Looking for MTConnect Challenge 2 please visit: http://mtconnect2.challenge.gov

1. Introduction

The MTConnect Challenge seeks to engage and stimulate development of a broader base of advanced manufacturing intelligence software applications that acquire data utilizing the MTConnect standard. The intent is to enable a more efficient and competitive domestic manufacturing infrastructure for parts and assemblies for the defense enterprise. Additionally, the objective of this Challenge is to create valuable low cost software tools and applications that can be easily adopted by manufacturing enterprises, especially the mid and lower tier producers which represent a significant portion of the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain, to enhance its manufacturing capabilities to produce parts and assemblies.   

There will be two separate stages to this competition, with cash prizes at the conclusion of each state.  The Challenge is seeking, in the first phase (Ideation), the identification of ambitious yet achievable ideas that capture the public’s imagination and that harness innovation and manufacturing intelligence breakthroughs that could benefit the DoD and their industrial manufacturing supply chain. For the second phase (Projects), the team is seeking the submittal of software applications that address the objectives of this Challenge.

2. Background

In any given manufacturing enterprise, there can be hundreds or even thousands of types of equipment, devices, and independent systems operating simultaneously.  The overriding goal of manufacturing is to produce goods in a timely and cost-effective manner with the highest levels of quality and minimal scrap.  Manufacturing Intelligence seeks to use software applications and data collected from production operations to achieve these goals.  Improving and enhancing Manufacturing Intelligence is essential to improving the competitiveness and profitability of manufacturing operations.

Manufacturing Intelligence can address a wide array of information types. It commonly provides measurements for production optimization, equipment utilization, productivity levels, maintenance processes, product quality, energy management, and more. Generally, collection of data and transforming that data into Manufacturing Intelligence is viewed as difficult and expensive. The objective of this Challenge is to define solutions for lowering barriers to useful information in order to improve the viability of manufacturing operations.

Each piece of equipment used in manufacturing typically has valuable information on its operating state, the products being produced, and its interaction with other pieces of equipment and/or plant personnel (operators).  A significant challenge for enhancing Manufacturing Intelligence is that much of the equipment used in part production operations does not communicate that information in a standard format.  As a result, it is often difficult to implement software applications used to improve manufacturing operations or to determine how effectively the factory, and/or enterprise, is operating.   These difficulties are further compounded in complex, extended enterprises where the need for visibility through a highly distributed supply chain is heightened even more.

Incidentally, this is the opposite of what has occurred in the computer or information technology arena – where a wide range of disparate devices communicate through standard interfaces (e.g., USB and networking technologies) using standardized communication protocols. Within the manufacturing sector, the challenge then becomes how manufacturing can replicate the success of this interconnectability, exploit an extended manufacturing technology community, and provide timely production data to the local and total enterprise to create manufacturing intelligence.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by manufacturers and the lack of a standardized communication protocol for parts manufacturing, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology commissioned the development of the MTConnectstandard. MTConnectdefines the communication protocol, or the rules, that manufacturing equipment can follow to share data with software applications or other shop floor devices. The standard includes an extensible taxonomy, or dictionary, which provides a standardized structure and format for information and data available from parts manufacturing equipment.  The data is represented in an XML schema and is transmitted using standard HTTP and Ethernet networking technologies.  The MTConnect standard is open and royalty-free to facilitate the widest possible acceptance and utility. This approach allows connectivity and data standardization from the lowest levels of the manufacturing process, starting from the equipment used to produce parts and assemblies on the shop floor, to interactions with other devices in the manufacturing operation, and to higher level enterprise design, process planning, and execution systems.

The expectation is that the interoperability afforded by MTConnectwill enable a host of solution providers to develop software and hardware products to make the entire manufacturing enterprise more productive. To date, a limited number of applications utilizing MTConnecthave emerged. The MTConnect Challenge is focusing on expanding the awareness of the difficulties faced in manufacturing and foster the development of new software applications to enhance Manufacturing Intelligence.

