Metal powder, and resulting metal parts made from a metal additive manufacturing process developed by the Materials Standards for Additive Manufacturing project at NIST. Credit: NIST Engineering Laboratory

NIST’s Engineering Laboratory has posted a collection of very nice reports summarizing projects that are underway. With the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year, the EL launched twelve new programs, each of which has several projects.

The EL’s mission is to promote “US innovation and industrial competitiveness in areas of critical national priority,” and its research projects seem to focus mostly on building construction, manufacturing and the systems and standards that relate to those activities.

In an email Sharon Kemmerer, deputy chief, Systems Integration division in the EL, explained, “These projects are part of an Engineering Laboratory program, one of twelve this fiscal year. Each of the programs is aligned with one of the three goals of the Engineering Laboratory. Organizationally, all work on the Engineering Laboratory’s twelve programs is done within the Engineering Laboratory.”

The EL’s three goals and their associated programs are (from the website):

Goal 1: Disaster-Resilient Buildings, Infrastructure, and Communities
• Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure
• Fire Risk Reduction in Buildings
• Fire Risk Reduction in Communities

• Structural Performance Under Multi-Hazards

Goal 2: Smart Manufacturing, Construction, and Cyber-Physical Systems
• Smart Manufacturing Processes and Equipment

• Next-Generation Robotics and Automation

• Smart Manufacturing and Construction Systems

• Systems Integration for Manufacturing and Construction Applications

Goal 3: Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Manufacturing, Materials, and Infrastructure
• Embedded Intelligence in Buildings
• Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings

• Sustainable Manufacturing

• Sustainable, High-Performance Infrastructure Materials

Several projects are run out of each program. For example, the Systems Integration for Manufacturing and Construction Applications program has these six projects underway:

• Model-Based Engineering Project
• Systems Engineering Standards for Manufacturing Project
• Cross-Standards Interoperability for Production Networks Project
• Collaborative Requirements Engineering Project
• Manufacturing Services Network Models Project
• Engineering Data Quality Measurement Project

The reports are well organized and easy to read quickly. Each project report includes a summary, project objective and broad description in Q&A format: What is the new technical idea? What is the research plan? If there are already outcomes, for example publications or new standards, those are reported.

There are similar, lengthier reports for each of the programs that expand the Q&A format with questions like: What is the problem? Why is it hard to solve? How is it solved today, and by whom? Why NIST? How will teamwork be ensured? What is the impact if successful? What is the standards strategy? How will knowledge transfer be achieved?

Although two of the three EL goals are manufacturing-centric, Kemmerer says they are unrelated to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia that NIST proposed and sought comments on last summer.