Chapter 3

Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 Chapter 3 Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 PANEL MEMBERS Harry E. Cook, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair Jan D. Achenbach, Northwestern University Hadi A. Akeel, FANUC Robotics NA, Inc. Diane Bird, U.S. Department of Energy D. Jeffrey Bostock, Lockheed Martin Energy Systems (retired) Walt W. Braithwaite, The Boeing Company Thomas Charlton, Brown &Sharpe Jose B. Cruz, Ohio State University Marvin F. DeVries, University of Wisconsin–Madison David A. Dornfeld, University of California, Berkeley Johnson A. Edosomwan, Johnson & Johnson Associates, Inc. Hazem A. Ezzat, GM Research & Development George J. Hess, The Ingersoll Milling Machine Company Michael Kahn, KLA-Tencor Instruments Richard L. Kegg, Cincinnati Milacron, Inc. Brian Seitz, Microsoft Corporation Neculai C. Tutos, Dassault Systemes of America Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Harry E. Cook, this assessment of the fiscal year 1998 activities of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory is based on visits to the laboratory by individual members, a site visit by the panel on March 3–4, 1998, and the annual report of the laboratory.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission The mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) as stated in the strategic plan1 is “to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by working with industry to develop and apply infrastructural technology, measurements and standards.” The plan further states that to accomplish this mission, the laboratory “conducts research on manufacturing infrastructural technologies; participates in the development of manufacturing-related standards by voluntary-standards committees; provides measurement services to manufacturing industries; provides manufacturing integration testbeds; and develops next-generation manufacturing metrology.” In the panel's view, the projects within the MEL are supportive of its mission. However, the mission statements of each of the divisions and the mission statement of the MEL itself do not clearly convey the fact that the longer-term research done within the MEL is in direct support of its responsibilities for developing measurements and standards for new and emerging technologies. The MEL faces a general problem experienced today by most research laboratories—it has much more to do than resources permit. In response to this condition, the MEL must set strict priorities for the work it will support, which means it may sometimes need to eliminate good programs to gain sufficient resources for programs judged more important. Although well beyond the control of the MEL management, the inefficiencies in program management caused by delays and uncertainty in resources arising from the government's annual budgeting process are of concern to the panel. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work Through key projects such as the National Advanced Manufacturing Testbed (NAMT), Systems Integration for Manufacturing Application, and Next Generation Inspection System Programs, the MEL will have the standards in place to support major new cutting-edge technologies when they reach fruition. A key element of these projects is their cross-disciplinary nature and scope, which call on the full expertise of the staff within the MEL and from other laboratories within NIST. NAMT is a particularly good example: The technologies being evaluated for new standards and measurements include information and communications technology (Internet and multimedia networks) as well as bold new machining concepts capable of revolutionizing discrete part manufacturing (Hexapod). These technologies are being evaluated in a networked configuration to develop new standards for error measurement, interface protocols, and process capability. The projects engage staff from each of MEL's divisions and from the other major laboratory units at NIST. Each of these key projects is challenging, but the work is nevertheless progressing extremely well, which supports the panel 's views that the MEL staff participating in them are highly skilled and understand the importance of these projects to the mission. 1   U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory's Strategic Plan, January, 1998, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 1998.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 Ongoing efforts by the MEL in support of the ISO 10303 class of standards for the exchange of product model data (STEP), which addresses the exchange of information between different CAD/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems, have been very instrumental in moving this vital but challenging class of standards forward. General Motors Corporation received the Continuous Acquisition and Life-cycle Support (CALS) Implementor Honor Role Award from the U.S. CALS Industry Steering Group for using the newly emerging standard, and General Motors Corporation and its suppliers are now realizing the benefits of STEP through reductions in time-to-market and costs while gaining quality improvements related to better product definition. Many other companies should also benefit from this standard. An MEL staff member received the U.S. Product Data Association William J. Conroy Standards Professional Award for her contributions to the development of STEP. After careful review, the panel understood the appropriateness of these major projects to MEL's mission. However, others may not unless the MEL provides a clear roadmap of where manufacturing technology is heading and why these projects are essential to providing the measurements and standards for these emerging technologies. Such a roadmap needs to be broad enough to clearly show how all of the MEL research projects flow naturally from it. Significant unintentional and natural overlap is present between projects. This is recognized and appreciated by management for its ability to create a multiperspective view of issues but has not been explicitly capitalized as well as it could be. Despite numerous cross-functional and interdivisional projects, complete technical realization of standards and technology utilization that industry could directly apply has not