2.1      Use of Data in the Manufacturing Industry

The world of manufacturing includes a wide variety of processes, products, and facilities.  This Challenge is focused on that portion of manufacturing engaged in the production and assembly of discrete parts – metals, plastics, and other materials (e.g. automotive, aerospace, discrete parts manufacturing, etc.).  Because of the types of equipment commonly used in the production of these types of parts, manufacturing companies typically do not have access to significant data from their production operations.  However, they recognize the need to more effectively use data and the information derived from that data to improve the operation of their facilities (Manufacturing Intelligence).  In a recent study of parts suppliers for defense industries, it was found that every company is currently using data from their production operations.  However, it was also found that the requirements for data and information derived from that data are much greater than what can be effectively realized today.  It was also found that data is commonly collected manually for record keeping and documentation purposes.  Once collected, it is never converted to an electronic form where it can be further analyzed.

Today, there is an extensive amount of data produced relative to the manufacturing process.  However, this data is typically “trapped” in the individual pieces of equipment and devices used in the production of products or the operation of the facilities or it is recorded on paper where it cannot be easily analyzed.  The purpose of MTConnect is to “unlock” this data and provide it for use in a common format that can be easily used by software applications.

In the study of suppliers for the Defense industries, it was found most facilities have programs in place to continuously improve their manufacturing operations.  All of these programs require the analysis of data from the production operations to drive the decision making process.  It was also found that 69% of the facilities studied capture Part Quality data, 51% capture data relative to Equipment Maintenance and Maintenance Scheduling, and only 29% capture data relative to the Production Process and Performance Monitoring. 

There is significant diversity in the types of data collected in manufacturing operations.  Across the 46 companies studied53 distinctly different types of production metrics were identified as being important to the various companies.   Of these, only five were commonly used in the majority of the facilities.   This study clearly demonstrated that need for a more diverse set of software applications required to support production operations.  

Other data determined from the study shows that the following information types were identified as being the most valuable to plant personnel:

  • Machine Health/Machine Behaving Properly 
  • Equipment Performance Metrics:  Availability, Utilization, and Reasons of Downtime 
  • Operating Performance – Amount of Equipment Idle Time and Reasons for Idle Time 
  • Identification of Equipment Failures and Prediction of Pending Failures 
  • Part Conformity (Part Quality) and a Machines Ability to Produce a Conforming Part

It was also shown that the majority of the Continuous Improvement Programs used in these production facilities rely most heavily on data relative to Equipment Availability and Utilization.  Additionally, the data that is most lacking, but desired, is Machine Health Monitoring and the tracking and scheduling of Equipment Maintenance.

 

2.2      Sponsorship

The MTConnect Challenge is a project sponsored by the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T). The U.S. ARMY - ARDEC Benet Labs, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), and AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology are the joint executors of the Challenge.

 

3. The MTConnect Challenge

3.1      Goal

The primary goal of the MTConnectChallenge is to develop innovative and deployable advanced manufacturing intelligence applications utilizing the MTConnect standard. This goal will be met through two distinct competitions as part of this Challenge.

3.2      Objectives

The objective of the MTConnect Challenge 1 is to identify a manufacturing intelligence application/concept.

The objective of MTConnect Challenge 2 will be to develop a demonstrable and deployable application. The details of the MTConnect Challenge 2 has been published  on http://mtconnect2.challenge.gov as of 01 July 2013.

Participation in MTConnect Challenge 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in MTConnect Challenge 2.

The MTConnect Challenge encourages submissions from a wide variety of diverse perspectives – students and professionals, scientist, laypersons, and organizations including manufacturing entities.

 

4. MTConnect Standard

MTConnect®is an open, royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between devices and software applications.  It is based on an open protocol for data integration. By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other’s data and reduces the cost of system integration. 

MTConnect® is built upon the most prevalent standards in the manufacturing and software industries, maximizing the number of tools available for its implementation and providing the highest level of interoperability with other standards and tools in these industries.  The key technology components used in MTConnect are Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the networking technologies Hyper-Text Transport Protocol (HTTP) and Ethernet.

To facilitate this level of interoperability, a number of objectives are implemented in the standard. Foremost is the ability to transfer data via a standard protocol which includes:

  • A device identity (i.e. model number, serial number, calibration data, etc.). 
  • The identity of all the independent components of the device. 
  • A device’s design characteristics (i.e. axis length, maximum speeds, device thresholds, etc.). 
  • Most importantly, data captured in real or near-real-time (i.e. current speed, position data, temperature data, program block, etc.) by a device that can be utilized by other devices or applications (e.g. utilized by maintenance diagnostic systems, management production information systems, CAM products, etc.).

