Manufacturing Systems Integration Division

The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division develops and applies interoperability standards and measurements for software used in manufacturing systems integration. The MSID has expertise in electronic information exchange, semantic structures, and systems integration that is comparable to that of the top 10 institutions in these areas. The MSID has identified supply chain integration, sustainable and lifecycle information-based manufacturing, and simulation-based manufacturing interoperability standards and testing as focus areas in addressing the ever-increasing complexity of manufacturing and supply chain processes. All division projects are aligned with one of these programs. The results from each project in the MSID include rigorously defined standards and protocols, realistic pilot programs, and software and interoperability testing services.

The goal of the Supply Chain Integration Program is to demonstrate an infrastructure for the testing and integration of automated systems that exchange data and information (including semantics) throughout the supply chain. This program has demonstrated significant maturity during the past 3 years. One important impact of the program is the deployment of a number of syntax- and quality-based testing and validation tools. Another is significant advances in techniques for the sharing of semantic information between supply chain partners. Many of these tools and techniques have broad applicability within manufacturing and in other disciplines.

The Sustainable and Lifecycle Information-based Manufacturing Program works on extending product and process data standards to the broader spectrum of information needed to sustain products over their life cycle. This program has produced a number of key results in the past few years, including transitioning STEP to integrate with Object Management Group (OMG) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards and migrating STEP for wider implementation. Continued work in this area is vital to the efficient allocation of both manufacturing capacity and valuable materials as well as to the protection of the environment.

The Simulation-based Manufacturing Interoperability Standards and Testing Program is particularly topical, as standards in simulation are in their infancy. It is a good strategy for the MSID to invest in this area, as it is critical to industry. As the complexity of manufacturing systems continues to increase, it becomes exponentially more complex to design and operate these systems without multiple integrated software tools, including in many cases both simulations and manufacturing automation systems. Collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should pave the way to expanding this work into the management of manufacturing and supply chain disaster recovery.

The MSID has increasingly focused its programs, which are in line with the MEL mission. Because funding and human resources have remained static or declined, it has been necessary for this division to remain lean and yet agile. Its technical work is generally excellent. Most of its projects are outstanding and have delivered significant standards, pilots, and testing programs that have benefited the targeted user communities.

TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART

The three focus areas (supply chain integration, sustainable and lifecycle information-based manufacturing, and simulation-based manufacturing interoperability standards and testing) are appropriately aligned with the needs of American industry. In addition, the projects within each focus area are in line with the MEL mission and reflect a broad understanding of comparable work being done elsewhere (in other government laboratories,



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 14
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division develops and applies inter- operability standards and measurements for software used in manufacturing systems integration. The MSID has expertise in electronic information exchange, semantic structures, and systems integration that is comparable to that of the top 10 institutions in these areas. The MSID has identified supply chain integration, sustainable and lifecycle information-based manufacturing, and simulation-based manufacturing interoperability standards and testing as focus areas in addressing the ever-increasing complexity of manufacturing and supply chain processes. All division projects are aligned with one of these programs. The results from each project in the MSID include rigorously defined standards and protocols, realistic pilot programs, and software and interoperability testing services. The goal of the Supply Chain Integration Program is to demonstrate an infrastructure for the testing and integration of automated systems that exchange data and information (including semantics) throughout the supply chain. This program has demonstrated significant maturity during the past 3 years. One important impact of the program is the deployment of a number of syntax- and quality-based testing and validation tools. Another is significant advances in techniques for the sharing of semantic information between supply chain partners. Many of these tools and techniques have broad applicability within manufacturing and in other disciplines. The Sustainable and Lifecycle Information-based Manufacturing Program works on extending product and process data standards to the broader spectrum of information needed to sustain products over their life cycle. This program has produced a number of key results in the past few years, including transitioning STEP to integrate with Object Management Group (OMG) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards and migrating STEP for wider implementation. Continued work in this area is vital to the efficient allocation of both manufacturing capacity and valuable materials as well as to the protection of the environment. The Simulation-based Manufacturing Interoperability Standards and Testing Program is particularly topical, as standards in simulation are in their infancy. It is a good strategy for the MSID to invest in this area, as it is critical to industry. As the complexity of manufacturing systems continues to increase, it becomes exponentially more complex to design and operate these systems without multiple integrated software tools, including in many cases both simulations and manufacturing automation systems. Collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should pave the way to expanding this work into the management of manufacturing and supply chain disaster recovery. The MSID has increasingly focused its programs, which are in line with the MEL mission. Because funding and human resources have remained static or declined, it has been necessary for this division to remain lean and yet agile. Its technical work is generally excellent. Most of its projects are outstanding and have delivered significant standards, pilots, and testing programs that have benefited the targeted user communities. TECHNICAL MERIT RELATIVE TO STATE OF THE ART The three focus areas (supply chain integration, sustainable and lifecycle information- based manufacturing, and simulation-based manufacturing interoperability standards and testing) are appropriately aligned with the needs of American industry. In addition, the projects within each focus area are in line with the MEL mission and reflect a broad understanding of comparable work being done elsewhere (in other government laboratories, 14

