A Framework for Distributed and Virtual Discrete Part Manufacturing
Howard Bloom, Neil Christopher
In response to marketplace demands, U.S. manufacturing enterprises are forming strategic partnerships with diverse companies, geographically dispersed throughout the country, that are most effective at carrying out needed manufacturing operations. The manufacturing software applications used by the companies in these operations must be integrated in a manner that allows for efficient flow of information between applications. A national consensus-based software infrastructure framework for manufacturing operations will allow this integration to occur. This framework will specify how manufacturing information, communications protocols, and services are to be represented and used. The project described in this paper will prototype a framework of manufacturing software systems that supports many of the operations for discrete parts manufacturing. This prototype will be based on emerging technologies that are likely candidates for international standardization. It will be the experimental basis for further development of standards and specifications. Key standards such as STEP and CORBA will be utilized in the prototype. The project will also develop test methods that demonstrate how applications fit interoperably into the framework.The project is supported within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s National Advanced Manufacturing Testbed (NAMT) where the next generation standards and measurements needed for information-based manufacturing will be explored. The project will leverage the work of NIST's industrial partners in the National Information Infrastructure Protocols (NIIIP), the Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing (TEAM), and the Sematech CIM Framework programs.