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MDSI Founders Named Innovators of the 1990s in Manufacturing

MDSI's OpenCNC software technology and patented real-time data collection transforms manufacturing at the end of the 20th century

ANN ARBOR, MI—Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. (MDSI), the leader in Internet-enabled software CNC and software motion technology, announced that MDSI founders Charles S. Hutchins, chairman of the board; James R. Fall, president and CEO; and Bruce E. Nourse, vice president for technology, were named Innovators of the 1990s for their development of OpenCNC® software, by American Machinist magazine. Hutchins, Fall, and Nourse were honored as part of the magazine's 20th Century Milestones in American Manufacturing issue, which recognized individuals and companies that were instrumental in creating major advances in manufacturing in the 20th century. The awards were presented in Chicago during IMTS 2000.

Hutchins, Fall, and Nourse transformed the motion control industry in the 1990s, first by pioneering a new kind of CNC, OpenCNC software—an all-software, open-architecture CNC that provides motion without using any proprietary hardware or motion control cards. They then marketed and sold this new motion technology using a new business model: CNC sold as shrink-wrapped software in a box, unbundled from any proprietary hardware, with new technology releases available every six months via software upgrades.

Inherent in OpenCNC are two groundbreaking patented technologies. The first patent, for the real-time collection and distribution of machine and manufacturing process data across a network, was received in the early 1990s—Internet-enabled manufacturing technology that pre–dated the Internet. The second patent, for dynamic configuration, allows OpenCNC’s core motion software to be configured to run any class of machine, with any number of axes and any number of job streams. This makes MDSI’s soft motion technology applicable across all industries requiring motion: metalcutting machine tools, electronics/semiconductor production equipment, and general motion machines such as test/measurement equipment.

The Result: a universal soft motion control that frees users from dependence on proprietary hardware and provides real-time collection and distribution of machine data across a network.

Hutchins, Fall, and Nourse were selected along with innovators from every decade of the 20th century, including John T. Parsons, pioneer of NC, Innovator of the 1940s; Stef Wertheimer, founder of Iscar Ltd., Innovator of the 1950s; and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation, Inc., Innovator of the 1980s. All the winners were profiled in the August, 2000 issue of American Machinist.

About MDSI

Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. supplies web-based shrink-wrapped software motion control applications that increase manufacturing flexibility and enable agile manufacturing for the Computer Numerical Control (CNC), General Motion Control (GMC), and electronics equipment markets. The company's soft motion and soft CNC products reduce machine tool control costs, increase productivity, extend the productive life of machine tools, and leverage the Internet for real-time data collection and remote diagnostics. Unlike traditional hardware or proprietary-based motion controls, MDSI’s soft motion solutions use no proprietary hardware or motion control cards.

Now running on over a thousand machines, MDSI's MDSI Motion™ foundation technology provides a common and open control across virtually any kind of machine tool—from simple conveyors to five-axis machine tools, and from transfer lines to semiconductor fabrication equipment.

MDSI's business strategy emphasizes technological and price/performance leadership, hardware independence and comprehensive customer-support. The company's customers, spanning many industries, include Boeing, Caterpillar, Cessna Aircraft, Dana, Detroit Diesel, Emerson Electric, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, Lockheed-Martin, Marconi Precision Aerostructures, Tecumseh Products Company, Teledyne, Textron, and Vickers. For more information, visit MDSI's web site at

MDSI, the MDSI logo, and OpenCNC are registered trademarks of Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. Significant Events, MDSI Motion and OpenEvents are trademarks of Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, Visual Basic, and Visual C++ are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.