What does MTConnect data enable?

Outfitting machines, controls, etc. to support the MTConnect standard will provide data in XML format with data item definitions that are always the same regardless of manufacturer. Each device requires an adapter for translation from its native language to MTConnect. The adapter then outputs data to a software agent for aggregation, formatting, and temporary storage. Finally, a software application consumes MTConnect data out of the agent.

The adapter and agent are designed to operate in the background to normalize data. What to do with that data is up to the user, and application design or selection are outside the scope of the MTConnect standard itself. Identifying target use cases for MTConnect data up front is critical for developing or deploying the right application(s) and underlying components.

Typical MTConnect use cases include:

  • Monitoring (utilization, OEE)

  • Predictive maintenance

  • Dynamic job routing/scheduling

  • Lights-out manufacturing

  • Process analytics

  • Digital thread

For brand new users, a pilot program for a device, machine, or cell are a useful to learn about MTConnect and reduce uncertainty for a wider implementation. The pilot helps prove out connectivity, new hardware and software system components, and business processes.

If project stakeholders or partners already understand MTConnect, designing for a pilot often creates duplicate work. The tools and techniques that work for a one-off test can need significant re-working to function at scale. This is especially true for IT systems and requirements.