MTConnect-Compliant CNC Interface Option Gathers Real-Time Data

NUM Corp. has developed a communications interface option for its CNC systems that fully complies with version 1.3.0 of the MTConnect interoperability standard.

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NUM Corp. has developed a communications interface option for its CNC systems that fully complies with version 1.3.0 of the MTConnect interoperability standard. The NUMConnect interface can be fitted to new or existing systems and simplifies the integration of CNC machine tools with third-party manufacturing management software. It enables users to implement real-time data collection and retrieval for production monitoring and analysis purposes. NUMConnect is is available ready-fitted or as a retrofit option for all of the company’s Axium, Flexium and Flexium+ CNC systems as well as its earlier-generation Power 1000 series. The software can be installed on any standard PC equipped with Windows XP or later, and it runs in the background on any NUM industrial PC panel.

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free communication standard based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) for capturing data that is readable by both humans and machines. NUM’s open-architecture CNC systems already use similar software technology for its human-machine interface (HMI) to ease the exchange of data between the CNC kernel, PLC, drives and motors. As a consequence, NUMConnect can read anything that is capable of being displayed on the HMI, regardless of whether it is in analog or digital format. Even detailed, low-level machine data such as motor, drive or encoder error messages can be retrieved and used for monitoring machine performance, preventive maintenance or diagnostics.

The NUMConnect software interface comprises two main components: an MTConnect Adapter and an MTConnect-compliant information provider or lightweight webserver known as an Agent. The Adapter collects data from the CNC, associates it with defined MTConnect data items, filters out any duplicates and then pushes the data to the Agent, where it is held in a buffer store until overwritten by fresh information. When the Agent receives a request for information from any client application software, it transfers the appropriate data over the network, using HTTP. The system is inherently secure; MTConnect is a read-only standard designed to facilitate the retrieval of data from manufacturing equipment; it does not control or instruct a CNC machine tool to take action.

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