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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 3 Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 PANEL MEMBERS Walt W. Braithwaite, The Boeing Company, Chair Marvin F. DeVries, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Vice Chair Hadi A. Akeel, FANUC Robotics NA Inc. (retired) Mary A. Austin, Pratt and Whitney Jerry Banks, AutoSimulations, Inc. Diane Bird, U.S. Department of Energy Thomas Charlton, Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. James E. Costa, Sandia National Laboratories Jose B. Cruz, Jr., The Ohio State University Richard A. Curless, Cincinnati Machine, a UNOVA Company David Dornfeld, University of California, Berkeley David E. Hardt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Michael E. Kahn, KLA-Tencor Instruments Wolfgang H. Sachse, Cornell University Donald L. Sage, Lucent Technologies (retired) Brian K. Seitz, Intellectual Arbitrage Janet K. Talbott, Consultant, Bethalto, Illinois Neculai C. Tutos, Dassault Systemes of America Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Walt W. Braithwaite, and its Vice Chair, Marvin F. DeVries, this assessment of the fiscal year 2000 activities of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on March 14-15, 2000, in Gaithersburg, Md., and on the documents provided by the laboratory.1 1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Summaries of the Programs of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory 2000, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 2000.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission According to laboratory documentation, the mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) is to satisfy the measurements and standards needs of the U.S. discrete-parts manufacturers in mechanical and dimensional metrology and in advanced manufacturing technology by conducting research and development, providing services, and participating in standards activities. In the panel's view, the programs being pursued by the MEL are supportive of both the laboratory and the NIST missions. The MEL mission statement is clearly defined, and continued examination of the mission is appropriately part of the laboratory's strategic planning process. The mission also serves as a key element in program selection, since match to mission is one of the criteria used when considering new work. The mission statements of each division are clearly linked to that of the MEL, and the connections demonstrate that the longer-term research performed in the divisions directly supports the laboratory's responsibility for developing and maintaining physical and informational measurements and standards for new and emerging technologies. The breadth of the MEL mission and the importance to industry of work in measurements and standards imply that the number of projects that MEL could productively engage in greatly exceeds the number that it has the resources to take on. This problem is currently shared by most research laboratories around the world. In response to this dilemma, the MEL has implemented a planning process that prioritizes potential and current work in order to help its management select new program areas. As a result, the laboratory has made the decision to eliminate some good programs in order to gain sufficient resources for programs judged to be more important. The process also defines criteria that can be used to establish appropriate levels of funding for continuing programs. The panel is pleased by the progress that has been made in implementing the program planning and selection process. The next step is ensuring that the structure and rules behind the process are clearly communicated to the technical staff, that staff input is included in the process and the mechanisms for doing so are defined and shared, and that after decisions have been made, management's reasoning is shared with the staff to increase the transparency of the process. Strengthening the understanding and involvement of the technical staff in the process will have a number of benefits. For example, the staff's relationship with external research communities and familiarity with the status of current industry needs and technical efforts will provide important background information for the selection process. Morale will also be affected, because an understanding of the process will reduce uncertainty and increase buy-in to and enthusiasm for new projects. In addition to enhancing communications with the staff, management is also responsible for continuing to fine-tune the process. There are many program planning and selection processes employed throughout industry; these systems might provide ideas for other possible refinements to the planning process, such as instituting a system of checks and balances (e.g., assigning each proposed program a “champion” and a “skeptic” to counter pressures on individual division chiefs to earn approval specifically for projects in their divisions). Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work Relative to the state of the art, the work pursued by the MEL continues to be benchmarked as being at the level of the best in the world. In the areas of length measurements and mechanical metrology, the products and services provided by the laboratory are supportive of industry's needs and contribute to the enhancement of the competitive position of U.S. industries, in accordance with the NIST mission.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Much effort is also being spent investigating various manufacturing technologies in order to understand emerging directions and to ensure that the MEL will be prepared to respond to industry's future measurements and standards needs. In support of the newly implemented planning process, the MEL has established a set of metrics for assessing new programs and for determining the disposition of ongoing programs. Using this process, the MEL has introduced three new strategic programs: Shop Floor as National Measurement Institute (NMI), Predictive Process Engineering, and Nano-Manufacturing. Each program's scope has been defined. The goal of the Shop Floor as NMI Program is to enable manufacturers to perform task-specific dimensional measurements on the shop floor with traceability to the SI (International System of Units) unit of length. If this capability can be transferred successfully, the calibration burden on NIST will be reduced and MEL will be able to apply scarce resources to other high-priority programs. This program, and the panel's concerns about its scope, are discussed in detail in the review of the Precision Engineering Division. The Predictive Process Engineering Program aims to provide manufacturers with the process models, methods, measurements, and standards needed to design and build manufacturing lines in which the first part off the line is correct (i.e., meets design specifications). This program particularly emphasizes the value to be obtained from characterizing and modeling manufacturing processes and from developing an integrated view of the components that affect process performance. The Nano-Manufacturing Program is aimed at providing the measurement and standards needed by industry to measure, manipulate, and manufacture nano-discrete-part products. The importance of nanomanufacturing is increasing as new technologies are developed, and manufacturing at this small scale promises to grow into a very significant sector of the manufacturing industries. The MEL is also beginning to explore its role in improving interoperability between the various systems and processes employed in manufacturing. The potential benefit of such activities is discussed in the following section. The MEL consists of five divisions,2 but the laboratory's programs cut across divisional boundaries. The panel observed that cross-divisional, and even cross-laboratory, collaborations occurred effectively, owing in part to an informal network of technical staff linked throughout the laboratory and NIST by mutual respect and previous productive exchanges of information and knowledge. The mix of divisional and programmatic organization in the laboratory appears to be successfully balanced and provides an appropriate structure to carry out the MEL mission. A mix that still needs to be defined is the balance between programs directed at the development and implementation of measurements and standards and programs focused on more basic advanced manufacturing technologies. Laboratory management appears to recognize the importance of this issue, and the panel supports its efforts to engage in productive discussions on the topic and eventually to define the level of emphasis on manufacturing technologies and incorporate that definition into the program planning process. Next year, the panel hopes to see quantitative data on the distribution of the different types of projects across the laboratory. 