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MDSI Creates Digital Device Driver for Yaskawa's Digital Motion Network

Joint MDSI/Yaskawa technology partnership produces first 3rd–party CNC digital device driver created specifically for Yaskawa servos

ANN ARBOR, MI—Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. (MDSI), the leader in Internet-enabled software CNC and software motion technology, announced today that it has created a new digital device driver for MDSI’s OpenCNC® software CNC to support the Yaskawa Mechatrolink™ digital communications network from Yaskawa Electric Corporation, a $3 billion global manufacturer of motors and drives. The new MDSI device driver makes it possible—for the first time outside of the existing Yaskawa CNC product line–to support a digital communications link to the Yaskawa family of digital servo systems, inverters and I/O.

The new MDSI device driver, which will be included as a standard feature in MDSI's OpenCNC product line starting in early summer, also marks the first time a 3rd-party CNC company has been given access to Yaskawa's Mechatrolink digital communications interface and invited to integrate new technology.

"We are pleased at the positive outcome of this Yaskawa/MDSI partnership that has resulted in new levels of integration between two companies with high-quality, production-proven products and organizations," says James R. Fall, president and CEO, MDSI. "The speed with which Mechatrolink was integrated with OpenCNC–a matter of weeks™illustrates the ability of MDSI's OpenCNC open architecture all-software product line to rapidly bring high value and new technology to manufacturers."

The Yaskawa Mechatrolink open architecture network is a proven digital network, suitable for motion and CNC applications where high speed, distributed control and a reduction in wiring is required. Support of the Mechatrolink will reduce integration time and hardware costs by eliminating ribbon cable and hardware, and instead allow connection between OpenCNC and Yaskawa digital drives and I/O via a single interface cable. Benefits of eliminating hardware with a digital system include cost savings, shortened setup times, reduction in errors often incurred with hardware setup, and improved performance as a result of improved communications between CNC and drives.

Creation of the new Mechatrolink device driver expands MDSI's digital drive interface technology, which began with the introduction of its SERCOS digital drive interface in early 2000. The device driver also represents a major step for Yaskawa towards increased open architecture solutions for the company's motors and drives products.

"Both MDSI and Yaskawa Electric have been committed to practical open architecture solutions for several years," said Jody Kurtzhalts, president and COO, Yaskawa Electric America. "Our successful joint efforts to integrate Yaskawa's open motion network into MDSI's OpenCNC product line will provide users and OEMs with the benefits of a fully digital system. Customers can now take advantage of a great software CNC plus Yaskawa's digital servos, drives and I/O on a high-performance network."

About MDSI

Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. supplies Internet-enabled, shrink-wrapped software motion control applications that increase manufacturing flexibility and enable agile manufacturing for the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and General Motion Control (GMC) markets. The company's soft GMC 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 foundation soft motion technology provides a common and open control across virtually any kind of machine tool—from gantry robot loaders 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 BAE Systems, Boeing, Caterpillar, Cessna Aircraft, Dana, Detroit Diesel, Emerson Electric, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, Lockheed-Martin, Tecumseh Products Company, Teledyne, Textron, and Vickers. For more information, visit MDSI's web site at

About Yaskawa

Founded in 1915, Yaskawa Electric Corporation is a $3 billion global supplier of motion control components and systems. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of AC servos, AC inverters, and robots. Yaskawa's products are known for their unmatched reliability and trend-setting performance. A winner of the prestigious Deming Prize for Quality, Yaskawa manufactures and services products worldwide. For more information, visit Yaskawa's web site at

MDSI, the MDSI logo, and OpenCNC are registered trademarks of Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc. Significant Events, MDSI Motion, WinMotion, and eFactoryProfit 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.