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EL Highlights for December 2011

EL Performance Metrics for Smart Manufacturing

EL researchers Fred Proctor and Evan Wallace contributed to the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) meeting held on October 20 in Minneapolis, MN to discuss performance measures for smart manufacturing. Participants included representatives from the discrete, process, and batch industries, with agreement among the group on some central issues. Data collection is no longer the problem – with one participant reporting collecting more than 50 million data points a day. The main problem is in understanding the data in order to make good decisions in real-time. Optimization of steady-state activities is now routine. Most of the potential cost savings expected from optimization are found in startup, change-over, and shutdown activities that are occurring more frequently in agile production plants. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) presented work from their Institute for Sustainability on performance metrics: what to evaluate, what are the metrics, and how to validate the metrics. Of the roughly hundreds or thousands of metrics, the group was most concerned with determining which six to eight metrics are most important. Two pilot projects were planned to investigate different performance measures for sustainability; one for a methane reforming plant that produces hydrogen and another for a defense facility that manufactures artillery shells. These pilots will soon be underway, accelerated if possible by funding that may come from proposals to DOE and DARPA. Participants of the EL Smart Manufacturing and Construction Systems (SMCS) program plan to contribute to these pilots regardless of the proposal outcomes and will be engaging technology providers so that commercial software will be produced at the conclusion. The NIST involvement would focus on development of tests that show the effectiveness of candidate performance metrics.

Contact: Fred Proctor, (301) 975-3425


EL Invited to Present at Material Science and Technology 2011 Conference and Exhibition

EL post-doctoral researcher April Cooke presented an invited talk titled "Material Property Characterization of Parts Made with a Metal-Based Additive Manufacturing Process" at the Materials Science and Technology 2011 Conference and Exhibition, held in Columbus, OH, during the week of October 17. The talk gave an introduction to additive manufacturing, highlighted the demonstration of ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation as a viable means of attaining material property information of additively produced parts, and outlined the new projects within the additive manufacturing thrust of the EL Smart Manufacturing Processes and Equipment (SMPE) program. The conference was sponsored by the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST), the Materials Information Society (AMS), the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), and the Corrosion Society (NACE). The wide-ranging technical program spanned materials-related topics that encompassed fundamental research, technological innovations and solutions, and education, across a diverse set of domains and applications. The conference track on "Additive Manufacturing (AM) of Metals" consisted of 47 presentations and was positioned within the high-level topic on "Processing and Product Manufacturing." This event marked the first dedicated AM symposium associated with a major international conference. April's presentation was given during a related conference track (under the same high-level topic area) titled "Laser Applications in Materials Technology" in the session on "Mechanical Properties of Additive Manufactured Materials and Components." April's talk was well-received and numerous contacts were made for future collaborations.

Contact: April Cooke, (301) 975-3850


Major upgrade to Systems Engineering Standard Adopted

A major upgrade to the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) for system modularization passed the primary hurdles to adoption at the Object Management Group, led by Conrad Bock of the Engineering Laboratory.  The upgrade addresses manufacturing industry requirements for defining reusable system components and component interconnections, to simplify the design of complex systems.  Bock developed and presented modifications to SysML, led discussions for agreement, and prepared ballots for approval of the SysML Revision Task force, which included representatives of Deere & Company, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, AirBus, International Council on Systems Engineering, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, IBM, MathWorks, and other SysML/UML vendors. 

Contact: Conrad Bock, 301-975-3818