Software Features

MT Connect Adapter – Enabling the Smart Factory

Users of LASERDYNE machines now have another tool to help them on their journey toward the ‘Smart Factory’, one of the key goals of Industry 4.0.

What is this tool? An MTConnect Adapter in version 2.4 of the S94P software. Read the complete article for information about the Adapter’s function.

What is MTConnect?

MTConnect (http://www.mtconnect.org/) is a standard associated with the Smart Factory. MTConnect is sometimes called “Bluetooth for Manufacturing” because it facilitates the movement of data from machines to apps that can help manufacturers become more efficient and productive.

Just as your smartphone connects seamlessly to your automobile so that you can stream data from a music app or podcast on your smartphone through your car’s sound system, so MTConnect streams data from a machine tool to software that analyzes and displays the data.

Where does the MTConnect Adapter fit in?

Figure 1 illustrates the communication from a single machine that is part of the Smart Factory based on the MTConnect standard.

MTConnect Adapter
Figure 1:Data flow in the Smart Factory based on MTConnect

The purpose of the MTConnect Adapter is to stream data available from a machine tool in a standard format. The MTConnect Adapter resides between the machine and the Agent, enabling any machine “to speak the language of MTConnect”.

An interface, called the MTConnect Agent, then converts the data into a network-ready format and enables transmission of MTConnect-formatted messages and data files across a network to MTConnect-compatible applications, identified as ‘Shop Floor Monitoring App’ in Figure 1.

What does it look like?

With version 2.4 software running, the MTConnect adapter continuously streams machine data and scans for devices (Agents) that would like to connect to the machine.

In the video below, the MTConnect button is clicked only to confirm that the Adapter is streaming data. It also identifies any Agents that wish to connect to the machine – note the message within the green bar at the bottom of the S94P screen in the video that indicates that an MTConnect Agent has connected to the data stream.

The MTConnect Adapter continuously streams data from the LASERDYNE machine in an MTConnect standard format.

Table 1 (as well as the video) shows a list of the machine data that is currently provided by the Adapter.

Table 1: Current List of Data Items Provided by the MTConnect Adapter

Machine power on time E-Stop state
Control ON state Program in operation state
Program running state Program name
Program checksum Axes strokes
Axes commanded positions Axes actual positions
Laser ready state Laser shutter enabled state
Laser shutter state Laser beam state
Laser power commanded Laser power actual
Feedrate commanded Feedrate actual
Feedrate override Gas port states
Gas pressure commanded Gas pressure actual
Focus sensor type Focus sensor state
Focus sensor position error Lens number
Error numbers Warning numbers

Prima Power is also developing Apps that make use of the machine data for various purposes including predictive maintenance, process efficiency improvement, and remote monitoring.