Sunday, November 21, 2010

MTConnect Sub-Module

As President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute, I am very pleased to announced the first addition to the MTConnect family of logos - MTConnect Sub-Module. A sure sign of success for any protocol is when companies or organizations come with new and creative ways to implement a protocol.  This is the case with MTConnect Sub-Module.  MTConnect Sub-Module is to be used to recognize or label the hardware or software segment that provides a part of the MTConnect protocol that sits in a TOTAL MTConnect solution.   In other words, the solution MUST provide a TOTAL MTConnect solution, but a member MUST label those parts of those solutions that are simply sub-modules that depend on other modules for a complete solution.

An example is in order here.    GE/Fanuc created a COMPLETE MTConnect black box solution in 2008 (note this is no longer available after the two companies went their separate ways) that was the size of a brick that had everything you needed in one box to connect an existing machine tool to the outside world.  On one side of the brick were your legacy ports for machine tools.  On the other side of the box were four ethernet ports that all supported the FULL MTConnect protocol ie adapter/agent.  The box ran Linux with all of the necessary MTConnect software.  All you needed was a client someplace on the net.  Now imagine if GE/Fanuc had decided to make that solution into two separate boxes to accomplish the same thing as the single box.  Imagine that those boxes required each other in order to provide a complete MTConnect adapter/agent.  In that scenario, each of those boxes would be an MTConnect Sub-Module and together they would be MTConnect compliant.