Chapter 3

Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Chapter 3 Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 PANEL MEMBERS Stuart Miller, General Electric Corporate Research and Development (retired), Chair Jan D. Achenbach, Northwestern University Sushil Birla, General Motors Corporation D. Jeffrey Bostock, Lockheed Martin Energy Systems Walt W. Braithwaite, The Boeing Company Dorothy Comassar, GE Aircraft Engines Jose B. Cruz, Jr., The Ohio State University David Dornfeld, University of California, Berkeley Robert J. Douglas, BWI Inex Johnson A. Edosomwan, Johnson & Johnson Associates, Inc. Hazem Ezzat, General Motors Research & Development Center James L. Flanagan, Rutgers University George J. Hess, The Ingersoll Milling Machine Company Michael E. Kahn, KLA Tencor Instruments Richard L. Kegg, Cincinnati Milacron, Inc. E. Ray McClure, Tumax Engineering Steven R. Patterson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Stuart G. Miller, this assessment of the fiscal year 1997 activities of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory is based on a site visit by the panel on March 4–6, 1997, and on the annual report of the laboratory.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission The mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) is to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing by working with industry to develop and apply infrastructural technology, measurements, and standards. The panel finds the laboratory mission and its concomitant focus on length, mass, and new information-age manufacturing standards to be appropriate. If broad dissemination of the laboratory's work throughout industry can be achieved, the MEL could make a significant difference in industrial competitiveness. However, the laboratory has made insufficient efforts on transferring new technologies to industry. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work Since the previous assessment, the laboratory has successfully capitalized on emerging information technology and has improved its management structure and assignments. Most importantly, significant progress has been made in the National Advanced Manufacturing Testbed (NAMT), a distributed testbed built on a state-of-the-art, high-speed computing and communications infrastructure. The research done at NAMT focused on overcoming complexities that prevent interoperability across dispersed and disparate manufacturing systems. NAMT has significant merit because it is clearly targeted at the emerging information needs of companies. In addition, NAMT has unified the laboratory by using staff and resources from all divisions. The laboratory's use of the output from other national efforts (primarily in software standards) as a foundation for NAMT work is also a move in a positive direction. One example is the adoption of reference architecture containing information models, communication protocols, and software applications from the National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols consortium. Industry needs less capital-intensive ways to satisfy traceability standards and new methods to distribute such standards. The MEL is working toward that end; one example is the Precision Engineering Division's joint effort with the Department of Energy (DoE) on metrology calibration. There are three facets to this program, which uses the Oak Ridge Y-12 Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) to provide gear calibrations that until recently were only available through a European company, to establish a NIST-accredited traceability chain through the Oak Ridge CMM, and to support the formal accreditation of this DoE facility by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. Another example of standards work is the laboratory's ongoing effort in information-based manufacturing. The major economic impact of such work will not be felt by companies for 3 to 5 years, but these projects could potentially change the industry. More details on the ongoing technical programs at MEL can be found in the divisional assessments that follow.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Industrial Impact Several programs have been completed and transferred to industry since the panel's previous assessment. Of particular note are the Advanced Deburring Activity, which has been completed, and the Open Architecture Controller component, which has been taken on by Hewlett-Packard for commercialization. The MEL is working to quantify the impact and effectiveness of such transitioned projects. Two economic impact studies (on the Real-time Control System [RTC] and on Software Error Compensation) were completed in 1996, and five additional studies were commissioned for 1997. In general, however, the laboratory's activities and programs are not being disseminated on a broad scale, and the laboratory has an insufficient industrial constituency. The panel interprets the mission statement to mean that a large segment of U.S. manufacturing enterprises should be beneficiaries (or have every opportunity to be beneficiaries) of laboratory efforts. During the past several years the MEL has successfully reduced its dependence on funding from other government agencies and has made reasonable use of other tools available—including Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), internships, postdoctoral students, and guest workers—to augment its resources and form working relationships with industry and academia. However, the panel is concerned that these methods of forging links with industry have not achieved the broad benefits implied in the MEL's mission statement. For example, the MEL work in information technology has the technical merit necessary for significant industrial impact, yet the laboratory 's efforts in this field are not broadly known or appreciated. The potential of this work and its relevance to productivity, globalization, and efficiency of development need to be communicated throughout the manufacturing industries. In the panel's view, early industrial involvement in its projects and widespread dissemination of the results of its programs are the most important challenges currently facing the laboratory. Laboratory-level management functions do not yet include sufficient marketing and outreach, such as building closer ties with organizations that are interested in standards and manufacturing technology. Some possible examples are the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Such interactions could improve implementation of new results and assist the laboratory in defining long-term industrial needs. The laboratory's presence in international measurement standards is felt but its influence could be increased. Laboratory participation and leadership in the standard-setting process are necessary to influence requirements and assure consistency in a time when U.S. industry is under increasing pressure to globalize. The laboratory could provide American companies with guidance and technical assistance as they navigate the spectrum of standards currently in place. Such activities would help work against the “virtual trade barriers” formed by differing national standards. By preventing other countries from locking U.S. companies out of international markets, NIST would serve American industries and strengthen the U.S. economy.