been achieved to an adequate level. For example, the scope of the ISO 10303 should be broadened to include machine characterization, process characterization, and modeling as it would contribute to the technical content, quality, and completeness of the standard. Impact of Programs In response to concerns about outreach raised by the panel in its 1997 report, the MEL instituted during the past year an MEL marketing and outreach plan, a manufacturing association initiative, and an expanded, reorganized, user-friendly Web page. In addition, the MEL continues its use of workshops with broad industry participation to aid the setting of priorities for its programs. The MEL also interacts with industry on an ongoing basis through its dissemination of SRMs and in its development of new standards. The panel was encouraged by the actions of the MEL in regard to the industrial interaction and technology transfer and anticipates that the changes implemented will improve industrial participation in its programs. Specific actions and comments on outreach and dissemination are contained in the divisional assessments.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 Resources Funding sources2 for the MEL (in millions of dollars) are presented below:   Fiscal Year 1997 Fiscal Year 1998 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Comptence 26.61 27.30 Competence 1.37 1.76 ATP 2.01 2.20 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.14 0.12 OA/NFG/CRADA 7.58 8.75 Other Reimbursable 4.10 3.55 Total 41.81 43.68 Staffing for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory currently includes 254 full-time permanent positions, of which 176 are for technical professionals. There are also 48 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. After meeting with the technical staff, the panel sensed that morale is very high, reflecting, in large part, the excitement that the highly skilled staff receives from their work and by the trust the staff has in the quality of the management of the laboratory. Members of the staff are regularly recognized for their contributions by the Department of Commerce and by national awards. The skills set of the staff is appropriate to the MEL mission, and the MEL uses guest researchers very effectively to infuse new technical expertise into the divisions. The high levels of vibration, noise, and contamination in the building that houses the MEL seriously hamper the ability of the staff to meet the exacting demands of the new digital and communication technologies. This chronic problem is a growing and serious threat to the MEL' s ability to carry out its mission. This problem has been addressed in part by local modifications to provide improved isolation of equipment and facilities, but such local strategies are wasteful of operating costs, space, and manpower over the longer term, however. Morale also suffers. Plans for a new building are in place with construction scheduled to begin either in calendar 1998 or in calendar 1999, depending on the authorization and appropriations process. If constructed, this 2   The NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories funding comes from a variety of sources. The laboratories receive appropriations from Congress, known as Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding. Competence funding also comes from NIST's congressional appropriations, but it is allotted by the NIST director's office in multiyear grants for projects that advance NIST's capabilities in new and emerging areas of measurement science. Advanced Technology Program (ATP) funding reflects support from NIST's ATP for work done at the NIST laboratories in collaboration with or in support of ATP projects. Funding to support production of Standard Reference Materials is tied to the use of such products and is classified as Measurement Services. NIST laboratories also receive funding through grants or contracts from other government agencies (OA), from nonfederal governmental (NFG) agencies, and from industry in the form of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). All other laboratory funding including that for Calibration Services is grouped under Other Reimbursable.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 advanced laboratory building should provide the MEL with the facilities needed to carry out its mission in the most effective manner. DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Precision Engineering Division Mission The Precision Engineering Division (PED) states that its mission is to provide the foundation of dimensional measurements that meets the needs of the U.S. industrial and scientific communities by conducting research in dimensional measurement, developing measurement methods, providing measurement services, and disseminating the resulting technology and length-based standards. 3 This mission statement is specific and ties directly to the MEL mission as well as the NIST mission. It fits the NIST mission by providing the appropriate balance between technology development and measurement service for length standards. It is clear the PED staff understands how their individual projects support the mission and the division 's strategic plan. This focus has resulted in well-defined projects with, for the most part, well-defined goals. The division's organizational structure vertically integrates the mission elements. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The PED is performing excellent work consistent with its stated mission. The work directly addresses the needs of the industries served. The program planning process has developed a clear focus and an excellent match of operating goals and objectives to mission and vision. The panel noted continuing progress in support of the semiconductor and gear industries and the start of support for airframe manufacturing. The panel was impressed with the benchmarking activities and international comparisons being used by the division to establish and drive development toward world-class performance in research and services in dimensional metrology. The division has four groups managing a very broad program of activities in dimensional metrology, now covering 12 orders of magnitude in length scale from nanometer to tens of meters. Each group is assigned a portion of the length spectrum for accomplishing the mission, and each is making a significant contribution to the overall success of the division. At the nanometer to micrometer level, the overlap and linewidth activities are well targeted at real needs. The Standard Reference Materials work for x-ray lithography is making progress in spite of equipment limitations. Excellent work in surface finish is also being performed, again, in spite of equipment limitations. The significant advance in development for 3   U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Precision Engineering Division Strategic Plan, November, 1997, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 1998.