2 The four research divisions—Precision Engineering, Automated Production Technology, Intelligent Systems, and Manufacturing Systems Integration—are assessed in separate sections of this chapter. The fifth division—Fabrication Technology —contains the shops that provide support for researchers throughout the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories. Since it is a service organization, this division's work is discussed at various points in the chapter in the context of its impact on and relationship with other divisions in MEL and other laboratories at NIST, but it is not assessed in a section of its own.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Impact of Programs The MEL effectively employs information technology to carry out its activities and to disseminate its results. Through the use of SIMnet, MEASUREnet, and WORLDnet,3 MEL has increased the number and effectiveness of national and international collaborations by using innovative Internet applications to enable cost-effective key comparisons of mass and length standards among different laboratories. To disseminate information about MEL programs and outputs, the laboratory effectively utilizes internal and external Web sites. The internal site enables MEL staff to effectively share information inter- and intradivisionally and to communicate about their work with other NIST laboratories. The MEL's external Web site is likely the most expeditious and cost-effective method for disseminating MEL results to the industrial world. Much effort has gone into making the laboratory's Web pages consistent and easy to access for its end customers. The products and services provided by the MEL continue to have a significant impact on U.S. industry. The value of this work is confirmed both by the number of recognitions and awards received by the staff for their contributions to industry and by the productivity improvements achieved through deployment of new or improved standards. In addition, NIST has undertaken several economic impact studies that quantify the effects of MEL's past work on the manufacturing industries. These studies are by definition retrospective and have focused on completed work. Recently, a prospective study was performed to examine the potential impact of work in a specific area. This report, Interoperability Cost Analysis of the U.S. Automotive Supply Chain, concludes that “imperfect interoperability imposes [costs of] at least one billion dollars per year on the members of the U.S. automotive supply chain. ”4 A number of programs being pursued within the MEL are focusing on establishing measurements and standards to improve the interoperability problems identified in the study as the source of industry inefficiencies and costs. The results from this formal prospective study of impact have been useful for the MEL in its selection of new projects. The panel suggests that more emphasis could be placed on such proactive attempts to quantify the potential benefits of work under consideration by the laboratory. Although not all cost-benefit analyses need to be as detailed and formal as this study, a sense of the magnitude of the problem and the potential impact of MEL work would be helpful. The panel believes that management should make an effort to incorporate the use of impact analyses in the process used for program prioritization and selection. An indicator that reflects the potential benefits, be they monetary or more indirect, of proposed work will help to ensure emphasis is placed on areas that will provide the best results for government investments. The panel recognizes the value of MEL's contribution to the Charters of Freedom project through the construction of display and preservation cases for the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. This is an activity of national significance, and the laboratory's role in this project increases its visibility and raises awareness about the many kinds of activities under way in MEL. 3 These are interactive networks using video and data links to connect people and equipment in various collections of laboratories. SIMnet is up and running and links the countries in the Organization of American States, MEASUREnet is designed to formally connect the state weights and measures laboratories, and WORLDnet, which is in the early planning stages, would link national measurement institutes from around the world. 4 Research Triangle Institute for the Program Office Strategic Planning and Economic Analysis Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Planning Report 99-1: Interoperability Cost Analysis of the U.S. Automotive Supply Chain, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., March 1999.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Laboratory Resources Funding sources for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory are shown in Table 3.1. As of January 2000, staffing for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory included 232 full-time permanent positions, of which 156 were for technical professionals. There were also 30 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. The skill set of the staff is appropriately configured to fulfill the MEL mission, and the laboratory uses guest researchers very effectively to infuse new technical expertise and insights into the divisions. Members of the staff are regularly recognized for their achievements with Department of Commerce medals and national awards. The panel observed that morale is very high among the technical personnel, reflecting the excitement and satisfaction the staff feel about their work. The enthusiasm is also a product of recent progress on NIST-wide facilities improvement plans, including the groundbreaking for the construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML), which will house MEL projects that require very clean, practically vibration-free environments. These facilities improvements, when completed, will enable the MEL to carry out its mission in a more efficient manner. The panel did have three concerns related to the resources available to the MEL. The first is the decreasing number of permanent technical personnel (particularly noticeable in the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division). In terms of salaries, benefits, and stock options, NIST is not in a position TABLE 3.1 Sources of Funding for the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (in millions of dollars), FY 1997 to FY 2000 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1997 (actual) Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 26.6 26.4 27.9 27.6 Competence 1.4 1.8 1.4 1.1 ATP 2.0 2.4 2.0 0.1 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 7.6 7.1 4.6 4.0 Other Reimbursable 4.1 4.5 4.8 4.6 Total 41.8 42.2 40.8 37.5 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 249 254 239 232 NOTE: Funding for the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories 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 is allocated 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 (SRMs) 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 government (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.” a The number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 to compete with industry, especially for personnel with skills related to information technology systems. The MEL needs people with expertise in these areas to provide the standards and metrology support needed by industry now and to perform the research that will allow it to provide that support for future manufacturing systems. The very competitive market for people with relevant expertise impacts both hiring and retention, and the laboratory is in danger of losing the intellectual capital NIST has developed over many years. The specialized collection of experience and knowledge assembled in MEL is a national resource, and the staff are uniquely qualified to tackle issues related to standards and metrology in a comprehensive and unbiased fashion. Although MEL management is developing a program planning and selection process to prioritize laboratory activities, the staff are spread very thin, and U.S. industry can be expected to suffer if NIST's important measurement and standards programs and research are severely curtailed due to lack of personnel with the appropriate skills. The second concern of the panel relates to long-term capital equipment needs. Funding is always needed to support acquisition of the new equipment required by continuing advances in measurement technologies, but the new AML will impose additional strains on an already tight equipment budget. To preserve the cleanliness levels of the new facility, certain equipment will not be allowed to be transferred from its “dirty” surroundings in the current buildings. New hardware may also be needed to take full advantage of the low-vibration environment. This issue is expected to particularly affect the Precision Engineering Division. The panel believes that a strategy for long-term capital planning is needed to ensure that MEL will have the equipment necessary to support U.S. industry's efforts to remain globally competitive. The third concern of the panel is the emphasis placed at the NIST level on the “commercialization” of the Fabrication Technology Division (the NIST shops). The stated goal of reducing the overhead support for this activity by a factor of about 4 (to 10 percent of the