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MTConnect Challenge Phase 1 Submissions

Compilation of the 38 submissions of MTConnect Challenge Phase 1. 

Submission 1: Machine Teamwork

MTConnect will enable machines to work together to accomplish production goals and communicate with supervisors.

Submission 2: Machine Reporter

Data is only half the solution. People need tools and clear visual representations of their data to make informed and effective decisions. Thanks to MTConnect the domestic manufacturing industry has a flexible and stable protocol from which to access and collect important manufacturing intelligence data but unfortunately many of the current tools to read and report such data require significant time or a significant financial investment. With Machine Reporter we intend to help manufacturers and their employees reduce costs and optimize manufacturing performance by providing a customizable and affordable multi-platform mobile application capable of accessing MTConnect-compatible devices or MTConnect device data and generating a variety of real-time actionable reports. Machine Reporter will be capable of generating real-time reports from raw MTConnect data, archiving such data, generating historical analysis tools, and exporting the data reports for remote review and/or cloud storage. With the Machine Reporter application, any individual should be capable of accessing their manufacturer’s local network and generating productive device reports from raw MTConnect data files with no additional network software or changes necessary to the manufacturer’s infrastructure.



Submission 3: Machine Capability Connector (MCC) Tools

The ability to query any Machine Tool on a network about its capability to hold specified feature tolerances would be revolutionary to the manufacturing process, replacing trial and error efforts with informed decision-making. IQL's Machine Capability Connector Tools would provide this ability, as well as the software needed to both collect the required data and to aid in applying the results.

Submission 4: The Real Time Skills Assessment Tool

An MTConnect Application that monitors and documents the performance of technicians in real time and provides recommended training.

Submission 5: MTConnect Simulator for Developers

An MTConnect Simulator that can simulate one or more machines and can run G-Code part programs which can be used by Developers to create and test new MTConnect applications.


Submission 6: Tools & Features

The Tools & Features Application will monitor the machining process, the tooling process, the gauging process, via MTConnect and provide the ability to make informed accurate process altering decisions.

Submission 7: Intelligent Documents

Manufacturing Documents which display real time data from machines via MTConnect and update based upon the status of the machine or process.

Submission 8: Machine Forensics Tool

Manufacturing’s version of the airline industry’s “black box.” A way to monitor machines and be able to store all information about a process and later allow a technician to review exactly what occurred and actually simulate the routine.

Submission 9: LinkCycle: Using Data Science to Bridge Resource Management and Process Management

Manufacturers must ensure bottom-line profitability, which is a challenge that is confronted at all levels—from executive decision making down to machine-level process optimization. Data informs decision making at every level, from resource and cost accounting within Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems down to process-specific variables. Information systems at the corporate and process level are difficult to integrate, because of the high cost of: 1) installing resource metering hardware, 2) integrating it with software, and 3) analyzing the output to inform decisions. Thus, using resources in an optimal way becomes challenging, and for most manufacturers, a missed opportunity. LinkCycle is a software-as-a-service platform that takes ERP data for overhead resource costs (such as energy, materials, water, etc.) and applies a proprietary methodology to provide a disaggregation of how overhead resources flow into all the production lines. This identifies opportunities for optimizing resource consumption and cost. This guides the effective deployment of device-specific monitoring systems. Bridging the gap between ERP data and process MTConnect data reduces the barrier that organizations face to adopt process monitoring systems. The benefits are illustrated through the case of Rubbermaid, who used LinkCycle to identify key machines to monitor for productivity and cost improvements.

Submission 10: Monitoring and Control of Chatter Conditions with MTConnect

The MTConnect standard can be used to communicate machining process information regarding chatter conditions to the machine operator and to other machines to take automatic action for chatter avoidance. Chatter is the propagation of destructive vibrations in the tool-work piece interaction. It is an undesirable phenomenon that can reduce part quality and increase tool wear. These consequences result in higher costs to replace damaged parts and tools as well as increasing the amount of machine downtime which can reduce the company’s overall productivity. Currently, machine operators are able to correct for many machining errors due to their experience with the machine. Unfortunately as the experienced operators grow older, companies will hire new and relatively inexperienced operators. Without the same level of experience, new operators may not be able to meet the same quality levels. Once chatter can be detected audibly, damage to the work piece may already have occurred. Therefore, an early identification and communication method with the machine tool is warranted to easily monitor and control the machine in the event of dynamic part damage. The proposed idea will provide a means to monitor and control cutting conditions to reduce and prevent chatter in the machining process and downstream processes within the machining system.