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Laboratory Resources The MEL's total budget for fiscal year 1996 was $42.3 million. The majority of this funding came from NIST direct appropriations, which is Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding, and from other government agencies (OA). A smaller portion came from NIST's Industrial Technology Services (ITS), which is made up of the Advanced Technology Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The remainder of the budget was from reimbursable services such as calibrations, standard reference materials, and the services of the Fabrication Technology Division, and from CRADAs and miscellaneous expenses and income. Funding for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (in millions of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997(estimated) NIST-STRS 27.5 28.2 Other Agency (OA) 7.7 9.8 ITS 1.7 1.7 Calibration Services 1.1 1.2 Other 4.3 4.6 Total 42.3 45.5 The recent shift toward internal funding sources (NIST-STRS) and away from outside funding (OA) has been well managed and has enabled the laboratory to take on more internally selected, cutting-edge projects. Currently, OA funding makes up approximately 20 percent of the laboratory budget, which is appropriate. The Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory as a whole employs 277 full-time equivalents, of whom 178 are technical professionals. (In this report, technicians, administrative support, and crafts personnel are not counted as technical professionals.) The laboratory staff actually includes 299 people: 185 scientists and engineers, 32 technicians, 38 wage grade employees, and 44 support personnel, including clerical employees. Among the 185 scientists and engineers, 52 have PhDs, 59 master's degrees, and 74 bachelor's degrees. The panel found the staff to be highly qualified, strong, outgoing, and committed. The extended government shutdowns of 1995–96 made recruiting difficult for this laboratory, and the funding levels expected over the next several years will force staffing levels to remain flat. The laboratory is aggressively addressing personnel shortfalls through the work of 75 guest researchers and postdoctoral students. In general, the physical plant of the laboratory is adequate. Some metrology equipment in the Precision Engineering and Automated Production Technology Divisions as well as the shop capability in the Fabrication Technology Division do not currently meet world-class standards. These specific needs are discussed in the divisional reports that follow.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Laboratory Planning The laboratory now has a documented plan with schedules, metrics, and deliverables. However, an organized planning process is still not in place. The potential applications of programs should be measured against a national set of goals and priorities established in conjunction with industry. DIVISIONAL ASSESSMENTS Precision Engineering Division Mission The Precision Engineering Division states that its mission is to conduct research and development in precision-engineered length-metrology-intensive systems, both measuring and production machines, and to provide delivery of industrially important length-related measurements, standards, and infrastructural technology services in support of U.S. manufacturing 's products and processes. Features of interest range in size from multiple meters to sub-nanometer and are measured by framed and frameless general and special-purpose measuring probes, machines and systems, employing the spectrum of optical, mechanical, electrical, and quantum-mechanical phenomena, beginning with first-principles realization of the International System (SI) unit of length by means of stabilized lasers and displacement interferometry. The Precision Engineering Division mission statement is in accord with those of NIST and the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. The recent modification of the divisional mission statement clarifies work boundaries and lines of authority. This simplification will allow the division staff to focus on more well-defined tasks and should have a positive impact on productivity. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work This division is doing excellent technical work, which is highly appropriate for the industries served. For example, the Precision Engineering Division's increased emphasis on reducing measurement uncertainties is in response to the pressure placed on industry by the need for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) compliance and continual process improvement. The nanometer-scale metrology work research for the semiconductor industry and the gear shape measurements conducted with the Council on Gear Metrology are also well linked to the MEL's customer base. However, the division 's industrial contacts seem too narrow and limited, and it is unclear if the division has enough industrial input to determine how its programs can focus on the areas of greatest potential impact. The panel noted that excellent work on the Molecular Measuring Machine (M3) continues, with recent emphasis on industrially important measurements. M3 is now being used

