CNC programs with the Predator CNC Editor with a single click.

For more info, call (877) 611-5825.

Can I upgrade and add more ports to my Predator DNC system?

Can I upgrade and add more ports to my Predator DNC system? Yes, numerous software upgrades are available from any level of Predator  DNC.
Hardware upgrades depend on each type of hardware. The entire Flex series of hardware is designed to add ports at any time and offers a very easy upgrade paths, standard COM ports, and our DNC bundles may be upgraded, but there can be issues.
Info about Predator DNC from some of our customers who have used it:

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

The Predator DNC Software is working great! I really would like to thank SFA, and especially Amy, for the great phone support. She answered all my questions and was extremely polite, as were the guys in the tech department. Once again, thanks, and if we need anything else, we know who we will be calling! – Ted, Bicknell Racing

We had programs pretty much stored everywhere…So what we needed to do was lock down the programs …Now, we are grabbing programs from the right directories, we are able to send to the machines, and when we are done with them, we can either delete them at the machines, or we can send them back to programming to make corrections. I would recommend you to other shops! -Lee, Buck Knives

You guys helped us get our machines up and ready to go. No downloading or processing issues. You hooked up our Predator scanning system and allowed us to download files that were actually in quarantine that were not able to be downloaded again.  -Josh, Pexco Aerospace

Can I use the Predator CNC Editor on a different PC not tied to the DNC Networking System?

The Predator CNC Editor bundled with the DNC Networking Software is controlled by the license of the Predator DNC Software. The SIM and the serial number from the DNC will enable the full version of the CNC Editor. Currently there is no option to split the seat from the DNC Networking license. However, you may install the Predator CNC Editor on as many PCs as you wish and use the "light" version of the product for general editing purposes. A stand-alone full version is available if needed. Contact our sales department.

More about DNC Software: Manage CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. Use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help. Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. SFA offers DNC Software for CNC Communications via Predator DNC, Ascendant’s ExtremeDNC Software, and additional solutions Predator Touch HMI and Predator EditLock.

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

I sought out SFA mainly for Predator DNC for our CNC machines. We have experienced faster, easier file transport. Would I recommend you to another shop? Absolutely. I heard initially about SFA I guess you could say through word of mouth – a Congressionally-funded project through TechSolve in Ohio. -Daniel, Benét Laboratories for the US ARMY

We were trying to control over 8000 programs, revision levels, and updates – the Predator system was recommended to help minimize the man hours and mistakes of doing this manually. We installed Predator DNC and CNC Editor, and have had no downtime with full control. CMW currently manages approximately 8000 part programs. The system seems to be indestructible – we have had no problems. -Wayne, Carroll Machine

Can the Predator CNC Editor communicate to multiple machines?

Yes, Predator CNC Editor supports an unlimited number of different machines and can communicate with multple machines. Each machine can have unique COM port, baud rate, and numerous other properties. The Editor supports switch boxes, intelligent switch boxes, and the entire line of Predator DNC and Connect AKA FlexN hardware.

NOTE: The Predator CNC Editor can only communicate to one machine at a time and is not designed for simultaneous multitasking operations to multiple machines. If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC, which is designed to support machines simultaneously.

About Predator CNC Editor:

Hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

  • The most popular 32-bit CNC code editor available on the market
  • Includes hundreds of features, yet is extremely easy to use
  • File Compare, Backplot Simulation and CNC communication included
  • Improve day-to-day productivity of your CNC machine tools
  • The ideal choice for a small job shop, or the largest manufacturer

About Predator DNC Software:

  • Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to/from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols supported: Mazatrol (CMT), Xmodem, Okuma B, & more!
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to 4000+ devices
  • Drip-feed, upload & download Wirelessly, Wired, via Ethernet, & USB
  • New features & protocols added frequently

Can you edit a Mazatrol part program with the Predator CNC Editor?

Can you edit a Mazatrol part program with the Predator CNC Editor? No, the CNC Editor is only designed for editing and reviewing part programs written in G-code. Other products on the market support Mazatrol editing and can be recommended by Shop Floor Automations.

If you are seeking Mazak compatibility, MTConnect is suggested. For Mazak CNC controllers, the MTConnect can be added to the following machines by contacting Mazak directly.

Mazak

CNC Model CNC O/S CNC Main
s/w ver
Release
Date
Adapter
ver
Machine Model
Fusion 640T Nexus Win95 B8G 6/15/10 v1.0 Quick Turn
Fusion 640T Nexus Win2000 B8G 6/15/10 v1.1 Quick Turn
Fusion 640M Nexus Win95 ABD 6/9/10 v1.0 M/C
Fusion 640M Nexus Win2000 A9D 6/9/10 v1.1 M/C
Fusion 640T/MT/TE Win95 DDG 6/15/10 v1.0 Integrex
Fusion 640T/MT/TE Win2000 A8G 6/15/10 v1.1 Integrex
Fusion 640M/M-5X Win95 CGG/ACG 6/9/10 v1.0 M/C
Fusion 640M/M-5X Win2000 AAG/A9G 6/9/10 v1.1 M/C
Fusion 640MTPro Win2000 ABD
Fusion 640MPro Win95
Fusion 640MPro Win2000
Matrix (e-Machine) WinXP D1 4/2/10 v1.1 Integrex-ell. Integrex-e420H
Matrix (e-Machine) WinXP E1 Ramtec
Matrix (Integrex-IV) WinXP C4B 8/27/10 v1.1 Integrex-IV
Matrix (Versatech) WinXP D4 1/7/11 v1.1 Versatech
Matrix (CTT,HQR,MP-II) WinXP C3 8/20/10 v1.1
Matrix (VRX, VRX-IIVRX-T,SVC) WinXP D3 8/20/10 v1.1
Matrix (VTC) WinXP D3 1/5/10 v1.1 VTC
Matrix Nexus (VNC, HCN, FJB-II) WinXP D4 11/5/10 v1.1 VCN, HCN, FJV MK2
Matrix Nexus (QTN-II, MTN, STN) WinXP D4 11/30/10 v1.1 QTN-II, MTM, STN, CT
Matrix (INTE-i150) WinXP C9 4/1/11 v1.1 Integrex i150-series
Matrix (INTE-i200) WinXP D1 5/1/11 v1.1 Integrex i200 Series
Matrix (INTE-J) WinXP D2 4/25/11 v1.1 Integrex j-series
Matrix II (e-Series) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Integrex e-series
Matrix II (VERSATECH) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 v140
Matrix II (CyberTechTurn) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 CTT Dual Turrent only!
Matrix II (MP-II) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Multiplex
Matrix II (VRX, VRX-II, VRX-T, SVC Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 VRX i-Series
Matrix II (VTC-800R) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (HQR) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 HyperQuadrex
Matrix II (VCN 5X) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (QTN II LBB) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (i-Series) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Integrex i-series

**Note: Mazak Smart CNC can also be updated with SMART ADAPTER #CCWMPD0280E

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 Product 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 

Does Predator DNC support Haas CNC machines?

Yes. Haas CNCs can communicate to Predator DNC Software using serial RS232 connection or FTP.

Haas FTP is also supported through Predator DNC to enable faster communication. Each Haas control can be configured in the software and can be configured for any method.

Predator DNC communicates up to 115K baud rate to the Haas using Xmodem and hardware handshaking.

More about DNC Software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Does Predator DNC support long filenames?

Does Predator DNC support long filenames? Yes, Predator DNC supports long filenames, long directory names, names with spaces, shared network drives, and UNC names.

Refer to the following examples:

  •     Job 1234.NC
  •     H:CUSTOM PARTSJOB 4567.NC
  •     \\SERVER1\C\LARGE CUSTOMER\PART No 1234-5678.NC

Predator DNC can also automatically name your files when uploading to the  server. They can be "autonamed" using their O-number, a user-chosen name, the first comment in the file, and so on.

More info on DNC software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control. Via our DNC Communications page:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Does Predator DNC support Remote Request?

Does Predator DNC support Remote Request? Yes, Predator DNC does support Remote Request. Remote Request eliminates walking back and forth and allows operators to request files directly from the CNC control.

How to do a Remote Request with a Bar Code Reader:

First, you’re going to go to the list of programs, by hitting “list program”, then 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.

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 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 set up!

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support automatic CNC data collection?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support automatic CNC data collection? Yes.

Predator MDC supports automatic, error-free, and unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start and end, setup 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.

A typical practice is when downloading the NC program into the machine, the system will automatically track the part #, job #, user and place the status of the work order in setup. Upon cycling the part, the status of the machine would change from in setup to in cycle.

More about CNC data collection through machine monitoring: 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!

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support manual CNC data collection?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support manual CNC data collection? Yes.

Using Predator MDC Express, users can print out the data collection form to enter cycle information, part quantity, good and scrap parts, and other metrics. Predator MDC standard also supports manual monitoring of events that are initiated by machine operators such as machine logon/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. SFA does provide an Android solution to also input this data via a tablet.

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.

Does Predator offer a machine monitoring mobile app?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring offer a mobile app AKA application? No.

Currently the product is designed as an application that runs on a Windows platform. Mobile applications for Android and Apple phones and iPads are not developed. A customer can create their own applications using other applications if desired since there are APIs and open databases available.

More about Predator Software through Shop Floor Automations:

About Shop Floor Automations (SFA): Founded back in 1998, SFA 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for the past 19 years running.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

Many of our clients know us as the DNC Communications and Data Collection / Machine Monitoring experts and we look forward to helping your company in these areas and with our new product solutions.

Does Predator PDM include a shop floor paperless software?

Yes! Predator PDM Client is used to view the proven, released and authorized manufacturing documents to the shop floor operator and setup users.  Once a user logs into Predator PDM with the user name and password, the documents are displayed on the shop floor PC.  The operator can then deliver the NC program to the CNC machine via Predator DNC Software as well as collect real time data on machine utilization from Predator Machine Monitoring Software.  Any other files related to the part can be viewed on the shop floor terminal providing a paperless environment.

Does the Predator CNC Editor support long filenames?

Does the Predator CNC Editor support long filenames? Yes, the editor supports long filenames, long directory names, names with spaces, shared network drives, and UNC names. Refer to the following examples:

  •     Job 1234.NC
  •     H:CUSTOM PARTSJOB 4567.NC
  •     \\SERVER1\C\LARGE CUSTOMER\PART No 1234-5678.NC

More about CNC Editor software -

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

These extremely versatile but easy-to-use packages are designed to simplify your work & will also improve productivity.

Wondering about the different features for CNC Editor Light, Express & the Full package? Click here to see our CNC Editor Feature Grid!

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Remote Request?

No, CNC Editor does not support Remote Request. Remote Request eliminates walking back and forth and allows operators to request files from the CNC control.

If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC software, which is designed to support Remote Request for up to 1024 machines simultaneously.

More info about DNC software:

  • Network everything with one solution
  • Drip-feed, upload and download all DNC programs
  • Work through various methods including wireless and Ethernet
  • Improve the revision control of your CNC program
  • Streamline the processes between your CNC program and you
  • Use all your existing MES and ERP paperwork
  • Allow you to upgrade to Predator PDM and MDC when ready
  • Automate methods for transfers using bar code readers and shop floor PCs

Predator DNC is one of the only programs that supports up to 4096 different machines. The downloading, uploading and drip-feeding is all possible at the same time, and CNCs can be grouped together quickly and easily with a Microsoft Windows Explorer interface.

One of the biggest benefits of Predator DNC is the improvement to your workflow on the shop floor. You will no longer need to carry laptops around or manual type part programs at the CNC. There’s no need to use some old-school hardware to communicate, such as switch boxes and floppy disks.

Predator DNC really is your all-in-one solution. Not only will your workflow improve, but the whole workplace will become more productive and reliable.

When you want something simple and easy to use, Explorer is the product you need. It works with Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office, which are widely used around the world.

Ask us about Secure File Transfers with Secure DNC for Ethernet-based machines. Call (877) 611-5825 to learn more about Predator DNC.

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Xmodem or Mazatrol protocol?

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Xmodem or Mazatrol protocol? No, the current protocols supported are XOn/XOff along with RTS-CTS. The Predator DNC module would be required to transfer via Xmodem or Mazatrol.

Here are Mazatrol protocol specific products we have at Shop Floor Automations:

The LAN Connect Mazak is good for USB to CNC functions for those types of machines. Send and save Mazatrol (CMT) programs off of Mazak Machines with the LAN Connect Mazak model. The LAN  Connect is designed to operate with standard software that comes with a PC (such as Internet Explorer from Microsoft). No additional licenses or additional interface software are required. The data server will look like a FTP hard drive on your network.

Programmers: simply drag and drop a file from your PC to the data server. Once loaded on the server, the operator can load the file into CNC memory or drip-feed a program directly from the data server without using network resources. Ask us how the data server can easily be made wireless by adding low cost off-the-shelf wireless bridges.

The USB Connect Mazak is a Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol (CMT). Includes 2GB USB Flash Drive, panel mount  USB connector / water proof cap, display, USB cable, & power cable.  Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC.

How do I add a new CNC Machine to Predator DNC?

To add a CNC to Predator DNC, a few items are required.

Available Serial Port
Available DNC License
Make and Model of the CNC Control
Copy Existing / Similar or Sample PXP

Begin by confirming you have an available serial port on the Predator DNC Hub or PC. Take note of where the new RS232 cable will connect (port number and hub).

Check the Windows Control Panel | Device Manager to determine the port number and communication port. If installed by SFA, the system will begin at COM 5 = Port 1; COM6 = Port 2. The exact settings can be determined by reviewing the Multiport Serial Adapter from the Device Manager.

Determine the number of CNCs currently configured in the DNC Networking System. If the number of CNC exceeds the current DNC License, a license upgrade will be required. While in the DNC Software, select HELP | ABOUT for the current license purchased, ie. DNC/8.

If a license is available, then proceed.

Launch the Predator DNC Administrator if not currently in this mode. Select Command | Cancel All. Next, find a similar CNC / Machine in your current PXP. Select the CNC with your mouse, right click, select {COPY}. Select the Predator Red Gear at the top of the Predator Software, right click and select {Paste}. This creates a copy of the existing machine. Modify this copied CNC to match the Communication Port number as well as the baud rate, parity, and stop bits. The machine directory and any other features can be modified by using the Predator Wizard.

How do I add a Predator CNC Editor custom menu?

Creating a CNC Editor custom menu with Predator is for creating a shortcut to launch a desired program within Editor. Instead of going to your desktop or Start menu to start a common application, we can make a "bookmark" type link, which will reside in the options menu of Editor. To add a new custom menu:

  • From the File menu select New Custom Menu...
  • The New Custom Menu Wizard will appear:
Field Name Description
Menu Name Type a name for the new custom menu item.
Command Line Enter a command line to execute or click the ... button to browse the Windows File System for a command line

-Examples of the command line parameter would be "PDnc.exe" for Predator DNC-

  • When finished, click Finish to save the new custom menu. It will appear under the Options menu.

At any time, click Cancel to discard the new custom menu.

A limit of four custom menu items exists. The Menu Name must be unique.

Want to try CNC Editor for free? Check out the CNC Editor Light download from Shop Floor Automations at this link 

The Predator CNC Editor free software is perfect for any programmer, hobbyist, or shop floor user to edit, save, print, and modify NC code. The free CNC Editor can be used with any CAD/CAM software to review NC programs before sending them to the shop floor. We refer to this product as the CNC Text Editor on steroids.

The text editor is completely free and you can install it on any number of computers. You can give this out to anyone you like!

How do I delete extra spaces/carriage returns?

How do I delete extra spaces/carriage returns?

The following example will automatically delete extra carriage returns during a Receive from CNC command.

Receive Translate Characters Translate Action
\013 Remove
\010 Replace with \013\010

More about Shop Floor Automations Support:

When selecting a vendor for your shop floor automation needs, it is important to select a company that is committed to service and support. Our clients list continues to grow through recommendations from our customers, as well as our partners. You can speak to a real person over the phone with us, versus sending emails or leaving messages on a cell phone, then waiting for a response. The information contained on these pages is intended to give you direct access to the latest software revisions, support options and technical documentation available!

Need to speak to an expert? Contact our support team by calling (619) 461-4000 and ask for technical support. Our Application Engineers can answer your questions, guide you through an installation, or remotely configure and trouble shooting a current system. NOTE: Normal business hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Daylight Time. See After-Hours Support info below.

Have a general question? Contact our support team by emailing your question to us and get a response immediately. Our Application Engineers may be on the phone with another client, but they monitor our email servers to respond quickly. Email is always the fastest way to contact us and a great way to get the answer you need immediately. Support Contact Form

How do I display real-time machine monitoring on the shop floor?

How do I display real-time machine monitoring on the shop floor? Dedicate one or more large screen monitors on the shop floor for real-time digital signage using Predator MDC.

Create slides of charts, dashboards and reports with specific filters and details. Eliminate manual posting of paper reports and charts on the shop floor. Provide a focal point for standup shop meetings while enforcing productivity and manufacturing metrics that management, engineering and quality departments care about. Eliminate the clutter of paper and go high tech!

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 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.

You can also enjoy real-time machine monitoring from DataXchange!

How do I get a paperless manufacturing shop floor?

If you want a paperless manufacturing shop floor, Predator PDM will help you accomplish this goal.

Within Predator PDM, you will be able to pull up your Job and any file that connects to that job. PDF’s, SolidWorks, eDrawings, MS office files, and images.

More info on Predator PDM:

SFA offers manufacturing-driven, open architecture Product Data Management (PDM)  designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document & file revision control. Go paperless with your shop floor operation via integration of DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC, & Tracker.

Organization & control of various documents in the manufacturing process can be a struggle.  Auditors check if you have control, management, & sign-offs of processes & files. Don’t find yourself left behind in getting the next order. Predator Product Management starts simple with NC programs & work instructions – start easily & quickly while drip-feeding the system to your Departments, such as Engineering, Quality, & more.

How do I get my Predator Software Serial Number & Access Codes?

Predator Software Serial Number and Access Codes are attributed to each legal, paid for, licensed product. These numbers are based on the SIM attached to the PC or from the network card inside of the PC.

Upon receipt of payment for the software, the permanent license will be issued. The software can be run on a temporary basis to allow users to move the software from one PC to another, as well as for evaluation periods.

You can contact your local reseller, such as Shop Floor Automations (SFA), for these codes or refer to your Predator CD label for details.

Please note that SFA can only give you the aforementioned codes and serial numbers if we were the ones who were your reseller of the product. We also do not provide support for copies of free CNC Editor available via our website.

Check out these reviews from SFA Predator Software customers:

Our Predator NC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark Chambers, Tech Manufacturing

We needed to increase uptime and decrease downtime. SFA set us up with Predator DNC. I have dealt with Joshua Ray and Sam Wilkins, and the customer service is spot on! -Eric Mcnair, Tecomet

How do I install the codes and SIM that I received from Predator?

How do I install the codes and SIM that I received from Predator?

Predator Permanent Code Installation

  • Login to Windows with Admin Rights
  • Install the latest version of"Sentinel Protection Installer"
  • When install is complete, attach the SIM to the parallel port or a USB port on the PC
  • Launch Predator DNC Administrator (Start > Programs > Predator DNC xx (Version) -> Predator DNC xx (Version) Administrator)
  • If a pxp file loads, go to "Command > Cancel All", and press "Yes"
  • Go to "Options > Upgrade"
  • Type in the information from the software envelope and Press OK
  • The software should now be validated and ready to use.

Troubleshooting

  • If you get a "SIM Wrapper 5 (0)" error, then double check the SIM to make sure it is attached, and try again.
  • If the problem persists, reinstall the Sentinel drivers from step 4.
  • If the problem persists after driver installation, download and run SIM Tester
  • Install and launch the sentdoc.exe file
  • Leave "SuperPro" checked, uncheck "Pro", "CPlus", "Scribe"
  • Press "Find Keys"
  • A dialog box will state "No keys found" or "[N] Sentinal SuperPro(s) detected" (where N is the number of keys found)
  • If you get an "Sim Wrapper 5 (####)" error, where #### is a 4 digit number, then re-enter the codes, and try again. It was most likely a typo in the codes.

