The amount of data that can be gathered from a machining process is often misunderstood, and even if these data are collected, they are frequently underutilized. Intelligent uses of data collected from a manufacturing operation can lead to increased productivity and lower costs. While some large-scale manufacturers have developed custom solutions for data collection from their machine tools, small- and medium-size enterprises need efficient and easily deployable methods for data collection and analysis. This paper presents three broad solutions to data collection from machine tools, all of which rely on the open-source and royalty-free MTConnect protocol: the first is a machine monitoring dashboard based on Microsoft Excel; the second is an open source solution using Python and MTConnect; and the third is a cloud-based system using Google Sheets. Time studies are performed on these systems to determine their capability to gather near real-time data from a machining process.

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