Manufacturing Incubator 3 (MI3), Business team: MacKintok has teamed with MOD-ECO Design LLC; and Hamilton Numbers to launch a new project called MI3. The MI3 concept is to leverage the potential of the MTConnect standard and the growth of interoperability in manufacturing systems. MTConnect is a protocol that standardizes the output of information from a machine into a web-ready, open source format (XML). Most machines require a certain amount of configuration to become MTConnect compatible. Once compatibility is achieved the outputted data can be viewed on a secure web based interface through common applications 24/7 from anywhere in the world via desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices such as smart Phones and iPads. This data can then be stored and analyzed to determine such things as Overall Equipment Efficiency, machine availability and provide procedural information on how to improve or solve an issue on the machine or process. The result will allow machine and process data to be easily shared promoting collaboration among institutions, innovation in manufacturing and job growth.
The MI3 model - Virtual Machine and Design Shops (VMS, VDS) for networked manufacturing. The MI3 will have some centralized, shared physical machines to provide a leading test-bed, education and innovation tool for MI3 participants, collaborators and partners. However, the primary growth of the MI3 is based on a virtual model that will leverage excess and underutilized capacity and improved feedback loops in the art to part process. The pilot for the MI3 will be the partners who will provide the initial machines for the MI3 to implement its missions:
> Help manufacturing adapt and implement MTConnect to their machines > Support tools for collecting, analyzing, and storing machine and process data > Develop new applications to support networked manufacturing.
The virtual shop uses existing machines and extends their capacity via a network rather than investing in a fixed, centralized set of machines.
The VMS is a critical step in providing useful data for engineering and design of new products and adapting existing ones that are more affordable, sustainable and of better quality. These improved products require the development of the virtual design shop (VDS) that can utilize manufacturing and fabrication data at the earliest stages of the process and help decentralize manufacturing. In addition, the MI3 will provide the on-going feedback loop between design, manufacturing and machine tools. The average manufacturing machine is in use for over 17 years, and helping to design machines that more accurately leverage both design and manufacturing opportunity is a critical part of the process. This in turn will provide the MI3 the additional advantages to the rest of the market. Partners in the MI3 will not only gain new business via the network, the MI3 will provide a dividend or return based on various levels of participation in the network by any individual group, organization or business.
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