If problems persist, please call Shop Floor Automations at (619) 461-4000 for technical support.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

How do I setup “Wait” in Predator CNC Editor?

How do I setup “Wait” in Predator CNC Editor? You can access the DNC COM port configuration one of two ways:

In the Edit menu, Click "Template" > Choose your template > Click "Next" > Choose your MCH file > Name your template if necessary > Click “Next” > Click "DNC Properties." > Check “Wait for CNC”

Alternatively, in the DNC Menu, click "Properties” > Navigate to the "DNC Properties" window > Check the "Wait For CNC" box > Click Next until Finish is available > Click "Finish."

DNC is a menu option in CNC Editor. DNC refers to any communication to and from the machine tool and is a generic term.

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

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 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:-

%

O7777

(LOAD 1234)

M30

%

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 here:

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

More info at the article HERE 

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, click here

How does Predator DNC Software communicate to a network-based CNC?

How does Predator DNC Software communicate to a network-based CNC? Predator DNC supports FTP (File Transfer Protocol) as well as Windows Share (mapped drives) for communication to the CNC.

The advantage of using this connection is faster speed and ease of connection to the network. The machine will require configuration from your network administrator to provide IPs, drive letters, user and permission controls. Some corporate networks do not allow this equipment to be connected through FTP due to security issues and potential risk of viruses.

Furthermore, most operating systems on CNCs are out-dated running Windows 95, 98, Server 2000 or NT. Updates to the operating system are not permitted typically from the machine tool builder, unlike computers used in the office.

More info on Predator DNC, from scustomer who have used it:

We were trying to control over 8000 programs, revision levels, and updates – the Predator system was recommended to help minimize the man hours and mistakes of doing this manually. We installed Predator DNC and CNC Editor, and have had no downtime with full control. CMW currently manages approximately 8000 part programs. The system seems to be indestructible – we have had no problems. -Wayne, Carroll Machine

We needed to be able to communicate our CNCs and improve the ability of our mill. I’ve been using Predator DNC through you for a long time. Yes, I have recommended you to other shops, and I will continue to do so. -Shane, Power Repair Service Inc

How does Predator license their software?

How does Predator license their software? Predator uses a Rainbow Sentinel SuperPro key. This key is in the form of USB key. All software applications are licensed with a SIM and as such the SIM should be insured as property, for the actual cost of the software.

Want to know how easy it is to install and license Predator's CNC Editor Lite (free version)?

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.

View a video tutorial here.

How does Predator PDM differ from other revision control software?

Why is Predator PDM different from revision control software?Most revision control software packages use a database for the backend to store "links" or flags to shared files and reference the actual file.  The problem with this system is that while you might have the NC program and can place it in a database for check in and check out, there is no control with these systems. Whoever saves the file last wins!

Most revision control software packages use a database for the backend to store "links" or flags to shared files and reference the actual file.  The problem with this system is that while you might have the NC program and can place it in a database for check in and check out, there is no control with these systems. Whoever saves the file last wins!

With a true PDM system, complete revision control, lockout, and access only can be obtained by a single user until completed.  This eliminates the changes of multiple file revisions unapproved.

More on Predator PDM:

  • Paperless manufacturing-driven Product Data Management
  • Designed to organize & control CNC programs
  • Master your setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & more
  • Complete revision control
  • Integration with DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC & Tracker.

Predator PDM includes best practice workflow wizards for release, unrelease, revise, rollback, check-in and checkout. Every wizard honors user and group permissions and includes ISO 9000-style history.

For more info on why PDM is crucial on your shop floor, click here for a quick blog about the product

How fast can the CNC Editor send and receive CNC programs?

How fast can the CNC Editor send and receive CNC programs? The CNC Editor will support communications up to a baud rate of 19,200. The communication can be configured for hardware, software, or both flow control along with various data bits, stop bits and parity.

If you want to communicate to your machines faster, then talk to our Sales department about purchasing Predator DNC software.

More about DNC Software: Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

  •  Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to & from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols, including Mazatrol (CMT), Okuma B & Xmodem, supported
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to up to 4,096 devices
  • Highly flexible interface options include wireless, wired, Ethernet, & USB

How many communication ports does the CNC Editor Express support?

The CNC Editor Express only supports COM 1 through 8.  If you need additional communication ports beyond COM 9, you will need to upgrade to the full version of the Predator CNC Editor.

More about Predator CNC Editor Express - The Predator CNC Editor Express is the most popular 32-bit CNC code editor available on the market. It includes hundreds of features to improve the day to day productivity of CNC machine tools, yet it is extremely easy to use. The Predator CNC Editor is the ideal choice for a small job shop or the largest manufacturer.

Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly and easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo and redo all changes. Microsoft® Word compatible menus, toolbar, and shortcut keys make Predator CNC Editor easy to learn.

The Predator CNC Editor supports up to 64MB of code per CNC program. In addition, editing multiple CNC programs at the same time is supported, with the ability to cut, copy, and paste between them.

Send, receive, and drip-feed to one machine at a time, via switch box or direct connection to any compatible CNC machine. Works in the background even while other software applications are running. Should a tool break, an easy to use DNC Restart command automatically re-creates the CNC program from any point.
NOTE: An upgrade to our full Predator DNC product provides support for DNC networking of multiple CNC machines at the same time.
Predator Editor CNC Templates add intelligence by remembering all the CNC control details. Includes a library of 20 sample CNC templates. Each CNC template is completely configurable.

How to Update the Predator Configuration File (.pxp)?

How to Update the Predator Configuration File (.pxp)?

When upgrading Predator DNC or DNC Enterprise PXP, follow the steps below:

  1. Exit Predator DNC or DNC Enterprise
  2. Rename the existing PXP with a unique name "(company Name) YYYY MM-DD.pxp"
  3. Copy the new PXP into the exact same location where the backup was made
  4. Launch the Predator DNC or Desktop and confirm the new PXP is running.

It’s a scary sensation not knowing why you have downtime. Imagine Emails and text messages sent to you whenever there are production issues on your shop floor! Keep track of uptime and downtime via OEE data reported to you via dashboards, charts, and more. Know your cycle time, idle time, setup, teardown, and scrap reasons.

Software such as Scytec DataXchange, Predator MDC and TouchHMI will aid you in this process. There are also many hardware implements you can use on your shop floor to help in the machine monitoring process.

You may have also heard of MTConnect. This open, royalty free factory floor communication standard is universal and specifically for the shop floor environment.

I can see the program sending in Predator DNC, why don’t I get anything at the control?

I can see the CNC program sending in Predator DNC, why don’t I get anything at the control? When in doubt, leave the default settings. Check the physical connections to make sure everything is properly attached.

If you are unsure, call us for support at (619) 461-4000

More DNC Software information:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Now that we have a window into what DNC Software can do, why do some customers use DNC Software?

Our DNC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark, Tech Manufacturing

Unable to uninstall Predator Software products?

I'm unable to uninstall Predator Software products? I get error message Article 2000002

If you can't uninstall a Predator application, do the following steps:

  • Log into Windows as an Administrator
  • Select Control Panel from the Start Menu
  • Select Add/Remove programs
  • Select the appropriate Predator application
  • Click the Remove button

If there is a reason you are looking to uninstall Predator Software, we encourage you to contact us here at Shop Floor Automations.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What are Predator DNC objects and what do they do?

What are Predator DNC objects and what do they do? DNC Objects are software options that extend Predator DNC for special customer applications.

DNC Objects can add databases, spreadsheet and email connectivity, improve high-speed machining, offer greater lights out reliability, automatic error correction, and support for proprietary CNC controls. Predator DNC Objects support any RS232 hardware including DNC bundles, Flex series, and PC COM ports.

A DNC Object development kit is available for even further customization or integration.

NOTE: Predator DNC Clients usually do not require DNC Objects.

More info on DNC software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control. Via our DNC Communications page:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software?

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software? Every Predator installation is built using Microsoft Windows Installer technology. There is extensive documentation available on Microsoft's website.

The following primary command line options are available:
/i    Installs or configures a product
/f    Repairs a product, has 10 options
/a    Administrative install on the network
/x    Uninstalls a product
/j    Advertises a product
/l    Specifies the log file path
/p    Applies a patch
/q    Sets the user interface level
/y    Calls API register server to install
/z    Calls API register server to uninstall

A sample command line option for repairing a CNC Editor installation is as follows:

msiexec /i "predator CNC editor v6.0.msi" /fv

For a complete list of command line arguments for Windows installer, go to https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/314881 on Microsoft’s website.

More info on Predator Software:

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Call (877) 611-5825 to get information about Predator Software from the consistent top resellers of Predator Software, Shop Floor Automations.

What are the differences between Predator Machine Monitoring versions?

Predator Machine Monitoring through Predator MDC is available in an Express, Standard and Enterprise versions. Each version is upgraded to the next level and includes functionality to collect data.

Predator MDC Express is a paper-based solution to allow users to collect data manually and report and chart data on events that happen previously.

Predator MDC Standard version is real-time data collection of utilization from the machines and collects cycle time, idle time, alarm and downtime.

Predator MDC Enterprise version is for companies who want to collect OEE, track parts, users, plus other metrics and interface the data with other business systems.

Predator Machine Monitoring is one of many software products that SFA provides full support on. We can provide remote sessions over the phone and computer, or visit your shop in person. We can also update your software when the time comes and specify it to your needs.

What are the differences between Predator Machine Monitoring versions?

Predator Machine Monitoring is available in an Express, Standard and Enterprise version.

Each version is upgraded to the next level and includes functionality to collect data. Predator MDC Express is a paper-based solution to allow users to collect data manually and report and chart data on events that happen previously.

Predator MDC Standard version is real-time data collection of utilization of the machines and collects cycle time, idle time, alarm and downtime. Predator MDC Enterprise version is for companies who want to collect OEE, track parts, users, and other metrics and interface the data with other business systems.

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!

What are the main differences between Predator CNC Editor Xpress and Predator CNC Editor?

The Predator CNC Editor Xpress has basic file editing, printing, and basic CNC communication. Color highlighting is not included.  The CNC Editor has file compare, backplot, CNC communication, and more advanced editing features along with color highlighting.

More info about CNC Editor options:

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

These extremely versatile but easy-to-use packages are designed to simplify your work & will also improve productivity. Wondering about the different features for CNC Editor Light, Express & the Full package? Click here to see our CNC Editor Feature Grid!

What are the PC hardware requirements for Predator Software?

PC hardware minimum requirements to run Predator Software are a Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, or newer CPU, 40GB or larger hard disk, and 512 MB of RAM or more are the prerequisite components for a computer to run Predator Software. Most off-the-shelf computers will far exceed these hardware requirements. Please consult with SFA on your specific software installations for the best performance and reliability.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for over a decade.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What database versions does Predator Software support?

Predator Software has support for the following database versions are included with Predator v10 and v9 applications. Microsoft Access 2000, 2002. 2003, 2007 and 2010 along with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Microsoft Express versions are also included for 2005 and 2008. Several customers are supported on Oracle 7, 8, 9, 10i, and 11i.

Predator v11 applications support Windows 2012, Windows 10, Oracle 12, Microsoft Access 2016, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

We encourage you to call Shop Floor Automations for more info. We offer the following Predator Software products:

  • CNC Editor: NC file editing, backplotting, file compare, & basic RS232 CNC communication
  • DNC: Shop floor connectivity with security, management, & reliability to any CNC make/model
  • MDC:  Data collection of shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & decisions.
  • PDM: Document management of any manufacturing sign-off, instructions, requirements, & processes in a secured vault with revision control.
  • Tracker: Keep tracking of tooling, gauges, & other valuable tools on the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) provides the leading software brands, like Predator Software, in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

What does this “low level error” mean?

What does this “low level error” mean? Here are the most common low level errors seen in Predator DNC and Predator Desktop:

Error Number: 2 - File Not Found.
Problem: The file could not be found
Solution: Verify the file name is typed correctly and the file exists. Check the directory and the extension settings in Predator.

Error Number: 3 - Path Not Found.
Problem: The path could not be found
Solution: Verify the directory path is typed correctly and the directory path exists.

Error Number: 4 - Too Many Open Files
Problem: The system has too many files open.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 5 - Access Denied
Problem: The requested file exists, but the system is unable to access it.
Solution: Check the file permissions and insure the logged in user has permissions for that file.

Error Number: 8 - Not Enough Memory
Problem: There is not enough memory to proceed.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 14 - Not Enough Memory
Problem: There is not enough memory to proceed.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 15 - Invalid Drive
Problem: The drive does not exist
Solution: Verify the drive is the correct drive. If the drive is a network drive, check network access and drive mapping.

Error Number: 19 - Write Protected
Problem: The media is write protected
Solution: The file being written to is read only . Verify the permissions for the file and that the destination is not on read only removable media (CD or DVD).

Error Number: 32 - Sharing Violation
Problem: A file is being used by another program and cannot be accessed by Predator. Usually occurs when trying to write to the file.
Solution: Close the progam using the file. If the program is Predator, restart Predator. If that doesn't clear the error, a reboot of the PC is required.

Error Number: 32 - Lock Violation
Problem: A file is locked by another program and cannot be accessed by Predator. This may be a read or a write attempt by Predator.
Solution: Close the progam locking the file. If the program is Predator, restart Predator. If that doesn't clear the error, a reboot of the PC is required.

Error Number: 39 - Disk Full
Problem: The disk is full. Occurs during file write attempts.
Solution: Delete non needed files from disk or try writing to a different drive

What does this SIM wrapper error mean?

What does this SIM wrapper error mean? Contact support for a bigger explanation.

Here is info on troubleshooting SIM Errors -

SIM Wrapper error 0 (0) - No Error

SIM Wrapper error 1 - No Driver
SIMProceed to troubleshooting steps listed under "SIM Wrapper error 5 (0)"

SIM Wrapper error 2 - No SIM
Check the physical installation of the SIM adapter.
Try to install the device to a different port available on the PC.

SIM Wrapper error 3 " Bad SIM
Contact Shop Floor Automations Support or toll free (877) 611-5825

SIM Wrapper error 4 " Expired
Contact Shop Floor Automations at via Support or toll free (877) 611-5825

SIM Wrapper error 5 (0) " Drivers corrupt or not installed for the SIM or invalid codes.
Follow these steps if you have a SIM from Predator.

  1. Sentinel Protection Drivers must be installed locally on the PC running Predator (Remote Desktop / VNC or any other remote program will not work during the initial setup)
  2. Remove the SIM from the USB or Parallel port on your PC.
  3. Go to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs and remove the Sentinel Protection Installer and remove.
  4. Insert the CD that you received from Shop Floor Automations in the CD-Rom drive and navigate to "Drivers\Sentinel System Driver" folder and double click the "Sentinel Protection Installer 7.1.0.msi"
  5. After this is completed, insert the SIM into the USB or parallel port on the PC and watch for the Windows notification that the new hardware was been detected.
  6. Open Predator and if the registration window opens, enter the serial number and access code in the provided spaces.
  7. If Predator opens, go to the Options menu and choose Upgrade. Enter the serial number and access code here.
  8. If no errors, verify in the title bar of Predator that it does NOT say "Predator/DEMO".
  9. If you do get an error again, proceed to the troubleshooting steps for the SIM Wrapper Error 5 (56) below.

SIM Wrapper error 5 (56) - The serial number or access code is invalid.
Symptom: Codes seem to not update; you are entering the correct codes, but keeps coming up with an error.

  1. Enter "dncdemo" for the serial number. Leave the access code blank.
  2. This should bring you up to Predator. Shut down Predator and relaunch.
  3. Go to the Options menu > Upgrade
  4. Enter the correct serial number and access codes and hit "OK."
  5. If this still does not work, go to Start > All Programs > Predator DNC > Repair All
  6. If you still get this error code, call our technical support department.

SIM Wrapper error 17 - Wrong Version

  1. Launch Predator and check the version by clicking "Help" > "About"
  2. If you have version 4.x.x.x, you should be using a serial number beginning with "04"", if you have version 3.x.x.x installed, you should be using a serial number beginning with "03""
  3. If you do not have the correct version that matches your installed version, verify that the codes you are using are the correct ones.

SIM Wrapper error 18 - Wrong Product
Follow the above steps for the SIM Wrapper Error 17.

What is included in the free Predator CNC Editor Software?

The CNC Editor includes basic editing, printing, and saving for any size part program. Major features such as communication, file compare, backplotting and color highlighting are not included.

More about free CNC editor software from Predator through Shop Floor Automations:

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.

Click here to get a free copy of basic, free CNC Editor.

What is Predator CNC Service?

Predator CNC Service is a comprehensive service designed to work with Predator MDC.

The service can be installed on a computer to communicate to various machine types using proprietary protocols. Predator MDC supports FANUC FOCAS, MTConnect and Structured XML to capture real-time data from the machine using the network connection of the controller.

Development is also being tested for working with Okuma Thinc controllers on P100 and P200 where the service is installed on the machine. The service will then communicate through APIs and no interface is required.

More about Predator MDC:

Predator 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.

What is Predator Machine Monitoring Software?

Predator Machine Monitoring AKA 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 metrics to improve operations and to make better decisions. The Predator MDC is an application that is installed on a computer inside the company facility.

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.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor.

What is Predator MDC Administrator?

Predator MDC Administrator is designed for the manufacturing department head or IS/manufacturing project lead to manage real-time machine monitoring processes centered on time and utilization. This seat is required with every purchase and allows for the creation of equipment, departments, locations, shifts, parts, reason codes, users, permissions and other administrative tasks.

More about Predator MDC machine monitoring:

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.

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 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.

What is Predator MDC Client?

Predator MDC Client is designed for personnel and users that need to run MDC reports and charts centered on time and utilization. Users can also see real time data on a dashboard.

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:

  • Automatic and manual data collection
  • 1 Network to monitor all your CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE test stands
  • 15 Real-time Dashboards for digital signage
  • Real-time Slideshows for digital signage
  • Multiple plant support
  • Unlimited number of data collection events
  • 25,000+ Reports and Charts
  • Real-Time OEE Dashboard, OEE Charts and OEE Reports
  • Supports Wireless, Ethernet, RS232 and Parallel I/O
  • Open API and database architecture
  • Includes Predator CNC Service
  • Includes Predator MDC Executive
  • Includes Predator MDC for DOS
  • Includes Predator DNC for send, receive, and drip-feed
  • Use your existing ERP and MES bar coded paperwork
  • Upgrade to Predator SFC
  • 250+ Online help topics

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 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.

What is Predator PDM?

Predator PDM is a paperless manufacturing driven Product Data Management tool designed to organize and control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, and others with complete revision control. Predator PDM supports paperless shop floor operation with integration of CNC Communications and Machine Monitoring.

Here are reasons why PDM is necessary for a shop floor:

Reason1 – PDM helps you go paperless. If you are tired of buying file cabinets and losing track of documents, then PDM is the best way to manage incoming documents paperlessly. For the rest, we suggest scanning them, making sure they are properly saved, then safely shredding them. Also, an approach of truly brilliant people that you can adopt into your routine is called the “touch only once” rule – when a piece of paper is brought to you, whether a file or a piece of mail, deal with it immediately, when at all possible, so it is off your plate.

Reason 2 – PDM makes your job easier. Using manufacturing-driven, open architecture PDM document control software can do more than you might have imagined. It is designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document control plus file revision control.

PDM can also be integrated with other software, such as DNC software and CNC editor. Keep in touch with your Quality and Engineering Departments, while feeling assured that if an audit happens, you’re covered.

