MTConnect

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MTConnect
MTConnect Logo.jpg
Year created: 2008
Created by: AMT, UCB, GT
Governing Body: MTConnect Institute
Website: mtconnect.org

MTConnect is a manufacturing industry standard to facilitate the organized retrieval of process information from numerically controlled machine tools. The initiative began as a result of lectures given by David Edstrom of Sun Microsystems and Dr. David Patterson, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) at the 2006 annual meeting of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) membership.[1] The two lectures, “How the Internet’s Participation Age Will Drive Dramatic Changes in the Machine Tool Industry” & “Creating A Thriving American Manufacturing Base In The 21st Century America” described the need for an open communication standard to enable Internet connectivity to manufacturing equipment. Initial development of the standard was carried out by a joint effort between the UCB Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) department, the UCB Mechanical Engineering (ME) department (both in the College of Engineering) and the Georgia Institute of Technology,[2] using input from industry representatives. The resulting standard is available under royalty-free licensing terms.[3]

Description[edit]

MTConnect is a lightweight, open, and extensible protocol designed for the exchange of data between shop floor equipment and software applications used for monitoring and data analysis. In its current form, MTConnect is referred to as a read-only standard, meaning that it only defines the extraction (reading) of data from control devices, not the writing of data to a control device. Freely available, open standards are used for all aspects of MTConnect. Data from shop floor devices is presented in XML format, and is retrieved from information providers, called Agents, using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as the underlying transport protocol. MTConnect provides a RESTful interface, which means the interface is stateless. No session must be established to retrieve data from an MTConnect Agent, and no logon or logoff sequence is required (unless overlying security protocols are added which do). Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is recommended for discovery services.

Version 1.0 was released in December 2008.[4]

The first public demonstration of MTConnect occurred at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) held in Chicago, Illinois September 2008.[5] There, 25 industrial equipment manufacturers networked their machinery control systems, providing process information that could be retrieved from any web-enabled client connected to the network.[6]

Subsequent demonstrations occurred at EMO (The European International Machine Tool Show) in Milan, Italy in October 2009,[7] and the 2010 IMTS in Chicago.[8]

Standard[edit]

The MTConnect standard is separated in three sections. The first section provides information on the protocol and structure of the XML documents via XML schemas. The second section specifies the machine tool components and the description of the available data. The third and last section specifies the organization of the data streams that can be provided from a manufacturing device. The MTConnect Institute is considering adding a fourth section to support mobile assets that include tools and work-holdings.[9]

MTConnect has taken an incremental approach to defining the requirements for manufacturing device communications. It does not set forth to exhaustively define every possible piece of data an application can collect from a manufacturing device, but it works forward from business and research objectives to define the required elements to meet those needs. Currently the standard has catalogued the most important components and data items for metal cutting devices. MTConnect provides an extensible XML schema to allow implementors to add custom data to meet their specific needs, while providing as much commonality as possible.

Future[edit]

On September 16, 2010, The MTConnect Institute and the OPC Foundation announced a cooperation to ensure interoperability and consistency between the standards maintained by the respective organizations.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]