division's total funding) in the next 5 years troubles the panel somewhat. The staff in this division have unique skills in both equipment fabrication and communication with researchers, and the facility provides other MEL divisions with a valuable experimental laboratory to test new measurements, standards, and tools for manufacturing. If the “customers” of the Fabrication Technology Division (i.e., the researchers in MEL and other NIST laboratories) are unable to provide the extra income to the division to make up for the diminished overhead support, then division management may have to cut back on the people and equipment available, and the valuable capabilities of this facility will be downgraded or lost. If NIST is then forced to outsource the tasks formerly associated with this division, the absence of the essential relationships between the researchers and the NIST shops technicians will hurt the quality of the work. DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Precision Engineering Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Precision Engineering Division is to provide the foundation of dimensional measurement that meets the needs of the U.S. industrial and scientific communities by conducting research in dimensional measurements; developing measurement methods; providing measurement services; and disseminating the resulting technology and length-based standards. This mission statement is appropriate and is consistent with the MEL and NIST missions. The division has an appropriate balance between technology development of metrology systems for measur
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 ing and production machines and measurement service for length-related standards. In the past year, however, the division-level mission and strategic plan have been overshadowed by an emphasis on the program selection process of the MEL. The panel believes that realizing the major elements laid out in the Precision Engineering Division's strategic plan is critical to fulfilling the NIST mission and, therefore, that the division's strategic plan should be given a higher priority within the MEL program planning process. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The panel is very impressed with the quality of the work and the array of capabilities represented within the Precision Engineering Division. Using world-class length metrology technologies, the division performs length measurements over 12 orders of magnitude. This range is divided into segments, and each of the four programs within the division is responsible for realizing metrology over a specific segment of the span. Each of these programs has successfully achieved many well-defined goals since the last review in 1999 and is making a significant contribution to the overall success of the division. The staff perform outstanding work that is recorded in archival publications and have been recognized with several governmental awards, including the Vice Presidential Hammer Award, Department of Commerce Silver Medals, NIST Bronze Medals, and a NIST Applied Research Award. The ongoing work in the division is appropriately configured to support U.S. industry's needs in international commerce by participating extensively in International Committee for Weights and Measures key comparisons and other round-robins and by supplying essential calibration needs to many U.S. companies. Other important projects include the work to develop a laser ball-step gauge that has offered a practical solution to outstanding technical problems in calibrating large, high-accuracy coordinate measuring machines, as well as being useful for the lower-accuracy frameless systems used widely in the aerospace industry. A collaboration between the Surface Metrology Program and the Nanometer-Scale Metrology Program resulted in significant advances in both step-height and linewidth measurements, and staff produced the first-ever technique correlations and experimentally defensible uncertainties in relation to the SI unit of length at the nanometer level. The laboratory-level review of the Molecular Measuring Machine (M3) project that was recommended in last year's assessment has occurred, but the review failed to meet the panel's expectations. However, the panel will accept that a decision was made to reduce the scope of this work, which is now identified as a research project rather than a calibration equipment development project. The panel assumes that a corresponding reduction in the resources allocated to the project will occur in future years to make the funding and personnel levels commensurate with the reduced scope. MEL management is appropriately concerned about the laboratory's ability to meet the increasing needs of U.S. industry for task-specific calibrations. The panel applauds the efforts to tackle this issue but has grave reservations about the soundness of the Shop Floor as NMI Program as the primary response to these concerns. As currently formulated, the program appears to be inadequately scoped to have a significant impact on the calibration demands experienced by the laboratory. Although several ongoing research projects that have been incorporated into this program have technical merit and reasonable chances of success, beyond these projects, neither the funding nor the technical backbone to achieve the lofty future objectives of the program appears to be in place. Current funding levels are significantly lower than the amount reasonably estimated to be needed to carry out the proposed program. The panel recommends that MEL completely rethink the proposed approach in order to assemble a program that provides adequate financial support and sets reasonable technical goals in order to determine methods for sufficiently accurate shop floor measurements. Any NIST activity in this area
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 should be benchmarked against the approaches of other national measurement institutes (NMIs) facing similar challenges and demands. Impact of Programs Overall, the Precision Engineering Division's activities have significant impact on U.S. industry's technical capabilities and competitiveness, and the panel commends the division for its continuing productivity and impact. In fiscal year 1999, the division provided U.S. industry with $489,700 in measurement and calibration services in many areas, including submicrometer step-heights and pitch, commercial laser displacement interferometer systems, and gear lead masters. A new Web-based order tracking system, begun in the NIST Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory and adopted by the Precision Engineering Division, has been installed in MEL to facilitate improved communications between measurement services customers and NIST staff, as well as to assist in efficient management of these services. Division staff participate in approximately 60 international and national standards committees, and several members received a commendation from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers B89 Standards Committee for their contributions to the development of voluntary industry standards in the area of dimensional metrology. The panel particularly wishes to stress the importance of the division 's work on standards committees and strongly urges that these efforts continue. In the division's research activities, results and publications are made available through an excellent Web site, and the division is providing real-time Internet access to some metrological laboratory instruments through the Telepresence Microscopy and Microanalysis project, a collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory and Texas Instruments. The division also continues to create and disseminate industrially relevant research in measurements and standards. In 1999, the division released a new Standard Reference Material (SRM), a diamond-turned sinusoidal roughness specimen (SRM 2071b), which was certified with a new Gaussian filter, and oversaw the release of the eighth series of SRM 484, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) magnification standard (the only one produced by an NMI). Work on comparing measurements of critical dimensions for semiconductor wafers made by scanning electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and electrical methods resulted in an order-of-magnitude improvement in the agreement between the techniques; this work has been disseminated to SEMATECH member companies. The SEM Monitor, a division product designed to be an objective diagnostic aid for semiconductor SEM-based metrology and inspection, has already been adopted for use in three semiconductor fabrication facilities. This system has allowed the companies to realize significant improvements in SEM performance. The potential for future impact can be seen in the collaborative work with an industry group and the German NMI on finalizing a traceable two-dimensional artifact for grids in the semiconductor industry. In the vertical direction, integration of the division's diode laser atomic force microscope and its ultrahigh-vacuum scanning tunneling microscope was shown to provide traceable step-height measurements at the atomic scale. Caterpillar Corporation recently granted a commendation to the division staff for their performance evaluation of a very large coordinate measuring machine (CMM) using a laser-based artifact; the NIST-developed methodology yielded measurements better than 1 part per million (ppm). Further recognition of the value of this division's work was provided when the U.S. Vice President's Hammer Award was bestowed on a staff member for his work with the Oak Ridge Metrology Center to develop a capability to provide NIST-traceable high-accuracy calibration of large (greater than 200 mm) two-dimensional grid plates, the primary calibration tool for most video-based measuring machines. The division is also active in the Marine Technology (MARITECH) Advanced Shipbuilding Enterprise Program, a govern
