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Shop Floor Software for Machine Collaboration

Many new features in Scytec DataXchange shop floor software from Shop Floor Automations include more compatibility with the MTConnect protocol.

Posted: December 28, 2016

Scytec DataXchange software from Shop Floor Automations is now more compatible with MTConnect, including an updated Real-Time Viewer that can copy RTV screens to groups or users, as well as new reports and charts, such as Operation Time, plus the OEE Equipment Summary and Grid.
The big button interface in the Predator Touch HMI application from Shop Floor Automations simplifies sending and receiving programs to and from machines to consolidate multiple automation functions like data collection, DNC and document control platforms.
The WiFi USB Connect from Shop Floor Automations is a wireless USB solution for the shop floor that emulates a USB stick, allowing users to share data from a PC to their machines while eliminating cabling needs for control. Files from network shares, FTP, email, SMB and cloud services will be seen at the machine on the USB as soon as they are added to a shared folder so that machinists no longer need to find a programmer for answers.

Shop Floor Automations (SFA; La Mesa, CA), an authorized reseller of DataXchange software from Scytec, introduces new changes that the shop floor software is undergoing. With the latest Version 2016.10.03 updates, there are many new features for shops to enjoy, including an MTConnect Data Viewer that is a testament to the continuing advocacy of the protocol. Making the software more compatible with MTConnect helps more shops realize how crucial this protocol is for the ever-changing manufacturing industry. Along with the latest new features, Scytec support staff are now able to remotely restart DataXchange services. This can help immensely when remote access to the server is not an option.

The Real-Time Viewer has been updated by adding the ability to copy RTV screens to groups or users, as well as new reports and charts, such as Operation Time, plus the OEE Equipment Summary and Grid. For additional security, Scytec also added a UI option to change whether the service runs over http or https. In an effort to prevent future mistakes, users can no longer delete a plant with equipment that has been assigned to it. As far as existing features, many have been updated or improved. A line has been added in the Target Utilization per period chart that represents the average for each of the machines. Performance when using some of the forms has been improved, which includes the Equipment form.

This software update includes a number of bug fixes as well. Labels on the Metric Definitions page have been corrected to properly reflect the calculations being used. Also, sorting by equipment filter for particular charts and reports has been improved. Enjoy easier removal of machines from the RTV, plus any saved utilization charts should now return data. Managing user report group memberships should be smoother and the Auto Login should work in iOS.

SFA also offers the Predator Touch HMI application with a big button interface that allows operators to enjoy features that simplify sending and receiving programs to and from machines. For shops employing machine data collection, they can put in downtime codes that the operators can choose, such as set up or preventative maintenance, for example. Touch HMI can be accessed from any Windows-based platform, such as a tablet or mobile phone, as well as a network PC. Touch HMI can communicate over a network, both wired and wirelessly, as well as over a serial connection. This time-saving interface consolidates multiple automation platforms with features like data collection, DNC, plus other types of document control platforms. Users can automate processes on the machine, and really any third party software can be integrated with it. It acts as a single source for the operator to interact with their machines that looks visually pleasing and is easy to understand.

Predator DNC is one tool commonly used to network and communicate with CNC machines.Touch HMI makes communicating easier than all the different alternatives currently available. It can be used with a bar code reader – but it can also replace what a bar code does. Custom color coding is also an option SFA has for customers to make the system easier to read. Because the Internet of Things (IoT) is such an increasing influence in the manufacturing industry, another great feature of Touch HMI is that a button can be customized on an individual client’s interface that is a supplement to their daily schedule. Shops that want a button to help their operator request time off, or even report work hazards, can make this happen through skilled SFA technicians who have worked with Predator products for years.

SFA also rebranded their Hardware line as the Connect Series. Aside from the announcement of the Multi Connect – which is anticipated for release in 2017 – another product that will soon be part of the Wireless Connect family is the WiFi USB Connect that is in the testing stages so that it will be ready for users at a future date. The WiFi USB Connect is a wireless USB solution for the manufacturing shop floor that emulates a USB stick, allowing users to share data from a PC to their machines. No drivers are required; after a quick web configuration, plug it in and it’s ready. The device serves as an easy and economic shop floor upgrade. Data can be stored on a remote PC, or locally in the device’s memory, with the device itself providing up to 128 MB of storage. Floppy drive emulators and CNC machines with a USB port can now have wireless abilities.

Users will also have different transfer modes to customize their storage solutions. They can set the WiFi USB Connect to rename, move, or delete a file after transferring. Data sources include network shares, FTP, email, SMB, cloud services, etc. One of the benefits of this device will be that the machine will see the files at their machine on the USB as soon as they are added to a shared folder. Machinists will not need to walk to programmer or find them to get needed answers. Also, a wireless connection to the shared folder will eliminate cabling needs for control.

Shop Floor Automations, Inc., 5360 Jackson Drive, Suite 202, La Mesa, CA 91942-6003, 619-461-4000,

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