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 to measure and image continuously over hundreds of hours with minimal operator assistance. The division has planned further improvements to M3 to increase its accuracy from ~20 nm to ~5 nm and to allow it to continue to perform at the leading edge of this technology. Progress was also made toward completing work on the calibrated atomic force microscope and on an error-budget analysis for calibration of semiconductor pitch-height standards. The division's use of the Baldrige criteria as the quality standard for its work is exemplary. Though the criteria are most easily applied by divisions heavily involved in providing services such as calibrations or standard reference materials, every division could look to the Precision Engineering Division for an example of how to apply quality principles to its operations. Industrial Impact The Precision Engineering Division can provide the means for industry to lower overhead rates and improve productivity. For example, recent division projects have reduced the number of master standards requiring calibration; used more capable (e.g., broader bandwidth) equipment for measurement calibration, which eliminates costly dedicated equipment; and introduced novel, low-cost designs for measurement devices (e.g., the linewidth microscope hydraulic system). Impressive, industrially relevant activities surrounding the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) continue. The division has commercialized the error map for touch-trigger probes in equipment widely used in U.S. manufacturing industries. In addition, software and procedures have been developed to assess uncertainties in CMM task-specific measurement. This project is being coordinated with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and ISO to ensure that this work is recognized in the United States and abroad. There are clearly good examples of effective divisional involvement with specific industries, such as projects for the semiconductor and gear industries. However, in general, results are reported mainly to the companies directly involved with the work, and there is no industrywide dissemination. The division does not reach a wide enough range of industrial partners and has no way to ensure that a broader interaction is achieved. Broad dissemination must be planned at the beginning of a project, and the ability of the laboratory to communicate results and assess the range of potential impact could be a factor in project selection.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Resources Funding for the Precision Engineering Division (in millions of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 7.1 7.6 Other Agency (OA) 0.7 1.0 ITS 0.3 0.1 Calibration Services 0.4 0.4 Other 0.5 0.5 Total 9.0 9.6 The Precision Engineering Division currently employs 56 full-time equivalents, of whom 36 are technical professionals. The quality of the technical staff is world class in some areas and excellent overall. Entry-level requirements are high—laboratory technicians must have at least a 2-year associate degree—and personnel are encouraged to continue on to further levels of education. The interest and energy levels of the staff are high throughout the division. Examples of capital-equipment deficiencies were observed in some cases. NIST's role as a technical leader can clearly be hampered by lack of adequate, modern facilities. The metrology equipment and environments need updating, and new optics and laser laboratories may be needed for future advances in measurement technologies. Currently, approximately three orders of magnitude improvement in resolution and precision in measurements of large features and very small features are being required by industries that are key to the nation's ability to compete in a global marketplace. Large structures, such as aircraft, require more accurate measurements to improve performance and reliability and reduce cost. The ability to manufacture extremely small features becomes ever more important as the electronics industry strives to produce digital circuits with higher performance, lower energy consumption, and greater speed within a given volume. To provide corresponding realizations of primary dimensional standards and to support the relevant dimensional standards, the Precision Engineering Division will need specialized equipment and facilities that are extremely well controlled in temperature and cleanliness, and free from environmental sources of uncertainty such as vibration, humidity, or barometric pressure variation. Eventually, a series of interconnected long tunnels will be necessary for development of large-dimension capabilities, and a complex of clean rooms of Class 1 or better for that of extremely small-dimension capabilities. In the nearer term, the following pieces of equipment are lacking from the Precision Engineering Division: A state-of-the-art, cylindricity measuring system, as there is high uncertainty in the current artifacts; A primary dilatometer length bar measurement system to bring NIST 's CMM in line with that of other national laboratories;

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Commercial laser tracking systems; An electron microscope with dimensional metrology capabilities that is big enough to handle the largest production wafers, which currently are ~300 mm; A semiconductor mask/grid metrology system to make NIST capabilities equivalent to the industry standard; An upgraded metrology scanning electron microscope (SEM) with wavelength of light reference (the SEM presently used by the division is 25 years old, and its maintenance costs are quite high); An upgrade to the calibrated atomic force microscope that will expand the currently limited working volume; A state-of-the-art double-sided lapper for silicon wafer and photomask repolishing; and An upgrade of the interference microscope laboratory, where improved measurement capability will allow handling of a wider range of samples with reduced measurement uncertainty. Planning The division's planning process appears to be somewhat general. Industry needs are assessed through workshops and similar activities. However, participation in such events is often limited to companies already involved in or familiar with NIST's work, and the goals defined in such meetings may not be representative of industrywide desires. The planning process lacks formal statements of purpose and potential impact as well as metrics to monitor progress toward those goals. The division's role regarding actualization of the present primary standard for length provides a starting point for establishment of a deliberately conceived