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 TABLE 3.2 Sources of Funding for the Precision Engineering Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1997 to FY 2000 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1997 (actual) Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 6.4 5.4 5.8 5.7 Competence 1.0 1.0 0.6 0.4 ATP 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.1 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.7 Other Reimbursable 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.8 Total 9.1 8.3 8.4 7.8 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 50 50 42 41 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 3.1. a The number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. ment-industry research program aimed at developing more economical construction approaches in shipbuilding and ship repair. Division Resources Funding sources for the Precision Engineering Division are shown in Table 3.2. As of January 2000, staffing for the Precision Engineering Division included 41 full-time permanent positions, of which 35 were for technical professionals. There were also seven nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. The panel is very concerned about the 7 percent decrease in the total budget of the division between fiscal years 1999 and 2000. If adequate funding is to be maintained for the highest-priority programs critical to the Precision Engineering Division and to NIST, MEL management will have to either employ an objective process to allow termination of lower-priority projects or enable procurement of the OA and industry funding that will allow the division to accomplish its mission. The panel is pleased about the groundbreaking for the new Advanced Measurement Laboratory; this facility will help the division to meet the current and future measurement needs of the United States. However, the Precision Engineering Division is still not prepared to fulfill its long-term capital equipment needs, especially given the new hardware that will be required in the AML. The panel believes that the division, in concert with MEL management, needs to develop a strategy for long-term capital planning to ensure that this and other divisions will have the equipment necessary to remain globally competitive. Automated Production Technology Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Automated Production Technology Division is to fulfill the measurement and standards needs of the U.S. discrete-parts manufacturers in
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 mechanical metrology and advanced manufacturing technology by conducting research and development in realizing and disseminating the SI mechanical units; developing methods, models, sensors, and data to improve metrology, machines, and processes; providing services in mechanical metrology, machine metrology, process metrology, and sensor integration; and leading in the development of national and international standards. Overall, the Automated Production Technology Division's programs are in good conformance with its mission. The division 's specialization in research and development for manufacturing processes and techniques continues to be well connected to its mission and to the core competences of the staff, and the participation and leadership in national and international standards activity is important because of its support of national goals for U.S. industry. The mission statement of the Automated Production Technology Division spells out four specific areas on which the division concentrates in order to fulfill its mission of meeting the measurements and standards needs of the U.S. discrete-parts manufacturers. The panel finds these areas of focus necessary and appropriate and comments below on the importance of each area. The work on “conducting research and development in realizing and disseminating the SI mechanical units” must be done to ensure that the United States stays abreast of the latest practices; the division provides a focal point on which industry can rely whenever a new practice, or a question about an old practice, arises. The effort to develop “methods, models, sensors, and data to improve metrology, machines, and processes” is fitting, although the panel does emphasize that it is not the division's responsibility to improve machines and processes under this charge, but rather to improve metrology methods related to evaluating machines and processes. In this area, the Automated Production Technology Division needs to make certain that its efforts stay focused on appropriate activities, for example, support of national and international machine tool standardization. The work on “providing services in mechanical metrology, machine metrology, process metrology, and sensor integration” is necessary to support present needs as well as the division's work on developing the metrology methods to help industry evaluate the latest equipment and processes. This effort includes the work on the use of advanced sensors, interfaces, and networks as well as the development of advanced optics metrology. Finally, the role of the division as a leader “in the development of national and international standards” is appropriate and should be encouraged, because these activities are essential to ensure that U.S. industry remains competitive. However, with every new trade agreement, the need for international standards and testing increases, and these activities are requiring more and more of the division's resources. The budget does not appear to have expanded in response to the rising demand; therefore other research and development projects must be sacrificed to free up the time and money needed to perform the comparative tests required in mutual recognition agreements, now in place with 38 countries. The panel would particularly like to applaud the division's emphasis on program assessment and on defining criteria for success. Most reviews appear to take place at the division and laboratory levels, which is important to provide top-down oversight. However, additional reviews at both the project and the program levels would also be valuable in order to ensure adequate detailed performance review and examination of a project's success relative to its objectives, time intervals, and budget allocations. Projects might also benefit from more frequent evaluation of their appropriateness, and the division should establish better practices for conclusion of initiatives, if evaluation so indicates. The panel also recommends clarification of the decision process for determining the programs on which the division works. Employees need to understand where their input is incorporated and how decisions are made about which programs and projects will be pursued. In addition, individual researchers' participation in the assessment process at the project level will help to ensure buy-in and provide important performance feedback.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Automated Production Technology Division acts as the nation's reference laboratory for the mechanical metrology units of mass, force, acceleration, sound pressure, and ultrasonic power. These efforts underpin the division's work on advanced manufacturing technologies and, in fact, provide an important base of funding for the division 's research. This research is valuable because it is imperative that NIST have a group that focuses on understanding advanced technologies (on a generic basis) relating to measuring and that helps formulate standards to which U.S. industry can relate its practices. For fiscal year 2000, the Automated Production Technology Division has consolidated its portfolio of projects into seven programs (two fewer than in 1999). Six of these are managed within the division (and the panel comments briefly on all of them below), but the division staff also play a role in the Predictive Process Engineering Program, which is managed by the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division. The recent consolidation of programs helps to better align the specific objectives of the Automated Production Technology Division with the overall needs of industry and also facilitates increased collaboration with other divisions. In the National, Regional, and International Standards and Comparisons Program, the division takes a strategic approach. For each