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 hardness measurement was a surprising, but welcome, example of the division's strength of the division's broad support for metrology. At larger scales, coordinate measurement machine (CMM) work continues to be strong, both in research and in application to calibration activities. Excellent work is being done to advance the state of the art for such fundamental industrial measurements as gage blocks and length interferometry. The panel also noted efforts to develop better support for the large-scale measurement needs of the airframe industry. The panel has previously noted excellent work in the molecular measuring machine. However, there is now concern whether the current hardware design can achieve its long-term goals of 5-nm accuracy in a reasonable time frame. The rebuild of the machine is currently scheduled to take 6 months, with the next project milestone at least 1.5 years away. If a thorough review of the project, with consideration for industry's need for the measurement envisioned, the probability of success with the current design, and total cost, indicates further work is warranted, then adequate funding should be provided to assure its rapid completion. If not, the project should be concluded with its current successes and alternative approaches developed. Support for and the quality of the division's calibration services continue to improve. This includes new research efforts as well as improvements in efficiencies, as in the integration of laser micrometry in the thread wires calibration program. The key contributions of the division's personnel to national standards is noted, as well as their growing role in supporting U.S. efforts to effectively participate in the development of ISO standards in dimensional metrology. One of the most far-reaching issues in dimensional metrology today is the use of uncertainty in reporting measurement results. The division has taken a leadership role in applying this to its calibration work and in helping to develop methods to apply uncertainty calculations in industrial measurement practices. Good progress has been made by PED in developing its strategic plan and using it as a real tool to improve the outputs of the division. Although further work is needed, PED has a well-developed plan and has reduced lofty statements to working goals and objectives. The plan is well infused through the staff and serves to truly guide their work. The planning activities have contributed at least in part to the excellence and appropriateness of the work being performed in the division. Impact of Programs The PED is creating and disseminating industrially relevant research in measurements and standards. Examples of research that have been broadly disseminated include development of new systems for more accurate and cost-effective calibration of CMM and development of a low-cost method to reduce uncertainty in the interferometric measurement of gage blocks. In fiscal year 1997, the division provided U.S. industry with $0.4 million in measurement and calibration services in submicrometer step-heights and pitch, commercial laser-displacement-interferometer systems, and gear lead. The division has a major impact on industry through its work in more than 14 international and national standards committees. The panel commends PED's work in this area and strongly urges that it continue. There are many good examples of PED's research that are relevant to industry. The division has developed a method for computing the uncertainty of CMM and is continuing to develop additional software to address uncertainty in measurement. The division is also

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 developing a mechanism to support U.S. companies in establishing traceability of length measurements. Their work in developing single-atom Si step-height specimens for the semiconductor industry indicates that the division has recognized the need for the development of new standards to support that industry. The division clearly has effective involvement in targeted areas such as the gear and semiconductor industries. In response to the fiscal year 1997 panel assessment, the staff have developed a plan to interact with a broader spectrum of industry, both in the development of new projects and in the dissemination of results. The division has identified information dissemination as a strategic objective and core function. In the past year, the staff held workshops, produced 64 publications, and participated in numerous standards committees as a part of that strategy. The division has also made many of its research results and publications available through the NIST home page and is providing real-time Internet access to its metrological laboratory instruments through the NAMT project. Resources Funding sources for the PED (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1997 Fiscal Year 1998 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 6.40 6.40 Competence 1.02 1.01 ATP 0.22 0.20 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.14 0.12 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.72 1.10 Other Reimbursable 0.64 0.70 Total 9.14 9.53 Staffing for the PED currently includes 50 full-time permanent positions, of which 44 are for technical professionals. There are also 12 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. The overall quality of the staff is excellent and world class in many areas, particularly in work related to length standards, roughness, and bulk materials properties. Some groups have commendable staff-development programs in place. The intern program in the Length Metrology Group, with its focus on encouraging further education of entry-level metrologists, is particularly notable. In general, the staff have a high degree of enthusiasm for the work done in all areas of the PED. The staff are well connected to the mission of the division and ensure that the work done is consistent with the mission. The division's deficiencies in capital equipment spending are evident. In order for the division to provide technical leadership in carrying out its mission, modern equipment and facilities are imperative. Currently the division occupies an out-of-date building and, in many

