Device Adds USB, Ethernet Functionality to Machines

Shop Floor Automations has released a hardware product to add USB and ethernet connectivity to any machine.

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Shop Floor Automations has released the LAN-USB Connect to add USB and Ethernet connectivity to any machine. It provides the ability to drag and drop files to and from the CNC machine using an Ethernet connection via FTP protocol. Logging on is not required, though anonymous logins or security can be configured. It provides network outage protection through a local server-to-CNC connection that is independent from the shop floor’s network. No software installation is required.

The device works with most CNC systems that have a serial port. Its USB function enables it to act as an interface between USB sticks and any CNC control with a functioning RS232 port. Machine programs can be sent between the USB and CNC memory, or it can be “drip-fed” (DNC) from the USB.

Flexible CNC communication firmware is built into the unit, enabling connection to a large variety of machine tool controls. The device buffers the entire program at the machine and acts as a dedicated computer that responds instantaneously to data flow changes from the CNC. Positioning this device on the control enables the machine to run at its maximum baud rate, keeping a machinist from having to walk back and forth from the DNC PC to the machine in order to initiate operations.

The device enables users to keep an older machine in operation longer rather than retrofitting a machine with new controllers or replacing a machine altogether. The hardware replaces the cost-prohibitive measures of adding memory or USB functionality to the machine via the machine tool builder.

The device has been tested with Haas, Mazak, Hurco, Fadal, Mitsubishi, Mori Seiki, Okuma, Siemens and others. It is also available in a “headless” version, as well as a low-cost wireless version.