national mechanism by which every U.S. manufacturer can establish traceability. Consideration of the mechanisms American companies currently use to establish the traceability of length measurements could help in developing a more unified approach. Such an assessment could account for present and foreseeable methods of administering controls on the accuracy and precision of length measurements and build continuity by interrelating the methods presently practiced. Automated Production Technology Division Mission The Automated Production Technology Division stated that its mission is to foster the development of advanced manufacturing systems, processes and equipment, to improve the accuracy of manufactured parts, and to provide U.S. industry with advanced metrology tools and services. The mission statement does not include leadership activity in international standards. Such efforts are driven by industrial need for reduced trade barriers. The division's participation in defining standards would benefit all U.S. businesses with global operations. Its excellent work

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 in mass and force standards could have greater impact through such activity. In addition, the division does not provide enough guidance to smaller companies on existing international standards. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The panel reviewed several areas of the Automated Production Technology Division's work in detail. The efforts in mass and force standards are quite advanced. There is good work being done in manufacturing processes. The quality control projects are excellent but insufficiently tied to manufacturing needs. The division's construction of a machine database for NAMT is potentially significant but still in its early stages. The work on sensors lacks strong input regarding industrial needs. The program in ultrasonics is innovative, particularly the work on time-resolved acoustic microscopy using the newly developed line-focus lens. However, this effort does not achieve its potential because it lacks close connections to possible industrial applications. Industrial Impact The division's programs are relevant to the industrial customer base, and the list of clients who use the calibration services is substantial. The division also reports a broad spectrum of other interactions with many industrial organizations. In this context, it should be noted that early customer involvement and commitment are critical to successful implementation of new technologies. This division participates in the MEL's serious efforts to evaluate project impact. The techniques used in these evaluations are comparable to those used for economic assessment by industry. Resources Funding for the Automated Production Technology Division (in millions of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 5.2 4.6 Other Agency (OA) 0.8 0.7 ITS 0.4 0.4 Calibration Services 0.7 0.8 Other 0.4 0.1 Total 7.5 6.6

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 The Automated Production Technology Division currently employs 48 full-time equivalent staff, of whom 36 are technical professionals. The permanent staff includes 27 engineers, 10 physicists, 8 technicians, 4 support staff, and 8 postdoctoral students and guest workers, on average. The facilities available in this division include six dead weight machines, an anechoic chamber measuring 450 cubic meters, a mass comparator facility, a machine tool research facility, a vibration isolated high-precision machining facility (shared with the Precision Engineering Division), and a high-speed machining center (shared with the Fabrication Technology Division). In general, the division's resources are adequate. However, the need for improved clean-room capability and a vibration-free environment are hindering efforts to further reduce the minimum uncertainty in mass calibration and support leadership in international standards for mass measurements. The increase in internal funding levels since the previous assessment (and the corresponding decrease in dependence on external sources) is cautiously welcomed. The resulting assurance of level employment is beneficial, as is the reduction in time and effort spent promoting the division's capabilities to other agencies or companies. Planning The Automated Production Technology Division receives input from international and U.S. organizations on deficiencies in current standards. The division is also proactive and organizes workshops in areas of potential importance. Roadmaps for division activity are developed based on these interactions. The panel judges this process to be adequate. However, the inputs from industry are somewhat selective. The division would benefit from a broader range of industrial contacts. Intelligent Systems Division Mission The Intelligent Systems Division stated 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. The panel believes that the Intelligent Systems Division's mission is well integrated with the MEL and NIST missions. The division mission statement goes beyond the manufacturing mission of the MEL but is strongly supportive of the NIST mission. Furthermore, as the importance of information technology in manufacturing grows, the Intelligent Systems Division is poised to take advantage of the strong ties between intelligent systems technology and information technology and to play a greater role in building the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The division is organized into five groups, each with a group leader. Eight projects were presented to the panel, three of which have partial support from other agencies. Most of the projects are focused on manufacturing, but the others use intelligent systems technologies that could have manufacturing applications. The programs are appropriate to the NIST mission, and 75 percent of resources is applied to programs that directly affect industrial manufacturing. In general, the projects are of high quality, with results reported through refereed technical journals and conferences. Industry consortia, workshops, the World Wide Web, and prototype applications have also been highly effective methods of dissemination of project outcomes. Industrial Impact The Intelligent Systems Division is exerting significant strategic influence in opening the control software market to new participants. By forming partnerships with companies interested