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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 Summary The mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote innovation and the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing through measurement science, measurement services, and critical technical contributions to standards. This mission is consistent with the NIST mission. The MEL is organized into five divisions: Intelligent Systems, Manufacturing Metrology, Manufacturing Systems Integration, Precision Engineering, and Fabrication Technology (not assessed because it provides instrument and fabrication support for NIST researchers). The MEL total staffing for fiscal year (FY) 2009 was 183 (171 full-time permanent staff and 12 other staff), and its estimated annual budget for FY 2010 is $48.7 million ($35.5 million from NIST appropriations, $7.1 million from other agencies and external research and development, and $4.8 million from calibration service fees and reimbursables; the total excludes shops). The MEL also has 99 guest researchers. For FY 2006 through FY 2009, MEL total staffing has been 201, 198, 188, and 183, respectively, and for FY 2007 through FY 2010 (estimated), MEL total funding has been $51.0 million, $50.1 million, $49.7 million, and $48.7 million, respectively. The Intelligent Systems Division has 31 NIST (full-time permanent) staff and 14 guest researchers (full-time-equivalent). Its FY 2010 estimated funding is about $8.9 million, with about 38 percent coming from extramural sources, and it has 3 programs containing 12 projects. The Manufacturing Metrology Division has 33 NIST staff, 7 guest researchers, and 2 postdoctoral researchers. Its FY 2010 estimated funding is about $9.9 million, with about 17 percent coming from extramural sources (including reimbursable services). It has 3 programs containing 20 projects. The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division has 26 NIST staff, 1 part-time permanent worker, 34 NIST associates, and 1 postdoctoral researcher. Its FY 2010 estimated funding is about $9.5 million, with about 7 percent coming from extramural sources, and it has 2 programs containing 10 projects. The Precision Engineering Division has 35 NIST staff, 22 guest researchers, and 1 postdoctoral researcher. Its FY 2010 estimated funding is about $12.7 million, with about 23 percent coming from extramural sources, and it has 3 programs containing 19 projects. A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) has assessed the four divisions. Panel members visited these divisions and reviewed their activities. The scope of the assessment included the following three criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current MEL programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the MEL budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of MEL’s technical programs; and (3) the degree to which MEL programs in measurement science, standards, and services achieve their stated objectives and desired impact. In this report, the summary assessment of the MEL is given, followed by a summary assessment for each division. Chapters 1 through 6 present a description of the assessment process, detailed assessments of the divisions, and overall report conclusions.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 SUMMARY ASSESSMENT OF THE LABORATORY The Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory continues to excel in measurement science, measurement services, and technical contributions to standards. The MEL is achieving its mission, making crucial contributions to innovation and to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. From a national perspective, MEL activities such as standards development and calibration services are providing baselines for many sectors of the economy. On an international level, the MEL is enabling industries to relate standards used in the United States to those used in other countries; this capability is necessary and critical for the participation of U.S. industries in international commerce. Research by MEL staff is on the forefront of measurement sciences, enabling industry to develop and deliver products of ever-higher quality and complexity to world markets and enabling future innovative manufacturing industries and processes. It is essential that the MEL maintain the integrated level of effort required for success in this broad spectrum of activities. Across the MEL, project management and portfolio management strategies have continuously improved. The portfolio of projects is increasingly customer-focused (taking into account present and future customers) and well distributed technically in terms of high and low risk and short- and long-term payoff. Although this achievement is noteworthy, the MEL will need to address looming challenges in measurement science, measurement services, and standards in areas such as transformable, high-precision factories that operate beyond the current state of the art in accuracy and quality1 and new manufacturing processes and products with decreasing dimensional scale and integrated biotechnology.2 To address these challenges will require more coupling of critical project selection with technical staff and equipment development than the MEL currently has done. Measurement science, measurement services, and standards that are well beyond the current state of the art are required to ensure the future competitiveness of U.S. industry in sustainable, high-value-added manufacturing with transformable factories that produce with high precision using manufacturing processes and products with ever-decreasing dimensional scale. This is also true for information technology (IT) for manufacturing, including knowledge bases and “smart” products and factories, and for biotechnology for manufacturing, including biological product components and biologically derived process components. Closer coupling into the MEL of other technology areas of NIST (IT and materials, for example) and closer coupling into the MEL of external expertise (in the application of biological processes and materials in manufacturing, for example) are necessary for addressing these areas and preparing for the future. The technical expertise of the MEL staff, its equipment, and its relationships with other laboratories must evolve quickly to meet the future needs of industry in areas such as these. The MEL is having a significant impact on today’s manufacturing industries, ranging from traditional production industries to optics industries to semiconductor 1 Francesco Jovane, Engelbert Westkämper, and David Williams, The ManuFuture Road: Towards Competitive and Sustainable High-Adding-Value Manufacturing. Berlin: Springer-Verlag 2009. 