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EL Highlights October 2012

EL Highlights for October 2012

Technical Accomplishment

NIST Presentation Precipitates ASTM Subcommittee on Sustainable Manufacturing

To facilitate the development and use of sustainable manufacturing processes, the American Society for Testing and materials (ASTM) International's Committee E60 on Sustainability has created a new subcommittee, E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing. The new group held its first meeting during Committee E60's October 2012 meeting in Atlanta, Ga.  According to Amy Costello of Armstrong World Industries, and E60.13 Chairwoman, Subcommittee E60.13 evolved out of a presentation on the nature of sustainable manufacturing given by representatives from NIST during the April 2012 E60 committee meeting.   During this organizational meeting in Atlanta, Sudarsan Rachuri was elected Vice-Chair of the E60.13 Subcommittee.  Kevin Lyons and Paul Witherell led kick-off discussions on work items for standardization addressing a Guide for Sustainability Improvement of Manufacturing Processes, and Practice for Materials and Energy Information Modeling for Sustainable Products respectively.  The NIST team was also actively involved in the Subcomittee's work items on Terminology for Sustainable Manufacturing and a Specification for the Classification of Manufacturing Wastes and Associated Claims.  NIST plans on remaining engaged in the future as these ASTM standardization activities will play an important role in helping manufacturers communicate the sustainability of their processes and increase consumer confidence in manufacturer claims.  NIST is leveraging this effort in their Sustainable Manufacturing Program, addressing the program's intent to build methodologies for characterizing sustainable processes and resources.

Contact: Sudarsan Rachuri, (301) 975-4264


EL Chairs Special Session at International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

EL researcher Craig Schlenoff co-chaired a special session on the topic "Knowledge Representation and Ontologies for Robotics and Autonomous Systems" at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2012 held in Vilamoura, Portugal on October 7-12. The session attracted a standing-room-only crowd of about 120 people. Craig led the group in discussions and presentations to advance the development of knowledge representations and an industrial ontology for this area. Once completed, the industrial ontology will provide a common vocabulary (syntax) and underlying meaning (semantics) that will enable new functionality that industry has been desiring (and lacking), such as knowledge-based agile manufacturing and seamless and unambiguous knowledge exchange among humans and robotic systems.

In addition, Craig and EL researcher Stephen Balakirsky presented two technical papers during this session. Craig's paper on "An IEEE Standard Ontology for Robotics and Automation (ORA)" presented an overview of the IEEE ORA working group, as well as an introduction to the rest of the session. Stephen's paper on "An Industrial Robotic Knowledge Representation for Kit Building Applications" summarized the approach, status, and application of the ontology being developed by the industrial subgroup of the IEEE ORA working group.

Substantial interest was expressed for both presentations, with questions from industrial and academic audience members about how to get involved in the IEEE ORA standards group and how to get access to the industrial ontologies that are being developed. Subsequent email exchanges and a significant growth of the ORA mailing list after the presentations helped to validate the importance of the NIST efforts. Due to this large interest from the community, the first version of the industrial ontology will be released to the IEEE ORA working group in late November (earlier than planned) to allow time for additional review before being submitted as the first ORA draft standard.

Contact: Craig Schlenoff, (301) 975-3456


ASHRAE/NIST Host Refrigerants Conference

The 2012 Refrigerants Conference was the fourth jointly organized by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and NIST. The conference focused on new low-Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants technologies and practices that can be used to accommodate high-GWP refrigerants phase-down were discussed at the Refrigerants Conference Continuing concerns about the climate change have already led to some regulatory measures limiting the use of high-GWP refrigerants in individual countries. The two-day program on October 29-30 featured twenty-one invited presentations by international speakers and two panel discussions.

In conjunction with the Refrigerants Conference, NIST hosted two international committee meetings. The Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning, and Heat Pumps Technical Option Committee of the United Nations Environmental Programme met before the conference on October 25 and 26. On a four year cycle, this group of experts formulates refrigeration technology assessments, which are used by UN and government policy makers worldwide.  The Working Party on Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) of Refrigerants of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) met after the Refrigerants Conference on October 31.  The group is developing a standard methodology for evaluating the climate change impact of refrigerants using a holistic analysis including both direct and indirect emissions.  The IIR is an intergovernmental science and technology based organization consisting of 60 member countries, which promotes knowledge of refrigeration and associated technologies. 

Contact: P. Domanski (EL), ext. 5877


Engineering Laboratory has Strong Showing at Smart Manufacturing Forum

At the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) forum i in Washington, D.C. October 2-3, representatives from industry, government, and academia met to discuss collaborations, approaches, technologies, and research to transform the American manufacturing industrial sector.  NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) Director Shyam Sunder presented the keynote and EL Chief of the Intelligent System Division, Al Wavering, also participated on a panel.

Two NIST researchers, Frank Riddick and Evan Wallace, from the Smart Factory Architecture (SFA) project in EL were invited to attend the SMLC Smart Manufacturing Forum to learn industry priority requirements for smart manufacturing, to gain a better understanding of the details of the technical platform, and to hear about the plans for test beds where this platform will be applied to improve engineering or manufacturing operations by some of the participating manufacturing businesses. NIST has a Cooperative Agreement with UCLA and others involved in developing the technical platform for smart manufacturing for SMLC. Riddick and Wallace established contacts with industry representatives from Praxair, Inc., General Mills, and General Electric, and discussed future collaborations with them to document each company's smart manufacturing test bed as part of NIST's research work in smart factory architectures.  The SFA project will continue to work closely with SMLC to ensure industrial requirements are met.

Contact: Evan Wallace, (301) 975-3520

Created November 21, 2012