in breaking into this emerging market, projects developed at NIST have culminated in prototype demonstrations that have enabled small companies to gain the financial backing necessary to expand into new areas. Further implementation of the enhanced machine controller (EMC) technology by small businesses is being pursued through NIST's Manufacturing Extension Program. The division has also provided guidance on EMC capability to the Next Generation Inspection System (NGIS) consortium. The division plans to assist American industry in setting machine controller architecture standards. Industry needs include development of real-time software standards. The division intends to work with a group of major end-users to simultaneously build architectural requirement specifications and create a supply chain in the United States. The division will also work with users and suppliers to validate the architectural specifications and verify software conformance to the specifications. In this manner, the division hopes to support the evolution of architectural standards within the marketplace, with formal standards to come afterward. American companies will gain a competitive advantage from being at the leading edge of the learning curve, as the technology will be changing rapidly. The division is working on this project with the DoE's Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing (TEAM) program; the Open, Modular Architecture Controller (OMAC) consortium (which includes General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, Boeing, and Caterpillar); Hewlett-Packard/Trellis; Cimetrix; the ICON Industrial Controls Corporation; the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative; and the NGIS consortium to develop application program interface (API) standards. The Intelligent Systems Division is the secretariat for this TEAM API standards effort.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Resources Funding for the Intelligent Systems Division (in millions of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 6.0 5.9 Other Agency (OA) 0.6 1.1 ITS 0.3 0.2 Other 0.0 0.1 Total 6.9 7.3 The Intelligent Systems Division currently employs 46 full-time equivalents, of whom 38 are technical professionals. The division also has seven guest researchers. The division has the space, manufacturing machines, and computers needed to perform its mission at a world-class level. It is a leader in research on and development of intelligent, complex, vision-equipped control systems. However, industry needs to know how to reduce complexity and cost for a given function in a real-time control system. Though a modular architecture technology opens the door to a system that is more flexible, customizable, and scalable, the cost and complexity of assuring the correctness of the components and the system can get out of hand. The critical skills needed to tackle such issues are in short supply worldwide. Furthermore, few institutions currently have programs that graduate people with the appropriate education and training. The Intelligent Systems Division is, in general, short of staff with real-time software architecture development skills, especially in testing and evaluation. The budget for divisional staff is expected to remain flat at 38 technical-professional people, so the annual replacement rate will be less than 5 percent. The needed skills will have to be developed within the division, through retraining and appropriate project work. In the past, when hiring opportunities have arisen through attrition, the Intelligent Systems Division has not filled available slots with people who have real-time software development skills, nor has the division collaborated with organizations with such personnel. The Intelligent Systems Division recognizes that local facilities (such as tools and test suites) are needed to test real-time software for conformance to specifications, including interoperability and performance. The technology base is immature, and the technoeconomic issues are poorly understood worldwide. NIST leadership in this area will give U.S. industry a strategic competitive advantage, but the division could benefit from collaborations with other institutions. Nonmanufacturing research projects are totally funded by other agencies, such as the Department of Defense. Without consuming internal funding, these projects validate architectural concepts that benefit manufacturing. For example, the Real-time Control System (RCS) architecture is targeted for future use by the manufacturing industry; but in the Intelligent Systems Division, the same conceptual architecture is being tested in more demanding conditions through work on unmanned vehicles. In addition, generic modules for the RCS architecture are being developed for common use between manufacturing and nonmanufacturing projects. The

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 division is thus leveraging OA dollars to develop a critical mass of leading-edge skills and technologies for deployment in the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory mission. Planning The Intelligent Systems Division's planning process is inadequate to support its mission. The panel could not discern an explicit, self-sustaining planning process for the division. Furthermore, data on software development efforts (including study of duration, issues, and experiences) are not systematically logged or analyzed in ways that allow the organization to improve its effectiveness. Manufacturing Systems Integration Division Mission The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division stated 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. Like many other industries, manufacturing is focusing more closely on operating and competing globally. The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division's mission is appropriately defined, with its emphasis on research, development, and integration of the technologies required for the infrastructure necessary to support nontraditional manufacturing enterprises. Furthermore, the mission highlights standardization. This helps level the playing field for U.S. companies competing against each other and strengthens U.S. firms collaborating to compete in the global marketplace. In addition, the mission of the division properly fits into the mission of the laboratory, as both seek to provide the infrastructure needed to enable and support nontraditional manufacturing enterprises. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of the Work The panel was impressed with the breadth and depth of technical work conducted by the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division. The projects undertaken are all consistent with the division's mission. The work focuses on areas identified by the manufacturing industry as obstacles to improving productivity and aims to increase the competitive advantage of U.S. industry. Projects have clear objectives, complement each other well, and follow sound technical strategies that capitalize on the skills base within the division. The standard for the exchange of product data (STEP) Implementation Prototypes (SIP) project has demonstrated STEP's potential for significant contributions to enhanced productivity in a number of manufacturing sectors. Work is now under way on the Application Protocol Development Environment, which will play a significant role in helping these sectors achieve improved productivity. Many companies have shown high levels of interest in STEP; to sustain

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 this interest and help ensure successful transition to full implementation of STEP, the SIP Project and the Conformance Testing services provided by the division are essential. The division has pursued and applied state-of-the-art information technology in a variety of areas. These include cutting the cost and time necessary to integrate new fabrication facilities, reducing the time to market for new products, and making advanced capabilities affordable and accessible to small design and manufacturing companies through projects such as the Computer-Integrated Manufacturing Framework. Despite the range of technical activities within the division, there is a clear focus on the major thrusts that are central to divisional goals and on the desired impact on industry. The activities of NAMT and the Systems Integration for Manufacturing Applications project have grown more complementary—a positive development. Addressing the NAMT computing and network communication requirements as an element of the Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Networking Testbed project improves the laboratory's overall operating efficiency. The fiscal year 1995 assessment noted that the division's documents and communications were not sensitive to the interpersonal and cultural issues involved in developing effective systems integration with the end-user in mind. Current documentation is still inadequate in this regard. Many of the challenges that face those attempting to establish virtual enterprises will stem from the interpersonal and cultural differences in the global environment. Therefore, projects aimed at infrastructures enabling global operations need to address such cultural issues. Industrial Impact There is a good level of collaboration between the division and industry, other laboratories, and academic institutions. However, the panel is still concerned that many senior executives from major manufacturing companies may be unaware of the division's activities. As a result, the panel thinks that many of the projects and services the division provides may be used by only a small group of U.S. manufacturing companies. The panel believes that those companies actively participating in Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory projects do understand the division's products and services and are using them to their best advantage. However, in general, there is no evidence of a strong pull for these programs from the many other manufacturing companies that could derive significant benefits from them. The division has a responsibility not only to interact with industry but also to assess and subsequently increase the effectiveness of the projects' impact. Though the division has accomplished much to date and recognizes the need for a process for self-assessment, it is not evident that such a process has been launched or at least that its results play a visible role in divisional operations.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Resources Funding for the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division (in millions of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 8.0 7.9 Other Agency (OA) 5.3 6.9 ITS 0.7 1.0 Total 14.0 15.8 The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division currently employs 64 full-time equivalents, of whom 52 are technical professionals. The division also has 20 guest workers. The competence and skills level of the staff are impressive and consistent with the major technical thrusts of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. Many staff members have been recognized for their contributions, both by NIST and by the technical community at large. The level of teamwork, so essential to the success of the division's mission, appears to be high and is commendable. Divisional operations are at about $14 million, of which roughly 70 percent is targeted at major programmatic thrusts. Divisional and laboratory managements are to be commended for deliberately focusing on mission goals that encourage intergroup cooperation. The relative contribution of various sources of funding to the overall divisional budget does not result in programmatic imbalance. Computer laboratories and equipment appear adequate and well suited to the nature and needs of the division. Planning Though elements of strategic planning are understood and observed in divisional programs and resource management, a formal planning process is not yet in place. The division lacks a process that strongly involves all levels of the organization to ensure effectiveness and enhance plan execution. A strong process would consider certain questions: What mechanisms will be used to transfer developed technology from the division to industry? Is there a strategy for piloting implementation of new technologies? How can NIST engage industry interest at all levels within the participating companies? What should the balance be between generic and industry-specific technology development? The latter can lead to significant perceived impact, which would have a positive effect on NIST's visibility in the manufacturing community. Which U.S. industrial sectors will be most vulnerable over the next 20 to 30 years, and what can be done to help strengthen those areas?