2 National Research Council, Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 industries, and it is making significant enabling contributions to future U.S. manufacturing industries. Examples are numerous, including the following: An industrial Ethernet network performance test tool that allows vendors and users to validate network performance before deployment; NIST SP 800-53, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems, and NIST SP 800-82, Guide to Industrial Control Systems Security; Standard for the Exchange of Product model data (STEP); Online testing services that enable software vendors to validate the conformance of their products to standards; Standards for wireless sensors; Techniques for using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules as an intrinsic small-force standard; Improvement of mass metrology and calibration by tying the current air-based kilogram definition to the vacuum-based alternative definition; Development of an atomic force microscope (AFM) for line roughness measurements crucial for 22 nm lithography; and Atomically sharp tip nano-writing to be used in developing standards for dimensions on the order of a few atoms that are traceable to NIST. The MEL is recognized as the world leader in many of these areas. The MEL has excellent research facilities and equipment. In general, its equipment is state of the art or beyond, well maintained, and operated by knowledgeable experts. However, its equipment will age quickly, constraining the ability of the laboratory to respond to changing technology. Significant upgrades in metrology equipment will be required in the near future to update existing systems and put in place next-generation systems that are more reliable and that cost less. However, the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML)3 has provided best-in-the-world facilities for equipment that in many cases is the most advanced available. The MEL also will benefit from the construction of a new robot test facility, which will be an important national resource for this rapidly developing industry. However, other countries also are making major investments in such facilities. The MEL successfully leverages many of its programs through partnerships, primarily with federal agencies but also with key industries. The budget available for capital acquisitions seems to be inadequate for such a capital-intensive laboratory. MEL staff are doing high-quality, innovative work. While progress has been made in hiring permanent scientific and engineering staff in key areas, the MEL remains significantly underfunded for personnel, with stagnant budgets exacerbated by increasing costs. Current staffing is highly senior, and a lack of new positions makes bringing in junior people difficult. Such issues continue to result in stop-gap reliance on guest researchers. Postdoctoral salaries are inadequate for engineering fields, making it difficult to attract the best candidates in critical technical areas—candidates who are potential 3 The AML is a NIST facility that is used by multiple NIST operating units. Within the MEL, the Precision Engineering Division and the Manufacturing Metrology Division have laboratories in the AML.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 future permanent staff. Several MEL staff have been in acting positions for a long time, a situation likely to affect career paths and threaten overall staff retention and development and hence the technical capability and competence of the laboratory. In response to such issues, NIST should critically assess its commitment to and support of manufacturing, in line with President Obama’s placement of manufacturing as a top national priority and its importance in job creation and increased competitiveness in U.S. industry. SUMMARY ASSESSMENTS OF FOUR DIVISIONS Intelligent Systems Division The Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) develops the measurements and standards infrastructure needed for the application of intelligent systems. It has well-established core competencies in standards, performance evaluation, measurement, interoperability, safety, and security. The ISD is serving as a catalyst in promoting collaboration between industries, with a focus on standards and testbeds, and it has established new standards for the security of industrial control systems. The ISD’s technical capabilities are among the best in the world in STEP-NC (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data: Numeric Control; standard for programming machine tools) and OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controller) for real-time data models, machine compensation, machining tool path optimization, Ethernet/Internet Protocol (IP) performance testing, and other applications. The division has established industrial controls and networks standards for federal government and industrial users. NIST SP 800-53 was established for security controls for federal information systems, and NIST SP 800-82 was established as a guide to industrial control systems security. These allow the federal agencies and the private sector to determine the proper security controls for their IT systems as well as to secure their industrial control systems effectively while addressing their unique requirements. The ISD is recognized as a world leader in the performance evaluation of complex, intelligent systems. The work of ISD staff is sound and state of the art; yet, the work is small in a field of rapidly evolving technology and would benefit from the closer integration into the MEL of other NIST IT resources. The ISD has brought its strengths in measurement, performance evaluation, standards, and interoperability to bear on important related areas such as the security and safety of industrial control systems. Strengthened global benchmarking and self-assessment activities by the division should be performed to identify gaps and drive future project selection. The ISD could have broader impact through consortium development, further leveraging industry involvement and investment to accelerate the dissemination of developed standards. The ISD has excellent research facilities and equipment; however, many other places around the world (e.g., Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Europe) are making major investments in the intelligent systems area, and ISD facilities and activities are no longer unique and unrivaled.