MTConnect also provides a Data Dictionary with standard definitions and terminology for thousands of types of data found in the manufacturing environment.  An XML schema is provided for each data type to provide a structure for exchanging data between devices and applications.  MTConnect is also an Extensible Standard – allowing developers to extend the Data Dictionary to support data types not yet defined in the standard.  The types of data that can be addressed in MTConnect® include:

  •  Physical and actual device design data
  • Measurement or calibration data 
  • Near-real-time data from the device

MTConnect has been purposely defined as a “Read Only” protocol to address a number of implementation concerns specific to the production environment.  Application techniques commonly referred to as “Read-Read” may be employed to provide for the dynamic exchange of data between devices and to facilitate interoperability between them.

Proposals submitted for the Challenge must utilize the MTConnect standard for the exchange of data between devices and applications.  In Phase 2 of the Challenge, it will be required that the applicant demonstrate the use of MTConnect in the submission.  It is also encouraged that proposals identify extensions that may be required for the MTConnect standard to more fully implement the solutions identified in the proposal.

Visit the “Getting Started” section of MTConnect.org for more information.

 

5. Prizes

This Challenge is being conducted under the authority of the America COMPETES Act of 2010, 15 U.S.C. § 3719.

The Challenge will be comprised of two phases, with cash prizes at the conclusion of each phase. The total dollar amount is subject to the availability of funds.

DOD reserves the right to suspend, cancel, extend, or curtail the Challenge as required or determined by appropriate DOD officials. Nothing within this document or in any documents supporting the Challenge shall be construed as obligating DOD, Federal Government, NCDMM, or AMT or instrumentality to any expenditure of appropriated funds, or any obligation or expenditure of funds in excess of or in advance of available appropriations.  Within 15 business days of winner notification, the DOD will award a single dollar amount to winning team(s) and each team is solely responsible for allocating any prize amount among its member contestants as they deem appropriate.  DOD will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between entrant members.   It will be up to the winning team to reallocate the prize money among its member contestants, if they deem it appropriate.

5.1      MTConnect Challenge #1 Prizes

There will be five prizes for Phase 1 winners.

5.2      MTConnect Challenge #2 Prizes

The top five finalists will be given an opportunity to present at [MC]2 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference in April 2014.

The details of the MTConnect Challenge 2 has been published  on http://mtconnect2.challenge.gov as of 01 July 2013.

Participation in MTConnect Challenge 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in MTConnect Challenge 2.

 

6. Eligibility

Only U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted permanent U.S. residents are eligible to participate in any part of the MTConnect Challenge.

 

7. Submission Requirements

Participation in the MTConnect Challenge 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in the MTConnect Challenge 2.

  1. Visit http://MTConnect.challenge.gov and click “Sign Up” to create a ChallengePost account, or click “Log In” and log in with an existing ChallengePost account.
  2. Register your interest in participating by clicking “Accept this Challenge” on the Challenge website in order to receive important Challenge updates. Registration is free; no purchase necessary.
  3. After you sign up on Challenge.gov, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you provided. Use the confirmation email to verify your email address. As a registered contestant, you will then be able to enter the Challenge by submitting an application that conforms to the requirements set forth herein.
  4. Explore the MTConnect information and other resources available at www.MTConnect.org, under the Getting Started menu.
  5. Submit your innovative idea.  This idea must make use of the MTConnect standard.

Submissions will be accepted between 12am EST on April 12, 2013 and 11:59:59pm EST on May 31, 2013, visit http://mtconnect.challenge.gov/submissions/new and confirm that you have read and agree to the Official Rules, and submit your application by including the items listed in the requirements section.

The Administrator’s computer, within the ARMY's ARDEC-Benet Labs, is the official time-keeping device for this Challenge.  

 

7.1      MTConnect Challenge #1 – Ideation Submission Requirements

(A)      Cover Page (1 page)

  • Program Name: MTConnect Challenge
  • Title of Idea:
  • Respondent Name:
  • Organization (if applicable):
  • Phone Number:
  • Email address:
  • Date of Proposal:

(B)      Section I: Abstract (200 words max.): Proposed idea:

  • Provide an abstract describing your idea for an application.

