The Internet and cloud-based computing are changing how manufacturers operate CNC machine tools. Is your shop ready for it?

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Ethernet ports first started appearing on CNC lathes and machining centers more than 20 years ago. The MTConnect machine tool communication standard made its official U.S. debut at the 2010 IMTS in Chicago. Manufacturers began talking about cloud computing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) shortly afterward, terms that would become mainstream when German economist Klaus Schwab published a paper in 2015 stating that the world had entered a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Welcome to 2021. It should be evident by now to machine shop owners, CNC programmers, and manufacturing engineers that the machining industry has changed significantly over the past two decades. CNC machine tools are far smarter than they once were, able to generate significant amounts of data about all that’s going on behind the glass. Manufacturing software has also gotten smarter, offering interoperability and cloud-based capabilities only dreamed of at the turn of the century.

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