Open standard Umati, the universal language for machine tools

The easier machine tools exchange and share information, the more efficient they are. Umati ('universal machine tool interface') is moving one step closer towards becoming a generally accepted standard. It is an open standard for machine tool users throughout the world. It serves to exploit new potentials for manufacturing of the future. The umati Joint Working Group has scheduled a series of meetings and web conferences.


There is no better connection than that of a common language - which is also true for machine tools. The easier they exchange and share information, the more efficient they are. Global networking as envisaged by Industry 4.0 will only succeed if the data exchange takes place via standardised interfaces over the entire process chain. In a joint effort, 17 partners and the VDW  (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken - German Machine Tool Builders' Association) are developing such an open interface standard for connecting machine tools and peripherals to customer-specific, higher-level IT ecosystems. This significantly simplifies digitalisation and allows medium-sized companies to tap into the potential of modern production environments.  

Based on OPC UA 

Umati is based entirely on the freely configurable OPC UA communication platform. OPC UA provides a framework which regulates how the machines correspond with each other. The precise content of the communication can be regulated individually by describing parameters in an OPC UA Companion Specification, which is a kind of dictionary. Umati is striving to convert the special domain knowledge of the machine tool industry into semantics and an information model. The umati interface (universal machine tool interface) based on OPC UA aims to ensure that data from machines equipped with different control systems is routed through an open, standardised connection. It is comparable to a USB stick.  

You can find here an introduction video to the initiative. In this document, you will find an update of the general presentation, including a list of definite and interested partners.   

Since umati has taken its next steps towards becoming a global initiative, you too have the chance to participate in realizing a global standard for the benefit of the machine tool industry and its customers.  

Events planned 

The official development of a global OPC UA Companion Specification (CS) takes place under the roof of the OPC Foundation (OPCF). For that reason, VDW has established a Joint Working Group (JWG) which is open to all members of OPCF. But even if you are not a member, your contribution is welcome.   

Because of the complexity of the first draft document, the umati Joint Working Group have scheduled a series of meetings and web conferences

  • 22 February, 2019: A formal kick-off and initialisation meeting will take place in Frankfurt (Germany). This meeting will deal with formalities and is primarily addressing members.
  • 6 March, 2019: A first web-meeting about the basics of OPC UA and its tools. Participation is open to any interested party.
  • 27 March, 2019: A second web meeting about the basics of the umati information model that has been developed by the umati core working group, which serves as input for the CS. Also open to any interested party.
  • 29-30 April, 2019: Second meeting in Stuttgart, participation to be determinated.
  • From 15 May: bi-weekly web-meetings to discuss technical aspects. 

Please register if you want to get involved by e-mailing to, keyword 'JWG'

For the EMO Hannover trade show, 16-21 September 2019, a connectivity showcase with international participation is planned. Every interested party is welcome. You need a machine running an OPC UA server that needs to be configured following a specification that will be available by end of March, 2019.   

Please register to be part of the EMO Showcase and to receive further information by e-mail to, keyword 'EMO'.  

To help companies find their way around standards cell 'Industrie 4.0'  is monitoring the work on the consolidation and determination of a harmonised reference architecture model and the development of standards required for their implementation. Would you like to know more ? Contact us.