committee or working group, the division reviews the goals of the committee, including timescales; the results of the committee's work over the past 10 years; the reasons NIST should participate (including what the intended impact of the work would be and what the impact of not participating would be); and the amount of resources required to support participation. Periodic review of the committee's and the division's objectives and results are important in order to set priorities because the limited resources available to the division are not able to meet every demand for NIST staff participation on standards committees. The amount of support for division activities in this area was a concern last year as well, and the panel was pleased to learn that the division has recruited assistance from industry and academia. However, even with expanded support, the demand for NIST leadership of standards activities still far exceeds the amount of participation that resources currently allow. In the Sensors, Interfaces, and Networks for Metrology and Manufacturing Program, the work on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers P1451.4 proposed standard, a mixed-mode communication protocol for smart transducers, is extremely important. Although some proprietary systems have been established in Europe and the United States, they are not compatible. Developing universal U.S. and international standards for a mixed-mode communication protocol will have a great positive economic impact on U.S. industry in the long term. Also, use of the Internet to share information, transfer techniques, and make comparisons via SIMnet (and eventually MEASUREnet and WORLDnet) will greatly help U.S. industry and effectively leverages the resources of NIST. The Research and Development to Improve Measurement Services in Mechanical Quantities Program includes several important projects. Although some projects have been going on for several years, the most notable work—and possibly that with the greatest potential impact—is the development of NIST competence in the realization and dissemination of microforce (micronewton to nanonewton) standards. In the effort focused on providing current measurement services in mechanical quantities, the effort on time- and polarization-resolved ultrasonic measurement using a lensless line focus transducer is an excellent example of a best-in-the-world project that over the next several years will find wide application as it is transferred to industry and other laboratories. The Advanced Optics Metrology Program is developing a number of x-ray and optical metrologies that are expected to have an impact on advanced optical and semiconductor system fabricators. The establishment of the X-ray Optics Calibration Interferometer (XCALIBIR) system provides NIST with best-in-the-world capability in optical figure metrology. Finally, in the Machine Characterization and
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Improvement Program, the panel believes the project on parallel linkage machine measurements requires reevaluation in light of the long-term goals of the division. Impact of Programs The Automated Production Technology Division continues to undertake serious and responsible efforts to disseminate the results of its work and to gauge its impact. A variety of division activities contribute to these efforts: in 1999, 60 talks were given at professional society meetings that had a combined 4,500 participants; 44 new technical papers were published since the last panel review; staff contributed to 66 standards committees and working groups; the division is leading a National Science Foundation-sponsored industry-academia consortium on the assessment of machining models (there are four industrial members); active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) include formal relationships with five companies and with Michigan State University; and 3,143 calibration tests for 214 customers were performed in fiscal year 1999 (continuing a pattern of steady growth). Individual staff members also bring recognition to NIST through patents, notable awards, and citations. A specific example of the impact of the Automated Production Technology Division's work can be seen in the effect of SIMnet on the United States and its international trading partners in the Organization of American States. Member countries can now perform real-time international comparisons of electrical measurements 10 times faster than in the pre-SIMnet days. Division Resources Funding sources for the Automated Production Technology Division are shown in Table 3.3. As of January 2000, staffing for the Automated Production Technology Division included 46 full-time permanent positions, of which 42 were for technical professionals. There were also five nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. A significant portion of the division's overall funding is derived from fees for calibration. The panel continues to be concerned that the fees collected do not provide sufficient resources to ensure that testing methodologies and facilities for calibration are maintained at the state of the art and expanded TABLE 3.3 Sources of Funding for the Automated Production Technology Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1997 to FY 2000 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1997 (actual) Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 4.5 5.0 5.4 4.9 Competence 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.3 ATP 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.0 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.7 0.7 1.2 0.8 Other Reimbursable 1.2 1.2 1.3 0.9 Total 7.1 7.8 8.6 6.9 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 44 44 44 46
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 where needed. In response to the discussion of this issue in last year's assessment, the division is investigating possibilities for additional fee recovery. Additional funds may be available for enhancement of capability (perhaps through NIST Competence funding), and the division is aggressively working to expand calibration capabilities using automation and enhancement of testing methodologies. Because industry is always looking for ways to reduce costs, it may be difficult to obtain higher fees for current services. Perhaps an assessment of the potential market for service opportunities could identify ways to expand existing services and generate more revenue, not by raising fees but by increasing the number of accounts and tasks. NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 3.1. a The number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. The division continues to share hardware and facilities with the Fabrication Technology Division. There are some concerns about the stability of the funding for the Fabrication Technology Division (see the laboratory-level overview). The equipment and expertise available in the shops have been very valuable to the Automated Production Technology Division over the years, and the panel is worried that budget issues will affect this positive relationship. Other facility news is good. The XCALIBIR system has been installed, and the first measurements were made. Other notable accomplishments include progress on implementing improved measurement services for ultrasonic references and for 100-g to 10-kg masses and the work on sensor development for manufacturing process monitoring. In the area of human resources, it appears that while some of the workforce will be detailed out to other programs temporarily, certain projects must be evaluated to determine if people and resources should be reassigned in the long term. More frequent evaluations of projects should help to clarify if and when resources will be freed and whether they can then be assigned to other activities. Intelligent Systems Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Intelligent Systems Division is to develop the measurements and standards infrastructure needed for the application of intelligent systems by manufacturing industries and government agencies. This new mission statement is clear and succinct and represents a significant sharpening of the Intelligent Systems Division's focus, bringing it into alignment with the revised MEL and NIST missions. The division continues to develop a strategic planning process for its portfolio of projects. Programs generally conform to the division, laboratory, and NIST missions. However, since there have been revisions and clarifications of the missions at all of these levels during the last 2 years, the programs within the Intelligent Systems Division are correspondingly in transition. The emphasis of the division' s projects may have to be readjusted to become more supportive of the MEL mission. The division is aware of this discrepancy and has proactively allowed room for necessary adjustments in its definition of objectives for 2000. At issue is the relative emphasis on the three fundamental components of the MEL mission: standards, measurements, and technology. The panel does not expect each division to have the same distribution of effort among the three components, and laboratory management should be prepared to combine the contributions from the various divisions to create a balanced array of programs across the MEL. Technology development is a necessary cornerstone for effective measurements and standards activities, but it cannot be the driving force behind a project. Instead, investigations of new technologies can be used to build the laboratory's expertise in areas requiring standards and measurements and to anticipate technological evolution that may require new or unusual measurements and standards. Accordingly, the laboratory, and the Intelligent Systems Division in particular, must exercise a high level
