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GEC Precision Corporation Selects MDSI’s OpenCNC Software as its CNC Control Standard

ANN ARBOR, MI—1998—Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc.™ (MDSI™), makers of OpenCNC┬«, the leading open architecture software CNC control, has been selected by GEC Precision Corporation to provide state–of–the–art CNC software and engineering support to the company’s manufacturing and assembly divisions.

GEC Precision, an affiliate of The General Electric Company, p.l.c., is a leading developer, producer and processor of parts for the aircraft and aerospace industries. The multi–million dollar plant modernization commitment based on MDSI's OpenCNC product will increase GEC's manufacturing capacity and improve overall efficiency-without requiring any additional investment in equipment capital expenses.

GEC has embarked on an ambitious multi-year program to convert two NC machines a month to OpenCNC. According to Ed Self, vice president, operations, GEC Precision, the most significant benefit of OpenCNC is that it will allow GEC to migrate upwards in manufacturing technologies, when new technologies become available.

"There are continual changes in technology in manufacturing, such as in spindle technology," Self explained. "With OpenCNC, we'll now be able to adapt to new spindle technologies in hours instead of months."

"OpenCNC will improve the reliability of GEC Precision's production equipment, and it has already proven to increase machine capability," he continued. "The standardization of the control interface with OpenCNC will drastically cut operator training time and increase an operator's ability to run many other production machines without additional training. And I'm confident we'll see a dramatic improvement in uptimes."

OpenCNC is the only production-proven, unbundled software CNC machine tool control on the market. Unlike traditional CNC controls, OpenCNC uses no proprietary hardware or motion control cards. The entire control is delivered on a CD. Because it's unbundled software that runs on off-the-shelf PCs, manufacturers are not locked into proprietary arrangements for hardware, control repair, or control upgrades.

"MDSI is pleased to partner with such an innovative industrial manufacturer like GEC Precision and work with them to ensure effective and reliable operations," said James R. Fall, president and CEO, MDSI. "OpenCNC creates an open machine platform to enable agile manufacturing. The results for our customers have been reduced operating costs and dramatic increases in return on manufacturing assets. We look forward to helping GEC improve the efficiency of their manufacturing processes with OpenCNC."

Tim Miller, vice president and general manager of net3 systems, a major MDSI distributor that is assisting with GEC's OpenCNC integration, adds "OpenCNC is an enabling technology that frees companies to pursue unique value-added solutions without the compromises and expense of proprietary hardware. GEC Precision has created a proactive working environment by readily communicating the importance of OpenCNC to the company's business plan."

About GEC

The GEC Precision Corporation is an affiliate of the General Electric Company, a world leader in the development and manufacturing of products and components for commercial and defense markets. GEC Precision's two divisions, Midwest and Welco, are engaged in the manufacturing of aircraft and aerospace structural components and assemblies.

About MDSI

Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. supplies factory automation software and services that increase manufacturing flexibility and enable agile manufacturing. The company's primary product is OpenCNC, a software-based CNC control that reduces machine tool control costs and extends the productive life of machine tools. MDSI's business strategy emphasizes technological and price/performance leadership, hardware independence and comprehensive customer support. The company's customers, spanning virtually every industry, include Boeing, Caterpillar, Dana-Spicer, Detroit Diesel, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Lockheed-Martin, Tecumseh Products Company, and Teledyne.