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 cases, utilizes equipment that is in serious need of replacement. The division has done a good job of coping with the current situation. For example, division funds were used during the year to construct a clean room and to install new controllers on the M48 CMM, with significant improvement in measurement results. However, the clean room could be constructed only by utilizing valuable laboratory space for air-handling equipment that should be designed into the building. An approximately three-orders-of-magnitude improvement in precision and resolution is required in industries that are key to the country 's competitiveness in a worldwide market. This is true in large-scale measurements applied in industries such as aircraft manufacturing, in which requirements for increases in performance and reliability and for reduction in costs place increasing demands on metrology and measurement standards. At the other end of the scale, demands for rapidly increasing speed, lower cost per function, and lower power consumption in new generations of semiconductors used in computers, telecommunications, automobiles, and consumer electronics require the ability to work effectively at picometer levels in extremely clean and temperature-stable environments. Both the large-scale and nanoscale work require that PED laboratories have available a series of temperature-stable clean rooms of Class 1 as well as large metrology-grade facilities such as long tunnels for large-scale length measurements. These laboratories must contain state-of-the-art equipment in order to perform the work required to be on the forefront of measurement technology and standards as defined in the mission of the division. The current facility and complement of equipment are far from this need, although some progress in equipment purchases has been made in the past year. Automated Production Technology Division Mission The Automated Production Technology Division (ATPD) states that its mission is to provide measurement services, standards development support, and reference data to advance the manufacturing science and technology base for U.S. industry. This is a very appropriate mission, as development, services, and data related to standards will not usually be done as well and with the same trustworthiness by industry. The division's programs vary in their level of conformance to the mission. For example, the path from realizing and disseminating information on SI units of measure, to developing and applying sensors, and then to using these sensors in manufacturing measurement and control follows logically from the division's mission. However, the division's specializations in research and development for manufacturing processes and equipment do not clearly connect to the mission. The panel did not object per se to these activities, but they are not clearly required to fulfill the mission as stated. A closer integration of the whole spectrum of the division's activities is lacking.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work Several areas of activity within the ATPD were reviewed in detail. Work in mass and force standards remains among the most important projects of the division. A new clean-room and vibration-free facility has greatly enhanced the quality of the division's work in mass calibration. With this important addition, the division should achieve world leadership in international standards for mass metrology. The division has a unique facility in its anechoic chamber. Work in this facility provides valuable services to the public in hearing-aid metrology. The division's recently started research and development activities in precision manufacturing should become an important addition to the division 's accomplishments. These activities will provide for development of measurement methods and services for high-precision optical and mechanical components. The division's ultrasonics research and development continues on a high level of originality and innovation. Work on time-resolved acoustic microscopy using the line focus lens invented at NIST is highly regarded by the ultrasonics community. However, the panel reiterated last year 's comment that this work is not sufficiently directed towards industrial applications. The applications of the time-resolved technique to determination of the elastic constants of anisotropic thin films and thin film-substrate configurations of interest to industry should be more aggressively explored. Impact of Programs The impact of the APTD programs varies greatly within the various groups of the division. The division provides significant calibration services to a number of industrial customers, and a significant part of the division budget is derived from such services. These services include accelerometer, acoustic, mass, and loud-speaker calibrations and make an important contribution to industry and to the public. Traceability to NIST is extremely important to industry in the areas of mass and force. New procedures or technologies in this area are quickly disseminated by ATPD staff as a part of their routine interaction with industry. In acoustics, ATPD staff exploit their unique anechoic chamber facility to help manufacturers of microphones and hearing aids improve their products. The division does work in ultrasonic calibration and ultrasonic quality control for industry, but there is a greater need within this area than the division can currently satisfy. Industry needs standards to define the quality and performance of ultrasonic transducers, but at the present time, the division does not seem to have either the personnel or the facilities to embark on a first-class program in this area. The division is doing a good job of representing the United States in international standards activity. However, the number and industrial impact of standards committees are growing faster than the division 's ability to respond, and more resources in this area are badly needed.