The Smart Manufacturing Systems (SMS) Test Bed is comprised of three major components:
- Computer-Aided Technologies (CAx) Lab
- Manufacturing Lab
- Data publication web services
The CAx Lab contains several computer-aided technology tools from the design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM), inspection (CAI), data management (PDM), and verification & validation (V&V) domains. Uses of the CAx Lab included, but are not limited to, developing test cases for conformance testing to standards, generating CAD models for fabrication experiments, and testing cyber-physical connections across the product lifecycle.
The Manufacturing Lab, in partnership with the NIST Fabrication Technology Office (FTO), mimics the configuration of a contract-manufacturing shop. The Manufacturing Lab contains several fabrication machine tools (e.g., CNC milling, CNC turning) and inspection equipment (e.g., CMM, digital micrometers).
Data is collected from the Manufacturing Lab using the MTConnect standard. That data is aggregated and published internally and externally of NIST via web services. Three channels of data dissemination are available or becoming available from the SMS Test Bed: (1) a volatile data stream using an MTConnect agent, (2) a query-able data repository using the NIST Material Data Curation System (MDCS), and (3) pre-compiled data packages that include a collection of CAx Lab data and associated Manufacturing Lab data.
The goal of the SMS Test Bed is to extend existing production-focused concepts by designing and architecting a test bed that enables smart manufacturing research and development across the product lifecycle. This process should highlight the challenges and requirements for introducing cyber-physical infrastructure in manufacturing, as well as create opportunities to provide a tangible source of data that other researchers may use to develop and validate smart manufacturing technologies. It also requires the integration of systems from each product lifecycle stage so that information may flow between design, fabrication, and inspection. This enables the development of technologies and standards that create a "digital thread" to exchange information, including product design and quality and equipment performance and health, across the product lifecycle. These efforts complement existing research and development aimed at reducing cycle time, ensuring first-pass success, and improving the overall performance of the product design and manufacturing process.