Factories of the future umati is this year’s most outstanding innovation

Editor: Ahlam Rais

With changing times, there is a need for more advanced and more convenient solutions for the benefit of the global machine and machine tool industry. In this scenario, an innovation such as umati is breaking ground. The universal machine tool interface, umati is an open standard for machine tool users throughout the world.

umati enables machine tools and peripherals to connect to customer-specific IT ecosystems.
umati enables machine tools and peripherals to connect to customer-specific IT ecosystems.
(Source: Deutsche Messe)

Industrial robots and collaborative robots dominating the shop floor; processing big data with ease; adopting artificial intelligence and digital twin technology to help analyze data, optimise systems, processes and monitor systems; and completely digitalising factories via Industry 4.0 ; this is how factories of the future will look like. Warren Bennis quotes, “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.” This may well be the case as futuristic machines and technologies will be able to think and work on their own without human interruptions.

Launch of umati – the universal machine tool interface

The next-gen technologies and solutions will surely leave one stunned. In fact, we are already witnessing some path-breaking innovations that will forever change the manner in which the machine and machine tool industry operates. For instance, this year VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association along with 17 leading companies launched umati – the universal machine tool interface.

umati is an open standard for machine tool users throughout the world. In other words, it acts as a common language platform for machine tools so that exchange of information can take place smoothly. It enables machine tools and peripherals to connect to customer-specific IT ecosystems and can be used to explore many new dimensions in manufacturing.

The 17 firms that launched umati included Chiron, DMG MORIEmag, GF Machining Solutions, GROB-WERKE, Heller, Liebherr-Verzahntechnik, Pfiffner, Trumpf, United Grinding Group, Beckhoff, Fanuc, Heidenhain, Rexroth, Siemens, and ISW – University Stuttgart.

OPC UA communication platform

One of the most striking features of the machine tool interface is that it is based on the OPC UA companion specification which is considered to be the most ideal communication platform for different industrial devices due to its open data model. umati also realises specific mapping from customers or manufacturers and is capable of carrying out transformation of parameters through standardised configurations.

With an aim to help industry players to get a better understanding of how the unique machine tool interface functions, umati was also demonstrated live at EMO 2019, which is one of the leading shows for the metalworking industry.

This year umati was a game changer for the global machine and machine tool industry. In the coming year, the industry will expect to see many more of such solutions in order to enhance and upgrade the mechanisms of the industry.

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