OCR for page 14
at universities, and in industry). Links have been established with key members of the international community to achieve the division’s goals. In the supply chain integration area, high-quality work is being performed on logic and semantics in the basic Automated Methods for Integrating Systems (AMIS) concept and applied AMIS-related projects. This is a difficult problem of utmost importance to improving supply chain operational efficiency. The MSID has developed a very innovative approach in the modeling of logic-based semantics. Furthermore, the Naming and Design Rules and Quality of Design services are very important to facilitating and accelerating supply chain integration. These services in fact address problems encountered in areas beyond manufacturing and could form the basis of broadly applicable leading-edge capabilities. In the sustainable and lifecycle information-based manufacturing area, the MSID has had a very strong impact in STEP development. It has continued the development and testing of STEP modular development environment and modular application protocols; in particular, work relating to AP203 E2: Configuration Controlled 3D Design of Mechanical Parts and Assemblies is to be commended. This new (E2) version of AP203 was modularized and updated to include several module sets for new applications. Recent MSID efforts include transitioning STEP to integrate with OMG and W3C standards and migrating STEP for wider implementation. In the simulation-based manufacturing interoperability standards and testing area, work is proceeding with the collection and analysis of test cases, with the goal of structuring appropriate standards. While this work is going well and is important to building a technically sound foundation for future work, this program should be strategic in its selection of pilot programs and should not be seduced by the opportunity simply to build demonstrations. The DHS funds several projects within the simulation program. The MSID should not entirely rely on this soft money to grow this program. Since this integration infrastructure that the DHS funding partially supports has dual uses and can be applied to manufacturing, the division has opportunities to seek other agency funding to sustain its core mission and expertise. Within the MSID, the groups researching and influencing interoperability standards7 are performing technical work that ranks with the best in the field. This has been demonstrated with the development and testing of standards and the assisting of vendors in the implementation of the new functionality. Such activities have also been recognized through awards to staff members—for example, the Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) award, and the Product Data Exchange using STEP (PDES, Inc.) Technical Excellence award for the technical efforts and leadership in developing the STEP modular architecture. Furthermore, standards bodies are engaged and practical problems are formulated and piloted in collaboration with key vendors and end customers. For example, recent MSID collaborative efforts include its work with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), aerospace companies, and the National Archives and Records Administration in the area of standards-based data archiving, and its work with the DHS in the area of simulation. ADEQUACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE Given the MSID’s information-centric paradigm, its equipment and facilities are adequate to meet project objectives. The scale of specific projects and work planning are appropriate, given limited resources. 7 See http://www.isd.mel.nist.gov/projects/metrology_interoperability/. Accessed September 2, 2008. 15

OCR for page 14
As of January 2008, staffing for the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division included 57 full-time-equivalent personnel, which included approximately 30 full-time permanent positions, as well as 41 visiting researcher or part-time workers who were equivalent to 27 full-time employees. The trend over the past 5 years has been a steady decrease in full-time permanent positions and an increase in part-time and visiting personnel. The actual-dollar annual budget has remained relatively constant over this same period, at roughly $10 million in a time of generally increasing cost in all areas. This has a number of negative impacts in the context of this division’s achieving its goals: • The MSID is approaching a critical mass threshold, and it is not provided with an appropriate budget for developing and executing a succession plan. This will soon affect the division’s effectiveness, agility, and competitiveness. • Increasing reliance on guest researchers is necessary to accomplish tasks but not sufficient to sustain the MSID’s mission. An infusion of temporary new help is very useful, but it is not a substitute for a continuous flow of permanent new hires. • Given current funding and the need to be opportunistic, the MSID is applying more tactical technical planning strategies than it prefers. ACHIEVEMENT OF OBJECTIVES AND IMPACT With the limited resources that the MSID has, it has carefully scoped its focus and has aggressively sought out the most effective partnerships to identify and address the requirements and the gaps in the standards. For example, as a result of collaborations with automotive and aerospace companies, the MSID has had a very strong impact in interoperability. The MSID disseminates its work through government and industry, NIST- wide, and at internal forums. Work has also been disseminated through a significantly high number of workshops, technical seminars, reports, publications, newsletters, board memberships, and consortia. Some examples are AIAG and the involvement with STEP development. The MSID should be innovative with its marketing strategy and standards development in order to further increase its impact on U.S. competitiveness in the manufacturing arena. CONCLUSIONS The conclusions of the panel based on its assessment of the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division are as follows: • The MSID has expertise in electronic information exchange, rich semantic structures, and systems integration that ranks it among the best in these fields. It has appropriately focused its scope on three major programs: Supply Chain Integration, Sustainable and Lifecycle Information-based Manufacturing, and Simulation-based Interoperability Standards and Testing. For each of these programs, the outputs from MSID include rigorously defined standards and protocols, realistic pilot programs, and software and interoperability testing services. The division’s scope is in line with its budget, and it has produced high- quality research with concrete results. • The overall quality of research in the MSID is high. In general, the division is doing excellent technical work. In many areas, the work at MSID is state of the art. In the MSID, the groups researching and influencing interoperability standards are 16

OCR for page 14
performing work that ranks among the best in the field. This has been demon- strated, for example, with interoperability standards—with the development and testing of standards, simulation, and the assisting of vendors in the implementation of the new functionality. Core personnel work very well as a team, providing overall strong technical leadership. • The effective budget has been severely reduced over the past 5 years, responded to by a shift from permanent personnel to guest researchers. Current funding may be adequate to achieve tactical results, but more strategic projects and programs are being sacrificed due to lack of funding. • The MSID is approaching a critical-mass threshold, and the division is not provided with an appropriate budget for having employee succession planning in place in order to reduce the number of guest researchers over the years and to hire new permanent employees. If this situation is not addressed in a timely manner, it will very negatively impact the MSID’s ability to remain effective, agile, and competitive. • An improved dissemination of information and results would increase the national impact of the excellent work done in the MSID. For example, semantic interoperability has had significant impact potential far beyond the Supply Chain Integration project. • The MSID staff has demonstrated commendable success in getting outside funding (such as that received from DHS). • The MSID is collaborating well with the Intelligent Systems Division, the Manufacturing Metrology Division, and the Precision Engineering Division on interoperability standards projects. Because of its lean budgets, the MSID should continue to leverage its expertise with other organizations in order to solve problems of national interest. 17