Reason 3 – Simply put, it’s the law. Granted, while it is not required that you have a digitial organization system like PDM for your important documentation, you are required to keep track of the documents. If keeping tidy isn’t motivation enough, then the law definitely should be.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

What is the Predator CNC Editor “Wait” function for?

What is the Predator CNC Editor “Wait” function for? The wait function is designed to allow the operator to queue a file at the PC to send to the machine, and then receive at the machine.

The steps would be similar to the following:

At the PC, send a file out to the machine, using the wait option

Walk out to the machine and manually receive that file

Once the Wait is enabled, Editor will wait for an "XON" character before sending files. Note that the Wait option is only enabled when flow control is set to either Software or None.

This is different because typically, you would set the CNC control to receive, walk to the PC, and send the file out. Not all machine controls support the “Wait” option. Consult your control operator's manual for compatibility.

Why upgrade to the CNC Editor? Here is a list of reasons an upgrade is worth the investment

  • The SFA price comes with 30 days of Tech Support & 2 hours of personalized, remote Training at no additional cost
  • Additional features such as file compare, backplotting, and CNC communications*
  • Color syntax highlighting
  • Book marks
  • Custom template
  • Become eligible to purchase 24 Hour Support

Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly and easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo and redo all changes. Microsoft® Word compatible menus, toolbar, and shortcut keys make Predator CNC Editor easy to learn.

The Predator CNC Editor supports up to 64MBs of code per CNC program. In addition, editing multiple CNC programs at the same time is supported, with the ability to cut, copy, and paste between them.

The Predator CNC Editor includes a side-by-side file compare, which identifies each G-code and M-code difference and fixes them with a single click of the mouse. A summary report and numerous options to ignore spaces, blank lines, leader/trailer, feed rates, spindle speeds, and tool changes simplify the process of integrating shop floor edits with a master CNC program.

What is the Predator DNC Mazatrol object for?

What is the Predator DNC Mazatrol object for?

The Predator Mazatrol object is software that allows Predator DNC to transfer Mazatrol (CMT) programs. Typically a proprietary Mazak floppy drive is carried around the shop and is used for offline storage of Mazatrol programs. Predator DNC with the Mazatrol object allows CNCs to load and save Mazatrol programs as well as EIA programs on to any Windows PC.

Note: Support for each Predator DNC Version has different Windows OS requirements.  Please contact support team to find out what versions are supported under what Windows OS.

Some Mazak/Mazatrol specific items from Shop Floor Automations:

USB Connect Mazak - The Pendant mount USB Connect – Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol (CMT). Includes 2GB USB Flash Drive, panel mount  USB connector / water proof cap, display, USB cable, & power cable.  Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC.

LAN Connect Mazak - Send and save Mazatrol (CMT) programs off of Mazak Machines with the LAN Connect Mazak model. The LAN  Connect is designed to operate with standard software that comes with a PC (such as Internet Explorer from Microsoft). No additional licenses or additional interface software are required. The data server will look like a FTP hard drive on your network.

What is the Predator MDC Shop Floor Software Seat?

What is the Predator MDC Shop Floor Software Seat? Predator MDC Shop Floor is designed for data entry for shop floor personnel. The software can also be used to display real-time data on the shop floor using LCD monitors or can be displayed in Engineering and Quality Departments to provide feedback on equipment status.

More about shop floor software:

Shop Floor Automations software (AKA SFA) provides the leading brands in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

Shop Floor Software Options:

  • machine monitoring
  • DNC software
  • CNC editor
  • CMMS plant maintenance
  • job scheduling
  • document control
  • tool management
  • MTConnect

Follow Shop Floor Automations on our various social media channels by visiting our resource page here. We are located on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, & LinkedIn! We encourage you to call & speak with one of our account executives at 877-611-5825 to understand your needs & see how we can deliver the best solutions for you. We would love to tell you about the thousands of customers we have served & you have no obligation to make a purchase during the call! 

What operating systems does Predator Software support?

Support for the following Microsoft Windows versions are included with Predator v9 and v10 applications:

Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP.

Support is included for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The latest Windows updates and service packs for each operating system should be installed on any and all computers you wish to run Predator Software.

Here are some reviews of Predator Software products from Shop Floor Automations customers:

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (Predator DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs. I’ve dealt with Sam, Josh Reynolds, a little bit of Greg – the customer service has been spread all over the place. Based on the services I’ve received, I would recommend SFA to other shops. One of the guys I worked with told me word-of-mouth who had initially reached out to you guys, then I took over and started dealing with it. -Josh Leger, HRE Wheels

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. An employee of mine referred SFA because they had solved problems at his former employer. It was an awesome experience working on the phone and in person to get my Predator router and software. Very satisfied. SFA is dedicated to ultimate solution and customer satisfaction. They are the ninjas of shop floor automation–Michael Rosenboom, MiniMachine

What type of documents can be used in Predator Product Data Management (PDM)?

Predator PDM supports an unlimited number of documents and support for numerous file types to be managed and viewed on the shop floor.

With the built in viewing capability from Microsoft Internet Explorer, Predator leverages the built in plug-in viewers supported and allows for continued upgrade path as new versions of file types are released.

For example, if Adobe released a new format or version of PDFs, Predator automatically embraces this compatibility with the new plugs-ins from Internet Explorer.  A variety of files are supported for document control such as: Word, Excel, PDF, NC, TXT, STL, MPEG, TIFF. JPEG, and hundreds more.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

Getting organized is consistently on the top 10 list of New Years Resolutions. If getting organized at your shop is a concern, investing in product data management (PDM) through document control software for your manufacturing operation is crucial.

Feel bad you haven’t been keeping organized? Even a branch of the USA government can relate to having issues with tracking documentation! The US Department of Reclamation (also known as BOR) had documents scattered in a few different locations and began to make an attempt at document control. They pooled what they learned in this process into a report called “Maintain Asset Data Integrity and Reap the Benefits of the ‘Internet of Things.’”

What type of equipment can Predator Machine Monitoring support?

What type of equipment can Predator Machine Monitoring support? Predator MDC standard and enterprise versions supports up to 4096 CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE Test Stands 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.

More info about machine monitoring:

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.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor.

What type of security is built into Predator PDM?

What type of security is built into Predator PDM? There are over 140 permissions for control and management of who has access to files, approval process, released, un-release, rollback or pending files.

All security follows Microsoft standards for assigning permissions to users and groups.  Two versions of Predator PDM are available for purchase, PDM Administrator and PDM Client.  Predator PDM Administrator allows for all control, configuration and assignment of the security roles.

More info on document control with PDM:

SFA offers manufacturing-driven, open architecture Product Data Management (PDM) document control software  designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document & file revision control. Go paperless with your shop floor operation via integration of DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC, & Tracker.

Organization & control of various documents in the manufacturing process can be a struggle.  Auditors check if you have control, management, & sign-offs of processes & files. Don’t find yourself left behind in getting the next order. Predator Product Management starts simple with NC programs & work instructions – start easily & quickly while drip-feeding the system to your Departments, such as Engineering, Quality, & more.

Integrate your ERP & MES system with open APIs (application programming interface) via 300+ methods.

Predator PDM features:  

  • Best practice workflow
  • Multiple file vaults & secure viewing
  • User & group permissions
  • Stored in a database
  • Microsoft Access, SQL Server, or Oracle options
  • C#, C++, VB.Net, VB6, VB script, Windows Script, Delphi, & other compatible programming languages.

What types of reporting and charting are included with Predator MDC?

What types of reporting and charting are included with Predator MDC? Over 1300 reports and charts provide unique insight into the productivity and efficiency of each manufacturer.

The flexibility of the reporting and charting options within Predator MDC converts the volume of data collected into concise reports and charts to identify issues and drive improved productivity. Eliminate manual OEE driven data collection and OEE spreadsheets. Predator MDC supports real time OEE data collection with an OEE Dashboard, OEE Performance ranking charts, OEE Trend Analysis charts and OEE Reports.

More info on Predator MDC:

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:

  • Automatic and manual data collection
  • 1 Network to monitor all your CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE test stands
  • 15 Real-time Dashboards for digital signage
  • Real-time Slideshows for digital signage
  • Multiple plant support
  • Unlimited number of data collection events
  • 25,000+ Reports and Charts
  • Real-Time OEE Dashboard, OEE Charts and OEE Reports
  • Supports Wireless, Ethernet, RS232 and Parallel I/O
  • Open API and database architecture
  • Includes Predator CNC Service
  • Includes Predator MDC Executive
  • Includes Predator MDC for DOS
  • Includes Predator DNC for send, receive, and drip-feed
  • Use your existing ERP and MES bar coded paperwork
  • Upgrade to Predator SFC
  • 250+ Online help topics

Why am I getting garbage data when I try to punch out to Predator DNC from the machine?

Why am I getting garbage data when I try to punch out to Predator DNC Software from the machine?

Most of the time this is caused by having improper serial communication (RS232) parameters set. Check to make sure your baud rate, parity, data bit, and stop bit within Predator DNC match the settings on your control.

More info on DNC Software through Shop Floor Automations:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

  •  Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to & from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols, including Mazatrol (CMT), Okuma B & Xmodem, supported
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to up to 4,096 devices
  • Highly flexible interface options include wireless, wired, Ethernet, & USB
  • many more functions!

Why can’t I change any settings in Predator DNC?

Why can’t I change any settings in Predator DNC? To make any changes in Predator DNC, you must open the program in “Administrator Mode”. Cancel any open connections, close the application, and then choose “Start” -> “All Programs” -> “Predator DNC Administrator”.

More info about Predator DNC:

Predator DNC is software designed for DNC communication. Network all of your CNCs, Robots, and PLC- based machines. Predator DNC manages your CNC programs, offsets, and parameters. It supports a broad range of CNC communications for drip-feeding, downloading, and uploading via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, and wireless Ethernet.

Not only will it manage your programs, but also your parameters and offsets. It supports everything you could possibly need when it comes to CNC communications, whether you’re uploading, downloading or drip-feeding via wireless, Ethernet, RS232, RS422, or parallel.

This software will:

  • Network everything with one solution
  • Drip-feed, upload and download all DNC programs
  • Work through various methods including wireless and Ethernet
  • Improve the revision control of your CNC program
  • Streamline the processes between your CNC program and you
  • Use all your existing MES and ERP paperwork
  • Allow you to upgrade to Predator PDM and MDC when ready
  • Automate methods for transfers using bar code readers and shop floor PCs

Predator DNC is one of the only programs that supports up to 4096 different machines. The downloading, uploading and drip-feeding is all possible at the same time, and CNCs can be grouped together quickly and easily with a Microsoft Windows Explorer interface

Why does Predator DNC continue to send after I have received the NC program at the CNC?

Predator DNC will continue to send any data in the NC program until done. The cause is usually due to a blank line, space or some other character after the percent sign at the bottom of the program.

To fix this issue, add a Clean Code Link to the Send to CNC Command. Place the Clean Code link above the COM port Terminator in the Object Manager. On the configuration screen of the Clean Code - Send, select the box Send % to % (included) to only send the data between the percent signs.

An alternative solution is to use a Command Time Out. To use this option, add the Command Time Out Link above the COM port Terminator on the Send to CNC command. Do this in the "Object Manager" Screen. Once placed, insert the values of the time out and number of characters on the Properties page. Note: If the time is too short, data could be cut off early, we recommend 1 minutes.

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load?

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load? To solve this problem run Microsoft Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options.

A dialog will appear, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security section. Uncheck the "Check for publisher's certificate revocation" option and click the OK button.

This problem only occurs when PCs are configured to have access to the Internet and then in reality don't have access to the Internet. Predator applications are digitally signed just like every other program that is downloaded on the web. The digital signature is used to certify that Predator has not been infected with a virus etc.

NOTE: This problem can happen with any Predator application.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Why does the Predator CNC Editor say it is still sending even though the transfer has completed?

Why does the Predator CNC Editor say it is still sending even though the transfer has completed? If you are using the CNC Editor to transmit a CNC program, and the control receives the complete file, but Predator is still trying to send, check the end of the CNC program to make sure there are no spaces or other invisible characters after the % sign. Predator CNC Editor stops sending the program when it detects that the last character of the program is a % sign.

More about CNC Editor: Benefits of Predator CNC Editor CNC Intelligent Editing with Undo and Redo, Unlimited File Size, File Compare, DNC send, receive, and drip-feed, 3D Backplotting and Verification, and CNC Templates.

What is included?

Our web price includes the following:

  • Predator CNC Editor software
  • 30 days Technical Support
  • Two hours of 1 on 1 Training via the web with a dedicated instructor

Windows Requirements

· Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP

"We were having issues with translating a program from our CAD/CAM software, to our USB drive, to the CNC, which was taking time for a slow download…we would absolutely recommend you to other shops because it was easy, the explanation had no problems, no hangups, and it’s easy to use." -Steve & Marty, Machinists at Terumo Medical Corp

Why is Predator DNC Software showing a gray screen on startup?

Why is Predator DNC Software showing a gray screen on startup?

If you see a gray screen when you open Predator DNC, you will need to map the location of your PXP file.

To do this, open the DNC in Administrator mode, (Start -> All Programs -> Predator DNC Administrator) choose “File”, and then “Open”. Now point to the location of your PXP file and click “Open” again.

More info on Predator DNC SoftwareWhat is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Now that we have a window into what DNC Software can do, why do some customers use DNC Software?

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. –Michael, MiniMachine

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs.  -Josh, HRE Wheels

Why use Product Data Management?

Predator PDM controls manufacturing driven processes and best practice work flows from manufacturing, quality, programming and other areas to the shop floor.  Only the approved, released and authorized files are delivered to the shop floor operators and setup personnel to ensure the proven files are machines.  For ISO9000, ITAR, and other standards demanded by customers, Predator PDM is a solution to meet the manufacturing document control requirements.

Additional reasons why PDM is a great investment:

Reason1 – PDM helps you go paperless. If you are tired of buying file cabinets and losing track of documents, then PDM is the best way to manage incoming documents paperlessly. For the rest, we suggest scanning them, making sure they are properly saved, then safely shredding them. Also, an approach of truly brilliant people that you can adopt into your routine is called the “touch only once” rule – when a piece of paper is brought to you, whether a file or a piece of mail, deal with it immediately, when at all possible, so it is off your plate.

Reason 2 – PDM makes your job easier. Using manufacturing-driven, open architecture PDM document control software can do more than you might have imagined. It is designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document control plus file revision control.

PDM can also be integrated with other software, such as DNC software and CNC editor. Keep in touch with your Quality and Engineering Departments, while feeling assured that if an audit happens, you’re covered.

Reason 3 – Simply put, it’s the law. Granted, while it is not required that you have a digitial organization system like PDM for your important documentation, you are required to keep track of the documents. If keeping tidy isn’t motivation enough, then the law definitely should be.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

Predator DNC Software

Can I install an older Predator DNC version on my new Windows 7 machine?

Can I install an older Predator DNC version on my new Windows 7 machine? No.

The first Windows 7 version compatible of Predator DNC is Version 9. However, version 9 and version 10 are both compatible with Windows 8 and 8.1.

If you have an older version but would like to use Predator DNC on a Windows 7 machine, call us!

More DNC Software info:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Can I upgrade and add more ports to my Predator DNC system?

Can I upgrade and add more ports to my Predator DNC system? Yes, numerous software upgrades are available from any level of Predator  DNC.
Hardware upgrades depend on each type of hardware. The entire Flex series of hardware is designed to add ports at any time and offers a very easy upgrade paths, standard COM ports, and our DNC bundles may be upgraded, but there can be issues.
Info about Predator DNC from some of our customers who have used it:

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

The Predator DNC Software is working great! I really would like to thank SFA, and especially Amy, for the great phone support. She answered all my questions and was extremely polite, as were the guys in the tech department. Once again, thanks, and if we need anything else, we know who we will be calling! – Ted, Bicknell Racing

We had programs pretty much stored everywhere…So what we needed to do was lock down the programs …Now, we are grabbing programs from the right directories, we are able to send to the machines, and when we are done with them, we can either delete them at the machines, or we can send them back to programming to make corrections. I would recommend you to other shops! -Lee, Buck Knives

You guys helped us get our machines up and ready to go. No downloading or processing issues. You hooked up our Predator scanning system and allowed us to download files that were actually in quarantine that were not able to be downloaded again.  -Josh, Pexco Aerospace

Can the Predator CNC Editor communicate to multiple machines?

Yes, Predator CNC Editor supports an unlimited number of different machines and can communicate with multple machines. Each machine can have unique COM port, baud rate, and numerous other properties. The Editor supports switch boxes, intelligent switch boxes, and the entire line of Predator DNC and Connect AKA FlexN hardware.

NOTE: The Predator CNC Editor can only communicate to one machine at a time and is not designed for simultaneous multitasking operations to multiple machines. If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC, which is designed to support machines simultaneously.

About Predator CNC Editor:

Hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

  • The most popular 32-bit CNC code editor available on the market
  • Includes hundreds of features, yet is extremely easy to use
  • File Compare, Backplot Simulation and CNC communication included
  • Improve day-to-day productivity of your CNC machine tools
  • The ideal choice for a small job shop, or the largest manufacturer

About Predator DNC Software:

  • Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to/from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols supported: Mazatrol (CMT), Xmodem, Okuma B, & more!
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to 4000+ devices
  • Drip-feed, upload & download Wirelessly, Wired, via Ethernet, & USB
  • New features & protocols added frequently

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 Product 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 

Does Predator DNC support Haas CNC machines?

Yes. Haas CNCs can communicate to Predator DNC Software using serial RS232 connection or FTP.

Haas FTP is also supported through Predator DNC to enable faster communication. Each Haas control can be configured in the software and can be configured for any method.

Predator DNC communicates up to 115K baud rate to the Haas using Xmodem and hardware handshaking.

More about DNC Software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Does Predator DNC support long filenames?

Does Predator DNC support long filenames? Yes, Predator DNC supports long filenames, long directory names, names with spaces, shared network drives, and UNC names.

Refer to the following examples:

  •     Job 1234.NC
  •     H:CUSTOM PARTSJOB 4567.NC
  •     \\SERVER1\C\LARGE CUSTOMER\PART No 1234-5678.NC

Predator DNC can also automatically name your files when uploading to the  server. They can be "autonamed" using their O-number, a user-chosen name, the first comment in the file, and so on.

More info on DNC software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control. Via our DNC Communications page:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Does Predator DNC support Remote Request?

Does Predator DNC support Remote Request? Yes, Predator DNC does support Remote Request. Remote Request eliminates walking back and forth and allows operators to request files directly from the CNC control.

How to do a Remote Request with a Bar Code Reader:

First, you’re going to go to the list of programs, by hitting “list program”, then 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.

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Remote Request?

No, CNC Editor does not support Remote Request. Remote Request eliminates walking back and forth and allows operators to request files from the CNC control.

If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC software, which is designed to support Remote Request for up to 1024 machines simultaneously.

More info about DNC software:

  • Network everything with one solution
  • Drip-feed, upload and download all DNC programs
  • Work through various methods including wireless and Ethernet
  • Improve the revision control of your CNC program
  • Streamline the processes between your CNC program and you
  • Use all your existing MES and ERP paperwork
  • Allow you to upgrade to Predator PDM and MDC when ready
  • Automate methods for transfers using bar code readers and shop floor PCs

Predator DNC is one of the only programs that supports up to 4096 different machines. The downloading, uploading and drip-feeding is all possible at the same time, and CNCs can be grouped together quickly and easily with a Microsoft Windows Explorer interface.

One of the biggest benefits of Predator DNC is the improvement to your workflow on the shop floor. You will no longer need to carry laptops around or manual type part programs at the CNC. There’s no need to use some old-school hardware to communicate, such as switch boxes and floppy disks.

Predator DNC really is your all-in-one solution. Not only will your workflow improve, but the whole workplace will become more productive and reliable.

