Plant floor interoperability standard released
MTConnect is described as an open, royalty-free standard to foster greater interoperability among controls, devices, and software applications by publishing data over networks using IP to help machine tools communicate seamlessly.
The technology was displayed at the IMTS show in Chicago in September where the ability of manufacturing equipment to share data in a near real-time environment was demonstrated at the show’s Emerging Technology Center. Machines operated by exhibitors throughout the halls posed data to a computer dashboard. By touching a company logo on the dashboard, an ETC visitor could immediately see what a selected machine was doing.
By establishing an open, extensible communication standard for interconnectivity between devices, equipment, and systems that produce data in different “languages,” MTConnect is said to allow all sources to understand each other’s data. That common communication using proven Internet communications technology (XML) will provide managers with near real-time data throughout a factory, and empower them to develop more efficient operations, improve production optimization, and increase productivity.
Manufacturing technology can now mirror the success experienced in the information technology industry, where a common standard is used to design hardware (such as USB) and software to enable products to work with each other.
Not a proprietary piece of hardware or special-purpose software to link machines and systems together, MTConnect is an open communication standard that uses Internet communications technology. Example software, developed to test the soundness of the standard, can be downloaded from the MTConnect.org Website and used as-is, modified for special needs, reverse-engineered, or as a template to create one’s own software interface to meet requirements.
MTConnect Version 1.0 is in review by the MTConnect Technical Advisory Group (MTCTAG). It will be voted on by MTCTAG for adoption as an Open Standard in the fourth quarter of 2008.