(C)      Section II: Proposed idea:

  • Provide an innovative, achievable, and inspirational goal statement that summarizes your idea?
  • Describe your proposed idea.
  • Identify areas of benefit and impact your idea would provide.

(D)      Section III: Technical Requirements:

  • Identify the technical requirements needed to implement your proposed idea
  • Describe how your idea proposes to utilize MTConnect.
  • Are there scientific or technical breakthroughs and milestones required to achieve the goal (i.e. new technology developments, enhancements to MTConnect standard, etc.)?

(E)      Section IV: Benefits:

  • Describe the anticipated benefits to manufacturing that will be realized through your proposed concept.

The format for the submission is limited to 5 single space pages, not including the Title page, with 1 inch margins on 8.5 x 11 letter paper using Times New Roman font of 12 point font size.  All submissions shall not exceed 35MB.

All abstracts will be made public.

Submissions containing proprietary data  will not be accepted.

 

 7.3      Competition #2 – Application Submission Requirements

For MTConnect Challenge 2 it will be required that the applicant demonstrate the use of MTConnect in the submission.  It is also encouraged that proposals identify extensions that may be required to the MTConnect Standard to more fully implement the solutions identified in the proposal. Again, participation in the MTConnect Challenge 1 is not a prerequisite for participation in MTConnect Challenge 2. For more information on MTConnect Challenge 2 visit: http://mtconnect2.challenge.gov

 

8. Evaluation Criteria

8.1      MTConnect Challenge 1 – Ideation Evaluation Criteria

(A) Benefit to Manufacturing Intelligence

Each submission will be rated based on the strength of its potential to create achievable and measurable benefits to manufacturing intelligence.

  • Cost Benefits:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may use data generated from or provided to the production environment to reduce costs associated with the deployment, implementation, or operation of a manufacturing process or application solution used in the manufacturing environment.  Cost benefits may also include reduction of costs associated with maintenance related to a manufacturing process or application solution in a manufacturing process; training of personnel required to operate or maintain a manufacturing process or application solution; the number and/or the qualifications of personnel required to operate or maintain a manufacturing process or application solution; the collection and retention of data or documentation associated with a manufacturing process or application solution in a manufacturing process; and/or waste and scrapped materials resulting from the manufacturing process.
  • Productivity Benefits:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may use data generated from or provided to the production environment to reduce costs, improve productivity, or increase production output associated with the deployment, implementation, or operation of a manufacturing process or application solution used in manufacturing environment.   Productivity benefits may also include reduction in cycle times associated with a production process; improved utilization of resources and personnel in the manufacturing process; reduction of non-productive time related to the manufacturing process; and/or the collection and retention of data or documentation associated with a manufacturing process or application solution in a manufacturing process.
  • Quality Benefits:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may use data generated from or provided to the production environment to improve the quality of products produced in a manufacturing process.  Quality benefits may include the overall quality, precision, or conformity of products produced in the manufacturing process; improved stability or repeatability of the manufacturing process; detection or identification of in-process quality defects which reduce scrap, rework and/or non-productive production time; and/or the collection and retention of quality data associated with a manufacturing process or products produced in a manufacturing process.

(B)       Creativity and Innovation

Each submission will be rated based on the extent to which it exhibits a breakthrough concept and/or methodology. This may be through a new concept, methodology, or means of implementation.

  • Breakthrough Concept:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may fundamentally improve or enhance a manufacturing process through the use of data using a method or technique that has not traditionally been deployed in the manufacturing environment. 
  • Breakthrough Methodology:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may identify and/or implement a strategy for using data to address a manufacturing solution utilizing data that has not traditionally been deployed in the manufacturing environment.
  • Breakthrough Implementation:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may fundamentally improve or enhance how data is used in an existing manufacturing process or application solution used in the manufacturing environment resulting in a significant improvement to the overall implementation -  reduction in the cost, time, or expertise required to deploy the process or application solution;  fundamentally enhance the process stability, product quality, or productivity of the production process; or significantly enhance the value of the information gathered from the manufacturing process.

(C)       Practicality of Concept

Each submission will be rated for its viability — its ability to be effectively implemented and deployed in a manufacturing setting.

