To maintain a globally competitive posture, semiconductor and electronics manufacturers are quickening their pace of production and innovation. Electronic products are transitioned rapidly to a commodity status, production sites are constructed and decommissioned in shorter timeframes, and manufacturers are globally outsourcing an expanding scope of production processes – and in some cases, the entire design and production of the product. To achieve the flexibility and quick turn-around they require, manufacturers rely on a distributed supply network and the ability to "mix and match" hardware and software within their own enterprise. This rapid reconfigurability needed by industry depends upon a robust IT infrastructure consisting of standards for collaboration, business process integration, and the exchange of technical data. Industry also needs neutral test beds in which to evaluate new standards and the risks associated with technology adoption.
This project is working with industry to enable the infrastructure needed to support electronic commerce for both electronic components and manufacturing. The technical areas being addressed by this project are: the ability to accurately describe electronic components and their attributes, how this data is organized and packaged, and how it is accessed and used through a product's lifecycle (from the product design, through its manufacturing, and, ultimately, to its recycling). Development of standards within this domain is crucial in order for U.S. electronics and semiconductor manufacturers to take advantage of the global marketplace. This project assists industry in the development of standards that are critical to the infrastructure, but that no single company will pursue because of the broad-based benefit. Industry and standards groups in Japan and Europe are actively working on electronic commerce and manufacturing related projects. In working with these groups, NIST will try to minimize the overlapping standards development and ensure interoperability between U.S. and international standards.