Retooling Manufacturing by The National Academy
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Retooling Manufacturing by The National Academy

The Department of Defense, having identified gaps in the communication and feedback processes between design and manufacturing of materiel, requested that the National Research Council conduct a study to develop and define a coherent framework for bridging these gaps through data management, modeling, and simulation. This framework is intended to guide investment decisions in basic research to create better modes and methods of communication and collaboration between the various groups involved in bringing complex products through the design and testing process and into production.

The focus of the committee's effort was complex systems composed of a large number of discrete mechanical parts. While the charge to the Committee on Bridging Design and Manufacturing was to concentrate on the research aspects of design and manufacturing, the committee recognizes that bridging the various domains involved will require substantial cultural and organizational changes as well.

The committee was charged to: x Develop a flow diagram to illustrate dependencies and interactions of material data and process models needed to fully characterize virtual manufacturing. This flow diagram may encompass databases and models to characterize material properties; characterize processes; describe design tools; describe simulation tools; characterize life-cycle behavior; describe how products perform in service; describe how a product interacts with its environment; and describe external constraints and objectives.

x Demonstrate, through case studies, generalized practice, or both, how the product design and realization cycle can be made more efficient through this simulation process. x Analyze what basic research and development on processes, databases, models, sensors, controls, and other tools are most needed to implement a strategy for product realization. Identify critical roadblocks in the access to knowledge, in the availability of knowledge, in the understanding of process, in the ability to describe process, and in other areas, including gaps in knowledge, that currently limit the success of virtual prototyping and manufacturing.

x Describe any tools that currently exist and can be applied to the issue today. Illustrate how these models and databases might be tested for robustness and rigor. The committee (see Appendix A for members' biographies) conducted two informationgathering workshops and received presentations from the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of  Energy national laboratories, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and other academic and industrial organizations.

The committee also conducted a site visit to the Detroit area to gather information on the automotive industry's best practices for closing the design-to-manufacturing gap. The committee received additional presentations at two subsequent meetings (see Appendix B). During the course of its work, the committee drew information from past National Research Council reports, including the following: Modeling and Simulation in Manufacturing and Defense Systems Acquisition: Pathways to Success (2002).

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