When you want something simple and easy to use, Explorer is the product you need. It works with Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office, which are widely used around the world.

Ask us about Secure File Transfers with Secure DNC for Ethernet-based machines. Call (877) 611-5825 to learn more about Predator DNC.

How do I add a new CNC Machine to Predator DNC?

To add a CNC to Predator DNC, a few items are required.

Available Serial Port
Available DNC License
Make and Model of the CNC Control
Copy Existing / Similar or Sample PXP

Begin by confirming you have an available serial port on the Predator DNC Hub or PC. Take note of where the new RS232 cable will connect (port number and hub).

Check the Windows Control Panel | Device Manager to determine the port number and communication port. If installed by SFA, the system will begin at COM 5 = Port 1; COM6 = Port 2. The exact settings can be determined by reviewing the Multiport Serial Adapter from the Device Manager.

Determine the number of CNCs currently configured in the DNC Networking System. If the number of CNC exceeds the current DNC License, a license upgrade will be required. While in the DNC Software, select HELP | ABOUT for the current license purchased, ie. DNC/8.

If a license is available, then proceed.

Launch the Predator DNC Administrator if not currently in this mode. Select Command | Cancel All. Next, find a similar CNC / Machine in your current PXP. Select the CNC with your mouse, right click, select {COPY}. Select the Predator Red Gear at the top of the Predator Software, right click and select {Paste}. This creates a copy of the existing machine. Modify this copied CNC to match the Communication Port number as well as the baud rate, parity, and stop bits. The machine directory and any other features can be modified by using the Predator Wizard.

How do I delete extra spaces/carriage returns?

How do I delete extra spaces/carriage returns?

The following example will automatically delete extra carriage returns during a Receive from CNC command.

Receive Translate Characters Translate Action
\013 Remove
\010 Replace with \013\010

More about Shop Floor Automations Support:

When selecting a vendor for your shop floor automation needs, it is important to select a company that is committed to service and support. Our clients list continues to grow through recommendations from our customers, as well as our partners. You can speak to a real person over the phone with us, versus sending emails or leaving messages on a cell phone, then waiting for a response. The information contained on these pages is intended to give you direct access to the latest software revisions, support options and technical documentation available!

Need to speak to an expert? Contact our support team by calling (619) 461-4000 and ask for technical support. Our Application Engineers can answer your questions, guide you through an installation, or remotely configure and trouble shooting a current system. NOTE: Normal business hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Daylight Time. See After-Hours Support info below.

Have a general question? Contact our support team by emailing your question to us and get a response immediately. Our Application Engineers may be on the phone with another client, but they monitor our email servers to respond quickly. Email is always the fastest way to contact us and a great way to get the answer you need immediately. Support Contact Form

How do I get my Predator Software Serial Number & Access Codes?

Predator Software Serial Number and Access Codes are attributed to each legal, paid for, licensed product. These numbers are based on the SIM attached to the PC or from the network card inside of the PC.

Upon receipt of payment for the software, the permanent license will be issued. The software can be run on a temporary basis to allow users to move the software from one PC to another, as well as for evaluation periods.

You can contact your local reseller, such as Shop Floor Automations (SFA), for these codes or refer to your Predator CD label for details.

Please note that SFA can only give you the aforementioned codes and serial numbers if we were the ones who were your reseller of the product. We also do not provide support for copies of free CNC Editor available via our website.

Check out these reviews from SFA Predator Software customers:

Our Predator NC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark Chambers, Tech Manufacturing

We needed to increase uptime and decrease downtime. SFA set us up with Predator DNC. I have dealt with Joshua Ray and Sam Wilkins, and the customer service is spot on! -Eric Mcnair, Tecomet

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 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:-

%

O7777

(LOAD 1234)

M30

%

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 here:

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

More info at the article HERE 

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, click here

How does Predator DNC Software communicate to a network-based CNC?

How does Predator DNC Software communicate to a network-based CNC? Predator DNC supports FTP (File Transfer Protocol) as well as Windows Share (mapped drives) for communication to the CNC.

The advantage of using this connection is faster speed and ease of connection to the network. The machine will require configuration from your network administrator to provide IPs, drive letters, user and permission controls. Some corporate networks do not allow this equipment to be connected through FTP due to security issues and potential risk of viruses.

Furthermore, most operating systems on CNCs are out-dated running Windows 95, 98, Server 2000 or NT. Updates to the operating system are not permitted typically from the machine tool builder, unlike computers used in the office.

More info on Predator DNC, from scustomer who have used it:

We were trying to control over 8000 programs, revision levels, and updates – the Predator system was recommended to help minimize the man hours and mistakes of doing this manually. We installed Predator DNC and CNC Editor, and have had no downtime with full control. CMW currently manages approximately 8000 part programs. The system seems to be indestructible – we have had no problems. -Wayne, Carroll Machine

We needed to be able to communicate our CNCs and improve the ability of our mill. I’ve been using Predator DNC through you for a long time. Yes, I have recommended you to other shops, and I will continue to do so. -Shane, Power Repair Service Inc

How to Update the Predator Configuration File (.pxp)?

How to Update the Predator Configuration File (.pxp)?

When upgrading Predator DNC or DNC Enterprise PXP, follow the steps below:

  1. Exit Predator DNC or DNC Enterprise
  2. Rename the existing PXP with a unique name "(company Name) YYYY MM-DD.pxp"
  3. Copy the new PXP into the exact same location where the backup was made
  4. Launch the Predator DNC or Desktop and confirm the new PXP is running.

It’s a scary sensation not knowing why you have downtime. Imagine Emails and text messages sent to you whenever there are production issues on your shop floor! Keep track of uptime and downtime via OEE data reported to you via dashboards, charts, and more. Know your cycle time, idle time, setup, teardown, and scrap reasons.

Software such as Scytec DataXchange, Predator MDC and TouchHMI will aid you in this process. There are also many hardware implements you can use on your shop floor to help in the machine monitoring process.

You may have also heard of MTConnect. This open, royalty free factory floor communication standard is universal and specifically for the shop floor environment.

I can see the program sending in Predator DNC, why don’t I get anything at the control?

I can see the CNC program sending in Predator DNC, why don’t I get anything at the control? When in doubt, leave the default settings. Check the physical connections to make sure everything is properly attached.

If you are unsure, call us for support at (619) 461-4000

More DNC Software information:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

Now that we have a window into what DNC Software can do, why do some customers use DNC Software?

Our DNC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark, Tech Manufacturing

I moved Predator DNC to another computer & machines won't communicate - why?

Here is a good DNC software FAQ: I moved Predator DNC to another computer & machines won't communicate - why?

Migrating your Predator DNC software over to a new computer is a fairly complex process and there are many reasons your machines may not be communicating.

To make certain that this issue gets resolved, give our Tech Support line a call so we can get your shop back up and running again.

More about DNC software:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

For DNC Software, we have:

  • Predator DNC
  • extremeDNC
  • Predator Touch HMI
  • Predator EditLock

What are Predator DNC objects and what do they do?

What are Predator DNC objects and what do they do? DNC Objects are software options that extend Predator DNC for special customer applications.

DNC Objects can add databases, spreadsheet and email connectivity, improve high-speed machining, offer greater lights out reliability, automatic error correction, and support for proprietary CNC controls. Predator DNC Objects support any RS232 hardware including DNC bundles, Flex series, and PC COM ports.

A DNC Object development kit is available for even further customization or integration.

NOTE: Predator DNC Clients usually do not require DNC Objects.

More info on DNC software:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control. Via our DNC Communications page:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software?

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software? Every Predator installation is built using Microsoft Windows Installer technology. There is extensive documentation available on Microsoft's website.

The following primary command line options are available:
/i    Installs or configures a product
/f    Repairs a product, has 10 options
/a    Administrative install on the network
/x    Uninstalls a product
/j    Advertises a product
/l    Specifies the log file path
/p    Applies a patch
/q    Sets the user interface level
/y    Calls API register server to install
/z    Calls API register server to uninstall

A sample command line option for repairing a CNC Editor installation is as follows:

msiexec /i "predator CNC editor v6.0.msi" /fv

For a complete list of command line arguments for Windows installer, go to https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/314881 on Microsoft’s website.

More info on Predator Software:

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Call (877) 611-5825 to get information about Predator Software from the consistent top resellers of Predator Software, Shop Floor Automations.

What are the PC hardware requirements for Predator Software?

PC hardware minimum requirements to run Predator Software are a Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, or newer CPU, 40GB or larger hard disk, and 512 MB of RAM or more are the prerequisite components for a computer to run Predator Software. Most off-the-shelf computers will far exceed these hardware requirements. Please consult with SFA on your specific software installations for the best performance and reliability.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for over a decade.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What database versions does Predator Software support?

Predator Software has support for the following database versions are included with Predator v10 and v9 applications. Microsoft Access 2000, 2002. 2003, 2007 and 2010 along with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Microsoft Express versions are also included for 2005 and 2008. Several customers are supported on Oracle 7, 8, 9, 10i, and 11i.

Predator v11 applications support Windows 2012, Windows 10, Oracle 12, Microsoft Access 2016, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

We encourage you to call Shop Floor Automations for more info. We offer the following Predator Software products:

  • CNC Editor: NC file editing, backplotting, file compare, & basic RS232 CNC communication
  • DNC: Shop floor connectivity with security, management, & reliability to any CNC make/model
  • MDC:  Data collection of shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & decisions.
  • PDM: Document management of any manufacturing sign-off, instructions, requirements, & processes in a secured vault with revision control.
  • Tracker: Keep tracking of tooling, gauges, & other valuable tools on the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) provides the leading software brands, like Predator Software, in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

What does this “low level error” mean?

What does this “low level error” mean? Here are the most common low level errors seen in Predator DNC and Predator Desktop:

Error Number: 2 - File Not Found.
Problem: The file could not be found
Solution: Verify the file name is typed correctly and the file exists. Check the directory and the extension settings in Predator.

Error Number: 3 - Path Not Found.
Problem: The path could not be found
Solution: Verify the directory path is typed correctly and the directory path exists.

Error Number: 4 - Too Many Open Files
Problem: The system has too many files open.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 5 - Access Denied
Problem: The requested file exists, but the system is unable to access it.
Solution: Check the file permissions and insure the logged in user has permissions for that file.

Error Number: 8 - Not Enough Memory
Problem: There is not enough memory to proceed.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 14 - Not Enough Memory
Problem: There is not enough memory to proceed.
Solution: Try closing any non used programs or reducing the number of activities in Predator.

Error Number: 15 - Invalid Drive
Problem: The drive does not exist
Solution: Verify the drive is the correct drive. If the drive is a network drive, check network access and drive mapping.

Error Number: 19 - Write Protected
Problem: The media is write protected
Solution: The file being written to is read only . Verify the permissions for the file and that the destination is not on read only removable media (CD or DVD).

Error Number: 32 - Sharing Violation
Problem: A file is being used by another program and cannot be accessed by Predator. Usually occurs when trying to write to the file.
Solution: Close the progam using the file. If the program is Predator, restart Predator. If that doesn't clear the error, a reboot of the PC is required.

Error Number: 32 - Lock Violation
Problem: A file is locked by another program and cannot be accessed by Predator. This may be a read or a write attempt by Predator.
Solution: Close the progam locking the file. If the program is Predator, restart Predator. If that doesn't clear the error, a reboot of the PC is required.

Error Number: 39 - Disk Full
Problem: The disk is full. Occurs during file write attempts.
Solution: Delete non needed files from disk or try writing to a different drive

What is a ‘SIM Wrapper Error’ after moving Predator DNC to a new computer?

Another great DNC software FAQ: What is a ‘SIM Wrapper Error’ after moving Predator DNC to a new computer?

The SIM Wrapper Error is actually one of many various errors generated during licensing. If you recently moved your computer then you may have forgotten to move your USB license key to your new computer.

If you are still experiencing issues after moving the USB SIM over, or cannot find your USB SIM, give us a call and we can assist you with your licensing issues.

More DNC software information:

What is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control. Via our DNC Communications page:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly. Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

What is the Predator DNC Mazatrol object for?

What is the Predator DNC Mazatrol object for?

The Predator Mazatrol object is software that allows Predator DNC to transfer Mazatrol (CMT) programs. Typically a proprietary Mazak floppy drive is carried around the shop and is used for offline storage of Mazatrol programs. Predator DNC with the Mazatrol object allows CNCs to load and save Mazatrol programs as well as EIA programs on to any Windows PC.

Note: Support for each Predator DNC Version has different Windows OS requirements.  Please contact support team to find out what versions are supported under what Windows OS.

Some Mazak/Mazatrol specific items from Shop Floor Automations:

USB Connect Mazak - The Pendant mount USB Connect – Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol (CMT). Includes 2GB USB Flash Drive, panel mount  USB connector / water proof cap, display, USB cable, & power cable.  Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC.

LAN Connect Mazak - Send and save Mazatrol (CMT) programs off of Mazak Machines with the LAN Connect Mazak model. The LAN  Connect is designed to operate with standard software that comes with a PC (such as Internet Explorer from Microsoft). No additional licenses or additional interface software are required. The data server will look like a FTP hard drive on your network.

What operating systems does Predator Software support?

Support for the following Microsoft Windows versions are included with Predator v9 and v10 applications:

Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP.

Support is included for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The latest Windows updates and service packs for each operating system should be installed on any and all computers you wish to run Predator Software.

Here are some reviews of Predator Software products from Shop Floor Automations customers:

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (Predator DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs. I’ve dealt with Sam, Josh Reynolds, a little bit of Greg – the customer service has been spread all over the place. Based on the services I’ve received, I would recommend SFA to other shops. One of the guys I worked with told me word-of-mouth who had initially reached out to you guys, then I took over and started dealing with it. -Josh Leger, HRE Wheels

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. An employee of mine referred SFA because they had solved problems at his former employer. It was an awesome experience working on the phone and in person to get my Predator router and software. Very satisfied. SFA is dedicated to ultimate solution and customer satisfaction. They are the ninjas of shop floor automation–Michael Rosenboom, MiniMachine

Why am I getting garbage data when I try to punch out to Predator DNC from the machine?

Why am I getting garbage data when I try to punch out to Predator DNC Software from the machine?

Most of the time this is caused by having improper serial communication (RS232) parameters set. Check to make sure your baud rate, parity, data bit, and stop bit within Predator DNC match the settings on your control.

More info on DNC Software through Shop Floor Automations:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

  •  Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to & from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols, including Mazatrol (CMT), Okuma B & Xmodem, supported
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to up to 4,096 devices
  • Highly flexible interface options include wireless, wired, Ethernet, & USB
  • many more functions!

Why can’t I change any settings in Predator DNC?

Why can’t I change any settings in Predator DNC? To make any changes in Predator DNC, you must open the program in “Administrator Mode”. Cancel any open connections, close the application, and then choose “Start” -> “All Programs” -> “Predator DNC Administrator”.

More info about Predator DNC:

Predator DNC is software designed for DNC communication. Network all of your CNCs, Robots, and PLC- based machines. Predator DNC manages your CNC programs, offsets, and parameters. It supports a broad range of CNC communications for drip-feeding, downloading, and uploading via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, and wireless Ethernet.

Not only will it manage your programs, but also your parameters and offsets. It supports everything you could possibly need when it comes to CNC communications, whether you’re uploading, downloading or drip-feeding via wireless, Ethernet, RS232, RS422, or parallel.

This software will:

  • Network everything with one solution
  • Drip-feed, upload and download all DNC programs
  • Work through various methods including wireless and Ethernet
  • Improve the revision control of your CNC program
  • Streamline the processes between your CNC program and you
  • Use all your existing MES and ERP paperwork
  • Allow you to upgrade to Predator PDM and MDC when ready
  • Automate methods for transfers using bar code readers and shop floor PCs

Predator DNC is one of the only programs that supports up to 4096 different machines. The downloading, uploading and drip-feeding is all possible at the same time, and CNCs can be grouped together quickly and easily with a Microsoft Windows Explorer interface

Why does Predator DNC continue to send after I have received the NC program at the CNC?

Predator DNC will continue to send any data in the NC program until done. The cause is usually due to a blank line, space or some other character after the percent sign at the bottom of the program.

To fix this issue, add a Clean Code Link to the Send to CNC Command. Place the Clean Code link above the COM port Terminator in the Object Manager. On the configuration screen of the Clean Code - Send, select the box Send % to % (included) to only send the data between the percent signs.

An alternative solution is to use a Command Time Out. To use this option, add the Command Time Out Link above the COM port Terminator on the Send to CNC command. Do this in the "Object Manager" Screen. Once placed, insert the values of the time out and number of characters on the Properties page. Note: If the time is too short, data could be cut off early, we recommend 1 minutes.

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load?

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load? To solve this problem run Microsoft Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options.

A dialog will appear, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security section. Uncheck the "Check for publisher's certificate revocation" option and click the OK button.

This problem only occurs when PCs are configured to have access to the Internet and then in reality don't have access to the Internet. Predator applications are digitally signed just like every other program that is downloaded on the web. The digital signature is used to certify that Predator has not been infected with a virus etc.

NOTE: This problem can happen with any Predator application.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Why is Predator DNC Software showing a gray screen on startup?

Why is Predator DNC Software showing a gray screen on startup?

If you see a gray screen when you open Predator DNC, you will need to map the location of your PXP file.

To do this, open the DNC in Administrator mode, (Start -> All Programs -> Predator DNC Administrator) choose “File”, and then “Open”. Now point to the location of your PXP file and click “Open” again.

More info on Predator DNC SoftwareWhat is DNC Software? Aiding in the process of Direct Numeric Control (sometimes considered Distributed Numeric Control), DNC software helps with total shop floor control.

Now that we have a window into what DNC Software can do, why do some customers use DNC Software?

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. –Michael, MiniMachine

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs.  -Josh, HRE Wheels

Predator PDM (Document Control Software)

Can I send a NC file to my machine from Predator PDM?

The simple answer to "Can I send a NC file to my machine from Predator PDM?" is yes, as long as you have the permission setup for each user. If you need more help with setting up your Predator PDM software, contact us.

More info on Predator PDM:

Predator PDM includes best practice workflow wizards for release, unrelease, revise, rollback, check-in and checkout. Every wizard honors user and group permissions and includes ISO 9000-style history.

Integrate your ERP and MES system with Predator PDM’s open APIs (application programming interface) with 300+ methods all fully documented. Develop ERP and shop floor validation, flow part and job numbers from ERP directly into Predator; numerous other automation projects can be completed with C#, C++, VB.Net, VB6, VB script, Windows Script, Delphi and other compatible programming languages. Predator PDM is based on an open architecture client/server database standard. Select from Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

Machinists using Predator PDM can download released CNC programs to their CNC machines using Predator DNC with a single click. CNC programmers using Predator PDM can verify CNC programs with full 3D machine simulation using Predator Virtual CNC with a single click. CNC programmers using Predator PDM can revise, compare and backplot their CNC programs with the Predator CNC Editor with a single click.

For more info, call (877) 611-5825.

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 Product 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 

Does Predator PDM include a shop floor paperless software?

Yes! Predator PDM Client is used to view the proven, released and authorized manufacturing documents to the shop floor operator and setup users.  Once a user logs into Predator PDM with the user name and password, the documents are displayed on the shop floor PC.  The operator can then deliver the NC program to the CNC machine via Predator DNC Software as well as collect real time data on machine utilization from Predator Machine Monitoring Software.  Any other files related to the part can be viewed on the shop floor terminal providing a paperless environment.

How do I get a paperless manufacturing shop floor?

If you want a paperless manufacturing shop floor, Predator PDM will help you accomplish this goal.

Within Predator PDM, you will be able to pull up your Job and any file that connects to that job. PDF’s, SolidWorks, eDrawings, MS office files, and images.

More info on Predator PDM:

SFA offers manufacturing-driven, open architecture Product Data Management (PDM)  designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document & file revision control. Go paperless with your shop floor operation via integration of DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC, & Tracker.

