A program to integrate ROS-Industrial with the machine tool platform MTConnect is getting a boost from a grant through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The recent grant builds on a 2013 prototype application developed by a team of companies led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).
the new NIST grant and an alliance between Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT), and System Insights. The initial project demonstrated the ability to implement ROS-Industrial to program a robot and use MTConnect protocol for communications between the robot and a CNC machine tool. Similar to the previous effort, this new initiative is primarily software-based and will use the open standard application level protocol, MTConnect, and open-source ROS-Industrial to enable facility-level interoperability between robot teams and machine-cell devices, facilitating a “many-to-many” relationship. The expansion of the ROS-I/MTConnect solution further enhances the viability of using industry-supported, open-source software for smart manufacturing applications. Open-source software permits a continuation of free development over a very large development workspace that ultimately solves complex problems where the solution is free to the end user. The output from this project is intended to be an enabler for industry-wide adoption of open-source technologies by providing a use-case and testbed showcasing lower cost solutions for comprehensive factory floor integration for small- and medium-sized manufacturers.
There will be a demonstration of this capability at the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) at IMTS with the support of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This demonstration will feature a CNC machine, a CMM, and a robot that will be interacting directly, leveraging the MTConnect to ROS bridge, enabling simple, low cost, integration to enable further leverage of advanced capability for Small and Medium Enterprises.
This project has recently teamed up with Hurco North America, Hexagon Metrology, and Universal Robots to build out a prototype test cell that will be the demonstration platform at the ETC during IMTS!
Recently a development blitz was held at Hurco's Indianapolis site where all the team members gathered to implement the latest implementation (Hurco FM5i, Hexagon Tigo, and UR10) and software to enable this "many to many" direct communication between the hardware provided. The flexibility became apparent as we discussed the types of things that can be considered when we have the CMM as part of the process flow, adjacent to the machine and a robot that can respond dynamically to changing events. We hope that many others will find this capability compelling event though this particular demonstration is just the start.