Connected factory group advances machine-data interface standard

Dec. 13, 2016

Bannockburn, IL. Representatives of machine, device, sensor, and software companies that comprise IPC’s 2-17 Connected Factory Initiative subcommittee have made strides in developing a machine-data interface standard, “Connected Factory Exchange” (CFX) that would enable companies to achieve Industry 4.0 benefits.

The subcommittee’s charter states that the standard will support the goal of true “plug and play interoperability” of devices, systems, and machines in the factory. The standard would provide for a “baseline required” transport mechanism to support plug-and-play, but also allow for optional transport methods. However, to achieve the goal of plug-and-play interoperability when one purchases a machine or system compliant with the standard, a baseline transport would be necessary.

The subcommittee formed a task group that created the “Machine Communications Functional Requirements” survey to gather feedback from equipment, device, software, and product manufacturers and suppliers on the data sets and functional capabilities CFX should support. Survey data was reviewed by task group leaders, Dan Gamota, director of hardware innovation group at Jabil Circuit, and Ranjan Chatterjee, vice president, emerging business and technology office, Cimetrix Inc. The survey responses are being used to prepare the draft standard that will reflect the necessary functionality to fulfill the consensus based requirements to realize Industry 4.0 benefits.

“2-17 subcommittee co-chair Mahi Duggirala and director of enterprise solutions at flex offered to share the data-integration work flex is doing with their ecosystem of equipment suppliers and system integrators,” said Jason Spera, 2-17 subcommittee co-chair and CEO of Aegis Software. “Through this work, the plurality of machine vendors in the industry have already worked to create machine data and control interfaces using open standards to easily integrate with OT/IT systems in support of Industry 4.0 for their equipment.”

Added Nancy Jaster, IPC staff liaison to the 2-17 subcommittee and manager, IPC design process, “Some of flex’s equipment suppliers and partners are willing to present and share the data content and interfaces they developed in collaboration with flex, IPC, and the 2-17 committee for peer review, to see if those formats, transport/communication, and implementation can be used as a baseline foundation to speed up the standard creation.”

The subcommittee plans to have the baseline foundation established by IPC APEX EXPO in February 2017. For more information on the evolving standards and 2-17 subcommittee activities, contact David Bergman, IPC vice president of standards and training at [email protected].

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