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EL Highlights January 2013

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Technical Accomplishments

Fiatech Consortium Adopts EL Recommendations for Development of ISO 15926 Standard
The Engineering Laboratory's Systems Integration for Manufacturing and Construction Applications Program (SIMCA) Collaborative Requirements Engineering (CRE) project reviewed the "system" for developing the new ISO 15926 standard, Industrial automation systems and integration —Integration of life-cycle data for process plants.  This system review included oil and gas production facilities, existing draft documents for ISO 15926, the current practice of planning and coordinating among industry programs, and the status of the ISO TC 184/SC4 program of work.  The CRE project also worked with a number of organizations investing in the development of ISO 15926, to understand their challenges and successes with the international series of standards.  The results of that analysis were presented at the Fall 2012 meetings of the Fiatech Consortium and ISO TC184/SC4, the organization responsible for the development of this standard.  The Fiatech consortium adopted the NIST recommendations and established a new project to work with the CRE project on executing many of the recommendations. NIST recommendations included essential improvements in the technical rigor of Fiatech projects working on ISO 15926 and in the coordination among industry initiatives, U.S. engineering standards organizations, and the ISO 15926 work program. The Fiatech Capturing Equipment Data Requirements Using ISO 15926 and Assessing Conformance project will start in March 2013 and will collaborate with two other international industry associations, MIMOSA and POSC Caesar Association (associations dedicated to developing and encouraging the adoption of open information standards which enable collaborative asset lifecycle management).

Contact: Mark Palmer, (301) 975-5858
Category: Technical Accomplishment

EL Releases Next Generation Coupled Building Energy and Airflow Simulation Tool
The Engineering Laboratory has developed a next generation simulation tool for modeling energy, ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ) in high performance buildings. The tool combines the multizone airflow and IAQ analysis capability of EL's CONTAM program with the building energy modeling capability of the TRNSYS simulation program.

High performance buildings must meet demanding energy and IAQ requirements through the use innovative building designs and technologies for ventilation and IAQ control, such as natural ventilation and demand controlled ventilation. The design and analysis of these buildings and systems requires advanced building modeling capabilities. NIST is undertaking a project to develop new engineering tools that integrate multizone airflow and IAQ modeling, building thermal simulation, and CFD analysis, which will also be used to support energy, ventilation and IAQ standards and green building programs.

NIST and TESS, Inc. previously collaborated to create a combined multizone thermal and airflow building simulation by coupling limited aspects of the airflow portion of the NIST CONTAM model with the TRNSYS energy simulation program. CONTAM is a multizone airflow and contaminant dispersal program with a graphical interface for data input and display. TRNSYS is a transient system simulation program with a modular structure that was designed to solve complex energy system problems by breaking the problem down into a series of smaller components.

While the initial coupled TRNSYS/CONTAM tool has been used successfully, it did not include a full integration of the capabilities of the two tools. The recently released, second generation coupled simulation tool greatly expands the functionality by adding multizone contaminant simulation and access to all of CONTAM's airflow modeling components, including the ability to simulate air handling systems and ducted airflow networks.

The new simulation capability is enabled in the latest version 3.1 of CONTAM, which is available for download from NIST at .

Contact: W. Stuart Dols, (301) 975-5860 / Steve Emmerich, (301) 975-6459
Category: Technical Accomplishment

EL Drives International Standard for System Operation Requirements to Adoption
Engineering Laboratory's Conrad Bock and Raphael Barbau provided critical contributions to a team of industry and government representatives in the systems engineering community that produced a standard for specifying system operation requirements, adopted by the Object Management Group (OMG).  The standard extends the most widely-used systems engineering modeling language SysML, based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML).  It integrates SysML/UML with OMG's Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), which enables system operators to be more involved in specifying expected system behavior. The standard will significantly improve engineering productivity for manufacturing and other systems engineering disciplines by enabling system operation requirements specified in BPMN to act as the driver.

OMG has been an international, open membership, not-for-profit computer industry consortium since 1989. The OMG Task Forces develop enterprise integration standards for a wide range of technologies, including: Real-time, Embedded and Specialized Systems, Analysis & Design, Architecture-Driven Modernization and Middleware and an even wider range of industries, including: Business Modeling and Integration, C4I, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Legal Compliance, Life Sciences Research, Manufacturing Technology, Robotics, Software-Based Communications and Space.  OMG's modeling standards, including the Unified Modeling Language™ (UML®) and Model Driven Architecture® (MDA®), enable visual design, execution, and maintenance of software and other processes, including IT Systems Modeling and Business Process Management. OMG's middleware standards and profiles are based on the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA®) and support a wide variety of industries.