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 Resources Funding sources for the APTD (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1997 Fiscal Year 1998 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 4.46 4.50 Competence 0.35 0.35 ATP 0.37 0.40 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.72 1.10 Other Reimbursable 1.19 0.90 Total 7.09 7.25 ATPD staffing currently includes 44 full-time permanent positions, of which 39 are for technical professionals. There are also seven nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. The division's resources have greatly improved since the prior assessment. The division's facilities include a unique force laboratory that can provide 5 ppm standard uncertainty over a range of force from 40 N to 4.5 MN; a new, state-of-the-art clean-room mass comparator facility; a 450 m3 anechoic chamber; a vibration-isolated precision machining center (shared with the PED); and a high-speed machining center (shared with the Fabrication Technology Division). The division is currently setting up a precision lapping and polishing research laboratory. The addition of the improved mass facility rectifies a serious need identified in previous reviews. Similar vibration-free, state-of-the-art facilities are needed for the division's other calibration responsibilities, specifically, force at the newton and subnewton level, and mass smaller than 1 kg. No suitable facilities for ultrasonic power calibration exist. These additions would support a leadership role in international standards and calibration for the six SI units for which the division is responsible. A significant portion of the division's overall funding is derived from fees for calibration services (e.g., some 2,400 force tests were conducted in 1997). However, these fees do not appear to provide sufficient resources to ensure that the testing methodologies and facilities for calibrations are maintained at state of the art, thus hindering the division's effectiveness in these areas. Also, staffing is currently insufficient to ensure that the division can meet its calibration and standards responsibility in all six areas. Intelligent Systems Division Mission The Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) states that its mission is to improve the competitiveness of U.S. industry by working with industry, academia, and other agencies to develop and apply intelligent systems technologies, standards, and performance measures. This

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 mission is in harmony with both the NIST and MEL missions. It recognizes the increasing importance of information technology in manufacturing and seeks to enhance the contribution that intelligent systems technology and information technology play in the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Most of the division's projects are addressing new and challenging issues worthy of NIST's involvement and fit well within the mission. Division activities seem restrained by the apparent necessity to relate to “standards and measurements,” but the NIST, MEL, and ISD mission statements encompass technology as well. If a project enhances U.S. manufacturing capability by advancing information technology, it should be considered even if the goal does not relate to the other two criteria. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work All nine key projects the panel reviewed have considerable technical merit. In particular, the Enhanced Machine Controller, the Next Generation Inspection System, the Reference Model Architecture, and the Operator Interface projects and the Knowledge Engineering Program are all cutting-edge technology investigations. The Next Generation Inspection System and Hexapod projects and the Knowledge Engineering Program have dramatic potential for impact. However, there does not seem to be a systematic procedure for assessing the state of the art before a project is undertaken. In some instances, there appears to be insufficient research into prior efforts before a project is started. When asked for “state-of-the-art” or “needs-analysis” documents, the division did not give consistent answers for all its projects. Most of the projects reviewed are continuations of projects from the previous year. The panel heard no articulation of a conscious decision to continue these programs rather than to start new projects. A consistent methodology for evaluating existing projects in light of possible new ones with great potential would be desirable. Impact of Programs Appreciable industry involvement is evident in the Open Modular Architecture Controller User's Group, Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing, and other consortia in the Open Architecture Controller Program and in Hewlett-Packard's adoption of the division's technology for machine controllers; the impact on industry of this effort can be appreciable, though is not yet fully realized. Most other programs have a potential for developing new technologies for application by industry, though not without relevant ongoing complementary activities within industry. The work that the division is doing with the Hexapod machine tool is of great importance to the manufacturing industry. This machine is one of two radically new classes of machine tools (the other one is the flat motor high-velocity class of machines) that offer a real discontinuity in the technology advancement of machine tools. The Hexapod concept offers a machine that is inherently more stable, more accurate, and simpler and that costs less to construct and install and requires a minimum of foundation. It will probably even be suitable for use in the Space Station. The NIST staff are developing a body of knowledge that is of crucial importance, and the user group meetings they are holding are an excellent way to disseminate it to the industry.

