Understanding Data Items

Posted By oceanus 7/9/2018 2:07:09 PM
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oceanus
 Posted 7/9/2018 2:07:09 PM
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I am new to MTConnect and I have been reading the specification and other resources. I seem to be missing a basic concept about Data Items. Are the data item types limited to the ones in the specification or can you create your own?


For example data item, event PART_NUMBER is listed and clear to me. However when I start a part I want to also record the part's serial number and machining operation, I am not able to find that listed. So I am guessing that I can extend the DataItem XML node to add something like PART_SERIAL_NUMBER and OPERATION.
mtsg Marked As Answer
 Posted 7/10/2018 9:25:31 AM
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In my experience, there's no harm with going in to change the Devices.xml to fit your specific needs if the specification doesn't support it. Given that the spec is still in 1.x, there are likely to be several scenarios that aren't fully supported yet (e.g. additive manufacturing).... just be aware that if the spec ever does "catch up" to what you're doing and they diverge from your implementation, you would have to course-correct to be in-line with the spec.

e.g.
<DataItem type="?" category="CONDITION" id="5" name="?" />
<DataItem type="?" category="EVENT" id="6" name="?" />
oceanus
 Posted 7/10/2018 10:48:19 AM
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Thank you
john@rivannagear.com
 Posted 8/2/2018 8:53:31 AM
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MTConnect is extensible using the rules established for extending any XML schema.

You can add data item types. However, you should also extend the xml schema associated with your application. If you don't extend the schema and a client software application attempts to validate the documents received from an MTConnect Agent, you will get an error.

For your case, SERIAL_NUMBER is an existing data item type. Would not recommend creating different specialized variations such as was suggested PART_SERIAL_NUMBER. This will send you down the road of creating a series of specialized data types instead of using generic ones.

Not sure what you want to capture with Operation. Is this something that is defined by a comment in your program. If so, you might want to consider using PROGRAM_COMMENT to communicate this information.

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