Organization & control of various documents in the manufacturing process can be a struggle.  Auditors check if you have control, management, & sign-offs of processes & files. Don’t find yourself left behind in getting the next order. Predator Product Management starts simple with NC programs & work instructions – start easily & quickly while drip-feeding the system to your Departments, such as Engineering, Quality, & more.

How do I get my Predator Software Serial Number & Access Codes?

Predator Software Serial Number and Access Codes are attributed to each legal, paid for, licensed product. These numbers are based on the SIM attached to the PC or from the network card inside of the PC.

Upon receipt of payment for the software, the permanent license will be issued. The software can be run on a temporary basis to allow users to move the software from one PC to another, as well as for evaluation periods.

You can contact your local reseller, such as Shop Floor Automations (SFA), for these codes or refer to your Predator CD label for details.

Please note that SFA can only give you the aforementioned codes and serial numbers if we were the ones who were your reseller of the product. We also do not provide support for copies of free CNC Editor available via our website.

Check out these reviews from SFA Predator Software customers:

Our Predator NC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark Chambers, Tech Manufacturing

We needed to increase uptime and decrease downtime. SFA set us up with Predator DNC. I have dealt with Joshua Ray and Sam Wilkins, and the customer service is spot on! -Eric Mcnair, Tecomet

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 here:

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

More info at the article HERE 

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, click here

How does Predator PDM differ from other revision control software?

Why is Predator PDM different from revision control software?Most revision control software packages use a database for the backend to store "links" or flags to shared files and reference the actual file.  The problem with this system is that while you might have the NC program and can place it in a database for check in and check out, there is no control with these systems. Whoever saves the file last wins!

Most revision control software packages use a database for the backend to store "links" or flags to shared files and reference the actual file.  The problem with this system is that while you might have the NC program and can place it in a database for check in and check out, there is no control with these systems. Whoever saves the file last wins!

With a true PDM system, complete revision control, lockout, and access only can be obtained by a single user until completed.  This eliminates the changes of multiple file revisions unapproved.

More on Predator PDM:

  • Paperless manufacturing-driven Product Data Management
  • Designed to organize & control CNC programs
  • Master your setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & more
  • Complete revision control
  • Integration with DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC & Tracker.

Predator PDM includes best practice workflow wizards for release, unrelease, revise, rollback, check-in and checkout. Every wizard honors user and group permissions and includes ISO 9000-style history.

For more info on why PDM is crucial on your shop floor, click here for a quick blog about the product

What are the PC hardware requirements for Predator Software?

PC hardware minimum requirements to run Predator Software are a Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, or newer CPU, 40GB or larger hard disk, and 512 MB of RAM or more are the prerequisite components for a computer to run Predator Software. Most off-the-shelf computers will far exceed these hardware requirements. Please consult with SFA on your specific software installations for the best performance and reliability.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for over a decade.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What database versions does Predator Software support?

Predator Software has support for the following database versions are included with Predator v10 and v9 applications. Microsoft Access 2000, 2002. 2003, 2007 and 2010 along with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Microsoft Express versions are also included for 2005 and 2008. Several customers are supported on Oracle 7, 8, 9, 10i, and 11i.

Predator v11 applications support Windows 2012, Windows 10, Oracle 12, Microsoft Access 2016, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

We encourage you to call Shop Floor Automations for more info. We offer the following Predator Software products:

  • CNC Editor: NC file editing, backplotting, file compare, & basic RS232 CNC communication
  • DNC: Shop floor connectivity with security, management, & reliability to any CNC make/model
  • MDC:  Data collection of shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & decisions.
  • PDM: Document management of any manufacturing sign-off, instructions, requirements, & processes in a secured vault with revision control.
  • Tracker: Keep tracking of tooling, gauges, & other valuable tools on the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) provides the leading software brands, like Predator Software, in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

What is Predator PDM?

Predator PDM is a paperless manufacturing driven Product Data Management tool designed to organize and control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, and others with complete revision control. Predator PDM supports paperless shop floor operation with integration of CNC Communications and Machine Monitoring.

Here are reasons why PDM is necessary for a shop floor:

Reason1 – PDM helps you go paperless. If you are tired of buying file cabinets and losing track of documents, then PDM is the best way to manage incoming documents paperlessly. For the rest, we suggest scanning them, making sure they are properly saved, then safely shredding them. Also, an approach of truly brilliant people that you can adopt into your routine is called the “touch only once” rule – when a piece of paper is brought to you, whether a file or a piece of mail, deal with it immediately, when at all possible, so it is off your plate.

Reason 2 – PDM makes your job easier. Using manufacturing-driven, open architecture PDM document control software can do more than you might have imagined. It is designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document control plus file revision control.

PDM can also be integrated with other software, such as DNC software and CNC editor. Keep in touch with your Quality and Engineering Departments, while feeling assured that if an audit happens, you’re covered.

Reason 3 – Simply put, it’s the law. Granted, while it is not required that you have a digitial organization system like PDM for your important documentation, you are required to keep track of the documents. If keeping tidy isn’t motivation enough, then the law definitely should be.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

What operating systems does Predator Software support?

Support for the following Microsoft Windows versions are included with Predator v9 and v10 applications:

Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP.

Support is included for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The latest Windows updates and service packs for each operating system should be installed on any and all computers you wish to run Predator Software.

Here are some reviews of Predator Software products from Shop Floor Automations customers:

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (Predator DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs. I’ve dealt with Sam, Josh Reynolds, a little bit of Greg – the customer service has been spread all over the place. Based on the services I’ve received, I would recommend SFA to other shops. One of the guys I worked with told me word-of-mouth who had initially reached out to you guys, then I took over and started dealing with it. -Josh Leger, HRE Wheels

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. An employee of mine referred SFA because they had solved problems at his former employer. It was an awesome experience working on the phone and in person to get my Predator router and software. Very satisfied. SFA is dedicated to ultimate solution and customer satisfaction. They are the ninjas of shop floor automation–Michael Rosenboom, MiniMachine

What type of documents can be used in Predator Product Data Management (PDM)?

Predator PDM supports an unlimited number of documents and support for numerous file types to be managed and viewed on the shop floor.

With the built in viewing capability from Microsoft Internet Explorer, Predator leverages the built in plug-in viewers supported and allows for continued upgrade path as new versions of file types are released.

For example, if Adobe released a new format or version of PDFs, Predator automatically embraces this compatibility with the new plugs-ins from Internet Explorer.  A variety of files are supported for document control such as: Word, Excel, PDF, NC, TXT, STL, MPEG, TIFF. JPEG, and hundreds more.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

Getting organized is consistently on the top 10 list of New Years Resolutions. If getting organized at your shop is a concern, investing in product data management (PDM) through document control software for your manufacturing operation is crucial.

Feel bad you haven’t been keeping organized? Even a branch of the USA government can relate to having issues with tracking documentation! The US Department of Reclamation (also known as BOR) had documents scattered in a few different locations and began to make an attempt at document control. They pooled what they learned in this process into a report called “Maintain Asset Data Integrity and Reap the Benefits of the ‘Internet of Things.’”

What type of security is built into Predator PDM?

What type of security is built into Predator PDM? There are over 140 permissions for control and management of who has access to files, approval process, released, un-release, rollback or pending files.

All security follows Microsoft standards for assigning permissions to users and groups.  Two versions of Predator PDM are available for purchase, PDM Administrator and PDM Client.  Predator PDM Administrator allows for all control, configuration and assignment of the security roles.

More info on document control with PDM:

SFA offers manufacturing-driven, open architecture Product Data Management (PDM) document control software  designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document & file revision control. Go paperless with your shop floor operation via integration of DNC, CNC Editor, Virtual CNC, MDC, & Tracker.

Organization & control of various documents in the manufacturing process can be a struggle.  Auditors check if you have control, management, & sign-offs of processes & files. Don’t find yourself left behind in getting the next order. Predator Product Management starts simple with NC programs & work instructions – start easily & quickly while drip-feeding the system to your Departments, such as Engineering, Quality, & more.

Integrate your ERP & MES system with open APIs (application programming interface) via 300+ methods.

Predator PDM features:  

  • Best practice workflow
  • Multiple file vaults & secure viewing
  • User & group permissions
  • Stored in a database
  • Microsoft Access, SQL Server, or Oracle options
  • C#, C++, VB.Net, VB6, VB script, Windows Script, Delphi, & other compatible programming languages.

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load?

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load? To solve this problem run Microsoft Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options.

A dialog will appear, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security section. Uncheck the "Check for publisher's certificate revocation" option and click the OK button.

This problem only occurs when PCs are configured to have access to the Internet and then in reality don't have access to the Internet. Predator applications are digitally signed just like every other program that is downloaded on the web. The digital signature is used to certify that Predator has not been infected with a virus etc.

NOTE: This problem can happen with any Predator application.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Why use Product Data Management?

Predator PDM controls manufacturing driven processes and best practice work flows from manufacturing, quality, programming and other areas to the shop floor.  Only the approved, released and authorized files are delivered to the shop floor operators and setup personnel to ensure the proven files are machines.  For ISO9000, ITAR, and other standards demanded by customers, Predator PDM is a solution to meet the manufacturing document control requirements.

Additional reasons why PDM is a great investment:

Reason1 – PDM helps you go paperless. If you are tired of buying file cabinets and losing track of documents, then PDM is the best way to manage incoming documents paperlessly. For the rest, we suggest scanning them, making sure they are properly saved, then safely shredding them. Also, an approach of truly brilliant people that you can adopt into your routine is called the “touch only once” rule – when a piece of paper is brought to you, whether a file or a piece of mail, deal with it immediately, when at all possible, so it is off your plate.

Reason 2 – PDM makes your job easier. Using manufacturing-driven, open architecture PDM document control software can do more than you might have imagined. It is designed to organize & control CNC programs, setup sheets, safety procedures, quality documents, & other files with complete document control plus file revision control.

PDM can also be integrated with other software, such as DNC software and CNC editor. Keep in touch with your Quality and Engineering Departments, while feeling assured that if an audit happens, you’re covered.

Reason 3 – Simply put, it’s the law. Granted, while it is not required that you have a digitial organization system like PDM for your important documentation, you are required to keep track of the documents. If keeping tidy isn’t motivation enough, then the law definitely should be.

As a manufacturer, you need to abide by legal code 21 CFR 820.40 – establishing and maintaining procedures to control documents (more info here). As a business, you need to keep tax documents and any related records for anywhere from three to seven years. Employment records need to be kept for a minimum of a year and payroll records kept a minimum of three years.

Predator MDC (Machine Monitoring)

Can I exclude M00/M01 from cycle time?

Can you exclude M00/M01 from cycle time? Yes. Some NC programs include many M00/M01 (program or optional stops), but the CNC machine shows that as cycling.

On FANUC controls with FOCAS, we can have the machine go into either an idle state or unplanned downtime when M00/M01 are active.

Here is some information from some of our customers on other ways Shop Floor Automations can help you, past FAQs:

Our DNC remote system failed to communicate with our server. I heard about SFA through a DELCAM/FEATURECAM rep and Joshua Ray, along with a few other SFA technicians over the phone, helped resolve our issues. We ended up getting DNC boxes that connect the units that were installed on our CNC machines to call up the programs.

The DNC system helps the machine operators and machinists to call the programs in and out of our main server, and we love that we can apply the hardware over the remote system, which was failing to work due to the weak signals from our routers on site. I recommend SFA to any other shops because they are fast, reliable and user-friendly. -Qui, Sumitomo Drive Technologies

SFA updated our DNC system, so we could put it on Windows 7. Made sure everything was working. Made sure all the machines made the transition, in doing what they’re supposed to do. Get them to both load and punch out programs. Email notifications are working – everything seems to be working good! It seemed like it went pretty flawless. -Roger & Kevin, CNC Programmers at Honeywell Aerospace

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 Product 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 

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support automatic CNC data collection?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support automatic CNC data collection? Yes.

Predator MDC supports automatic, error-free, and unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start and end, setup 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.

A typical practice is when downloading the NC program into the machine, the system will automatically track the part #, job #, user and place the status of the work order in setup. Upon cycling the part, the status of the machine would change from in setup to in cycle.

More about CNC data collection through machine monitoring: 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!

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support manual CNC data collection?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring support manual CNC data collection? Yes.

Using Predator MDC Express, users can print out the data collection form to enter cycle information, part quantity, good and scrap parts, and other metrics. Predator MDC standard also supports manual monitoring of events that are initiated by machine operators such as machine logon/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. SFA does provide an Android solution to also input this data via a tablet.

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.

Does Predator offer a machine monitoring mobile app?

Does Predator Machine Monitoring offer a mobile app AKA application? No.

Currently the product is designed as an application that runs on a Windows platform. Mobile applications for Android and Apple phones and iPads are not developed. A customer can create their own applications using other applications if desired since there are APIs and open databases available.

More about Predator Software through Shop Floor Automations:

About Shop Floor Automations (SFA): Founded back in 1998, SFA 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for the past 19 years running.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

Many of our clients know us as the DNC Communications and Data Collection / Machine Monitoring experts and we look forward to helping your company in these areas and with our new product solutions.

How can I keep track of my CNC machines and collect data from them?

If you want to collect CNC machine data, there are various methods to collect real-time status information from a CNC.

We have solutions that make it possible to monitor all types of machines and equipment from manual machines, boilers, cell controllers, assembly lines, and of course the obvious, CNC machines. all while providing one interface to see real-time status and run historical reports.

Collection methods include network-based protocols, MTConnect, wiring PLC’s to electrical points, bar code scanners, RFID’s, manual user input, and more. We also recommend machine monitoring through Predator MDC and Scytec DataXchange.

More info on the benefits of machine monitoring from one of our customers:

I am very happy with the software and it is having a positive impact on our productivity. Shop Floor Automations had been somebody that we worked with really before we acquired it 13 years ago. We had Predator and some of the software you supplied. Recently, we added the Scytec DataXchange stuff a few years ago, and you guys are just good problem solvers for us!

There was minimal startup cost and it requires little software management on the user end. Significant increases in machine utilization, better information flow between engineering guys and programming guys, quality guys, shop floor guys, and us as owners! Knowing what’s happening on the shop floor. I would recommend you, and I have – we’re big proponents of the software and you have been a really good resource for us. -Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing LLC

How do I display real-time machine monitoring on the shop floor?

How do I display real-time machine monitoring on the shop floor? Dedicate one or more large screen monitors on the shop floor for real-time digital signage using Predator MDC.

Create slides of charts, dashboards and reports with specific filters and details. Eliminate manual posting of paper reports and charts on the shop floor. Provide a focal point for standup shop meetings while enforcing productivity and manufacturing metrics that management, engineering and quality departments care about. Eliminate the clutter of paper and go high tech!

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 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.

You can also enjoy real-time machine monitoring from DataXchange!

How do I get my Predator Software Serial Number & Access Codes?

Predator Software Serial Number and Access Codes are attributed to each legal, paid for, licensed product. These numbers are based on the SIM attached to the PC or from the network card inside of the PC.

Upon receipt of payment for the software, the permanent license will be issued. The software can be run on a temporary basis to allow users to move the software from one PC to another, as well as for evaluation periods.

You can contact your local reseller, such as Shop Floor Automations (SFA), for these codes or refer to your Predator CD label for details.

Please note that SFA can only give you the aforementioned codes and serial numbers if we were the ones who were your reseller of the product. We also do not provide support for copies of free CNC Editor available via our website.

Check out these reviews from SFA Predator Software customers:

Our Predator NC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark Chambers, Tech Manufacturing

We needed to increase uptime and decrease downtime. SFA set us up with Predator DNC. I have dealt with Joshua Ray and Sam Wilkins, and the customer service is spot on! -Eric Mcnair, Tecomet

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 here:

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

More info at the article HERE 

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, click here

Is machine monitoring for Okuma Thinc controllers available?

Is there machine monitoring for Okuma Thinc controllers available? Yes.

Predator Machine Monitoring (MDC) includes a product called Predator CNC Service, which can be installed on the controller without any modifications to the controller.  This product will run as a Windows Service in the background and communicate directly to the Predator MDC data collection software over Ethernet.

Big data can be extracted from the controller with little effort to capture cycle status, idle time, alarm, emergency stop, feed hold, and part counts.  This results in real time events as well as historical data on machine productivity and downtime.

More on Predator MDC:

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.

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 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.

Call for more info at (877) 611-5825

What are the differences between Predator Machine Monitoring versions?

Predator Machine Monitoring through Predator MDC is available in an Express, Standard and Enterprise versions. Each version is upgraded to the next level and includes functionality to collect data.

Predator MDC Express is a paper-based solution to allow users to collect data manually and report and chart data on events that happen previously.

Predator MDC Standard version is real-time data collection of utilization from the machines and collects cycle time, idle time, alarm and downtime.

Predator MDC Enterprise version is for companies who want to collect OEE, track parts, users, plus other metrics and interface the data with other business systems.

Predator Machine Monitoring is one of many software products that SFA provides full support on. We can provide remote sessions over the phone and computer, or visit your shop in person. We can also update your software when the time comes and specify it to your needs.

What are the differences between Predator Machine Monitoring versions?

Predator Machine Monitoring is available in an Express, Standard and Enterprise version.

Each version is upgraded to the next level and includes functionality to collect data. Predator MDC Express is a paper-based solution to allow users to collect data manually and report and chart data on events that happen previously.

Predator MDC Standard version is real-time data collection of utilization of the machines and collects cycle time, idle time, alarm and downtime. Predator MDC Enterprise version is for companies who want to collect OEE, track parts, users, and other metrics and interface the data with other business systems.

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!

What are the PC hardware requirements for Predator Software?

PC hardware minimum requirements to run Predator Software are a Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, or newer CPU, 40GB or larger hard disk, and 512 MB of RAM or more are the prerequisite components for a computer to run Predator Software. Most off-the-shelf computers will far exceed these hardware requirements. Please consult with SFA on your specific software installations for the best performance and reliability.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for over a decade.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What database versions does Predator Software support?

Predator Software has support for the following database versions are included with Predator v10 and v9 applications. Microsoft Access 2000, 2002. 2003, 2007 and 2010 along with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Microsoft Express versions are also included for 2005 and 2008. Several customers are supported on Oracle 7, 8, 9, 10i, and 11i.

Predator v11 applications support Windows 2012, Windows 10, Oracle 12, Microsoft Access 2016, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

We encourage you to call Shop Floor Automations for more info. We offer the following Predator Software products:

  • CNC Editor: NC file editing, backplotting, file compare, & basic RS232 CNC communication
  • DNC: Shop floor connectivity with security, management, & reliability to any CNC make/model
  • MDC:  Data collection of shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & decisions.
  • PDM: Document management of any manufacturing sign-off, instructions, requirements, & processes in a secured vault with revision control.
  • Tracker: Keep tracking of tooling, gauges, & other valuable tools on the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) provides the leading software brands, like Predator Software, in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

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 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. We have been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for the past 19 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 Predator CNC Service?

Predator CNC Service is a comprehensive service designed to work with Predator MDC.

The service can be installed on a computer to communicate to various machine types using proprietary protocols. Predator MDC supports FANUC FOCAS, MTConnect and Structured XML to capture real-time data from the machine using the network connection of the controller.

Development is also being tested for working with Okuma Thinc controllers on P100 and P200 where the service is installed on the machine. The service will then communicate through APIs and no interface is required.

More about Predator MDC:

Predator 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.

What is Predator Machine Monitoring Software?

Predator Machine Monitoring AKA 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 metrics to improve operations and to make better decisions. The Predator MDC is an application that is installed on a computer inside the company facility.

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.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor.

What is Predator MDC Administrator?