Submission 11: Manufacturing Enterprise Architecture (MEA)

MEA was created to address the data and information needs of the entire manufacture operation. MEA is based on the MTConnect® standard and uses the Solution Family Application Platform to enable data collection from all machines, share and distribute data and information to all participants, from operators to planners and managers, and to create information that is actionable and facilitates decisions in support of operations and continuous process improvements.

Submission 12: 3D Factory Monitor and Simulator Tool

This tool is a 3D Factory interface which monitors machines in real time and allows a user to navigate the factory to perform virtual troubleshooting and maintenance routines. The user can then switch to simulation mode to change settings and other details prior to actually performing them for real.

Submission 13: Machine Process Analyzer

The Machining Process Analyzer (MPA) will extract and utilize information readily available from a CNC and applied sensors to identify anomalies in a repetitive machining process. The MPA will record key process variables, provide analytics, compare current values and patterns to established historical norms, and identify shifts and trends that would indicate impending part quality nonconformance risks. From this analysis, the user of the MPA would be able to determine appropriate process improvement areas, tooling improvements, or other factors to lead to a reduction in manufacturing costs and improvements in yield and quality.




Submission 14: MachineDoc Prognostics System

The MachineDoc Prognostics System (MPS) will calculate a single, integrated machine health indicator providing a go/no-go indication for the technician to start the production process with the expectation that the machine will produce good parts. MPS will also identify and report abnormal machine conditions prior to failure and calculate the remaining useful life for the machine to produce parts within quality constraints such as surface finish and dimensional accuracy.

Submission 15: A MTConnect Enabled Platform for Machine Tool Component Health Prognosis and Tool Condition Monitoring

The maintenance cost and losses in productivity with unplanned downtime for machine tool components such as spindle bearings and ball screws could be reduced if one could proactively take action prior to failure. In addition, cutting tools and inserts are expensive to replace when they are still in good condition, but replacing the tools too late can be costly due to scrap and re-work. The proposed health monitoring application will use MTConnect to extract controller data and pattern recognition algorithms to assess the health condition of the spindle and machine tool axes. The health assessment approach is based on running a routine program each shift in which the most recent data patterns are compared to the baseline data patterns. An online tool condition monitoring module is also proposed and uses controller data such as the spindle motor current, with other add on sensors (vibration, acoustic emission) to accurately estimate and predict tool wear. By collecting data using the MTConnect standard, the platform aims to have widespread adoption in factories. In addition, with the added transparency of the machine tool health information, one can take proactive actions before significant downtime or productivity losses occur.



Submission 16: Student Scheduler

Our Idea is to create student scheduler for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute which will allow the students to schedule time on a particular machine in order to have sufficient time to produce a product that the students designed. The purpose of this scheduler is minimally supervised multiple independent process implementations. The Real Time Student Scheduler will fulfill a need that RPI has and at the same time introduce the students to MTConnect in a context of what they might see in the industry after they graduate.


Submission 17: Cloud-based EMI Solution

Machinery has long been a staple and critical enabler throughout the manufacturing industry, yet deriving valuable data generated by machines into operation reports has been lacking and oftentimes, an after the fact exercise. This discrepancy is not because companies do not recognize its importance, but is due to the lack of conformance in the structure of how data are generated from machine to machine, making any attempt to centralize and mine machine generated data a significantly costly integration exercise. MTConnect’s effort to standardize machine-generated data and improve interoperability of software and devices enables truly scalable commercial package manufacturing solutions to be built and, thereby, enabling a cloud-based enterprise manufacturing intelligence solution to be marketed and deployed. To date, any attempt to provide a manufacturing intelligence solution would either lack critical machine-generated data or require a tremendous amount of customized data normalization and integration work. Together with MTConnect’s standardizations, recent advancements in big data analytics techniques, and the rise of cloud and mobile computing, Composite Apps proposes that we develop a cloud-based EMI service that any organization can cost-effectively implement.


