There are many fantastic real life examples in the above article.
The article also references the two talks that Dave Patterson and I did in October 2006 at AMT's Members Meeting in Lake Las Vegas.
"MTConnect has its roots at AMT. The members and administrators of this organization, which represents machine tool builders and other manufacturing technology suppliers, became aware of the need for interoperability when experts from the computer industry were invited to discuss the needs of manufacturing at its fall 2006 annual meeting for members. The message from these experts was blunt: Unless machine tools and other types of computerized manufacturing equipment can readily communicate critical data in a standard format, the industry cannot automate rapidly enough to keep up with global demands. Integration on the shop floor would be difficult or impossible. Progress in productivity gains and cost reductions would be stymied.
MTConnect has been officially out for just one year and it is amazing how much industry and customer success we have seen in such an incredibly short amount of time.
The response to this wake-up call was the MTConnect project, for which AMT put up more than a $1 million in seed money in January 2007. The committee formed to pursue this initiative brought together computer science researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, the Georgia Institute of Technology and other institutions to conceive, design and develop a draft communications standard. Paul Warndorf, AMT’s vice president of technology and liaison to the MTConnect development committee, recalls highlights of that development effort. "Early on we knew that the standard would have to be open and extensible; use existing standards such as XML or HTTP borrowed from the Internet; be easy to understand and implement; and not conflict with proprietary communications technology already in place. So that’s how we made it."