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 The division uses consortia, workshops, seminars, user group meetings, and publications effectively to communicate its work to its constituents. This exposure is limited, however, to those who seek to know and actively participate in NIST's activities. The division also uses the World Wide Web to disseminate information on its activities beyond the active participants. Resources Funding sources for the ISD (in millions of dollars) are presented below:   Fiscal Year 1997 Fiscal Year 1998 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 6.11 6.20 ATP 0.39 0.50 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.56 2.10 Other Reimbursable 0.02 0.00 Total 8.08 8.80 Staffing for the ISD currently includes 48 full-time permanent positions, of which 42 are for technical professionals. There are also four nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. The division's personnel are of high professional caliber, motivated, and professionally challenged and appear to enjoy and believe in the value of their work. The laboratory space available to the ISD is quite adequate for its current work; the computing facilities are appropriate, as are the experimental facilities and equipment. There does not appear to be a particular area in need of urgent support. Manufacturing Systems Integration Division Mission The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division (MSID) states that its mission is to provide industry with quality standards and test methods that permit interoperability among information-based manufacturing systems to enable large and small U.S. manufacturers to achieve preeminence in the global marketplace. The mission of the division supports the mission of the laboratory by working with industry to improve its competitiveness through the development of standards and infrastructure technology. There is much evidence of rapid changes and new paradigms in manufacturing that are causing the manufacturing enterprise to increasingly operate and compete in a global environment. These paradigm shifts increase the importance of standards to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. industry in the global marketplace. The increased importance of information technologies in modern manufacturing enterprises highlights the needs for standards

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 that enhance the interoperability of information-based manufacturing systems. Thus, the division's mission as well as the division's programs are appropriately directed to meet challenges faced by U.S. manufacturing enterprises as they rapidly evolve to more nontraditional structures. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The panel was impressed with the technical efforts of MSID. The work being performed is responsive to the needs of manufacturing industries and to recommendations from previous assessments. The division has a clear balance between efforts aimed at developing standards and those facilitating the acceptance and utilization of such standards. To facilitate standards development and deployment, the division has focused on providing infrastructure capability that provides methods, tools, facilities, and services. Specifically, the Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Networking Testbed (AMSANT) provides a facility with state-of-the-art equipment and applications that is used for training and demonstration of possible applications for information-based manufacturing. This facility also supports collaborative work for the definition of interface requirements and the resulting standards needed to ensure interoperability among the different software applications required to support manufacturing. In support of the trend toward “design anywhere and build anywhere,” the division is pursuing standards solutions for effective collaboration for information-based manufacturing between distributed groups. The division has teamed with academia, industry, and other MEL divisions to create an environment capable of developing and demonstrating collaboration technologies and enabling evaluation of the effectiveness of such technologies in support of manufacturing research and operations. Such evaluation goes a long way toward identifying and enabling the development of interface standards for these tools. The ISO SC4 On-Line Information Services and the Application Protocol Development Environment together represent an excellent effort toward maintaining the momentum that has been created with the STEP. Both activities utilize state-of-the-art and cost-effective technologies to allow expeditious access to developed standards, application protocols, and standards development support via the World Wide Web. With these capabilities, industry users from any level can learn about and participate in the standards development process in a cost-effective way. These activities are not only appropriate, but they also can be considered a catalyst to ensure success in the mission of the division. Domain-related work addresses design, simulation, and enterprise integration technologies. All areas focus on issues that are important to the manufacturing enterprise of the future. Work in design deals with the augmentation of current STEP standards in view of the evolution of CAD and design support systems. This work appears to be a blend between design methodology and contributions to the NAMT Program, and good progress is noted. The panel urges continued focus on design-related standards and design interface specifications. The Process Specification Language project has shown solid progress since the previous review, and excellent collaboration with industry and academic partners is noted. Projects in assembly planning, scheduling, and production systems have also progressed and should continue to emphasize initiatives related to the integration of software applications. Enterprise information modeling and interface development activities are contributing to the creation of new ISO