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 of diligence in selecting and justifying technology development projects to ensure that the work is supportive of current and future standards and measurements development. The MEL is quite aware of this issue, as can be seen in the statement of strategic objective 1-2 in the fiscal year 2000 MEL strategic plan.5 Although the panel was pleased to see that the division plan is appropriate to address the needs of industry by focusing on technology development in the service of projected standards and measurement development needs, it was somewhat concerned to note that the presentations to the panel still seemed to emphasize the technology not as a testbed but as an end product. The plan for migration of projects toward a balance between standards and technology needs to be clearer. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The projects in the Intelligent Systems Division are generally at the cutting edge of technology or research, and the work is of very high quality. The division is responsible for three programs: Research and Engineering of Intelligent Systems, Intelligent Open Architecture Control of Manufacturing Systems, and Intelligent Control of Mobility Systems. The Research and Engineering of Intelligent Systems Program targets a well-focused goal: developing the scientific and engineering foundations for metrics and standards for intelligent systems. This work addresses evolving technologies and keeps NIST in tune with standards development needs. The Intelligent Control of Mobility Systems and the Intelligent Open Architecture Control of Manufacturing Systems Programs are both focused on the interoperability of system components. In the former program, the work on vehicles is providing the best testbed for the four-dimensional real-time control systems (RCS) intelligent vehicle architecture, and the group should publicize it as a model application of RCS. The panel's only concern was that perhaps too much emphasis was placed on the technology; more could be mentioned about how the vehicle work demonstrates the capabilities of the RCS architecture. The Intelligent Open Architecture Control of Manufacturing Systems Program includes one of the key measurements and standards issues recognized by the Intelligent Systems Division: interface standards and data format for interoperability. This issue is of significant importance to industry, and by highlighting the goal of open architecture for interoperability as a primary focus for research, the division may be able to better align projects with its mission. Creating architecture and standards for automated, distributed (and remote) diagnostic systems may provide a huge economic advantage to U.S. companies. The automation and factory systems supplier community stands to benefit enormously from improved openness and interoperability. To facilitate efforts in this direction, the division, the laboratory, and even NIST in general should consider addressing the issues surrounding the de facto or voluntary industry standards being championed by the World Wide Web. One concern of the panel centered on the division's work on the Enhanced Machine Controller (EMC). This project appears to be somewhat behind the state of the art, unless the goal of the work is to train NIST personnel on well-established technologies. If not, staff need to reach out beyond their direct collaborators to seek out the cutting edge in this area, because the panel is still worried that identification and assessment of existing work in the domain have not occurred at the project level. 5 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory FY 2000 Strategic Plan, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2000.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Increased awareness would assure both NIST and its customers that the Intelligent Systems Division work is not duplicating external efforts. Another concern is that the EMC activity may not be totally aligned with the division's and laboratory's primary objectives. Work on virtual interfaces for factory automation and reference model architecture for manufacturing is valuable, but it should be focused on allowing the division to build familiarity with the operations of automation equipment in order to develop appropriate standards and measurements for automation interoperability. A good example of a program that is well targeted as a learning opportunity rather than a research platform is the National Advanced Manufacturing Testbed (NAMT). The Intelligent Systems Division project in the NAMT involves work on the characterization, remote access, and simulation of hexapod machines. This effort has provided division staff with a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with machine tool peculiarities and with a good learning platform for machine characterization. The work on the EMC might benefit from fitting into the mind-set of the NAMT program, and perhaps more cross-project coordination could occur (e.g., transfer of data models for machine characterization from the hexapod to EMC). Impact of Programs The Intelligent Systems Division continues to publish its results in respected publications and to present its outputs at appropriate conferences, seminars, and workshops. The workshops targeting companies and organizations that are recognized as major benefactors of NIST 's work are especially effective both for disseminating results and for receiving feedback from industry. The division also has been especially effective in fulfilling its scheduled obligations. With the division's recent reduced focus on the development of infrastructure technologies and shift toward measurements and standards infrastructure, the impact on and relevance of the division's programs to industry will require time to develop. With the new division mission statement, future accomplishments can be expected to place a greater emphasis on the measurement and standards infrastructure and hence to accelerate the application of intelligent systems in manufacturing and other relevant areas. Although the impact of most of the Intelligent Systems Division's projects has not yet been fully realized, there is still value to considering the potential impact of the division's programs. At the request of the panel, the division chief performed some very preliminary analyses of the size of the problems facing industry in the areas that the work of the division is scoped to affect. The rough estimates of the potential benefits are impressive: $1 billion potential savings in robotics due to work on plug-and-play standards and on virtual reality prototyping and programming;6 $30 billion potential savings in machine tools by reducing setup times and avoiding prove-out parts and through Standards for the Exchange of 6 Robotics: (1) Assumptions: Integration costs are $2 billion to $4 billion per year (D. Allen, “Initial Estimates of the Size/ Structure/Competitiveness of Various Aspects of the National and International Robotics and Intelligent Machines Industry,” study prepared under contract AU-4952 for Sandia National Laboratories; W. Weisel, “A Revolution Looms on the Horizon of the Robotics Industry… A New Market Leader Will Emerge,” Proc. 1999 Robotics Industry Forum, Orlando, Fla., November 3-5, 1999; “Robotics Industry Posts Records in Every Category in 1999—North American Market Is Hottest in the World,” Robotics Industry Association Statistics Press Release, February 2000, available at <http://www.robotics.org>). One-quarter of these integration costs are due to lack of plug-and-play standards, and better technologies could reduce these plug-and-play-related costs by half. Resulting potential savings are estimated at $250 million to $500 million per year. (2) Assumptions: Once metrology issues are solved, virtual reality prototyping and programming can save $0.5 billion to $1 billion in programming costs. Total resulting potential savings are estimated at $1 billion.