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1 The Charge to the Panel and the Assessment Process At the request of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Research Council (NRC) has, since 1959, annually assembled panels of experts from academia, industry, medicine, and other scientific and engineering environments to assess the quality and effectiveness of the NIST measurements and standards laboratories, of which there are now six,2 as well as the alignment of the laboratories' activities with their missions. NIST requested that in 2012 the crosscutting area of manufacturing-related programs be assessed. In accord with the multidisciplinary nature of manufacturing, which covers multiple sectors, the manufacturing- related activities at NIST cut across multiple laboratories. Accordingly, the 2012 assessment considers manufacturing activities across the entire NIST organization. Manufacturing-related activities at NIST were assessed by a panel of experts appointed by the NRC. The findings of the Panel on Review of Manufacturing-Related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are summarized in this report. The panel's statement of task is as follows: An ad hoc panel will conduct a review of NIST laboratory activities related to manufacturing measurements, standards, and technology and will prepare a report that will provide information on scientific, technology and research activities of relevance to NIST laboratories and user facilities in this area. The panel will undertake the following tasks: Assess coordination of NIST programs in the targeted discipline Assess relevance of the R&D efforts of the chosen discipline to the current set of national priorities as well as the needs of stakeholders Assess the degree to which the measurement science, standards, and services achieve their stated objectives and fulfill the mission Assess the technical merits and scientific caliber of the chosen discipline relative to comparable programs worldwide. For this assessment, NIST requested that the panel look at manufacturing research at NIST broadly, with special emphasis on the following specific advanced manufacturing topic areas: Nanomanufacturing (including Flexible Electronics), Smart Manufacturing (including Robotics), and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. NIST further requested that the panel focus on the following broad factors as part of its assessment: 2 The six NIST laboratories are the Material Measurement Laboratory, the Physical Measurement Laboratory, the Engineering Laboratory, the Information Technology Laboratory, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research. 5
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1. Assess the technical merit and scientific caliber of NIST's manufacturing programs relative to comparable programs worldwide. Furthermore, assess NIST's ability to provide leadership in manufacturing technology areas. How effective are current metrics for measuring value and success in manufacturing programs? Background: The panel is to assess whether NIST is targeting the appropriate technological maturity level in its research programs. Are the laboratories adequately anticipating technology trends and service delivery methods? Are they effectively measuring their success? Are there different or additional metrics that should be considered? 2. Assess the efficacy of NIST's engagement with outside stakeholders to: Guide definition of the laboratory's priority areas that address key needs within manufacturing Steer development of NIST's programmatic plans within the priority areas to address the high-priority needs of the manufacturing domain Ensure that NIST's programs in measurement science, standards, and services have the necessary impact in advancing the Nation's competitiveness. 3. Assess coordination and cohesion across NIST of programs in the specific Advanced Manufacturing topics (i.e., nanomanufacturing, smart manufacturing, and next-generation materials measurements, modeling, and simulation). The context of this technical assessment is the mission of NIST, which is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve the quality of life. The NIST laboratories conduct research to anticipate future metrology and standards needs, to enable new scientific and technological advances, and to improve and refine existing measurement methods and services. In order to accomplish the assessment, the NRC assembled a panel of 14 volunteers who have strong expertise in the areas of the work performed by the NIST staff in the manufacturing- related programs reviewed. The panel members were also grouped into three review teams. The expertise of the members of the respective review teams especially matched that of the work performed in the areas of Nanomanufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. As may be expected, the lines of demarcation for programs of such wide scope are necessarily fuzzy. Consequently, although the review of NIST's manufacturing-related programs and this report were organized around these areas, the reader will find several instances of overlap and cross-reference. Also, in conducting this assessment, the panel's view was that the national priorities in manufacturing are synonymous with the priorities of the U.S. manufacturing industry. The panel members met at the NIST facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 26- 28, 2012. The agenda for the session with the full panel included the following: Welcoming comments by the Director of NIST; Overview presentations by the Chief Manufacturing Officer, the Director of Innovation and Industry Services, and the Director of the Program Coordination Office; Overview presentations of NIST mission-specific work supporting and advancing manufacturing by the Director of the Physical Measurement Laboratory, the Director 6
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of the Information Technology Laboratory, and the Director of the NIST Center for Neutron Research; and Overview presentations and panel discussions on the advanced manufacturing topic areas of Nanomanufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. Following this full-panel session, the panel divided into its three review teams, and each team (led by a team leader chosen from within the panel) then reviewed activities in its respective advanced manufacturing topic area. During these area reviews, the review team members attended presentations, tours, and interactive sessions with NIST staff; they also conducted interactive sessions with NIST managers. Subsequently, the entire panel assembled for discussions with NIST management. It then met in a closed session to deliberate on its findings and to define the contents of this assessment report. The approach of the panel to the assessment relied on the experience, technical knowledge, and expertise of its members, whose backgrounds, as noted above, were carefully matched to the technical areas of NIST's manufacturing-related activities. For its assessment, the panel relied primarily on presentations made by NIST managers and staff and on the informational materials prepared by NIST staff for use by the panel prior to and during the deliberations. The panel reviewed selected examples of the manufacturing-related technological research covered by NIST; because of time constraints, it was not possible to review these programs and projects exhaustively. The examples reviewed by the panel were selected by NIST in consultation with the panel chair and NRC staff. The panel's goal was to identify and report salient examples of accomplishments and opportunities for further improvement. These examples are intended collectively to portray an overall impression of the manufacturing-related programs at NIST while also preserving useful suggestions specific to projects and programs that the panel examined. The panel applied a largely qualitative rather than a quantitative approach to the assessment. The comments in this report are not intended to address each particular program within the NIST manufacturing-related areas exhaustively, but instead to identify key accomplishments and issues. Given the necessarily non-exhaustive nature of the review process, the omission of any particular program or project should not be interpreted as a negative reflection on the omitted program or project. The preceding Summary, which highlights issues that apply broadly to several or all of the manufacturing areas or to the manufacturing-related programs as a whole, presents the panel's key recommendations for NIST. Following this introductory chapter, the next three chapters provide overall assessments of the three areas of advanced manufacturing: Chapter 2 presents a detailed overall assessment of the Nanomanufacturing activities, Chapter 3 addresses the Smart Manufacturing activities, and Chapter 4 presents an overall assessment of the Next- Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation activities. Chapters 2 though 4 also present recommendations relevant to their topic areas, including the key recommendations presented in the Summary and others as appropriate. Chapter 5 discusses crosscutting themes identified by the panel, and Chapter 6 offers the panel's overall conclusions. 7