To develop and deploy advances in standards, conformance testing, user-awareness, and adoption of 3D model-based product definition standards to improve product quality and reduce costs for manufacturers throughout the product lifecycle.
The Product Definitions for Smart Manufacturing project will deliver methods, protocols, and tools for developing, conformance testing, increasing user-awareness, and industrial adoption of product definition standards necessary for the digital transformation of manufacturing enterprises. Smart manufacturing research at NIST has promoted a vision of fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs. This vision is increasingly achievable by small-to-medium sized enterprises due to development of increasingly capable standards for conveying industrial data. NIST has had success in developing and promulgating product definition standards for manufacturing, however, there is still a great need for NIST leadership and research to continue those efforts.
WHAT IS THE TECHNICAL IDEA?
Recent NIST pilot projects and proof-of-concept studies demonstrated that deployment of emerging model-based product definition standards reduces design-to-manufacturing cycle time and improves final part quality. Further, much progress has been made in the past 5 years in advancing a suite of product-definition standards (i.e., STEP, QIF and MTConnect) that enable the model-based enterprise. However, there remain capability gaps in the standards; barriers slowing standards development, including dwindling expertise; a lack of public documentation, reference data and reference software implementations that enable understanding, implementation and adoption of the standards. This project will provide research advances in product-definition standardization, conformance testing, and traceability of data assets.
Furthermore, OEM supply chains are global and not all the standards have the international buy-in required by global markets. All these needs will be considered as NIST provides technical leadership and guidance to move standards-development organizations to agile standards development methods, to promote understanding and adoption of standards, to harvest QIF into ISO and further harmonize its use with STEP standards. The stakeholder community will be expanded to include automotive manufacturers. JT, 3D PDF, and other visualization formats will be analyzed, enhanced, conformance tested within the context of a model-based enterprise.
Conformance testing of manufacturing information against relevant standards remains a challenge due to time consuming manual processes for verification and validation. EXPRESS-based STEP instance files can be automatically checked for syntax and structure conformance and XML-based QIF files can be checked that they are well-formed. However, information encoded semantically in those files is documented only in text- and diagram-based documents. The semantic information in instance files also needs to be checked for conformance. Encoding text- and diagram-based rules is a manual process that requires deciphering their meaning and writing appropriate software code for conformance checking. Methodologies are needed to transform text- and diagram-based standards documentation to computer-processable forms.
Lastly, proper curation of digital assets is critical to daily operations and requires permanent access and maintenance of trustworthy data. Corruption of that data can have catastrophic consequences on product development and affect viability of an enterprise. There is a need to protect the product data and its owner(s) by providing authorization, authentication, and traceability of trustworthy product data through the product lifecycle. Currently, knowing who can use data, how the data can be used, and who did what to the data is mainly captured in contracts and manual paper-based tracking methods. Industry needs a faster, more secure and sustainable way to record, embed or link authentication, authorization, and traceability information to the product data.
WHAT IS THE RESEARCH PLAN?
The research plan includes three areas of activity:
Prior work from the Smart Manufacturing Operations Planning and Control Program’s Digital Thread for Smart Manufacturing Project will be continued. NIST will continue its leadership roles in PDES, Inc., ISO TC184 / SC 4, the Dimensional Metrology Standards Consortium, and increase participation in the 3D PDF Consortium. The current set of stakeholders will be expanded to include automotive manufacturers. There are many tasks to accomplish this goal that relate to user requirements for standards, providing technical leadership in standards organizations and implementor forums, and publishing standards.
Research related to conformance testing will focus on semantic representations of product and manufacturing information (PMI) in product definitions standards for smart manufacturing and how they are tested. PMI is used to communicate the allowable tolerances to manufacturing and inspection systems. Research will develop new methodologies and software that seeks to provide automation to capture the intent of PMI defined in standards and the use of PMI in instance files.
Traceability of product data with embedded authentication and authorization data is critical to smart manufacturing operations. There is a need to simplify and secure traceability through the product lifecycle, especially in complex supply chains of products with extensive lifespan. This task will:
Identifying valid transactions will help identify tampered data before it is used. Such a repository will:
1) simplify the traceability of product data transactions due to the immutability of the records, 2) facilitate and automate pre-manufacturing fraud prevention to reduce the complex and expensive post-manufacturing faults detection, 3) reduce the number of faulty parts distributed, preventing brand reputation damage, loss of revenue from product returns, and reduce product liability issues.