MTConnect in Perspective
26. April 2013
"MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know," is a new book by Dave Edstrom. Dave is CEO/CTO of Virtual Photons Electrons and president/board chair of the MTConnect Institute. The book is all about MTConnect, an open-source, royalty-free communications standard intended to foster greater communication and connectivity between manufacturing equipment and devices. The author’s goal is clearly to promote the standard and the substantial benefits he believes it has for manufacturers, especially those in the United States. Dave has been in the computer industry for more than 34 years and deeply involved in manufacturing for the past seven.
The book looks at this standard from two perspectives. The first part of the book is mostly Dave’s personal account of how (and why) MTConnect was first proposed and then aggressively developed under the main sponsorship of AMT—The Association for Manufacturing Technology. This section is a readable mix of the standard’s historical origins as Dave witnessed them and his reflections on the nature of the larger digital technology surrounding it. This treatment puts MTConnect in its conceptual framework and context.
The second part of the book builds on that background to explain the inner workings of the standard and the open system principles underlying them. This part is more technical, but is written for readers who are not Information Technology specialists (although they will benefit from Dave’s clarity). The explanations are designed to encourage machine shop owners and managers of manufacturing plants to adopt MTConnect-enabled equipment and applications by helping them understand the basics. Dave’s message about machine monitoring is especially timely and urgent.
At points, Dave rambles a bit, is gushy with his enthusiasm and lapses into name-dropping, yet none of these minor defects detract from the overall readability of this valuable book on an important development in manufacturing technology.