Predator MDC Administrator is designed for the manufacturing department head or IS/manufacturing project lead to manage real-time machine monitoring processes centered on time and utilization. This seat is required with every purchase and allows for the creation of equipment, departments, locations, shifts, parts, reason codes, users, permissions and other administrative tasks.

More about Predator MDC machine monitoring:

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.

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 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.

What is Predator MDC Client?

Predator MDC Client is designed for personnel and users that need to run MDC reports and charts centered on time and utilization. Users can also see real time data on a dashboard.

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:

  • Automatic and manual data collection
  • 1 Network to monitor all your CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE test stands
  • 15 Real-time Dashboards for digital signage
  • Real-time Slideshows for digital signage
  • Multiple plant support
  • Unlimited number of data collection events
  • 25,000+ Reports and Charts
  • Real-Time OEE Dashboard, OEE Charts and OEE Reports
  • Supports Wireless, Ethernet, RS232 and Parallel I/O
  • Open API and database architecture
  • Includes Predator CNC Service
  • Includes Predator MDC Executive
  • Includes Predator MDC for DOS
  • Includes Predator DNC for send, receive, and drip-feed
  • Use your existing ERP and MES bar coded paperwork
  • Upgrade to Predator SFC
  • 250+ Online help topics

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 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.

What is the Predator MDC Shop Floor Software Seat?

What is the Predator MDC Shop Floor Software Seat? Predator MDC Shop Floor is designed for data entry for shop floor personnel. The software can also be used to display real-time data on the shop floor using LCD monitors or can be displayed in Engineering and Quality Departments to provide feedback on equipment status.

More about shop floor software:

Shop Floor Automations software (AKA SFA) provides the leading brands in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

Shop Floor Software Options:

  • machine monitoring
  • DNC software
  • CNC editor
  • CMMS plant maintenance
  • job scheduling
  • document control
  • tool management
  • MTConnect

Follow Shop Floor Automations on our various social media channels by visiting our resource page here. We are located on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, & LinkedIn! We encourage you to call & speak with one of our account executives at 877-611-5825 to understand your needs & see how we can deliver the best solutions for you. We would love to tell you about the thousands of customers we have served & you have no obligation to make a purchase during the call! 

What operating systems does Predator Software support?

Support for the following Microsoft Windows versions are included with Predator v9 and v10 applications:

Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP.

Support is included for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The latest Windows updates and service packs for each operating system should be installed on any and all computers you wish to run Predator Software.

Here are some reviews of Predator Software products from Shop Floor Automations customers:

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (Predator DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs. I’ve dealt with Sam, Josh Reynolds, a little bit of Greg – the customer service has been spread all over the place. Based on the services I’ve received, I would recommend SFA to other shops. One of the guys I worked with told me word-of-mouth who had initially reached out to you guys, then I took over and started dealing with it. -Josh Leger, HRE Wheels

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. An employee of mine referred SFA because they had solved problems at his former employer. It was an awesome experience working on the phone and in person to get my Predator router and software. Very satisfied. SFA is dedicated to ultimate solution and customer satisfaction. They are the ninjas of shop floor automation–Michael Rosenboom, MiniMachine

What type of equipment can Predator Machine Monitoring support?

What type of equipment can Predator Machine Monitoring support? Predator MDC standard and enterprise versions supports up to 4096 CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE Test Stands 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.

More info about machine monitoring:

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.

In today’s competitive manufacturing environment, it is more important than ever to be as efficient as possible. Increase machine up-time & drive innovation on your shop floor.

What types of reporting and charting are included with Predator MDC?

What types of reporting and charting are included with Predator MDC? Over 1300 reports and charts provide unique insight into the productivity and efficiency of each manufacturer.

The flexibility of the reporting and charting options within Predator MDC converts the volume of data collected into concise reports and charts to identify issues and drive improved productivity. Eliminate manual OEE driven data collection and OEE spreadsheets. Predator MDC supports real time OEE data collection with an OEE Dashboard, OEE Performance ranking charts, OEE Trend Analysis charts and OEE Reports.

More info on Predator MDC:

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:

  • Automatic and manual data collection
  • 1 Network to monitor all your CNC machines, robots, PLCs and ATE test stands
  • 15 Real-time Dashboards for digital signage
  • Real-time Slideshows for digital signage
  • Multiple plant support
  • Unlimited number of data collection events
  • 25,000+ Reports and Charts
  • Real-Time OEE Dashboard, OEE Charts and OEE Reports
  • Supports Wireless, Ethernet, RS232 and Parallel I/O
  • Open API and database architecture
  • Includes Predator CNC Service
  • Includes Predator MDC Executive
  • Includes Predator MDC for DOS
  • Includes Predator DNC for send, receive, and drip-feed
  • Use your existing ERP and MES bar coded paperwork
  • Upgrade to Predator SFC
  • 250+ Online help topics

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load?

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load? To solve this problem run Microsoft Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options.

A dialog will appear, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security section. Uncheck the "Check for publisher's certificate revocation" option and click the OK button.

This problem only occurs when PCs are configured to have access to the Internet and then in reality don't have access to the Internet. Predator applications are digitally signed just like every other program that is downloaded on the web. The digital signature is used to certify that Predator has not been infected with a virus etc.

NOTE: This problem can happen with any Predator application.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Predator CNC Editor

Are there limits to what COM Ports can be used with the CNC Editor?

In terms of COM port limits with CNC Editor - Yes, the Editor Express can only use COM ports 1-8 and the Full version of the Editor can only use COM ports 1-32.

More info on CNC Editor:

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

These extremely versatile but easy-to-use packages are designed to simplify your work & will also improve productivity.

Wondering about the different features for CNC Editor Light, Express & the Full package? Click here to see our CNC Editor Feature Grid!

Call for more information on CNC Editor and similar shop floor solutions at (877) 611-5825

Can I use the Predator CNC Editor on a different PC not tied to the DNC Networking System?

The Predator CNC Editor bundled with the DNC Networking Software is controlled by the license of the Predator DNC Software. The SIM and the serial number from the DNC will enable the full version of the CNC Editor. Currently there is no option to split the seat from the DNC Networking license. However, you may install the Predator CNC Editor on as many PCs as you wish and use the "light" version of the product for general editing purposes. A stand-alone full version is available if needed. Contact our sales department.

More about DNC Software: Manage CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. Use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help. Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. SFA offers DNC Software for CNC Communications via Predator DNC, Ascendant’s ExtremeDNC Software, and additional solutions Predator Touch HMI and Predator EditLock.

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

I sought out SFA mainly for Predator DNC for our CNC machines. We have experienced faster, easier file transport. Would I recommend you to another shop? Absolutely. I heard initially about SFA I guess you could say through word of mouth – a Congressionally-funded project through TechSolve in Ohio. -Daniel, Benét Laboratories for the US ARMY

We were trying to control over 8000 programs, revision levels, and updates – the Predator system was recommended to help minimize the man hours and mistakes of doing this manually. We installed Predator DNC and CNC Editor, and have had no downtime with full control. CMW currently manages approximately 8000 part programs. The system seems to be indestructible – we have had no problems. -Wayne, Carroll Machine

Can the Predator CNC Editor communicate to multiple machines?

Yes, Predator CNC Editor supports an unlimited number of different machines and can communicate with multple machines. Each machine can have unique COM port, baud rate, and numerous other properties. The Editor supports switch boxes, intelligent switch boxes, and the entire line of Predator DNC and Connect AKA FlexN hardware.

NOTE: The Predator CNC Editor can only communicate to one machine at a time and is not designed for simultaneous multitasking operations to multiple machines. If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC, which is designed to support machines simultaneously.

About Predator CNC Editor:

Hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

  • The most popular 32-bit CNC code editor available on the market
  • Includes hundreds of features, yet is extremely easy to use
  • File Compare, Backplot Simulation and CNC communication included
  • Improve day-to-day productivity of your CNC machine tools
  • The ideal choice for a small job shop, or the largest manufacturer

About Predator DNC Software:

  • Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to/from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols supported: Mazatrol (CMT), Xmodem, Okuma B, & more!
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to 4000+ devices
  • Drip-feed, upload & download Wirelessly, Wired, via Ethernet, & USB
  • New features & protocols added frequently

Can you edit a Mazatrol part program with the Predator CNC Editor?

Can you edit a Mazatrol part program with the Predator CNC Editor? No, the CNC Editor is only designed for editing and reviewing part programs written in G-code. Other products on the market support Mazatrol editing and can be recommended by Shop Floor Automations.

If you are seeking Mazak compatibility, MTConnect is suggested. For Mazak CNC controllers, the MTConnect can be added to the following machines by contacting Mazak directly.

Mazak

CNC Model CNC O/S CNC Main
s/w ver
Release
Date
Adapter
ver
Machine Model
Fusion 640T Nexus Win95 B8G 6/15/10 v1.0 Quick Turn
Fusion 640T Nexus Win2000 B8G 6/15/10 v1.1 Quick Turn
Fusion 640M Nexus Win95 ABD 6/9/10 v1.0 M/C
Fusion 640M Nexus Win2000 A9D 6/9/10 v1.1 M/C
Fusion 640T/MT/TE Win95 DDG 6/15/10 v1.0 Integrex
Fusion 640T/MT/TE Win2000 A8G 6/15/10 v1.1 Integrex
Fusion 640M/M-5X Win95 CGG/ACG 6/9/10 v1.0 M/C
Fusion 640M/M-5X Win2000 AAG/A9G 6/9/10 v1.1 M/C
Fusion 640MTPro Win2000 ABD
Fusion 640MPro Win95
Fusion 640MPro Win2000
Matrix (e-Machine) WinXP D1 4/2/10 v1.1 Integrex-ell. Integrex-e420H
Matrix (e-Machine) WinXP E1 Ramtec
Matrix (Integrex-IV) WinXP C4B 8/27/10 v1.1 Integrex-IV
Matrix (Versatech) WinXP D4 1/7/11 v1.1 Versatech
Matrix (CTT,HQR,MP-II) WinXP C3 8/20/10 v1.1
Matrix (VRX, VRX-IIVRX-T,SVC) WinXP D3 8/20/10 v1.1
Matrix (VTC) WinXP D3 1/5/10 v1.1 VTC
Matrix Nexus (VNC, HCN, FJB-II) WinXP D4 11/5/10 v1.1 VCN, HCN, FJV MK2
Matrix Nexus (QTN-II, MTN, STN) WinXP D4 11/30/10 v1.1 QTN-II, MTM, STN, CT
Matrix (INTE-i150) WinXP C9 4/1/11 v1.1 Integrex i150-series
Matrix (INTE-i200) WinXP D1 5/1/11 v1.1 Integrex i200 Series
Matrix (INTE-J) WinXP D2 4/25/11 v1.1 Integrex j-series
Matrix II (e-Series) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Integrex e-series
Matrix II (VERSATECH) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 v140
Matrix II (CyberTechTurn) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 CTT Dual Turrent only!
Matrix II (MP-II) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Multiplex
Matrix II (VRX, VRX-II, VRX-T, SVC Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 VRX i-Series
Matrix II (VTC-800R) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (HQR) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 HyperQuadrex
Matrix II (VCN 5X) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (QTN II LBB) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1
Matrix II (i-Series) Win7 n/a 1/1/12 v1.1 Integrex i-series

**Note: Mazak Smart CNC can also be updated with SMART ADAPTER #CCWMPD0280E

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 Product 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 

Does the Predator CNC Editor support long filenames?

Does the Predator CNC Editor support long filenames? Yes, the editor supports long filenames, long directory names, names with spaces, shared network drives, and UNC names. Refer to the following examples:

  •     Job 1234.NC
  •     H:CUSTOM PARTSJOB 4567.NC
  •     \\SERVER1\C\LARGE CUSTOMER\PART No 1234-5678.NC

More about CNC Editor software -

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

These extremely versatile but easy-to-use packages are designed to simplify your work & will also improve productivity.

Wondering about the different features for CNC Editor Light, Express & the Full package? Click here to see our CNC Editor Feature Grid!

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Remote Request?

No, CNC Editor does not support Remote Request. Remote Request eliminates walking back and forth and allows operators to request files from the CNC control.

If this is desired, upgrade to Predator DNC software, which is designed to support Remote Request for up to 1024 machines simultaneously.

More info about DNC software:

  • Network everything with one solution
  • Drip-feed, upload and download all DNC programs
  • Work through various methods including wireless and Ethernet
  • Improve the revision control of your CNC program
  • Streamline the processes between your CNC program and you
  • Use all your existing MES and ERP paperwork
  • Allow you to upgrade to Predator PDM and MDC when ready
  • Automate methods for transfers using bar code readers and shop floor PCs

Predator DNC is one of the only programs that supports up to 4096 different machines. The downloading, uploading and drip-feeding is all possible at the same time, and CNCs can be grouped together quickly and easily with a Microsoft Windows Explorer interface.

One of the biggest benefits of Predator DNC is the improvement to your workflow on the shop floor. You will no longer need to carry laptops around or manual type part programs at the CNC. There’s no need to use some old-school hardware to communicate, such as switch boxes and floppy disks.

Predator DNC really is your all-in-one solution. Not only will your workflow improve, but the whole workplace will become more productive and reliable.

When you want something simple and easy to use, Explorer is the product you need. It works with Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office, which are widely used around the world.

Ask us about Secure File Transfers with Secure DNC for Ethernet-based machines. Call (877) 611-5825 to learn more about Predator DNC.

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Xmodem or Mazatrol protocol?

Does the Predator CNC Editor support Xmodem or Mazatrol protocol? No, the current protocols supported are XOn/XOff along with RTS-CTS. The Predator DNC module would be required to transfer via Xmodem or Mazatrol.

Here are Mazatrol protocol specific products we have at Shop Floor Automations:

The LAN Connect Mazak is good for USB to CNC functions for those types of machines. Send and save Mazatrol (CMT) programs off of Mazak Machines with the LAN Connect Mazak model. The LAN  Connect is designed to operate with standard software that comes with a PC (such as Internet Explorer from Microsoft). No additional licenses or additional interface software are required. The data server will look like a FTP hard drive on your network.

Programmers: simply drag and drop a file from your PC to the data server. Once loaded on the server, the operator can load the file into CNC memory or drip-feed a program directly from the data server without using network resources. Ask us how the data server can easily be made wireless by adding low cost off-the-shelf wireless bridges.

The USB Connect Mazak is a Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol (CMT). Includes 2GB USB Flash Drive, panel mount  USB connector / water proof cap, display, USB cable, & power cable.  Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC.

How do I add a Predator CNC Editor custom menu?

Creating a CNC Editor custom menu with Predator is for creating a shortcut to launch a desired program within Editor. Instead of going to your desktop or Start menu to start a common application, we can make a "bookmark" type link, which will reside in the options menu of Editor. To add a new custom menu:

  • From the File menu select New Custom Menu...
  • The New Custom Menu Wizard will appear:
Field Name Description
Menu Name Type a name for the new custom menu item.
Command Line Enter a command line to execute or click the ... button to browse the Windows File System for a command line

-Examples of the command line parameter would be "PDnc.exe" for Predator DNC-

  • When finished, click Finish to save the new custom menu. It will appear under the Options menu.

At any time, click Cancel to discard the new custom menu.

A limit of four custom menu items exists. The Menu Name must be unique.

Want to try CNC Editor for free? Check out the CNC Editor Light download from Shop Floor Automations at this link 

The Predator CNC Editor free software is perfect for any programmer, hobbyist, or shop floor user to edit, save, print, and modify NC code. The free CNC Editor can be used with any CAD/CAM software to review NC programs before sending them to the shop floor. We refer to this product as the CNC Text Editor on steroids.

The text editor is completely free and you can install it on any number of computers. You can give this out to anyone you like!

How do I get my Predator Software Serial Number & Access Codes?

Predator Software Serial Number and Access Codes are attributed to each legal, paid for, licensed product. These numbers are based on the SIM attached to the PC or from the network card inside of the PC.

Upon receipt of payment for the software, the permanent license will be issued. The software can be run on a temporary basis to allow users to move the software from one PC to another, as well as for evaluation periods.

You can contact your local reseller, such as Shop Floor Automations (SFA), for these codes or refer to your Predator CD label for details.

Please note that SFA can only give you the aforementioned codes and serial numbers if we were the ones who were your reseller of the product. We also do not provide support for copies of free CNC Editor available via our website.

Check out these reviews from SFA Predator Software customers:

Our Predator NC system is running so well, that after over 2 years, I have moved the keyboard and monitor off my desk and into a corner. It requires no maintenance and provides us with a trouble-free system. – Mark Chambers, Tech Manufacturing

We needed to increase uptime and decrease downtime. SFA set us up with Predator DNC. I have dealt with Joshua Ray and Sam Wilkins, and the customer service is spot on! -Eric Mcnair, Tecomet

How do I setup “Wait” in Predator CNC Editor?

How do I setup “Wait” in Predator CNC Editor? You can access the DNC COM port configuration one of two ways:

In the Edit menu, Click "Template" > Choose your template > Click "Next" > Choose your MCH file > Name your template if necessary > Click “Next” > Click "DNC Properties." > Check “Wait for CNC”

Alternatively, in the DNC Menu, click "Properties” > Navigate to the "DNC Properties" window > Check the "Wait For CNC" box > Click Next until Finish is available > Click "Finish."

DNC is a menu option in CNC Editor. DNC refers to any communication to and from the machine tool and is a generic term.

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

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 here:

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

More info at the article HERE 

Shop Floor Automations has been a yearly #1 reseller of Predator Software since 1999. For more info, click here

How fast can the CNC Editor send and receive CNC programs?

How fast can the CNC Editor send and receive CNC programs? The CNC Editor will support communications up to a baud rate of 19,200. The communication can be configured for hardware, software, or both flow control along with various data bits, stop bits and parity.

If you want to communicate to your machines faster, then talk to our Sales department about purchasing Predator DNC software.

More about DNC Software: Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets with DNC Software. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office®  & Windows® Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

  •  Network all CNCs, EDMs, PLCs, & Robots with singular DNC package
  • Eliminates walking time to & from CNC control & PC
  • Major CNC protocols, including Mazatrol (CMT), Okuma B & Xmodem, supported
  • Send, receive or drip-feed to up to 4,096 devices
  • Highly flexible interface options include wireless, wired, Ethernet, & USB

How many communication ports does the CNC Editor Express support?

The CNC Editor Express only supports COM 1 through 8.  If you need additional communication ports beyond COM 9, you will need to upgrade to the full version of the Predator CNC Editor.

More about Predator CNC Editor Express - The Predator CNC Editor Express is the most popular 32-bit CNC code editor available on the market. It includes hundreds of features to improve the day to day productivity of CNC machine tools, yet it is extremely easy to use. The Predator CNC Editor is the ideal choice for a small job shop or the largest manufacturer.

Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly and easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo and redo all changes. Microsoft® Word compatible menus, toolbar, and shortcut keys make Predator CNC Editor easy to learn.

The Predator CNC Editor supports up to 64MB of code per CNC program. In addition, editing multiple CNC programs at the same time is supported, with the ability to cut, copy, and paste between them.

Send, receive, and drip-feed to one machine at a time, via switch box or direct connection to any compatible CNC machine. Works in the background even while other software applications are running. Should a tool break, an easy to use DNC Restart command automatically re-creates the CNC program from any point.
NOTE: An upgrade to our full Predator DNC product provides support for DNC networking of multiple CNC machines at the same time.
Predator Editor CNC Templates add intelligence by remembering all the CNC control details. Includes a library of 20 sample CNC templates. Each CNC template is completely configurable.

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software?

What are the command line options for installing Predator Software? Every Predator installation is built using Microsoft Windows Installer technology. There is extensive documentation available on Microsoft's website.