  • Feasibility of Implementation:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may reasonably be deployed to the benefit of the manufacturing processes, equipment, and/or facilities targeted by the concept.    

Feasibility also includes an assessment of how effectively the proposed concept uses data to addresses identified needs or problems associated with manufacturing processes or equipment.

  •  Deployment:  Deployment includes an assessment of the effort, costs, and potential disruption to the manufacturing process associated with the implementation of the proposed concept relative to the potential benefits to be derived from that implementation.

Deployment also includes an assessment of whether the technologies and infrastructure required to implement the proposed concept are readily available in the targeted manufacturing facilities or can be reasonably provided or installed at these facilities.

  • Usability:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal may be effectively implemented and utilized by the personnel typically employed in the facilities targeted in the proposal.  

Concepts that may be fully implemented and utilized with the resources and expertise available from the personnel typically employed by the targeted manufacturing facilities will be scored more highly than concepts requiring extensive training of plant personnel, specialized expertise or resources, or the use of contracted resources or expertise.

  • Economic Assessment:  The concept to be developed based on this proposal will be assessed relative to the likelihood that the facilities targeted for installation of the concept would financially be able to justify the expenditure to implement the proposed concept in a traditional budgeting process.   Concepts that require extra-ordinary budgeting approvals shall receive a lower score since the likelihood of deployment of the proposed concept may be reduced due to the budgeting process.

 (D)       Impact on Industry

Each submission will be rated based on its proposed impact to the creation of manufacturing intelligence from differing manufacturing processes, facilities, and types of equipment and devices.

Breadth of Impact:  The extent to which the concept to be developed based on this proposal is applicable to differing manufacturing processes and types of equipment.  

Proposed concepts may be applicable to a specific manufacturing process or may generically be applied to many manufacturing environments.   The concept will be evaluated based on how readily it may be deployed in a broad set of manufacturing processes and/or applied to a variety of manufacturing equipment.

  • Constrained Concepts:  Constrained concepts are concepts that address a limited set of manufacturing processes or types of equipment which are typically deployed in a small number of manufacturing facilities.   These concepts may be highly valuable to a specific manufacturing process or type of equipment but would be deployed in a limited number of facilities which utilize these specific processes or types of equipment.  
  • Restricted Concepts:  Restricted concepts are concepts that address a limited set of manufacturing processes or types of equipment, but those processes and/or equipment types are widely prevalent throughout the manufacturing industry.   Restricted concepts also include those which utilize data from a limited set of manufacturing processes or types of equipment to the benefit of a wide variety of other types of equipment, production processes, or application solutions used in the manufacturing environment.
  • Open Concepts:  Open concepts are concepts that address a wide set of manufacturing processes or types of equipment and those processes and/or equipment types are widely prevalent throughout the manufacturing industry. Open concepts also include those which utilize data from many different manufacturing processes or types of equipment to the benefit of many other types of equipment, production processes, or application solutions used in the manufacturing environment.

Scoring of concepts for Breadth of Industry Impact in Phase 1 of the Challenge will place the highest value on Open Concepts. Restricted Concepts will be scored lower and Constrained Concepts will be scored lowest.

(E)       Overall Quality

Each submission will be rated on the extent to which it  adheres to all requirements set forth by the MTConnect Challenge, completeness and clarity of the vision and approach, and utilization of the existing MTConnect standard and/or an extension of the standard.

  • Adherence to the Challenge RFQ Requirements:  The extent to which the proposal delivered defining the concept to be developed complies with the requirements and structure specified in the Request for Proposal. 
  • Clarity of Vision:  The extent to which the concept to be developed is fully and precisely described in the proposal.   

Clarity of Vision includes the assessment of how completely the manufacturing issues and challenges to be addressed by the concept are articulated and constrained.   It also includes the assessment of how effectively the proposal articulates how the proposed concept addresses those manufacturing issues and challenges and how applicable the proposed concept may to the target facilities. 

  • Utilization of MTConnect:  The extent to which the concept to be developed effectively utilizes the MTConnect Standard for the definition and transmission of manufacturing data.
  

9. Judging 

Judging will differ for each of the competitions.

