June 2008


What's in a name?

The OMAC Board of Directors has approved a name change to the Organization for Machine Automation and Control. The change is aimed at better aligning the name with the current mission of the OMAC organization. When formed in 1994, the OMAC acronym stood for Open Modular Architecture Control. At that time, the OMAC Users Group tried to influence the industry to move to a more open technology. The goal was to leverage the benefits of the evolving personal computer industry into manufacturing automation and away from proprietary hardware and software solutions. Since then, the OMAC mission has evolved to promote industry standards and guidelines that promote more plug-and-play manufacturing automation systems.

The OMAC Packaging Workgroup Connect-and-Pack effort is a good example of what the OMAC Users Group is doing to deliver on this mission. The Connect-and-Pack guidelines were developed to make packaging systems more plug-and-play. Using these guidelines, users can take packaging machines from different vendors and easily connect them together into an integrated packaging line. Users achieve the benefits of an integrated packaging line at a lower cost and on a shorter project schedule.

The Machine Tool Workgroup is attaining similar benefits by promoting the STEP program. STEP is a new standard that has been developed to make the interface between computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and machine tools an industry standard. This allows any CAD, CAM, and machine tool systems that incorporate these standards to integrate together easily, eliminating the conversion process required in the past.