Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great Control Design Article

Below are the first couple of paragraphs on a great article written by Jim Montague, Executive Editor for Control Design.

"Hey, Mr. Machine, how're you feeling today? Mr. COO wants to know. Seriously?

Well, it's about time.

Operators, engineers and managers always want to know how well their machines are running. When machines were simple and shops were small, this was pretty easy to do. However, as machines and their corporations and staffs grew larger and more complex, it became harder to stay aware of how an individual machine's operational health could affect its company's economic health. You know, the old right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. 

Still, many sophisticated devices have been developed and implemented to check on the health of machine and production lines, and as these increasingly software-based tools pushed for more and better operations, they also opened up new levels of proactive and predictive maintenance. Likewise, enterprise resource management (ERP) software and other business-level tools also have grown more sophisticated. However, the persistent problem is that both the production and business sides and their monitoring tools apparently still don't know how to talk to each other. "

The bold text above is where the real win with MTConnect will come into play.  It is not just the monitoring, it is the integration of machine tools with rest of the enterprise where we will see the phenomenal changes in manufacturing.

Mr. Montague brings out that point here:

"Despite the historical drawbacks and other new hurdles, some machine builders are finding ways to get machine performance data up to their business-level managers and clients. One of the newest ways to secure and distribute machine information is with the MTConnect ( standard that puts data from different types of equipment and applications into a standard format. Based on XML and HTTP, MTConnect fosters interoperability between machines, controls, equipment and software by employing a standard vocabulary to gather, publish and distribute machine tool data via Internet Protocol (IP) and Ethernet TCP/IP networking."

The rest of this great article is here....