Submission 18: MTEquipmentTracker

Implementation of a full scale Equipment Management system is often out of reach of mid to small sized manufacturers. Tracking of equipment inventory, service events, spare parts, and maintenance schedules are often tracked in simple spreadsheets, if at all. Accuracy of manual tracking methods is generally poor. MTEquipmentTracker offers an affordable alternative to a full Equipment Management solution. Using MTConnect, MTEquipmentTracker records and reports machine and component level information automatically. MTEquipmentTracker provides plant managers with a precise picture of what is deployed on the floor, when it was deployed, and assets that have failed.


Submission 19: Gamification of Manufacturing

Using crowd sourcing and gamification, the proposal is to build a framework and platform to empower users to create unique and novel solutions to manufacturing processes and problems. This will require creating a platform for simulating, scoring and sharing solutions among users. Aspects of scoring, rewards, gifting, social sharing, challenges and teamwork play heavily in the design of the gamafiaction side. The simulator will approximate the manufacturing processes and allow the users to create novel solutions which can then be extrapolated back into the real world. The interface will be crafted to be fun and engaging, like a game. The platforms will be mobile and web based desktop.

Submission 20: Enhanced PLC-based Remote Diagnosis System using MTConnect Protocol

With rising competition abroad, US manufacturers are looking to reinvest manufacturing capabilities to counterbalance costs by increasing productivity. How to increase up time and achieve a near-zero-down-time performance is increasingly critical for manufacturers. Currently, most machine breakdown issues can be quickly diagnosed based on PLC ladder diagram. Many manufacturers believe that PLC plays an important role for finding root causes and further for troubleshooting of manufacturing equipment. Currently, PLC image transmission or screen sharing are used to enable remote PLC monitoring. However, due to its drawbacks such as remote control limitations, distorted images, and high bandwidth requirement, it is difficult for machine OEMs to remotely check PLC status on demand and provide troubleshooting knowledge effectively. To solve this problem, an enhanced PLC-based remote diagnosis system based on MTConnect protocol is proposed to provide a fast recovery for machine breakdowns. In the proposed system, only selected parameters are transmitted to remote side and a PLC ladder diagram will be generated using graphical monitoring module. This method provides more bandwidth and a time-efficient way in comparison with the traditional methods. The proposed system can dramatically reduce machine OEMs’ costs on troubleshooting and at the same time increase manufacturers’ up time and productivity.


Submission 21: Machine Monitoring & Big Data

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the capability of MTConnect and Big Data analysis to conduct shop floor machine monitoring and analysis, accurately and inexpensively. The availability of collecting machine data via the MTConnect protocol, visual data acquired by cameras and from multiple business systems will enable accurate analysis of machine utilization and shop floor efficiency. Current shop floor machine data collection struggles with finding out why the machine is not running from a plethora of diverse reasons. The conflict resides in requiring the machine operator to manually input the reason for why the machine is not running. When the data used for analysis is dependent of manual input, the resulting report is compromised and cannot be trusted for production decisions. Shop managers want to know the foremost reason why the machine is not running and implement a fix. An application which executes unobtrusively and reports accurate analysis is of high value.

Submission 22: PROVEN PERFORMANCE BIDDING (PPB)

PPB is a new methodology that brings collaborative interaction between customers and manufacturers (suppliers) working together to promote Value Adding Manufacturing Excellence. Implementing PPB results in a Win-Win-Win scenario for the Buyer, the Supplier and the General Public. Lower prices, higher profits, less waste, faster delivery result from PPB which is beneficial for all.

Submission 23: WIDE AREA PRODUCTION SYSTEM (WAPS)

The Wide Area Production System (WAPS) combines MTConnect compatible Manufacturing Intelligence Software (MIS) with manufacturing machines and equipment of all kinds that are equipped with MTConnect standards compliant data interfaces to interact with innovative machine vision optics, low-cost pallets, and pallet transport systems to form a robust and mostly 24/7 unattended production control and monitoring system. WAPS implements MTConnect standards in a manner that is innovative, achievable, practical, and measurable. It is an open system that provides all standard MTConnect functions such as data collection, formatting for easy interpretation by all decision makers, manufacturing support services, maintenance, logistics scheduling, administration, etc. WAPS is up scalable, virtually without limits, by adding MTConnect standards compliant machines and plug-and-play hardware and software modules from all qualified vendors. For quality control, WAPS performs Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) style checking of part dimensions with The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable accuracy before they are removed from the machine. WAPS is affordable for small enterprises by starting with a few legacy machines that have been retrofitted with MTConnect standards compliant interfaces and a core of MIS.