Contact: Conrad Bock, (301) 975-3818
Category: Technical Accomplishment


Engineering Laboratory Leadership Culminates in International Standard for Core Manufacturing Simulation Data
The Engineering Laboratory's System Integration Division staff provided strong technical leadership and  contributions to the recently published international standard for core manufacturing simulation data. The new "Standard for Core Manufacturing Simulation Data – XML Representation" (SISO-STD-008-01-2012) is a component of the "Standard for Core Manufacturing Simulation Data – UML Model" (SISO-STD-008-2010).  The standard defines an information model describing manufacturing simulation related entities and their interrelationships.  The information is presented using two different methods: (1) Unified Modeling Language (UML) and (2) schema language for eXtensible Markup Language (XML) representation.  Together these standards enable the definition and efficient exchange of neutral data structures for manufacturing data in support of simulation analysis for manufacturing.  They also support the integration of simulation applications with each other and with other manufacturing applications.  In recent years many organizations have applied CMSD specifications, both in draft and in final form, in various application domains where simulation has been involved.  These application domains include: design and planning, production engineering, supply chain, sustainable manufacturing, and construction.  Many different commercial simulation systems were involved in these application efforts, including ExtendSim V8, 3DCreate, Visual Components, Plant Simulation, Enterprise Dynamics, Arena, and the Queuing Event Simulation Tool (QUEST) to improve interoperability in terms of the representation of manufacturing simulation data. 

Leadership for the standardization effort were provided by the Engineering Laboratory members Swee Leong (Chair), Frank Riddick (Vice Chair), and Tina Lee (Secretary).  Their efforts included proposing the standard concept, leading the standardization development group, collaborating with industry partners for standard validation testing, and performing the balloting process.  Riddick and Lee also served as Co-Editors of the SISO-STD-008-01-2012 and SISO-STD-08-2010 standards' documents. 

Contact: Tina Lee, (301) 975-3550
Category: Technical Accomplishment


NIST Workshop on Dexterous Manipulation for Manufacturing Applications
EL researchers Joe Falco, Jeremy Marvel, and Elena Messina organized and conducted a one-day workshop on Dexterous Manipulation for Manufacturing Applications, held in Chicago, IL on January 24 in conjunction with the Automate 2013 Conference and Exhibition. The workshop brought together experts from across the end-user, gripper system, and robot manipulator communities to address the application of dexterous robot technologies to meet the application needs of small- and medium-sized manufacturers, and to promote the greater theme of applying dexterous robotics in flexible manufacturing.

The ability of humans to manipulate a wide range of objects with great dexterity and precision enables them to operate productively in the world. People can build things, take them apart, and determine many part properties simply by touch. This is currently beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated robots, and is a major obstacle to implementing robots in small and medium-size enterprises. This obstacle also places limitations on large manufacturers interested in using robotics for small-batch production. Typically, manufacturers cannot justify the cost associated with conventional practices, such as fixed tooling and purpose-built manipulation systems, for smaller production runs.

The workshop consisted of three technical sessions each followed by industry panel discussions to address desired application scenarios that require more dexterous manipulation, high priority advances needed to enable industry's use of more dexterous robots, and performance metrics to support the advancement of dexterous robots. Workshop results and recommendations will be documented in a report to be released in March.

Contact: Joe Falco, (301) 975-3455
Category: Interactions

Impact of NIST Research and Services

New England Robotics Center Replicates NIST-DHS-ASTM Standard Test Methods
The University of Massachusetts at Lowell has established the New England Robotics Validation (NERVE) Center to replicate many of the standard and draft standard robot performance test methods developed by NIST and others as part of the ASTM E54 committee on Homeland Security Applications in service to the growing robotics community in the Northeast. This new center will facilitate advancements in robotic systems by providing dedicated and flexible testing facilities to assess and improve robot performance. The New England center is modeled after the robot testing facilities and capabilities at NIST.

EL researcher Ann Virts worked with NERVE Center Director Holly Yanco and NERVE Center Manager Adam Norton for the past several months to finalize the design of the center. In January, Ann spent four days at the NERVE Center to help UMass students and staff to fabricate and calibrate the ASTM test method artifacts. Standard test methods were fabricated for a variety of terrains, obstacles, and tasks for evaluating robot system performance, including ramps, stairs, sand, and underbody inspection. In addition, Ann taught the UMass test administrators the proper methods to conduct the tests, measure data, and record results. The grand opening of the NERVE Center was February 12, 2013. More information, including photographs, can be found at the center web site,

Contacts: Ann Virts, (301) 975-5068, and Adam Jacoff, (301) 975-4235
Category: Impact of NIST Research and Services

Created May 22, 2013, Updated September 21, 2016