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Fabrication Technology Division Mission The Fabrication Technology Division stated that its mission is to provide all of NIST with high-quality, timely, efficient, and cost-effective fabrication support by machining parts, building special instruments, and providing special shops services. The division's role is “the man behind the man behind the gun.” As such, its mission statement is appropriate: It is to serve the scientists who are “working with industry to develop and apply infrastructural technology, measurements, and standards” (cited in the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory mission). Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work This division is assured that its work is appropriate because it responds directly to the requests of its customers. However, if they upgrade their personnel and equipment, they can increase the range of their service capabilities, thereby broadening the potential scope of requests from their customers. For example, with improved facilities, the division could become the obvious choice for a prototype demonstration shop for the NAMT. Industrial Impact This division has little direct industrial impact, because its role is to assist NIST personnel who are directly serving industry. Resources Funding for the Fabrication Technology Division (in thousands of dollars):   Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST Central Support 1682.5 1611.0 Reimbursed Labor 1657.6 2135.0 Other Agency (OA) 28.2 8.0 Total 3368.3 3754.0 The Fabrication Technology Division employs 43 full-time-equivalents, 2 of whom are technical professionals. Technicians, administrative support, and crafts personnel are not included in the number of technical professionals. The quality of the staff is quite good. The rapport between the division chief and all the people in the division is especially exemplary. The panel toured the shop and talked to almost

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 every member of the staff one on one. It was clear that in every case there is excellent chemistry and mutual respect between the division chief and the staff. The division needs an advanced manufacturing engineer to help with numerically controlled (NC) programming, evaluation of old and new equipment, review of shop layout, analysis of expiring and replacement instrumentation, and selection of a tool setter. A expert in metrology would also help. The Fabrication Technology Division's equipment and capabilities include seven computer numerical control (CNC) mills, two CNC lathes, one electric discharge machine (CNC-wire), one coordinate measuring machine (CMM), a Denton vacuum sputter-coating system for thin-film deposition, a welding facility, an optical shop for polishing and ultrasonic work, a glass-blowing shop, and an engineering design facility. The division chief has an excellent grasp of the division's mission and responsibilities and, given the tools at his disposal, is doing an exemplary job. The shop floor space is adequate. However, the shop's appearance is somewhat shabby; the floors, walls, ceiling, and equipment need paint. The mechanism for chip disposal also could be improved by installation of a chip conveyor or an equivalent. The division also needs a tool setter for NC tool offsets. The surface finish instrumentation could be improved, and CNC surface grinding capability is needed. Purchasing a new CNC lathe and possibly a mill-turn lathe could also improve this division's instrument set. Both the computer systems and the computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software need to be upgraded. The new LaBlond Makinos CNC machining center, purchased in conjunction with the Automated Production Technology Division, may not be big enough. Finally, the clean-room facilities need to be improved, which could possibly be accomplished in cooperation with the Precision Engineering Division. Planning The division has plans for a “Shop Operations Upgrade” project that will include advanced computers and communications, new CAM software, new accounting software, a new high-speed mill (with the Precision Engineering Division), and computer literacy training for all shops personnel. Though the planned improvements in these areas are laudable, the needed advancements in facilities, equipment, and personnel outlined above are not covered by the planned upgrade. In addition, the laboratory may be able to broaden the capabilities of the shops to include emerging fabrication technologies, such as rapid prototyping and hydroforming. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The overall quality of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory's technical programs is high, and the laboratory has made significant progress on its showcase program, the NAMT. All sectors of the manufacturing industries are insufficiently informed about NIST programs and the potential benefits of the MEL's work. Broad dissemination and early industrial involvement in projects is lacking, although it is essential to the successful transfer of new technology to industrial use.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Standards-setting activities are an important means of contributing to the laboratory's mission, but current emphasis on these efforts is insufficient. The metrology equipment and environments must be upgraded to achieve world-class quality. The Precision Engineering Division is in particular need of capital upgrades. In the Fabrication Technology Division, both the hardware and the software need to be upgraded. The laboratory's planning process needs to be discussed and formalized.

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