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 Product Model Data (STEP)/numerical control (NC);7 and $3 billion potential savings in metrology equipment from a combination of savings from fixtureless setup, open-architecture standards for metrology equipment's integration into factory systems, and applications of generative part programming.8 Therefore, the total cost of inefficient integration in industry can be very roughly estimated as $34 billion. The Intelligent Systems Division's programs are aimed at eliminating these costs. Although a host of technical challenges remain to be resolved in these areas, the magnitude of the problem indicates that even partial realization of solutions would have significant impact. For example, assuming that the division spends $3 million per year on this work, that programs live about 10 years, and that results from NIST reduce costs by only one-tenth of the amount estimated in the preliminary analyses, the ratio of benefit to cost would still be roughly 100 to 1. Similar approximate analyses can be performed for the division's projects supported by outside agencies (the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense). The total potential savings that could be realized from those efforts is $32 billion, while the programs currently cost about $4.4 million per year. Again, assuming a program life of 10 years and successful realization of a tenth of the potential savings, the benefit-to-cost ratio would be about 70 to 1. The panel believes that analyses such as those described in the above paragraph are useful to bring into focus the potential impact and fundamental goals behind a program. When making estimates for exploratory projects or for the first time in an existing project, a level of precision is not as important as getting a feel for the scope of the industries affected and the rough magnitude of the potential savings. For projects in which a fiscal impact is difficult to predict, a likely alternative to financial models would be the development and creation of a scenario depicting the effects of the technology and standards on the industry. This scenario could then be used in the future to generate a financial model. This discussion of impact analyses is part of the panel's overall interest in how to measure the effects on the U.S. economy of the Intelligent Systems Division's work. An important part of under 7 Machine tools: (1) Assumptions: Value added in manufacture of discrete parts is estimated at $490 billion (P. Doremus, Analysis of 1997 Economic Census, NAICS Basis, NIST Office of Strategic Planning and Economic Analysis); value added in machining is estimated at 50 percent of that $490 billion (Johannes A. Soons and Simone L. Yaniv, Precision in Machining: Research Challenges, NBSIR 5628, U.S. Department of Commerce), or approximately $240 billion. Estimating the value added in machining as 15 percent of the value added for all manufacturing industry (M. Merchant, “An Interpretive Look at 20th Century Research on Modeling of Machining,” Machining Science and Technology (2):157-163, 1998) yields a similar result (0.15 × $1.8 trillion, or $270 billion) (Doremus, op. cit.). If improved controllers implementing advanced algorithms and compensations could achieve even a 5 percent improvement in machining productivity as a result of reduced scrap, avoiding prove-out, and increasing the percentage of time in cut, the resulting savings would amount to about 0.05 × $240 billion, or $12 billion. (2) Assumptions: STEP/NC is expected to save 75 percent of the cost of programming machine tools (Martin Hardwick, STEP Tools, Inc., personal communication); 10 percent of the value of machined parts is programming costs. Resulting potential savings are estimated at 0.75 × 0.1 × $240 billion, or $18 billion. Total resulting potential savings are estimated at $30 billion. 8 Metrology: (1) Assumptions: Savings from fixtureless setup are estimated at 1 hour per day per coordinate measuring machine (CMM); 50,000 CMMs are in use in the United States; a typical charge is $100 per hour for machine and operator (Morrell Smith, Precision Measurement, and Steven D. Phillips, NIST Precision Engineering Division, personal communications). Resulting potential savings are estimated at $1.25 billion per year. (2) Assumptions: The cost of integrating metrology equipment into factory systems is at least equal to the cost of the equipment; the sales level of CMMs is approximately $500 million per year. Resulting potential savings due to open-architecture standards' reduction of integration costs estimated at $250 million or more. (3) Assumptions: Generative part programming (like STEP/NC but producing Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard Code, as demonstrated in the project on feature-based inspection and control systems) will generate substantial savings, but a good estimate of programming cost is not available at the present time. Resulting potential savings conservatively estimated at $250 million. Total resulting potential savings estimated at approximately $1.5 billion. Further assumption: the number used in this calculation was limited to CMMs, but expansion to metrology equipment other than CMMs should at least double the value of this work. Total resulting potential savings estimated at $3 billion.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 TABLE 3.4 Sources of Funding for the Intelligent Systems Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1997 to FY 2000 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1997 (actual) Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 6.1 6.2 5.9 5.5 ATP 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.0 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.6 1.4 1.5 0.9 Total 8.1 8.1 7.9 6.4 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 48 48 42 38 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 3.1. a The number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. standing the past, current, and future impact of NIST programs is better appreciation of how a number of things—the MEL's intellectual property; the staff's knowledge of standards, measurement, and technology; and the results of their projects—are dispersed to and then utilized by U.S. industry. Measurement of the spread of NIST's intellectual property can demonstrate MEL's importance, relevance, and value to the U.S. economy. Although indirect measurements of MEL productivity, such as quantity of patents, papers, and requests for publications, are appropriate ways to determine the level and volume of division activity, these numbers do not directly represent progress toward industry acceptance of laboratory products and results. Other metrics, including statistics on requests for information, licenses, and surveys on industry usage of MEL's intellectual property, may be more useful to determine an adoption rate for laboratory outputs. Division Resources Funding sources for the Intelligent Systems Division are shown in Table 3.4. As of January 2000, staffing for the Intelligent Systems Division included 38 full-time permanent positions, of which 34 were for technical professionals. There were also four nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. The resources and facilities available to the division are adequate to carry out its programs. The personnel are very qualified and appear to be motivated by their work; morale is high. The only potential issue is that since January 1999, the number of technical professionals has dropped by two, and the total budget has been reduced as well. Manufacturing Systems Integration Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division is to promote economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards for information-based manufacturing. The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division's mission statement has remained the same since last year and continues to be consistent with the division's view of where it fits into the MEL and NIST missions. This division has stayed focused on being recognized as the world authority in developing
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 and applying the science of manufacturing systems integration and in advancing the interoperability of information-based manufacturing applications. Management is striving to be programmatically driven instead of simply gathering a collection of projects, and progress in this direction appears to be continuing. In support of industry, the division is grappling with the explosive nature of the whole notion of enterprise engineering, including business models, e-commerce, and enterprise planning. The current approach is now to supply the “glue” to make enterprise engineering successful and leave the building of individual components to others in industry or at universities. The approach toward standards activities has also shifted; emphasis is being placed on ensuring that NIST contributions are technical and strategically justified rather than of a primarily administrative nature. This narrowing of the division's focus in both research and standards is appropriate because it allows for efficient use of the limited human and financial resources allotted to the division. The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division now has a defined path for moving from a starting point of standards and measurements for common models of data, to formal semantics, to self-describing systems, and toward the eventual target of self-integrating systems for manufacturing. These goals are strong and appropriate and will position the division 's programs for future significant impacts on industry. The improvements in the division's strategic approach over the past year are impressive and can be credited to several factors. The primary force is the shift away from a “university” model in which individual researchers determine their own agendas. Because of tightening budgets, pragmatism is now a major programmatic motivator, and proposed research activities must be considered in light of the division's strategic mission. The strategic approach is also bolstered by the decision to allow the five program managers to create projects. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division manages five programs: Product Engineering, Predictive Process Engineering, Manufacturing Enterprise Engineering, Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization, and Metrology for Manufacturing Information Technology. The panel found that the division is doing an effective job with these programs. Actual measurement of how well the programs and projects are performing and what they have achieved in support of the division's vision and mission requires quantitative goals and objectives with milestone dates. The panel did not receive this type of detailed data but was provided with qualitative information; some comments on the individual programs follow. The Product Engineering Program is achieving its goal to develop information protocols for interoperability of computer-aided design and product engineering systems, which provide a basis for future standards. The potential returns from work in this area are huge; losses caused by imperfect interoperability have been estimated to be at least $1 billion per year. The fiscal year 1999 accomplishments of this program include conducting several industry workshops, continued development work in interface specifications and prototypes, and involvement in standards-setting activities. The staff have ample interactions with industry and academia and participate in several consortia. The Predictive Process Engineering Program is attempting to develop the measurements and standards needed to characterize and specify manufacturing processes sufficiently well to ensure that the first part produced in a new manufacturing process is a good (usable) part. This program is a new MEL-wide effort and is discussed in more detail in the laboratory-level review earlier in this chapter. In the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division, numerous projects are under way in this area. The Manufacturing Enterprise Engineering Program has the goal of facilitating the integration of high-level manufacturing business systems within and across enterprises. The objectives of the program
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 are important, especially those dealing with supply-chain management and electronic commerce. The upcoming activity in evaluating agents for business-to-business commerce has the potential for significant payoff. The panel was particularly impressed by the excellent presentation on the standards time line for product data management (PDM) systems. NIST can play an important role in examining the information connection between PDM and enterprise resource planning systems. The Manufacturing Simulation and Visualization Program has a vast mission that is associated with many aspects of integrating manufacturing simulation and visualization software from various vendors. The program has numerous objectives, and the panel stresses the importance of two goals in particular. One is the effort to increase the level of conformance to the high-level architecture standard among simulation software vendors; the second is the push for a common data structure to represent simulation objects. Staff in this area have excellent relations with many simulation software vendors. The program is tightly linked to the international effort known as Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Modeling and Simulation Environments for Design Planning and Operation of Globally Distributed Enterprises. The Metrology for Manufacturing Information Technology Program has the ambitious goal of developing a measurement infrastructure for information technology artifacts like that which now exists for physical artifacts. This program contains a variety of projects. One, work on algorithm testing of coordinate measurement systems, may not be entirely appropriate for the division. Management should consider whether this effort should be moved to another division or laboratory, but the panel understands that all possible locations for this work have both positive features and drawbacks. In addition to the above programs, which are managed by the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division, the division also participates in two new laboratory-wide programs: Nano-Manufacturing and Shop Floor as NMI. Both of these endeavors have the potential to draw the division into new and technically exciting areas. Impact of Programs The Manufacturing Systems Integration Division has remained visible in industrial planning and support activities. Two notable successes are the division-sponsored study of the cost of software interoperability in the automotive supply chain and the publishing of a book on the development of STEP as an international standard. The interoperability study was extremely well received by a wide range of audiences, and the impact of the study goes well beyond the automotive industry. Division Resources Funding sources for the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division are shown in Table 3.5. As of January 2000, staffing for the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division included 35 full-time permanent positions, of which 28 were for technical professionals. There were also nine nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. For the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division, the key resource is not equipment, facilities or computing power; it is people. The panel is very concerned by the recent decrease in personnel. In the past 4 years, the number of full-time permanent technical professionals in the division has dropped from 39 to 28; 6 of these positions have become vacant or been lost since January 1999. While the remaining staff are making do by effectively utilizing numerous visiting scientists, including many students, it is important to recognize that when permanent staff members depart, the “corporate lore”—the unique collection of expertise and experience in metrology-related issues that has been gathered at NIST over many years—is lost. There have already been several instances in which highly competent staff have
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: Fiscal Year 2000 TABLE 3.5 Sources of Funding for the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1997 to FY 2000 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1997 (actual) Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 7.8 7.5 7.9 8.0 Competence 0.0 0.4 0.4 0.4 ATP 0.9 1.1 0.9 0.0 OA/NFG/CRADA 4.5 4.2 1.0 0.9 Total 13.2 13.1 10.2 9.3 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 48 48 41 35 NOTE: Sources of funding re as described in the note accompanying Table 3.1. a The number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. left to join start-up businesses. The goals and objectives of the division are noble and lofty, and it is in dire need of funds for full-time technical staff. A study of retention policies should be started immediately. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following major observations: The Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory has made significant progress in the past year on developing and implementing a strategic planning process. The mission statement is clearly defined. The next important step will be to communicate to the technical staff how the program selection and project evaluation process works and what the staff 's role in the process is. The quality of the people in the MEL is very high, and their work produces world-class results. Collaborations among the divisions and with other laboratories at NIST appear to be effective and successful. The decreasing number of technical staff and the decline in the overall resources available to the MEL concern the panel. Loss of permanent staff can destroy the valuable institutional memory built up at NIST over many years, and a dearth of funds to purchase new equipment may limit MEL's ability to take full advantage of the new Advanced Measurement Laboratory. The effects of the planned reduction of NIST overhead support for the Fabrication Technology Division must be watched carefully. The expertise and facilities available in these shops are a valuable resource for scientists throughout NIST and especially for researchers in the MEL. The ongoing discussion about the role of research in advanced manufacturing technologies within the MEL is a critical one. It is important for management to have a global plan for balancing such research with programs more focused on immediate measurement and standards applications and for them to be able to measure current and proposed projects against the MEL mission to produce a balanced, laboratory-wide portfolio.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: