MTConnect Names Memex to Lead Working Group on Best Practices

Will establish guidelines for implementing open standards that would unify machine tools around the world.

The MTConnect Institute, an organization that develops and provides open standards to foster unified machine tools in facilities worldwide, named Memex Automation to lead the working group it has established to formulate best practices and overall guidance.

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 have outlined a plan to develop standards called MTConnectOpcUa, which will be a set of specifications to ensure interoperability and consistency between MTConnect specifications and OPC specifications, along with 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, original equipment manufacturers, and machine tool manufacturers.

Mexex, which is based out of Burlington, Ont., is a unit of Astrix Networks Inc., which uses the R&D of Memex Electronics, a supplier of component hardware, memory upgrades, and shop-floor communication technology to the manufacturing sector.

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

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