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Competition Seeks to Improve Manufacturing Practices and Standards Development

William Bernstein, PhD  National Institute of Standards and Technology
By William Bernstein, PhD National Institute of Standards and Technology
KC Morris, PhD National Institute of Standards and Technology
By KC Morris, PhD National Institute of Standards and Technology, SME Member Since 2018

Now in its fourth year, the Reusable Abstractions of Manufacturing Process (RAMP) Competition is the premier venue for researchers to showcase their manufacturing process modeling work, while also engaging in a standards development process. Co-sponsored by SME and ASTM International, RAMP builds on ASTM E3012, the “Standard Guide for Characterizing Environmental Aspects of Manufacturing Processes,” as a standard form for representing manufacturing process models.

RAMP Competition Judges 768x432.jpg
RAMP 2019 judges, finalists and organizers (left to right): Mike Vogler, Barbara Linke, Chandra Nath, Ilya Kovalenko, Nathan Decker, Chenhui Shao, William Bernstein and KC Morris.

RAMP’s main goal is to help researchers communicate their work with others to explain how that work will result in more sustainable processes. The E3012 standard methods for representing processes enforce consistency, clarity and precision in the models. E3012 defines the standard information model for representing mathematical formalisms for such processes.

To advance sustainable manufacturing practices and promote resource efficiency, U.S. industries need reliable measurement methods to evaluate sustainability performances such as energy and material consumption, emissions, waste and water usage of manufacturing processes. The current use of ad-hoc methods and unstructured data to describe the resource consumption of specific manufacturing processes results in research that is hard to reuse and hard to contrast with different approaches. Industry needs “measurement science”—standard methods for the use and definition of information—to improve this situation and E3012 to fill that gap.

Furthermore, these formal methods and standards will help automate the acquisition and exchange of information about manufacturing processes. This approach will provide manufacturers and solution providers with the necessary tools and techniques to characterize manufacturing processes in a consistent and computer-interpretable way. Ultimately, the use of standard methods will allow for collections of manufacturing process models to better communicate computational analytics, share sustainability performance data and reuse those models to improve performance levels across different installations.

Manufacturers need models to improve operations, protect the environment, share and contrast performance data, and to compose individual models into systems. System characterization, whether it be of the individual manufacturing process or the broader manufacturing system, defines the frame of reference needed to evaluate and improve the performance of a given system against a norm. Using valued manufacturing models, manufacturers will be better equipped to simulate, improve and optimize key manufacturing processes.

The high-quality submissions from the last three years of RAMP drive research and development for manufacturing process modeling. For example, at NAMRC 47, SME student member Nathan Decker, a doctorate student and Rose Hills Foundation fellow in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, earned first prize in the competition by demonstrating E3012’s use in representing machine learning models for improving the accuracy control in additive manufacturing. Decker’s submission showcased the reusability of his approach through a set of experiments and simulations to suggest optimal settings for additive manufacturing machines.

RAMP 2019 winners and submissions:

  • First Prize: Nathan Decker, University of Southern California, “Reuse of A UMP Model for Geometric Accuracy Prediction Across Multiple Additive Manufacturing Processes”;
  • Second Prize: Chenhui Shao, PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illl., “Manufacturing of an Innovative Hybrid Heat Exchanger”; and
  • Third Prize: Ilya Kovalenko, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., “Developing Unit Manufacturing Models for Management of an Additive Manufacturing Fleet.”

RAMP 2019 featured an impressive panel of judges, including SME members Mike Vogler, PhD, CMfgE, Caterpillar, Peoria, Ill.; Barbara Linke, PhD, UC Davis, Davis, Calif.; and Chandra Nath, PhD, Hitachi America, Wixom, Mich.

In addition, the experience gained in applying the E3012 to a variety of manufacturing processes, and for different types of evaluations of sustainable performance objectives, has influenced the development of the standard.

Everyone involved with RAMP expects the new tradition to continue with high-quality submissions in the coming years. RAMP 2020 will be held during NAMRC/MSEC/LEM&P, June 22-26, 2020, at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. The University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science is pleased to host the co-located ASME International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) 2020, the 48th NAMRI | SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) and the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) Leading Edge Manufacturing/Materials & Processing (LEM&P) 2020.

For more information about RAMP 2020 and how to enter the competition, visit

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Future of Manufacturing Coming to Pittsburgh

SME and AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, McLean, Va., will take their co-sponsored Smart Manufacturing Experience event to Pittsburgh in 2020. Technological innovation is advancing at lightning speed, shaking up almost everything in the industrial world; the manufacturing of today will be drastically different years from now. Manufacturers across North America and in every sector and industry must be prepared to understand, invest in and adopt these emerging technologies and others, or risk being left behind by more opportunistic and forward-looking competitors.

From June 2-4, 2020, the event will provide manufacturers an opportunity to engage with the most advanced smart manufacturing technologies that they can deploy quickly to boost productivity, increase sales, improve efficiency, reduce costs and keep up with increasingly sophisticated competition. New technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing present new opportunities, while changing the way manufacturers manage standard operations. Learn more or register at

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