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EL Highlights April 2011

EL Highlights for April 2011

NIST Engineering Laboratory Conducts Workshop and Standards Meeting Focused on Test Methods for Emergency Response Robots

NIST researchers from the Engineering Laboratory (EL) conducted a workshop on "Response Robot Requirements for Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) Applications" on January 26-28. This event was sponsored by the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. Representatives from federal, state, and local bomb squads from across the country, along with the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board (NBSCAB), Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Institute of Justice, and Department of Defense, attended to discuss the need for performance standards for bomb squad-specific response robots. The workshop introduced the bomb squad community to the existing suite of test methods for response robots along with the process used to develop new test methods. Also identified were specific robot requirements, metrics, and performance objectives for VBIED applications. This supports NIST's efforts to develop standard test methods to quantitatively evaluate the performance of robots for emergency response applications.

A suite of two dozen test methods are being standardized through the ASTM standards committee on Homeland Security Applications; Operational Equipment; Robots (ASTM E54.08.01) which NIST chairs. The committee met the following week (January 31 to February 2) to incorporate the priorities defined for VBIED applications into the suite of test methods already addressing package-capable bomb squad robots and urban search and rescue applications. The committee meeting included representatives from nine robot manufacturers, ten emergency responders, and ten test administrators. The group reviewed comments and edited nine draft standard test methods currently in the balloting process. In addition, a variety of prototype test apparatuses recently implemented during field exercises and robot competitions were reviewed, including for the RoboCupRescue which uses the apparatuses as challenge tasks, and for the Multi Autonomous Ground-robot International Competition (MAGIC) hosted jointly by the U.S. Department of Defense and Australian Ministry of Defense. EL researchers Adam Jacoff, Elena Messina, Hui-Min Huang, Ann Virts, and Tony Downs organized and conducted the VBIED workshop and the ASTM E54 standards meeting.

Contact: Adam Jacoff, (301) 975-4235

NIST Engineering Laboratory Contributes to Sustainability Assessment of Air Force Supplier's Production System

NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) researcher, Rob Ivester, contributed to assessing the sustainability of a manufacturing system at a General Electric (GE) aircraft engine facility in Madisonville, KY, on February 8-9. The assessment effort, led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), aims to enable the aerospace industry to effectively integrate sustainability issues into manufacturing decision-making in support of the U.S. Air Force Sustainable Aerospace Manufacturing Initiative (SAMI). This site visit was part of a series of baseline sustainability assessments conducted at supplier companies representative of the aerospace industry, with broad coverage of manufacturing processes (e.g., grinding, machining, laser processing) necessary for manufacture of high-precision, complex aerospace components. The Air Force chose material removal processes as their first priority for assessing current sustainable manufacturing practices for the aerospace industry.

The assessment at GE involved measuring the use of material, energy, time, and generation of waste in the production system for several complex aerospace components. In addition, the environmental impact, energy consumption, and operating costs were compared for operations performed on new, modern equipment and on similar, but decades-old equipment. To carry out this assessment, NIST provided expertise and guidance in best practices and standard test methods to measure the manufacturing process characteristics and the performance of the manufacturing equipment. Results of the assessments will establish a baseline for the Air Force in their strategic improvement plan, leading to future widespread sustainable manufacturing practices and implementations throughout the defense supply chain. The program will also influence ongoing standards development for sustainable manufacturing by incorporating real-world manufacturing process and equipment measurement science as the foundation for technical standards and best practices.

Contact: Rob Ivester, (301) 975-8324

Created June 23, 2011