MTConnect Aids Robotic Automation
2. July 2013
MTConnect will make robots more flexible. That’s the implication of recent work by a team of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Usually, installing a robot alongside a CNC machine tool as part of an automated production cell is a complex undertaking, often involving a professional system integrator. But a CNC employing MTConnect made it possible for the NIST researchers to apply a translator between MTConnect and the ROS-Industrial language of robots. This simplified integration significantly.
More importantly, the translator will also simplify re-integration. That is, the robot can be moved from place to place and installed alongside other MTConnect-using machine tools as needed. In other words, the open-source CNC communication protocol can allow shops using automation to view their robots much less as stationary members of dedicated cells, and much more as flexible assets able to be redeployed as needed.