Dreaming About Shopfloor Connectivity

The U.S. Department of Defense wants your imaginative ideas for low-cost tools and applications to help American manufacturers take advantage of the shopfloor data unleashed by MTConnect, the communication standard that fosters greater connectivity between manufacturing equipment. You could win $5,000 for your “dream application” in the MTConnect Challenge.

The MTConnect Challenge, a U.S. Department of Defense—Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T) ManTech sponsored competition, is designed to promote U.S. manufacturing companies in the defense industry. The goal is to spur the development of tools and applications using the shopfloor data unleashed by MTConnect. MTConnect is an open-source, royalty-free communications standard intended to foster greater communication and connectivity between manufacturing equipment and devices.

The Challenge has two parts. Challenge 1, which runs from April 12 to May 31, 2013, simply asks for imaginative ideas for “manufacturing intelligence applications” using MTConnect. Students, professionals, scientists, laypersons, and organizations of all kinds—including manufacturers—are encouraged to participate. Get the details here. Prizes include $5,000 cash each for the five best ideas. Hint: DoD is especially interested in concepts that will help lower-tier producers and job shops supporting the defense supply chain.


Challenge 2, which runs from July 1, 2013 to January 17, 2014, is looking for development of software applications that address the objectives of this challenge and fulfill the winning ideas. The top prize in this part of the competition is $100,000.