Submission 24: MT Connect Cell Communication Hub

With manufacturing cells becoming more complex and the need for faster methods of manufacturing increasing, keeping cell operators supplied with the right information at the right moment has become critical to success. Our goal is to create a cell communication system capable of supporting an MT Connect standard application which will enable real time communication of key process events to a cell central location. Both primary and secondary manufacturing equipment will report these key moments to a touch screen interface and heads up display for use by the cell operator. Having this information provided will serve to bridge the gap between worker and equipment creating a more unified, real time approach to work instruction.


Submission 25: Using MTConnect for Real Time Part Tracking and Creating of Lean Manufacturing Tools

By implementing MTConnect, companies put themselves in a position to capture part and process information overtime into an archived history of how things are done in the factory. This information is what is necessary to help make future decisions regarding how to do things more effectively and efficiently. This concept describes how support tools can be created automatically.

Submission 26: Smart Factory Through MTConnect

The purpose of this work is to introduce a smart, web-based, cross-browser, cross-platform (mobile/desktop) and customizable machine monitoring and management application (with 2D/3D end-user interfaces) that uses MTConnect protocol in order to: 1. Create visibility and transparency in the production environments, 2. Improve machine utilization and production efficiency by managing production metrics, 3. Identify machine faults/warnings for predictive maintenance, 4. Reduce lead times in responding to alarms and downtime.
The proposed application is intelligent in that it will not only display real-time and historical machine data, but also process and analyze this data in order to extract useful features through smart algorithms.

Submission 27: Green Machine

The “app” developed from this project will incorporate the use of MTConnect targeted at minimizing the amount of energy a machine tool uses during machining through the employment of “adaptive control” technology and the optimization of various machine tool parameter settings. Critical machine tool data will be obtained off of a selected machine tool in a robust manufacturing environment through the use of MTConnect. The machine tool data envisioned to be collected will include energy consumed, feed rate, spindle speed, tool condition, coolant temperature, coolant flow volume, depth of cut, material being machined, tool insert type, etc. All of this data will be analyzed “real time” and the “app” will generate instructions on which parameter settings/adjustments should be incorporated to yield the least amount of energy consumption and the shortest machine cycle time for the given operation. The resulting cost savings will allow the manufacturer to reduce costs which could be passed on to the customer or retained for higher profit. Additionally, the resulting lower carbon footprint could be incorporated into the manufacturers marketing strategy.

Submission 28: A New Paradigm for Laser Tool Setting

Efficient discrete-part production by multi-axis milling requires that the limitations imposed by the process dynamics are respected at the process planning stage. It is required that appropriate spindle speed-depth of cut combinations are selected to avoid chatter, or unstable machining conditions. Laser tool setters have been widely adopted to measure and update the actual tool length at the time of program execution. While this can aid in avoiding crashes and identifying broken tools, it encourages reduced rigor in tool length control during the physical tooling setup. The tool length is crucial for consistent dynamic behavior because the tool flexibility is strongly dependent on this parameter. Variation in the tool length changes the chatter-free depth of cut and the preferred spindle speed for stable machining. Therefore, although the actual tool length may be successfully measured, it is not guaranteed that this new length offers the same stability behavior as the nominal length and the programmed operating parameters may no longer be valid. This project describes improved use of laser tool setters to avoid chatter using MTConnect and dynamic models.

Submission 29: Machining Chatter Feedback Control Using MTConnect

The proposed project includes combined offline learning control and event-based pseudo real-time control architectures based on MTConnect's non-real-time data acquisition protocol across machine and controller platforms. Combining the two in this project will allow hybrid supervisory/real-time control to enable ``first time right'' manufacturing and drive continuous improvement. The proof of concept will include regenerative chatter reduction in a machining process as well as tool path optimization based on post process measurement. The benefits of the proof of concept will include improvements in machining efficiency, capacity, quality, finish and tool utilization. The approach will become part of the undergraduate and graduate instruction to encourage general understanding and propagation of the concept. The primary benefit of the concept is enabling advanced control across existing machines and platforms to support continuous improvement within machine shops and across industries.

