MTConnect Forming Working Group on Best Practices

Automation experts, manufacturing equipment builders, ISVs, consultants, and users will form group advising on CNC interoperability, consistency.

The MTConnect Institute named Memex Automation Inc. to lead the working group it has established to formulate “best practices” and provide overall guidance for the physical connectivity standards of the network it is implementing to unify machine tools in shops worldwide. Burlington, Ont.-based Memex is a unit of Astrix Networks Inc. that "leverages" the R&D of Memex Electronics, a supplier of component hardware, memory upgrades, and shop-floor communication technology to the manufacturing sector.

David McPhail, president and CEO Memex Automation Inc., will lead the working group, along with John Turner, director of technology for FA Consulting and Technology. Other members of the group will be manufacturing equipment providers, independent software vendors, consultants, and users.

The Legacy Machine Tool Connectivity Working Group was introduced in September at IMTS 2010 by the MTConnect Institute and the OPC Foundation. OPC (which develops open specifications for interoperability in automation) and MTConnect intend to develop standards called MTConnectOpcUa, which will be a set of companion specifications to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and OPC specifications, as well as the manufacturing technology equipment, devices, software or other products that implement those standards.

MTConnect is a manufacturing industry standard that is being implemented for organized distribution and retrieval of process information among CNC machine tools. Initial development of the standard was conducted jointly by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the Georgia Institute of Technology, with input from machine shops, OEMs, and machine tool manufacturers.

Dave Edstrom, president and chairman of the MTConnect Institute stated: “This proposed working group is critical for enabling MTConnect on the countless number of manufacturing's legacy machine tools and I fully expect our MTConnect Technical Advisory Group to approve this new working group. We want to see an array of hardware options to enable MTConnect for both small and large installations.”

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