 

All MTConnect Challenge submissions will be judged by an expert panel, which will be appointed by DOD.  The judging panel may include both Federal and non-Federal personnel, and it will determine MTConnect Challenge 1 winners.

All MTConnect Challenge 2 submissions will be pass through three rounds of judging.  During the first round, an expert panel appointed by the DOD will select 10 semifinalists.  Each of the semifinalists will engage with the judges in a web conferencing where they will be given an opportunity to present their submission to the judges and respond to questions.  The judges will then select five finalists.  These finalists will present their submissions at the 2014 "[MC]2 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing" Conference.  The attendees of this conference will vote for the first, second, and third place winners, and winner announcements will be made at the conference.

 

9.1      Rating System

Submissions will be rated using a five-star rating system indicating how well each submission meets each of the criteria. Five stars represent the highest score; one star is the lowest.

 

 

Stars

Description

1

Does not meet evaluation criteria

3

Meets evaluation criteria

5

Exceeds evaluation criteria

 

 

10. Terms and Conditions

 

Challenge Subject to Applicable Law: the Challenge is subject to all applicable Federal laws and regulations. Registering for this Challenge constitutes each Team and/or Contestant’s agreement to these Official Rules (“Official Rules”) and administrative decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Challenge. Eligibility for a prize award is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.

 

Judges:  The finalist Submissions will be judged by the judges listed at http://mtconnect.challenge.gov or by another qualified judging panel selected by the DOD at its sole discretion. The judging panel will judge the Submissions on the judging criteria identified in these Challenge rules in order to select winners in each category.

 

Publicity: Except where prohibited, participation in the Challenge constitutes each winner’s consent to DOD’s and its agents' use of each winner's name, likeness, photograph, voice, biographical information, opinions, and/or hometown and state information for promotional purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further permission, payment, or consideration.

 

Liability and Insurance: Any and all information provided by or obtained from the Federal Government , NCDMM, and AMT is without any warranty or representation whatsoever, including but not limited to its suitability for any particular purpose.  Upon registration, all participants agree to assume and, thereby, have assumed any and all risks of injury or loss in connection with or in any way arising from participation in this competition, development of any application or the use of any application by the participants or any third-party.  Upon registration all participants agree to and, thereby, do waive and release any and all claims or causes of action against the Federal Government and its officers, employees and agents for any and all injury and damage of any nature whatsoever (whether existing or thereafter arising, whether direct, indirect, or consequential and whether foreseeable or not), arising from their participation in the contest, whether the claim or cause of action arises under contract or tort.  Upon registration, all participants agree to and, thereby, shall indemnify and hold harmless the Federal Government, NCDMM, and AMT and their officers, employees and agents for any and all injury and damage of any nature whatsoever (whether existing or thereafter arising, whether direct, indirect, or consequential and whether foreseeable or not), including but not limited to any damage that may result from a virus, malware, etc., to Government computer systems or data, or to the systems or data of end-users of the software and/or application(s) which results, in whole or in part, from the fault, negligence, or wrongful act or omission of the participants or participants’ officers, employees or agents.

 

Records Retention and FOIA:  All materials submitted to DOD as part of a Submission become DOD records and cannot be returned. No confidential information will be accepted with any submission. Submitters will be notified of any Freedom of Information Act requests for their Submissions in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 70.26.

 

508 Compliance: Participants should keep in mind that the DOD considers universal accessibility to information a priority for all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.  In this regard, the Department is strongly committed to meeting its compliance obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities to individuals with disabilities.  This obligation includes acquiring accessible electronic and information technology.  When evaluating Submissions for this contest, the extent to which a Submission complies with the requirements for accessible technology required by Section 508 will be considered.

 

Public Voting: DOD is not responsible for, nor is it required to count, incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, unlawful, or illicit votes, including those secured through payment or achieved through automated means.

 

11. Contact Information

For questions about the use of MTConnect standard, use the public discussion forum at MTConnectForum.com.

For questions about the Challenge, add them in the discussions in the Discussions section of this site.

If you're having technical problems with the site, the fastest way to fix them is to email support@challengepost.com.

 

12. Reference Material

MTConnect.org has a wealth of resources for those wishing to understand and download the standard:

Additional information can be found via the “Getting Started” menu on MTConnect.org.