By  Russell Waddell, MTConnect Product Manager,


Ethan Wescoat of Georgia Tech was named the first-place, $10,000 winner of the MTConnect Student Challenge – Application Competition. Along with Wescoat, the second- and tahird-place winners and one finalist were named on the opening day of IMTS in an award presentation that included comments from Tracy Frost with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Wescoat’s winning submission, “Monitoring CNC Machines Using MTConnect and Microsoft Excel,” tracks machine utilization using off-the-shelf products to capture and analyze machine-operating data from the shop floor. Through his submission, Wescoat was able to develop innovative and inexpensive approaches to how the application allowed the captured data to serve multiple requirements, including the ability to provide current machine status information to the operator and utilization information for management. As demonstrated in his application, combining the data capture capabilities of MTConnect with the data handling capabilities of Microsoft Excel provided an interface for operators and engineers alike to monitor and gather data effectively and efficiently from their machines during production.

Other finalists include:

Second-place, $7,500 winner: Kathryn Lovell of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for “NC.js: The Smart Machining Advisor,” which enabled machining on the cloud with StepNC data and MTConnect data

Third-place, $5,000 winner: Shaurabh Kumar Singh of North Carolina State University for “Real-Time Digital Verification of Product Manufacturing Data,” which enabled real-time geometry verification

Finalist: Yansen Zhou of Rice University for “MTLogger,” a real-time data visualization creation tool for machine tool data

The MTConnect Student Challenge sought to better develop manufacturing’s digital capabilities by using student creativity to find industry solutions. It was structured as one challenge with two competitions that awarded cash prizes at the conclusion of each stage. The challenge was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T) and executed by the U.S. Army Benét Labs, AMT-The Association For Manufacturing Technology, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), and the MTConnect Institute, in partnership with SME and the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA).

Final applications and competition information is available at