Inability of various manufacturing technology components to communicate with each other on the factory floor is slowing development of more advanced manufacturing technology to improve manufacturing productivity. The increasing need to share data, from sensors to controls to machines, is limited by this lack of compatibility among components and systems.
To address this need, AMT — The Association for Manufacturing Technology is leading an effort to develop a common interoperability standard to allow manufacturers to collect, transmit, and leverage data from discrete manufacturing equipment. AMT's board of directors has approved a two-year initiative of up to $1 million to begin the effort.
Initial work will be performed at the University of California at Berkeley under the direction of Dr David Dornfeld and Dr Armando Fox. The goal is to develop a standard over the next 18 months and demonstrate it at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in September 2008.
The initiative's goal is to produce a standard way of exchanging information among all types of manufacturing equipment. This “middleware,” possibly based on .xml, would be an open standard available free of charge.
This initiative complements efforts underway within the Smart Machine Platform Initiative to develop technologies that can manufacture a first part correctly. This effort is guided by the Coalition on Manufacturing Technology Infrastructure.