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 Manufacturing Metrology Division The Manufacturing Metrology Division (MMD) programs cover mechanical metrology, metrology for advanced optics, and measurements and standards for science-based manufacturing needed to promote innovation and international trade by U.S. industry. The MMD is supporting standards from cradle to grave and rebirth, including the development of new standards, the calibration of artifacts to the current standards, and new concepts that may become the fundamental foundation on which next-generation standards are built. The MMD is making measurements that could not be done before by improving existing technologies and developing new approaches. It also is enhancing current capabilities through automation to improve accuracy and to reduce uncertainty, costs, and turnaround time. The programs compare very favorably with peer activities at the national standards institutions of other countries such as England and Germany. MMD staff members are key participants in standards committees for such areas as mass metrology and wireless sensors, and they actively disseminate the results to a wide audience. The research portfolio of the MMD is well distributed, from mature to emerging technologies and from low-risk projects such as automating calibration capabilities, to high-risk projects such as utilizing DNA molecules to serve as an intrinsic small-force standard. The MMD staff is engaged in high-quality, innovative work. The division is increasingly customer-driven and has improved its process for selecting new projects and focus areas. Much of its metrology infrastructure is aging and will need to be updated in the near future. Manufacturing Systems Integration Division The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division (MSID) is responsible for working with industry to develop and apply software interoperability and standards for both product innovation and life-cycle management. The MSID is also charged with developing the metrics and standards for the manufacturing information and knowledge essential to meet today’s highly integrated, distributed, and complex supply-chain environment. The division is building on its strengths and taking a longer-term approach in which the knowledge representation of manufacturing processes and products is expected to be an enabler for new manufacturing capabilities. MSID’s efforts follow the successful deployment of STEP standards for the distribution of engineering knowledge for machine parts. According to industry customers, the results of MSID’s research and development (R&D) are highly useful in paving the way for efficient, low-cost, high-volume manufacturing for the particular segment of manufacturing being looked at, and they are likely to be equally useful across many domains of manufacturing and even the full business enterprise. However, the R&D has been more focused on traditional industries such as the automotive industry than on the semiconductor and pharmaceuticals manufacturing industries. Unfortunately, largely owing to human resource limitations, only a few selected areas can be worked on at the current time; nonetheless, the MSID has made impressive strides in those areas on which it is focused. In order to prove the viability of the knowledge representation, models of different aspects of manufacturing are created and
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 tested (e.g., the supply chain, shipping, processing, etc.), and these are discussed with potential customers (manufacturers, suppliers of equipment and materials, transportation companies, etc.) at well-attended workshops. Simulation of various aspects of manufacturing are carried out and compared to real manufacturing output to determine whether the assumptions and rules are justifiable and whether the model output is accurate, timely, and worthwhile. Precision Engineering Division The Precision Engineering Division (PED) conducts R&D in precision-engineered length-metrology-intensive systems in both measuring and production machines, aiming for both high-accuracy measurement results and first-principles analysis of measurement systems. The division maintains many activities and services, many or possibly most of which are among the best in the field. With a relatively small level of funding, the PED successfully performs a critical role for the nation, carrying on in the ever-changing and challenging legacy of NIST. The PED provides the foundation for dimensional measurements ranging over 12 orders of magnitude (from kilometers to nanometers). Thus the work of this division is crucial to the current and future competitiveness of U.S. industry and in the development of standards traceable to NIST. The PED staff is enthusiastic about its work, dedicated and knowledgeable. The PED divides its work into four groups, basically by length scale: nanometer (nm) to micrometer (m), micrometer to millimeter (mm), millimeter to meter (m), and greater than 1 m. These groups have primary responsibilities within these scales but interact strongly and provide expertise throughout the PED. The PED provides NIST a remarkable and cost-effective interface with the outside world. Its impact is clearly evident. This is seen, for example, from the following: (1) continuous