The following primary command line options are available:
/i    Installs or configures a product
/f    Repairs a product, has 10 options
/a    Administrative install on the network
/x    Uninstalls a product
/j    Advertises a product
/l    Specifies the log file path
/p    Applies a patch
/q    Sets the user interface level
/y    Calls API register server to install
/z    Calls API register server to uninstall

A sample command line option for repairing a CNC Editor installation is as follows:

msiexec /i "predator CNC editor v6.0.msi" /fv

For a complete list of command line arguments for Windows installer, go to https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/314881 on Microsoft’s website.

More info on Predator Software:

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Call (877) 611-5825 to get information about Predator Software from the consistent top resellers of Predator Software, Shop Floor Automations.

What are the main differences between Predator CNC Editor Xpress and Predator CNC Editor?

The Predator CNC Editor Xpress has basic file editing, printing, and basic CNC communication. Color highlighting is not included.  The CNC Editor has file compare, backplot, CNC communication, and more advanced editing features along with color highlighting.

More info about CNC Editor options:

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing.

These extremely versatile but easy-to-use packages are designed to simplify your work & will also improve productivity. Wondering about the different features for CNC Editor Light, Express & the Full package? Click here to see our CNC Editor Feature Grid!

What are the PC hardware requirements for Predator Software?

PC hardware minimum requirements to run Predator Software are a Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, or newer CPU, 40GB or larger hard disk, and 512 MB of RAM or more are the prerequisite components for a computer to run Predator Software. Most off-the-shelf computers will far exceed these hardware requirements. Please consult with SFA on your specific software installations for the best performance and reliability.

Founded back in 1998, Shop Floor Automations, Inc. (SFA) 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, the company 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. SFA has been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for over a decade.

We are focused on the sales, service and support of the Predator Software MES Suite. The Suite consists of Predator DNC (shop floor networking and communications), Predator MDC (Manufacturing Data Collection and machine monitoring), Predator DNC Enterprise (shop floor control), Predator Product Data Management (CNC and data management), Predator Travelers (electronic work instructions), Predator Tracker (tool crib and gage crib organization and tracking), Predator Virtual CNC (NC verification and simulation), and Predator CNC Editor (NC editing). The Predator MES Suite provides manufacturers and machine shops with answers to real-world shop floor automation problems. SFA combines an experienced and dedicated staff with internal systems for development, testing, and support of all Predator Software applications. We are committed to investing in the resources it takes to remain the recognized industry leader in shop floor automation technologies.

What database versions does Predator Software support?

Predator Software has support for the following database versions are included with Predator v10 and v9 applications. Microsoft Access 2000, 2002. 2003, 2007 and 2010 along with SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008. Microsoft Express versions are also included for 2005 and 2008. Several customers are supported on Oracle 7, 8, 9, 10i, and 11i.

Predator v11 applications support Windows 2012, Windows 10, Oracle 12, Microsoft Access 2016, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

We encourage you to call Shop Floor Automations for more info. We offer the following Predator Software products:

  • CNC Editor: NC file editing, backplotting, file compare, & basic RS232 CNC communication
  • DNC: Shop floor connectivity with security, management, & reliability to any CNC make/model
  • MDC:  Data collection of shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & decisions.
  • PDM: Document management of any manufacturing sign-off, instructions, requirements, & processes in a secured vault with revision control.
  • Tracker: Keep tracking of tooling, gauges, & other valuable tools on the shop floor.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA) provides the leading software brands, like Predator Software, in the manufacturing industry to integrate & support the best solutions for our customers with our years of applicable experience. The developers of the software SFA carries understand your shop floor needs & with our integration services, we can make your company more efficient using machine monitoring, job scheduling, DNC communication, document control, revision control, CNC editing, & more.

SFA is committed to addressing manufacturing automation needs of customers with individualized solutions. By offering an extensive collection of software & hardware products, we scale automation solutions to customers of any size & variety of equipment.

SFA’s goal is to build lasting partnerships with customers by understanding their specific manufacturing & production needs.

What is included in the free Predator CNC Editor Software?

The CNC Editor includes basic editing, printing, and saving for any size part program. Major features such as communication, file compare, backplotting and color highlighting are not included.

More about free CNC editor software from Predator through Shop Floor Automations:

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.

Click here to get a free copy of basic, free CNC Editor.

What is the Predator CNC Editor “Wait” function for?

What is the Predator CNC Editor “Wait” function for? The wait function is designed to allow the operator to queue a file at the PC to send to the machine, and then receive at the machine.

The steps would be similar to the following:

At the PC, send a file out to the machine, using the wait option

Walk out to the machine and manually receive that file

Once the Wait is enabled, Editor will wait for an "XON" character before sending files. Note that the Wait option is only enabled when flow control is set to either Software or None.

This is different because typically, you would set the CNC control to receive, walk to the PC, and send the file out. Not all machine controls support the “Wait” option. Consult your control operator's manual for compatibility.

Why upgrade to the CNC Editor? Here is a list of reasons an upgrade is worth the investment

  • The SFA price comes with 30 days of Tech Support & 2 hours of personalized, remote Training at no additional cost
  • Additional features such as file compare, backplotting, and CNC communications*
  • Color syntax highlighting
  • Book marks
  • Custom template
  • Become eligible to purchase 24 Hour Support

Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly and easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo and redo all changes. Microsoft® Word compatible menus, toolbar, and shortcut keys make Predator CNC Editor easy to learn.

The Predator CNC Editor supports up to 64MBs of code per CNC program. In addition, editing multiple CNC programs at the same time is supported, with the ability to cut, copy, and paste between them.

The Predator CNC Editor includes a side-by-side file compare, which identifies each G-code and M-code difference and fixes them with a single click of the mouse. A summary report and numerous options to ignore spaces, blank lines, leader/trailer, feed rates, spindle speeds, and tool changes simplify the process of integrating shop floor edits with a master CNC program.

What operating systems does Predator Software support?

Support for the following Microsoft Windows versions are included with Predator v9 and v10 applications:

Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP.

Support is included for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. The latest Windows updates and service packs for each operating system should be installed on any and all computers you wish to run Predator Software.

Here are some reviews of Predator Software products from Shop Floor Automations customers:

Our programs were so large that we couldn’t download them onto our machines, so we started using a drip-feeding system from you guys. Then, we changed over from there to now doing a data server on our machines, but we’re still using your guys’ software (Predator DNC through SFA) to build all of our programs. I’ve dealt with Sam, Josh Reynolds, a little bit of Greg – the customer service has been spread all over the place. Based on the services I’ve received, I would recommend SFA to other shops. One of the guys I worked with told me word-of-mouth who had initially reached out to you guys, then I took over and started dealing with it. -Josh Leger, HRE Wheels

My old CNC communication network had failed. I could not send files to my CNC sometimes for hours, then it would randomly work. Because of the intermittent failure, we kept trying for a long period of time to keep using our old system. After measuring the time loss for system failure, it was clear we needed to change it out. Now we can even send files via DNC which before did not work as it was supposed to have. An employee of mine referred SFA because they had solved problems at his former employer. It was an awesome experience working on the phone and in person to get my Predator router and software. Very satisfied. SFA is dedicated to ultimate solution and customer satisfaction. They are the ninjas of shop floor automation–Michael Rosenboom, MiniMachine

Why am I unable to license CNC Editor software?

Unable to license CNC Editor software? Even if the USB SIM is in the computer, and the serial number and access codes have been verified, this problem may still occur.

There are many reasons for this, but the most common and easily solved reasons are:

1. Make sure you are opening the red “Predator DNC Administrator” icon to license your software, if you have codes that license both DNC and Editor. When Editor is licensed through DNC, the codes must be entered in DNC.

2. Make sure you are opening the orange “Predator CNC Editor” icon to license your software, if you have codes that are for licensing the Editor. Often, users will try to license using Virtual CNC (blue icon) but codes intended for Editor will license Virtual on their own, so that the Backplot functionality is included in Editor.

More about CNC Editor Software:

SFA provides customized CNC Editor Solutions for everyone, from small job shops to the largest manufacturers, with hundreds of features to improve day-to-day CNC machine tool productivity. Dozens of CNC intelligent editing commands make changes to your CNC program quickly & easily. Edit confidently with the ability to undo & redo all changes. Microsoft® Word-compatible menus, toolbar, & shortcut keys make these systems easy to learn with basic CNC communications. Also, Windows 10 O/S is supported!

In addition, editing multiple CNC programs of unlimited file sizes at the same time, even while other applications run in the background, is supported. Cut, copy, & paste between them. Program includes a side-by-side file compare that identifies all G-code & M-code differences, then fixes them with a single click. Our editing & backplotter packages are developed under rigorous testing. Call us for more info!

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load?

Why does Predator Software take a long time to load? To solve this problem run Microsoft Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options.

A dialog will appear, click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Security section. Uncheck the "Check for publisher's certificate revocation" option and click the OK button.

This problem only occurs when PCs are configured to have access to the Internet and then in reality don't have access to the Internet. Predator applications are digitally signed just like every other program that is downloaded on the web. The digital signature is used to certify that Predator has not been infected with a virus etc.

NOTE: This problem can happen with any Predator application.

We are proud to be the top reseller of Predator Software 16 years running and we are determined to continue this streak for the years to come!

“There is something happening with our business, knowing our customers are our biggest fans, referring new business to us, “ Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations, says.  “We have close relationships with our customers, CAD/CAM partners, machine tool distributors, and other ERP/MRP that believe in our sales, service, and support staff.  They know SFA will take care of them and recommend Predator as the best solution.”

Why does the Predator CNC Editor say it is still sending even though the transfer has completed?

Why does the Predator CNC Editor say it is still sending even though the transfer has completed? If you are using the CNC Editor to transmit a CNC program, and the control receives the complete file, but Predator is still trying to send, check the end of the CNC program to make sure there are no spaces or other invisible characters after the % sign. Predator CNC Editor stops sending the program when it detects that the last character of the program is a % sign.

More about CNC Editor: Benefits of Predator CNC Editor CNC Intelligent Editing with Undo and Redo, Unlimited File Size, File Compare, DNC send, receive, and drip-feed, 3D Backplotting and Verification, and CNC Templates.

What is included?

Our web price includes the following:

  • Predator CNC Editor software
  • 30 days Technical Support
  • Two hours of 1 on 1 Training via the web with a dedicated instructor

Windows Requirements

· Windows 10 (v11 and newer only)
· Windows 2012 Server
· Windows 8
· Windows 7
· Windows 2008 Server
· Windows Vista
· Windows 2003 Server
· Windows XP

"We were having issues with translating a program from our CAD/CAM software, to our USB drive, to the CNC, which was taking time for a slow download…we would absolutely recommend you to other shops because it was easy, the explanation had no problems, no hangups, and it’s easy to use." -Steve & Marty, Machinists at Terumo Medical Corp

JobPack (Job Scheduling Software)

How can I control and track jobs on my shop floor?

How can I control and track jobs on my shop floor? With our finite shop floor job scheduling software solution JobPack, you can create and schedule work orders, assign operations to workcenters or CNC’s, allow users to provide status updates on operations, and assign dynamic capacity to your resources.view real-time where the production is on each operation or work order. It also allows you to remove capacity in the event of maintenance problems on your CNC’s and the software will automatically shift the work around to other resources.

View real-time where the production is on each operation or work order. It also allows you to remove capacity in the event of maintenance problems on your CNC’s and the software will automatically shift the work around to other resources.

More about JobPack:

Rely on spreadsheets? Imagine switching to forms that will show you accurate delivery dates and identify any issues preventing these goals, in real-time. Click on the Graphical Scheduler photo to get a better idea of what it would look like to ditch old-fashioned, stagnant spreadsheets.

Enjoy a unique feature to see work booked & scheduled jobs on any/all machinery for up to 365 days into the future.

More features:

  • Activated jobs appear on planning board instantly
  • Display machine capacity for working & non-working days
  • Color-coding status indicates factory floor workflow
  • “What if” tests overall factory & delivery dates production
  • Use stand-alone or integrate with existing ERP/MRP business systems
  • Real-time queued jobs are displayed by work center set against shift pattern

How can I see what jobs are on the shop floor?

How can I see what jobs are on the shop floor? Graphical job scheduling is the best way to do this.

With JobPack Scheduling Software, you have a graphical view of all the jobs that are on your shop floor.  You can also see what operations have been completed, how many parts were made and how long each operation took to complete.

More about our job scheduling solution:

Job Scheduling Software is essential for knowing if deliveries will be on time. It takes all of your current jobs, along with capacity, & gives you the ability to see where your jobs are & when they are going to be completed. The real-time scheduling module keeps operators on the shop floor up to date with what jobs to run next. Sudden downtime on machines is accounted for & re-scheduling based on new machine capacity can happen.

With a solid scheduling system in place, you’ll be better equipped to update your customers on delivery dates and identify late deliveries before they happen so you have time to do something about it. Displays of pre-order & estimated cost calculations, as well as actual costs incurred during manufacture, are shown as they occur, as well as displaying data for groups or individual cells of machines.

What scheduling software integrates with an ERP system?

JobPack seamlessly integrates with dozens of popular ERP systems such as;

  • Job Boss
  • Global Shop
  • E2
  • Epicore
  • JD Edwards
  • SAP
  • Made2Manage
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Vantage
  • Vista
  • Oracle
  • Baan

Shop Floor Hardware

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

If you want your CNC machines to communicate 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 Baker, Amarillo Gear Company

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 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 set up!

Does SFA’s latest LAN Connect support long 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.

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.

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

How to connect CNC Machines to 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 doesn’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

Is the program size on the floppy drive emulator limited to the size of the floppy disk?

Is the program size on the floppy drive emulator limited to the size of the floppy disk?

Yes, the maximum size is 1.44mb, or 720kb, depending on what density your floppy drive supported before.

The floppy emulator will allow a USB memory flash drive to be formatted to the capacity of the disk drive only to allow for compatibility between the device and the emulator. This eliminates the need to upgrade software or firmware on the equipment. If you need a larger storage capacity, consider the USB Connect devices offered by Shop Floor Automations.

More about the USB Connect:

Available in portable and pendant models, the USB Connect Pendant Mount is a communication device that can be used to load and save programs from your CNC Memory and drip-feed to most CNC Machines. The USB Connect contains its own DNC firmware and requires no other device or components to work.

The device comes with all the components for the customer to install on your CNC machine. The USB Connect Pendant Mount includes 2GB USB Flash Drive Stick, a panel mount USB connector/waterproof cap, display, USB cable, & a power cable. Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC. Supports up to 16GB USB flash drives.

This hardware solution becomes part of the CNC control and there is no external cabling or power to worry about. Supports the High-speed Baud rates that Haas and Fadal controls offer. The USB Connect will work on most CNC Controls that support standard serial protocols.

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 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 largest distributor of Predator Software in North America. We have been ranked #1 in Predator Software Sales, Service and Support for the past 19 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)?

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 Mazatrol CMT?

Mazatrol is a proprietary conversational programming language that is standard on all Mazak mills and lathes. It is primarily used for 2 & 2 1/2 axis work and is especially popular for turning applications.

It has a different format than G-code programming and is supported by Predator DNC by using the Mazatrol link in your commands.

We have a hardware device that specifically can send and receive these programs called the USB Connect - Mazak Model.

The Pendant mount USB Connect – Mazak model controller is for all CNC’s, including Mazatrol CMT.

The USB Connect device acts as an interface between commercially available USB flash memory and any CNC control with an available RS232 port. Machine tool files can be sent from CNC memory to the USB key, USB key to CNC memory or drip-fed (DNC) from the USB key.

Flexible DNC firmware is built into the USB Connect unit allowing connection to just about any machine tool CNC control. The pendant mount USB controller kit contains all the necessary hardware to integrate a universal display onto a CNC machine tool pendant.

  • Supports Older & Newer Mazatrol Conversion Protocols
  • Supports TAPE I/O (G-code)
  • Supports CMT I/O (Mazatrol Conversion) file transfers
  • Connects via RS232 Serial Port with USB directory listing
  • TAPE I/O Transfers DNC (drip-feed) with single button repeat operation

If you have a Mazak machine and want it to communicate in a smoother manner, we recommend you call SFA today at (877) 611-5825.

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 Baker, 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 Lacombe, Gyford Productions

Floppy Drive Emulator

Can I replace existing floppy disk drive with a USB stick?

Yes, the floppy drive emulator is designed to replace existing floppy disk drive with a USB stick. The emulator was made to replace almost all floppy drives on the market and eliminate the need to purchase floppy disks ever again.

More about the floppy drive emulator:

More about Shop Floor Automations’ Floppy Connect solutions: a CNC control that still uses a floppy drive can easily switch to using a USB drive. The Floppy Connect line is off-the-shelf compatible with Haas, but it is also compatible with other machines, with the help of our technicians. If you want to learn more, we have a press release about this product here and you can get in contact with Shop Floor Automations on social media. We are very active on Facebook and Twitter especially.

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

Can I use the floppy disk emulator to connect to my network?

Can I use the floppy disk emulator to connect to my network?

No, because the RJ45 port on the front of the unit is designed for future functionality and is currently inactive. Currently the only method to load the device is via the USB stick. We do, however, provide solutions for interfacing between a CNC control and network storage.

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 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.

How do you install the Floppy Drive Emulator?

The install process of the Shop Floor Automations Floppy Drive Emulator:

The floppy drive emulator from SFA is easily installed by simply plugging it into the existing floppy power cable (4-pin Mini Molex) and the ribbon cable (34-pin IDE) on the back of the existing drive. No other special cables or connectors are required, and the equipment runs as normal.

More about Shop Floor Automations’ Floppy Connect solutions: a CNC control that still uses a floppy drive can easily switch to using a USB drive. The Floppy Connect line is off-the-shelf compatible with Haas, but it is also compatible with other machines, with the help of our technicians. If you want to learn more, we have a press release about this product here and you can get in contact with Shop Floor Automations on social media. We are very active on Facebook and Twitter especially.

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

Is the program size on the floppy drive emulator limited to the size of the floppy disk?

Is the program size on the floppy drive emulator limited to the size of the floppy disk?

Yes, the maximum size is 1.44mb, or 720kb, depending on what density your floppy drive supported before.

The floppy emulator will allow a USB memory flash drive to be formatted to the capacity of the disk drive only to allow for compatibility between the device and the emulator. This eliminates the need to upgrade software or firmware on the equipment. If you need a larger storage capacity, consider the USB Connect devices offered by Shop Floor Automations.

More about the USB Connect:

Available in portable and pendant models, the USB Connect Pendant Mount is a communication device that can be used to load and save programs from your CNC Memory and drip-feed to most CNC Machines. The USB Connect contains its own DNC firmware and requires no other device or components to work.

The device comes with all the components for the customer to install on your CNC machine. The USB Connect Pendant Mount includes 2GB USB Flash Drive Stick, a panel mount USB connector/waterproof cap, display, USB cable, & a power cable. Powers by 7-28vDC from CNC. Supports up to 16GB USB flash drives.

This hardware solution becomes part of the CNC control and there is no external cabling or power to worry about. Supports the High-speed Baud rates that Haas and Fadal controls offer. The USB Connect will work on most CNC Controls that support standard serial protocols.

Is there a program size restriction with the Floppy Drive Emulator?

Regarding program size restriction with the Floppy Drive Emulator -

The FD Connect can emulate a 720 kb or a 1.44 mb floppy drive. Due to limitations of the firmware on the CNC controller, the floppy emulator must use the same size limitation on the USB stick.

SFA supplies a USB stick that can be formatted to allow for simple transfers from the computer to the floppy drive emulator.

More about our Floppy Connect products:

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

Your time is valuable in the shop floor environment. Stop using it to search for old media! Floppy Connect solutions for Haas & non-Haas machines are listed below.

Not sure if this device will work with your equipment, or is file size a concern? Talk to one of our Engineers. We also recommend the Portable USB or the Pendant USB.

What do the Green LED & Red LED lights on the Floppy Drive Emulator mean?

The green LED indicates a Floppy read or write operation has been done. No green light at all, or a solid green light, indicates a problem, so please contact SFA Support if you are seeing this on your  floppy drive emulator.

