Every machine tool company designs their machine controls differently, using varying communication methods. Therefore, MTConnect exists to try and set the standard communication method for retrieving data from such manufacturing equipment.
For those unfamiliar with MTConnect, it is an open-source, royalty-free manufacturing protocol that easily connects devices and systems from different suppliers to capture and share information in a common format, like XML. Using HTTP, a lightweight protocol, the machine tool looks like a Web server on a network.
The MTConnect Institute offers the source code and binaries free to machine tool companies, which can decide whether to offer MTConnect-enabled applications free to their customers or charge a fee for the implementation.
Currently, 98 organizations, including Mazak, actively support the "plug-and-play" MTConnect networking platform. Our collaboration with the MTConnect Institute enables you to simplify the monitoring and management of your Mazak production system.
With MTConnect compatibility, you can collect data on your overall machine utilization and monitor the occurrence of machine alarms, spindle loads and more in real time for continuously improving part processing and ultimately achieving a leaner manufacturing environment.
Keep in mind, however, MTConnect is not an application nor can it do calculations. It is the software applications that take the MTConnect data and turn it into important information, such as a visual dashboard of your factory. MTConnect provides the data, the data layout, and the data dictionary, leaving it up to the application to do something with the information—this is very different from other manufacturing protocols.
You'll find that more than 200 of our machines are MTConnect compliant, including models from the following series: HORIZONTAL CENTER NEXUS; HYPER QUADREX; INTEGREX IV; INTEGREX e-Series, i-Series and j-Series; MEGATURN NEXUS; QUICK TURN NEXUS; SLANT TURN NEXUS; VARIAXIS and VERTICAL CENTER NEXUS.
If you own an older Mazak machine, have no fear because you too can benefit from MTConnect through some simple, quick upgrading. All you need to do is obtain the latest version of Mazak's main software and purchase an MTConnect adapter for your specific Mazak machine model. From there, it's as simple as plugging the machine into your network and integrating an internally developed or third-party monitoring software solution. And as always, Mazak is here to help you implement MTConnect into your operations.
If you are interested in learning more about how MTConnect works, what an MTConnect-enabled facility looks like and what new MTConnect advancements are on the horizon, I will be conducting a webinar titled "MTConnect: Downstream Applications to Increase Productivity and Competitiveness" on January 30 at 2 p.m. ET. Registration information for this webinar will be available soon at www.mazakusa.com/webinar. I hope you can join me!