As the digital factory moves from future fantasy to current reality, it has brought new opportunities and opened up new dangers. Bryce Barnes of Cisco and David Edstrom of Memex Automation are familiar with the challenges and solutions from their joint effort to realize Mazak’s vision of the iSMART Factory. Using the MTConnect standard, they addressed two critical needs in manufacturing: connecting legacy machine tools and sensors while securing all physical and network aspects of the systems.

An industry first, Memex firmly believes Mazak’s iSMART Factory will be a game changer for manufacturing around the world. But is connecting and securing the manufacturing floor cost prohibitive and endlessly complicated for smaller companies?

Edstrom believes, “Keeping machine tools disconnected from the net is a decision to go out of business. The challenges are not trivial, but the good news is security experts, university researchers, government agencies and network system providers have given a lot of attention to cyber-physical security on the manufacturing shop floor, making it easier and simpler to enable a digital factory.”

“It is the industry average that manufacturers that monitor their shop floor have a complete ROI in four to six months. Network connections are necessary to collect essential data about the performance and condition of these machines. Software applications use this data to make good decisions that improve productivity, lower costs and boost quality. Using the internet makes these applications and their insights available to remote users and accessible on wireless mobile devices. These network connections are an important step toward achieving data-driven manufacturing and establishing a true digital environment on the shop floor.” 

To help achieve your dream digital factory, speak with Dave and Bryce at the [MC]2 Conference, April 19-21, at the Hotel InterContinental in Dallas, Texas, as they discuss the current state of plant security and existing threats; present a security tutorial; and address step-by-step, in layman’s terms how to secure a shop against both cyber and physical threats.  

Hear many other industry insiders share best practices on cyber-physical security threats, automation and robotics in manufacturing at this three-day conference, which will also offer perspectives on how to integrate systems across suppliers, producers and clients, to build a stronger network between IT, engineering and manufacturing functions. 

With ample time to network with colleagues, students, researchers and all the conference speakers, this conference is all about sharing and learning together. For hands-on training, the conference will be followed by a user group discussion and a half-day workshop offering technical training on MTConnect.

Register today for [MC]². Early bird rates are in effect through March 18. Visit to see the full agenda and more.