Submission 30: Agile Product and Process Development using MTConnect

A knowledge-centric enterprise needs rapid communication between engineering, planning and supply chain focused around specific products. This is typically accomplished by an organizational structure dedicated to managing new products through their life cycle. This paradigm doesn’t extend well to high-mix low volume or agile production facilities. We propose a solution for operators in the shop floor interfacing seamlessly with MTConnect enabled machines to provide feedback to designers and manufacturing planners with minimal effort. This will enable rapid process improvements/redesigns and build an enterprise knowledge base for defects and best practice identification. Our approach utilizes MTConnect to establish the context of the defect, process improvement, or design suggestion. In software parlance, “a stack trace” would be automatically created for operator feedback. This can be packaged and emailed/made available for retrieval based on a workflow established in the PLM system. Over time machine specific models created through supervised learning will automate this function resulting in a self-reporting intelligent machine tool.
The primary benefits of the proposed system would be to accelerate product yield learning curve of enterprise in real-time. This is accomplished by creating a higher level of supply chain involvement for product refinement including cost reduction and improving manufacturing efficiency

Submission 31: ManuGit

Manufacturers in supply chains need a consistent and ubiquitous software toolset to securely store, access, analyze and distribute their MTConnect device data. Much like the software industry of 2004, domestic manufacturing businesses find themselves with industry-standardized data yet no agreed-upon tools or methods to efficiently manage such information. Without these readily-available tools manufacturers are left with few options outside of writing their own software or investing in expensive integration consultants.
I propose the creation of a manufacturer-oriented application built upon the popular “Git” software library, a free and secure technology that revolutionized the way data was stored, accessed, updated, and distributed across the entire software industry. MTConnect was built upon powerful web standards such as XML and HTTP, the same standards that Git was built to accommodate and enhance. With the creation of ManuGit, domestic manufacturers will have full end-to-end MTConnect-based solutions with the stability, performance, and flexibility of the very same technology powering data management and collaboration for some of the world’s leading data-driven organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Linux.

Submission 32: Automated predictive analytics for production scheduling by a novel simulation optimization

In manufacturing intelligence, predictive analytics is used for planning and operations management, particularly for production scheduling.
In production scheduling, simulation with heuristic rules and what-if analysis are used to run several scenarios generating several results (schedules). This process is highly labor-intensive and time-consuming, and therefore, a prime candidate for automation. Our idea is to automate this process by merging simulation with an approximate branch-and-bound optimization algorithm. Such metaheuristic simulation optimization, more described and tested in a referenced paper of this proposal, can be used for solving combinatorial problems like production scheduling, supply chain optimization, resource allocation, routing of war robots, scheduling military operations, or air traffic management. In production scheduling, direct benefits of the proposed automated predictive analytics are: higher quality of schedules (schedules are shorter), the schedules are generated faster, and savings of labor-intensive and time-consuming scheduling activities. These direct benefits lead to other manufacturing benefits like increased throughput, maximized utilization of resources (machines, people, tools, etc.), shorter lead times, improved customer satisfaction (meeting due dates, on-time delivery), improved lean manufacturing by reducing waste (waiting time, setup time, resource idleness). Therefore, production cost is reduced, profitability is increased without any capital investment, and sustainable manufacturing is supported.

Submission 33: Expanding Manufacturing's Vision: MTConnect + Google Glass

MTConnect® lowers the barriers to Manufacturing Intelligence, even to as complex a supply-side manufacturing chain as the Department of Defense's network of suppliers. Google Glass—a Heads-Up Display, camera, touchpad, microphone, email and internet connection built into a spectacle frame—coupled with MTConnect functionality, will provide a view into the manufacturing process that until now has been unattainable. The Google Glass user will be liberated from laptops and hand-held smart devices and be able to travel the entire shop floor, gathering and sharing machine data provided by MTConnect, and accessing the internet for more information as he goes. The opportunities inspiring the merger between MTConnect® and Google Glass are twofold. The first opportunity is in the exploitation of Augmented Reality (AR). AR generates a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene, as viewed by the user, and a virtual scene generated by the computer with additional information such as sound, video, graphics, GPS data, or, in this case, manufacturing data via MTConnect. Google Glass becomes a natural extension of MTConnect's view into machines, providing intuitive and user-friendly access to manufacturing data.

