Mazak Corp. uses MT Connect at its Florence, KY, manufacturing plant, seen here. It has also made the majority of its machine MT Connect ready.Click image to enlargeby Kip Hanson


Manufacturers and software providers aren't the only ones on the MES dance floor. Machine tool builders are stepping in as well. One of these is Mazak Corp., Florence, KY. Application engineer and developer Neil Desrosiers says one of the ways builders support MES is by adopting open communication standards, making machine tool to front office integration a straightforward task. Mazak, for example, has made the majority of its machine models MTConnect ready.

Okuma Corp.'s THINC-OSP control. The idea behind THINC is to make it easy for partners to remotely access machine data.Click image to enlargeMTConnect is an open source communication protocol designed for industrial equipment. In the past, most machine controls spoke only their native language. MTConnect was designed to eliminate this Babelesque situation, using a clearly defined set of XML (Extensible Markup Language) standards as a "flexible representation for exchanging semi-structured machine-readable data," according to MTConnect.

Aside from using MTConnect at its Kentucky production facility, Mazak has also installed MERLIN, the MES solution from Memex Automation Inc., Burlington, ON. Despite this seeming endorsement, Desrosiers says it would be irresponsible for a machine tool builder to actively promote one MES solution over another. "You can't just cookie cutter this and say, 'hey, this is the product you should use with our equipment.' The right MES solution depends on the size of the shop, its infrastructure, integration needs and so forth."

For this reason, machine tool builders are largely software-agnostic in terms of whom your machines talk to—all they are concerned with is how that communication takes place, and how that information on the machine tool operation is shared. Another example of this is Charlotte, NC-based Okuma Corp.'s THINC-OSP control. Director of technology Brian Sides explains that Okuma wants to make it easy for partners to remotely access machine data. "We utilize a Windows-based open architecture control that supports MTConnect. This means software developers who offer MTConnect-compliant monitoring applications can easily apply their solution to Okuma machines."

At its most basic level, says Sides, MTConnect allows for local and remote productivity monitoring and troubleshooting of alarms and service history. "Most shops have equipment from multiple machine tool vendors. Since the advent of MTConnect, Okuma has seen a significant uptick in our customers' interest in evaluating and selecting MES software. I get calls now weekly from Fortune 500 manufacturers and job shops wanting to focus on their productivity and efficiency gains to remain competitive. Integration of MTConnect-compliant MES systems is now a viable option for them to accomplish that."

Kip Hanson is a contributing editor.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thinking horizontally

Long considered a mature technology and a production workhorse, the horizontal machining centre is back in the winner’s circle

by Jim Barnes

Higher-end builders are strongly motivated to improve their offerings.

Jorgensen highlights new machining filtration line at IMTS

Jorgensen Conveyor and Filtration Solutions will spotlight its new FlexFiltration line, including the company's new Flex G Series of modular filtration systems, in Booth 338164 at IMTS 2022.

5 x 5

by Kip Hanson

The call for flexible five axis workholding comes in loud and clear

How commercial drones are made

Watch how commercial drones are made.

Winds of change

In Canada over the last ten years more wind energy capacity has been built than any other form of electricity generation, says Richard Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

Sirco Machinery Open House

Sirco Machinery Open House, Toronto, 9-5 pm.

Sirco Machinery

Universal compensation unit for robotic bin picking

Schunk has introduced the AGE-U six axis compensation unit.

Turning heads in Germany

Index Traub 2019 Open House showcases the latest in turning technologies

Squeeze play

by Tim Wilson

Aerospace OEMs tightening manufacturing supply chain

Changes are afoot in the aerospace sector, and many metalworking shops in Canada are in a good position to benefit.

Machining & Automation: Speedy Separation

by Kip Hanson

Ontario-based food processing equipment manufacturer realizes big benefits after bringing its work in-house

DMG MORI open house: machining innovation in action

A novel approach to additive manufacturing, an iPad for machine tools and 66 different machine tool demonstrations were part of the draw of a DMG MORI open house in Pfronten, Germany, for more than 6,000 manufacturers from around the world, among them more than 40 Canadians.

Two Toolmakers, Going Crazy

The Problem: Breaking the machine shop status quo without breaking the bank

The Solution: A universal machining centre

Western Canada job shop embraces a new vision with five axis machining technology from Haas

New Flyer gets $3.4 M for battery-electric bus technology

New Flyer Industries Inc., Winnipeg, MB, and its consortium partners are getting $3.4 million from the Federal government's Sustainable Development Technology Canada program to further develop rapid-charge battery-electric bus propulsion technology.

Youth graduate from industry trades training program

Twenty-four youth graduated from the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association's 32-week Introductory Trades Training program in November.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn