Fourteen companies are participating in the MTConnect Technical Advisory Group (MTCTAG), working with AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology to produce an open communications standard for advanced manufacturing equipment. THe MTCTAG represents global advanced manufacturing technology providers as well as end users. The organization is creating an XML-based open standard for advanced manufacturing data communications with assistance from computer-industry experts and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Paul R. Warndorf, vice president-technology of AMT, says members are reviewing the MTConnect draft standard, which is in its final stage of preparation. Voting members will determine when the standard is ready for general release and industry use. "MTConnect will allow devices and systems to send out data that can be read by any other device using the same standard," Mr. Warndorf says. "It is our expectation that the interoperability afforded by MTConnect will allow many third-party solution providers to develop software and hardware to make the entire manufacturing enterprise more productive." Nearly 30 companies are participating in the development of MTConnect, which will be publicly demonstrated at IMTS 2008. For more information about AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, visit www.amtonline.org.