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 international standards dealing with the rules and concepts for modeling and data exchange capabilities. In general, work in the division is of excellent quality and reflects the high level of competence of the technical staff. However, because of the nature of the divisional mission, leadership is urged to ensure that programs continue to fall within the strategic intent of the division and the laboratory. Impact of Programs The division maintains a good level of collaboration with industry, other NIST laboratories, and academic institutions. In response to previous panel concerns, the division is using new dissemination tools, including the Internet, to communicate its activities to a broader group of U.S. manufacturing companies. The division is aggressively pursuing various means to share its activities; these include active involvement in national and international standards activities, frequently in leadership roles, and conducting workshops using state-of-the-art and next-generation multimedia technologies. Evidence collected and analyzed by the division shows positive trends in the quantity of disseminated information that can help outside communities understand the division's products and services. However, a measure still has to be found that can capture how effective this information is in influencing industry. Resources Funding sources for the MSID (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1997 Fiscal Year 1998 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 7.79 8.20 Competence 0.00 0.40 ATP 0.88 1.10 OA/NFG/CRADA 4.50 4.10 Other Reimbursable 0.05 0.00 Total 13.22 13.80 Staffing for the MSID currently includes 48 full-time permanent positions, of which 39 are for technical professionals. There are also 23 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. The division has an appropriate balance of information technology and domain-specific professionals. Collectively, the competence level and the skills of the staff are most impressive and appropriate for the programmatic thrusts of the division. Division staff have been recognized for their technical contributions by both the community at large and internally by NIST. There is

OCR for page 35
An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES Fiscal Year 1998 evidence that the levels of cooperation and teamwork are high; this is both highly commendable and essential to the success of the division. Division operations are slightly over $13 million, a decrease from the previous year. Although there is promise for a budget increase for fiscal year 1998, the panel was concerned that important division programs may not advance as rapidly as they should without adequate resources. The divisional and laboratory management are appropriately focusing on activities that encourage cooperation among the groups. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following observations. The MEL staff is highly focused, technically competent, and highly motivated. The quality of the laboratory's work is generally well above industry norms and could be considered world-class in many areas. The laboratory achieves excellent leverage of internal and external resources to accomplish many standards and R&D efforts. Many examples of good partnerships between industrial, academic, and NIST personnel were evident. Management planning and control systems for MEL have been significantly improved. A strategic planning process has been instituted, and attempts at measuring laboratory effectiveness within industry through a series of industrial economic studies have been established. The laboratory must continue in its efforts to develop meaningful metrics for its programs. It is not apparent that industry impact reports or other metrics are used as a feedback mechanism to adjust programs. Since MEL is not likely to receive substantial additional funding but significant new technology opportunities arise continually, the laboratory must review existing programs annually and may need to be able to close down some existing projects in order to have the resources to begin new, higher-priority work. Programs in mass, force, acceleration, density, sound, and ultrasonics are excellent, but the laboratory's ability to stay ahead of industry 's needs and technology advances is threatened by budget and personnel limitations. Of particular concern are small mass and force measurement and ultrasonics calibration efforts. The high vibration, noise, and contamination levels in the building that houses the MEL seriously hamper the ability of the staff to meet the exacting demands of the new digital and communication technologies. This is a chronic problem that has been nagging the MEL for some time and is a growing and serious threat to the MEL's ability to carry out its mission.