The MTConnect standard is read-only, but it includes specification for interfaces between devices like robots, bar feeders, or other machine accessories and peripherals. Testing and developing MTConnect interfaces for new applications in robot integration will decrease the investment required for integrating automation outside of just high-volume production.
Tool Path Optimization
Cutting tool vendors, machine tool builders, and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) developers have made significant progress writing algorithms for extending tool life or improving throughput. These software-based solutions to better productivity are not dependent on purchasing new equipment. Using MTConnect cutting tool data can increase development speed of new and better tool path optimization solutions and decrease the cost of incorporating vendor-specific tooling data into these solutions.
Handheld welding equipment operates in an environment that is not conducive to wired data collection and central monitoring. However, as welding power source suppliers increasingly explore wireless data transmission solutions optimized for harsh production environments demand for data will grow exponentially. Because MTConnect data is non-proprietary, it offers cost effective integration between welders and other equipment used in the same operations.
Open Source CNC
Free and open source tools are commonplace outside the factory floor including in back-office operations in the manufacturing industry. Particularly in web development, many of these free and open tools are commonly used for commercial applications. Identifying and proving out an open source stack for manufacturing that includes MTConnect as the data syntax layer will attract researchers and software developers to manufacturing and lead to new and innovative solutions for data-driven manufacturing.
Timing jobs, maintenance, restocking, and other operations automatically is a challenge without using shop floor input. Just in time manufacturing in accordance with lean principles can be more strictly adhered to by incorporating feedback from machines on their own state and performance.
Quality and metrology operations are often separate from production operations. In combination with in-process metrology and inspection, input from machine controls on as-built parts has the potential to significantly improve quality results and reduce scrap and re-work.
Natural Language Generation
Status reports on machinery uptime, throughput, and other key performance indicators for production are frequently delivered to decision makers in common language form via email or written reports or verbally. Natural language generation tools can format quantitative data from the production floor in a conversational tone that closely resembles existing communication channels.