requests for its services from industry and government that far exceed the capacity of the PED to meet, (2) interest in technical work presented at meetings, (3) demonstrated collaborations with a variety of industrial concerns, (4) citations garnered by publications, and (5) the acquisition of equipment either donated or purchased at bargain prices. Since the previous assessment by an NRC panel in 2008, the PED has made major strides in several areas. It is maximizing the advantages of the new Advanced Measurement Laboratory. By reducing artifacts such as vibration and temperature variations, the AML environment has enabled the limiting capabilities of machines to be assessed directly and routinely, avoiding the need to compensate for the environment. In helium-ion microscopy, the PED is operating as a beta site for advanced equipment. It is also moving into highly relevant new areas, such as metrology that is essential for fuel cells, the development of atomic-scale metrologies traceable to the meter, and new methods for detecting defects for next-generation integrated-circuits technology. The application of the PED’s coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) such as the Moore M48 provides unique capabilities for performing accurate measurements on difficult objects—for example, assisting the U.S. Army by making measurements of local damage on body armor impacted by projectiles to an accuracy of 0.1 mm. Overlay metrology, as done in the PED, is recognized as state of the art.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 The PED laboratories are spacious, with good infrastructure. They are well lit and have stable air temperature and low ambient vibration resulting from isolated floor pads. In general, the division’s equipment is state of the art or beyond, well maintained, and operated by knowledgeable experts. The minimal acquisition of capital equipment threatens future PED infrastructure and technical capabilities. Nevertheless, the PED is clearly the place to go for the best in manufacturing metrology. RECOMMENDATIONS The recommendations of the panel based on its assessment of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory and its divisions are as follows: Across the MEL, project management and portfolio management strategies have continuously improved; however, more coupling of critical project selection with technical staff and equipment development should be pursued. Closer MEL coupling with other technology areas of NIST (information technology and materials, for example) and with external expertise (in the application of biological processes and materials in manufacturing, for example) should be pursued. The MEL’s research facilities and equipment will age quickly, and significant upgrades in metrology equipment will be required in the near future to update existing systems and put in place next-generation systems. The MEL should review the budget available for capital acquisitions, which seems to be inadequate for such a capital-intensive laboratory. The MEL is adversely affected by issues such as the significant underfunding for personnel, the difficulty of bringing in junior staff, the inadequacy of postdoctoral salaries, and the fact that several staff members have remained in acting positions for a long time. To address such issues, NIST should critically assess its commitment to and support of manufacturing, in line with the President’s placement of manufacturing as a top national priority and its importance in job creation and increased competitiveness in U.S. industry. For the Intelligent Systems Division, there is a need for strengthened global benchmarking and self-assessment activities. The ISD is leveraging its program development through partnerships with other agencies. NIST and the MEL should provide incentives and not disincentives for such partnership activities through their budgeting processes, overhead rates, merit policies, and so on. The partnerships with industry are more limited, and they should grow. The ISD could make broader impacts through consortium development. The ISD is limited by staffing constraints, flat budgets, and attrition, which may be impeding the development of and recognition of leadership by ISD staff in the world technical community, and this should be addressed. The Manufacturing Metrology Division should continue to develop the process for selecting new projects and focus areas and ensure its transparency.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010 The MMD workload has increased as new capabilities have been added. More funds for personnel should be provided. The MMD should continue to enhance its current capabilities through automation to improve accuracy, reduce costs, broaden operational ranges, reduce uncertainty, and reduce turnaround time. Much of the MMD metrology infrastructure is aging and will need to be updated or repaired in the near future. Funds will be necessary to update these systems, develop models of next-generation metrology systems that are more reliable and lower in cost, and then develop these next-generation systems. The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division should better articulate its successes to a wider audience of researchers and practitioners. Staffing in the MSID is highly senior. It is difficult to bring in junior staff, and attracting postdoctoral researchers remains a problem because of salary, permanence, and other issues. Other means of obtaining resources should be considered: for example, interns and people from industry working on-site. The Precision Engineering Division should continue participation in regional and international round robins as a key benchmarking exercise. The budget available for PED capital acquisitions is inadequate for such a capital-intensive division and should be increased. The PED should pursue stronger interfaces with other areas of NIST: for example, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the Physics Laboratory. The PED management needs to develop and implement a critical-skills staffing plan independent of future budget developments so that its critical expertise within NIST is maintained.