The red LED indicates that the USB stick is inserted into the FD Connect. The red LED should flicker when the USB stick is inserted. If you don’t have a red light or if the red LED stays solid there is a problem, this is another time in which you should contact SFA Support.

More about our floppy drive emulators:

The drive emulates your existing floppy drive to act as if the floppy drive was never removed.

The Floppy Emulator comes with a 2GB USB Flash Drive with the manual on it, for your convenience. Connects to Standard 4 pin Power Connector & 34 pin Ribbon connectors on standard floppy drives.

The product has plug-and-play abilities with Haas machines, but otherwise, here is a sample list of machines we have tested our Floppy Emulator on:

  • Mitsubishi FX w/CITIZEN OSD
  • Mitsubishi FA w/TEAC FD 235 HG
  • Charmilles (TEAC FD 235-HF)
  • Charmilles Robofil
  • Agie (SONY 520-MPF)
  • Mazak (Fusion 640, 640T, Nexus)
  • Mitsubishi Meldas 500 series
  • Hurco w/Teac FD 235HF drive
  • FANUC Cassette (Yellow) on a 18i-W (w/YE Data 702B-6036BC)
  • Sodick w/Alps floppy drive
  • Nisshinbo Map 1000
  • Prototrak
  • Giddings & Lewis (G & L) 8000 ( 486 processor)
  • Plus more!

What does the RJ-45 Ethernet Port do on the Floppy Drive Emulator?

Currently the RJ-45 Ethernet port is not an active Ethernet Port on the FD Connect. It is there for future enhancements.

What kind of USB flash drives can be used with a floppy drive emulator on my CNC?

What kind of USB flash drives can be used with a floppy drive emulator on my CNC?

You must use a stick that is 2GB or smaller in the floppy drive emulator. The flash drives must be formatted as “FAT” or “FAT-16.” 32-bit FAT (“FAT-32”) will NOT work with the floppy emulator.

More about the Shop Floor Automations floppy drive emulator:

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

There's the Standard Floppy Drive Emulator -

  • Interface to the existing ribbon cable
  • Plugs into floppy power connector
  • Supports 720k/1.44MB capacity IBM
  • Support Wired EDM, Mills, Lathes, Robots, & other types of equipment
  • No need for Floppy Disks anymore

And the Haas Floppy Drive Emulator -

  • Only for Haas machines
  • Plug and Play Installation
  • Off-the-shelf pricing
  • Eliminate floppy disks
  • Supports many manufacturing equipment types

Want to know why customers choose our hardware, software and solutions? Click here to go to our testimonials page.

What type of USB memory stick works with the floppy disk emulator?

What type of USB memory stick works with the floppy disk emulator?

Any off-the-shelf USB memory flash drive will work, as long as it is 2GB or smaller, and formatted as “FAT” or “FAT16.” We recommend you pick a name brand and if needed, Shop Floor Automations can supply one at a low cost to guarantee reliability and compatibility.

More info on our floppy disk emulator: Shop Floor Automations has introduced its new FD Connect solution (the FD Connect is now known as the Floppy Emulator from the Floppy Connect line), which will eliminate floppy disk media and drives on the manufacturing floor.

Floppy disks are easily damaged in the shop environment due to dirt, oil and grime and are becoming impossible to replace. The FD Connect solution eliminates the need for floppy disks making it an ideal program and data storage solution for industrial equipment and machine tools.

The device is a simple plug in thumb drive that allows easy transfer of files to the Floppy Connect. Users simply remove the existing drive and the FD Connect plugs directly into the ribbon and power cables of the old drive. It is compatibility with 720K or 1.44MB systems.

For more information, contact our sales department at (877) 611-5825

Will your floppy drive emulator work on my CNC Machine?

As long as you are using standard DOS-readable disks, there is a 99% chance that the Floppy Drive Emulator, AKA the FD Connect, will work. lease provide the make and model of your current floppy drive and confirm you can read the floppy disks in a Windows or DOS PC, and Shop Floor Automations can tell you which FD Connect model will work for your CNC Machine.

Our Haas-specific floppy drive emulator has plug-and-play ability. You can see our tutorial about on YouTube HERE or read about it in our technical video transcription page HERE.

When ordering the non-Haas specific emulator, please provide your Sales person with the make and model of your current floppy drive and confirm you can read the floppy disks in a Windows or DOS PC, and Shop Floor Automations can tell you which model will work for your CNC Machine.

More info on the floppy drive emulator via the Floppy Connect page:

Our Floppy Drive Emulator, available in two models, acts as a Floppy USB Emulator, is easy install, requires no system configuration or debugging, & replaces the need for floppy disks, which are very difficult to obtain. The drive emulates your existing floppy drive & acts as if the floppy drive was never removed. Works with almost any existing 720k/1.44MB capacity DOS format floppy drive. 28 or 32 pin ribbon cables systems are supported & will connect to your existing power cable.

Works in PCs & in CNC machinery such as Haas, Mazak, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Omniturn, Centroid, Robots, Flame Cutters, & Greco boxes, with new models being added to our compatibility list monthly!

RS232 Serial Cable

Can I make my own Grizzly Cable?

Can you make your own Grizzly Cable? Sure, but it may not be worth the effort in research, soldering, testing, and cost of parts.

Normal serial cable is sensitive to interference and signal loss. We carefully engineered, manufactured and tested Grizzly cable to fit the needs of a shop floor environment.
Furthermore, your time is valuable and you have better things to do! Why not consult with experts?

Why it is worth your time to hire a professional technician:

With the popularity of YouTube, Reddit, WebMD, and similar sites, we are definitely a culture obsessed with DIY (AKA “do it yourself”). While this is great for cooking or hobbies, it is not necessarily the answer for everything pertaining to a job focused on manufacturing production. Here are the top 3 reasons you should hire a professional technician when implementing manufacturing hardware and software solutions versus going it alone:

Reason 1: Don’t assume the price tag to consult with a professional is going to be outlandish.

Reason 2: Hardware needs to be handled and wired a certain way.

Reason 3: Free up more time to get back to work, rather than struggling with something that is potentially foreign to you.

For example - manufacturing shop floor cabling (as you can read in this previous piece) are durable yet complex. It is best to let a technician install it for you, or tell you how to install and wire it over the phone, so you can ensure data will transfer correctly, you don’t potentially void a warranty, and that you also protect your investment.

How are Grizzly Cables shielded?

A Grizzly Cable has four layers of shielding.

First, each wire is individually shielded with a polypropylene jacket. Second, an aluminum foil wraps around all of the pairs. Third, a metal braid shield is wrapped around the foil. Finally, a thick but flexible PVC jacket is wrapped around the metal braid.

The quality and strength of the shielding included with Predator Grizzly cables protect your data from RF noise and electrical interference.

More on how complex shop floor cabling is:

When it comes to running a machine shop floor, we know that the machinists and engineers, as well as those behind the scenes managing and in IT departments, are really smart, resourceful people. We are grateful when these individuals ask us for help in optimizing their production process, whether they shop with us over the phone or just buy items off of our store without prior consultation. We do notice, however, and we mean no disrespect, that some of these folks make a huge assumption that cabling is not a big decision – trust us that IT IS.

For those who prefer the traditional method of transmitting data via cables in their shop floors versus going wireless, there are many choices out there. Trying to save money by using commercial Ethernet cabling, or even worse, trying to use telephone cables, can result in massive issues on the shop floor. Sure, you save money short term, but the cons outweigh the pros.

This is a slowly changing industry and yesterday’s solutions may not work anymore, so that is why you have come to us. We are here to help your production thrive and to also only sell you services that you need. If a shorter cable costs less but is the best option for you, that is what we would recommend. Nothing more and nothing less.

How do I use my RS232 mini tester?

How do I use the RS232 mini tester from SFA?

Shop Floor Automations recommends a DB25 RS232 tester with every hardware order. We terminate our RS232 cabling with RJ45 connectors and have different adapters to tailor to each installation. Depending on your machine, you may require different pin-outs on the adapters.

To test the correct pin-out in the cabling:

  • Connect the cable to the PC, Hub, or switch box.
  • At the other end of the cabling, where the control would normally plug in, connect the tester. Without the tester plugged in the machine, you should see have "RD" lit and "TD" unlit.
  • For most applications, the other lights do not matter. If you plug the tester into the CNC machine control, you should then see "TD" lit.

If you have any variation of this, your machine will not communicate properly.

How is RS232 cabling pinned out, and what does each pin do?

How is RS232 cabling pinned out? What does each pin do?

The number preceding each signal name corresponds to the pin number defined in the standard.

DB9

  1.     Received Line Signal Detect (Carrier Detect)
  2.     Received Data
  3.     Transmitted Data
  4.     Data Terminal Ready
  5.     Signal Ground
  6.     Data Set Ready
  7.     Request to Send
  8.     Clear To Send
  9.     Ring Indicator

DB25

  1.     Protective Ground
  2.     Transmitted Data
  3.     Received Data
  4.     Request to Send
  5.     Clear To Send
  6.     Data Set Ready
  7.     Signal Ground
  8.     Received Line Signal Detect (Carrier Detect)
  9.     +P (for testing only)
  10.     -P (for testing only)
  11.     (unassigned)
  12.     Secondary Received Line Signal Detect
  13.     Secondary Clear To Send
  14.     Secondary Transmitted Data
  15.     Transmission signal element Timing
  16.     Secondary Received Data
  17.     Receiver Signal Element Timing
  18.     (unassigned)
  19.     Secondary Request To Send
  20.     Data Terminal Ready
  21.     Signal Quality Detector
  22.     Ring Indicator
  23.     Data Signal Rate Selector
  24.     Transmitter Signal Element Timing
  25.     (unassigned)

When selecting a vendor for your shop floor automation needs, it is important to select a company that is committed to service and support. Our clients list continues to grow through recommendations from our customers, as well as our partners. You can speak to a real person over the phone with us, versus sending emails or leaving messages on a cell phone, then waiting for a response. The information contained on these pages is intended to give you direct access to the latest software revisions, support options and technical documentation available!

Need to speak to an expert? Contact our support team by calling (619) 461-4000 and ask for technical support. Our Application Engineers can answer your questions, guide you through an installation, or remotely configure and trouble shooting a current system. NOTE: Normal business hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Daylight Time. See After-Hours Support info below.

Click here to see our Support options!

How is RS232 different from parallel?

How is RS232 different from parallel? In the past, most IBM PC and compatible computers were typically equipped with two serial ports and one parallel port. Although these two types of ports are used for communicating with external devices, they work in different ways.
A parallel port sends and receives data eight bits at a time over 8 separate wires. This allows data to be transferred very quickly; however, the cable required is more bulky because of the number of individual wires it must contain and cable distances are generally very short.

Parallel ports are typically used to connect a PC to a printer and are rarely used for much else. A serial port sends and receives data one bit at a time over one wire. While it takes eight times as long to transfer each byte of data this way, only a few wires are required. In fact, two-way (full duplex) communication is possible with only three separate wires - one to send, one to receive, and a common signal ground wire.

Interested in participating in a case study?

Shop Floor Automations believes in measurable results. Check out these case studies on how our solutions help out manufacturing shop floor operations!

We are always conducting case studies on our Manufacturing Solutions. We value input from our customers, as well as feedback. Click here to participate.

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

How to connect CNC Machines to 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 doesn’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

Is a Grizzly cable just a simple Ethernet (CAT-5) cable?

No, a Grizzly cable is far different than commercial Ethernet cabling.

A CAT-5 cable is typically un-shielded, provides a balanced signal, and uses different wiring intended for a computer, as opposed to a CNC control.

The Grizzly Cable is shielded, with an ultra-low capacitance, uses unbalanced signals, and is wired for RS232 signals to be sent to and from CNC machines.

CAT-5 cables are unreliable, able to pick up RF noise very easily and have limitations regarding baud rate when running beyond RS232 specifications.

More about the complexity of serial cables for the manufacturing shop floor:

For those who prefer the traditional method of transmitting data via cables in their shop floors versus going wireless, there are many choices out there. Trying to save money by using commercial Ethernet cabling, or even worse, trying to use telephone cables, can result in massive issues on the shop floor. Sure, you save money short term, but the cons outweigh the pros.

This is a slowly changing industry and yesterday’s solutions may not work anymore, so that is why you have come to us. We are here to help your production thrive and to also only sell you services that you need. If a shorter cable costs less but is the best option for you, that is what we would recommend. Nothing more and nothing less.

What is a Y-Cable?

A "Y-Cable" is designed to allow wireless or Ethernet communication to CNC machines, while still allowing access to the external serial port. We often recommend that companies implement these cables as a backup to their DNC system.

If the network goes down, programs can still be transferred into the CNCs manually, without having to open up the machine cabinets and disconnect the DNC system.

More about Cabling from Shop Floor Automations: From RS232 cables, RS232 Adapters, Honda Cables, RS232 Testers, & more, Shop Floor Automations has your custom cabling solutions! We can sell you 25 Foot to 100 Foot cables off the shelf, as well as make custom cables from 125 Feet up to 300 Feet in length.

High quality, application specific RS232 serial cable is an essential component in any reliable shop floor communications network. For those of you who may have had the misfortune of re-stringing thousands of feet of cable to combat noise and data transmission problems, SFA has you covered. SFA did one better than co-develop the most reliable and powerful RS232 cable available (worldwide), they put together a system that provides customers with an entire cable solution. No longer will your maintenance department have to run around trying to find a replacement cable in an emergency. You won’t have to worry about properly terminating new cable ends to match your controllers RS232 pin outs.

What is causing my serial RS232 cable problems?

What could be causing my serial RS232 cable problems? Here are some options, but we definitely recommend you contact our Support team.

Connecting pin one (earth ground) at both ends:
This creates a giant antenna, earth ground should only be connected at one end and generally at the device that is most grounded.

Using CAT5 cabling:

While CAT5 cable might work for a short while for RS232 communications, it is not designed for that application. CAT5 cable is twisted pair cabling for ethernet. Because it is designed for lower voltages and data that is checked packet-by-packet, CAT5 ethernet cable used for serial purposes can potentially cause a scrapped part by dropping data, short out the machine because of improper voltages and signals, and even crash a machine by sending bad data or omitting it. CAT5 cable is never recommended for RS232 communications. We recommend Predator Grizzly cable for RS232 serial communication because it is designed for this exact purpose and will prevent loss of data and interference issues.

Cable is not properly jumpered at CNC end:
Most CNCs will require jumpering of some sort. Most common is for pins 4 & 5 plus pins 6, 8 & 20.

Using unshielded cable:
Unshielded cable should never be used in a machine shop environment.

Twisted pair cabling not properly balanced:
If you use twisted pair, pins 2 and 3 can not be on the same pair. It is also recommended that you ground the other half of the pair for pins 2 and 3.

Cable with too few wires:
Most CNCs will only need TD, RD and SG, but some will require hardware handshaking and thus require more wires.

Improper positioning of cable:
Do not strap RS232 cabling to electrical conduit in the shop.

Incorrectly pinning out a DB9 to DB25 cable or adapter:
See the chart above, note that pins 2 & 3 are opposite from DB9 to DB25.

What is RS232?

What is RS232? The RS232-C interface was developed for a single purpose. This purpose is stated by its title:

"Interface Between Data Terminal Equipment and Data Communications Equipment Employing Serial Binary Data Interchange."

Every word in the title is significant: it describes the interface between a terminal (DTE) to a modem (DCE) for the transfer of serial data.

Short for Recommended Standard-232C, a standard interface approved by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) for connecting serial devices. In 1987, the EIA released a new version of the standard and changed the name to EIA-232-D. And in 1991, the EIA teamed up with Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and issued a new version of the standard called EIA/TIA-232-E. Many people, however, still refer to the standard as RS232C, or just RS232.

Almost all modems conform to the EIA-232 standard and most personal computers have an EIA-232 port for connecting a modem or other device. In addition to modems, many display screens, mice, and serial printers are designed to connect to an EIA-232 port. In EIA-232 parlance, the device that connects to the interface is called a Data Communications Equipment (DCE) and the device to which it connects (e.g., the computer) is called a Data Terminal Equipment (DTE).

The EIA-232 standard supports two types of connectors, a 25-pin D-sub type connector (DB25) and a 9-pin D-sub type connector (DB9). The type of serial communications used by PCs requires only 9 pins so either type of connector will work equally well.

Although EIA-232 is still the most common standard for serial communication, the EIA has recently defined successors to EIA-232 called RS422 and RS423. The new standards are backward compatible so that RS232 devices can connect to an RS422 port.

Where did RS232 come from?

In the early 1960’s, a standards committee, today known as the Electronic Industries Association, developed a common interface standard for data communications equipment. At that time, data communications were thought to mean digital data exchange between a centrally located mainframe computer and a remote computer terminal, or possibly between two terminals without a computer involved.

These devices were linked by telephone voice lines, and consequently required a modem at each end for signal translation. While simple in concept, the many opportunities for data error that occur when transmitting data through an analog channel, as it requires a relatively complex design.

It was thought that a standard was needed first to ensure reliable communication, and second to enable the interconnection of equipment produced by different manufacturers, thereby fostering the benefits of mass production and competition. From these ideas, the RS232 standard was born. It specified signal voltages, signal timing, signal function, a protocol for information exchange, and mechanical connectors.

If a proprietary or special high-speed transfer method is required by the CNC control, the customer may have to be upgraded to Predator DNC. Unlike the Editor, Predator DNC is designed to support proprietary and special high-speed transfer methods. Refer to our DNC Objects section for more details.

PDA Connect

How do I send a file to my PC from my PDA?

How do I send a file to my PC from my PDA?

  1. On your PC, open PDAConnectWin.exe
  2. Match the profile settings in the PDAConnect software on your PCwith the profile settings in the PDAConnect software on your PDA.
  3. Connect the cable from your PDA to the local COM port on your PC
  4. On your PC, name the file and click Receive
  5. On your PDA, select the file and click Send

- The file will now transfer to your PC.

A little more insight into the popular services SFA provides:

About DNC Software: Manage CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. Use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help. Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. SFA offers DNC Software for CNC Communications via Predator DNC, Ascendant’s ExtremeDNC Software, and additional solutions Predator Touch HMI and Predator EditLock

About Machine Monitoring: Have 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.

Shop Floor Automations has been in business since 1998. We have racked up thousands of frequent flier miles, have attended many trade shows, are very active in the manufacturing industry’s social media landscape, and are supporters of such endeavors as The Association for Manufacturing Technology, the MTConnect protocol, and America’s MFG Day. We will soon be approaching two decades servicing the manufacturing industry. Ask us about the thousands of shop floors, machine shops and job shops we have helped with productivity over the years!

How do I send a file to my PDA from my PC?

How do I send a file to my PDA from my PC?

  1. On your PC, open PDAConnectWin.exe
  2. Match the profile settings in the PDAConnect software on your PC with the profile settings in the PDAConnect software on your PDA
  3. Connect the cable from your PDA to the local COM port on your PC
  4. On your PDA, name the file and then click Receive
  5. On your PC, select the file and click Send

The file will now transfer to your PDA.

A little more insight into the popular services SFA provides:

About DNC Software: Manage CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy CNC communication options from your PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. Use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help. Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. SFA offers DNC Software for CNC Communications via Predator DNC, Ascendant’s ExtremeDNC Software, and additional solutions Predator Touch HMI and Predator EditLock

About Machine Monitoring: Have 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.

Shop Floor Automations has been in business since 1998. We have racked up thousands of frequent flier miles, have attended many trade shows, are very active in the manufacturing industry’s social media landscape, and are supporters of such endeavors as The Association for Manufacturing Technology, the MTConnect protocol, and America’s MFG Day. We will soon be approaching two decades servicing the manufacturing industry. Ask us about the thousands of shop floors, machine shops and job shops we have helped with productivity over the years!