Submission 34: AugMT: Augmented Vision with MTConnect

A problem exists in manufacturing today since companies typically do not have access to significant data from their production operations, or the data is tied to a traditional hand held device that can be unwieldy in manufacturing environment. These issues result in lost opportunities to optimize production, efficiently utilize equipment, monitor product quality, and more. Our innovative, three part approach (called AugMT) combines processed information from MTConnect data streams with augmented reality technology available through Google Glass, a head-mounted display that loosely resembles common eye glasses. The AugMT glass software also allows feedback from the field user to push video and audio back to the AugMT
service to be disseminated to other users in the field and through the website. AugMT data can be configured through the website interface to meet different user needs regarding what MTConnect data is available versus what the user finds valuable. AugMT is a web application combined with the Google Glass mobile device that utilizes warnings, alerts, and barcode scanning to identify and capture device-specific information and stores it in digital form for manufacturing intelligence purposes.


Submission 35: Interactive Work Instructions

Shop floors are undergoing the computing transformation that offices went through in 1990s. Plants are moving away from paper based work instructions to electronic work instructions. This helps attract an emerging workforce that is comfortable with tablets and 3D visualization. Electronic work instructions however are typically PDF versions of the paper work instructions with some embedded 3D. We are proposing an MTConnect based Interactive Work Instructions (IWI) that would add value beyond reducing usage of paper. IWI has various modules that interact with the G-code executing in the machine tool controller to provide more visual guidance for the operator of expected operational condition and deviations from nominal plan. In our proposed implementation, MTConnect tool path data is used to automatically scroll to the right page in the PDF work instruction, bring real time simulation corresponding to the feature machined, and flag on any drifts in the tool paths for operator intervention or material review board. This information can be transmitted to an operator with a tablet near machine tool or process engineer in a different location without any changes to the system. The key benefits of this system are reduced operator errors and vouchering time.


Submission 36: sim.MTConnect.org

An elegantly-simple website that simulates and visualizes MTConnect interactions against a 3D map of your factory.



Submission 37: TeamEngage Powered by MTConnect

Plant personnel at small and medium sized manufacturing producers are rarely dedicated to a single operations role. Managers in particular often engage in multiple job roles in a single day, if not in a single hour. The ability for staff to collaborate efficiently when issues arise is an important capability for managing a cost-effective operation. It is in this context that MTConnect TeamEngage is submitted for review. MTConnect TeamEngage is a plant operations collaboration system focused on facilitating discussions around MTConnect data. TeamEngage allows an ad-hoc group within an operations team to join a discussion and communicate via web and mobile applications. The key feature of the application is that conversations revolve around a snapshot of data from one or more MTConnect devices.



Submission 38: Integration with Microsoft Visio

MTConnect has been integrated with Labview, Crystal Reports, Matlab, MS Excel and several web based displays but no integration with Microsoft Visio. We propose to integrate MTConnect with Visio through the creation of five intelligent stencil types described below:
Data acquisition stencils will connect shop floor equipment such as Computer Numeric Controls to Visio and provide real-time manufacturing data up-load capability. Data presentation stencils will be common data display objects such as Pareto charts, histograms, control charts, bar charts, strip charts, tabulated displays and will provide real-time data display. Calculation stencils will provide common manufacturing calculations and will be integrated with MS Excel for custom calculations. Simulation stencils will allow the building of process models that can feed annunciator stencils to raise alarms should the actual vs. simulated go outside control limits. With this stencil set and drag and drop skills, manufacturing direct personnel can use Visio to rapidly and inexpensively build MTConnect real-time data display and annunciation systems. Since this is a MS Office integration all of the reporting and presentation capability of MS Office will be available. This proposal benefits MTConnect and International TechneGroup Incorporated by each having a much larger penetration on the shop floor.

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