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Team Roles

The Team

The combination of experience and skills to achieve the goals of Project SM is delivered by a strong, coordinated team. UT-Austin and UCLA are top tier engineering schools with broad experience in process controls, sensors, and measurement, with seven leading researchers involved in Project Smart Manufacturing (SM). Praxair and General Dynamics are providing test beds to demonstrate smart manufacturing on an industrial scale. Schneider Electric and Emerson are considered leaders in their industries, well-qualified to support test bed operations, and offer potential for commercialization of the SM Platform. Nimbis has experience providing a broad spectrum of computing services to pay-as-you-go customers, and contributes a small business, entrepreneurial spirit to the Project SM team. NIST is providing its perspective on standards and cybersecurity for platform development. AIChE and NCMS will assist in development of standard metrics for energy management and facilitate development of new Applications across industry sectors for the SM Platform. AIChE and NCMS will perform outreach to small and medium manufacturers represented through their organizations. The members of SMLC will provide a conduit to large manufacturing and energy stakeholders.


The lead institution and submitting organization is UT-Austin, a top ten engineering school that is well known for its partnerships with industry in performing research relevant to energy industries. UT-Austin faculty and graduate students in chemical and mechanical engineering carry out research tasks in process modeling, design, control, optimization, and sensor testing. Data from the two test beds are analyzed by the UT-Austin research team and they work closely with engineering staff from Praxair and GD.

UCLA, a top tier engineering school, utilizes its unique capabilities to manage the development and implementation of SM Platform infrastructure, workflow tools, computer science, and domain expertise support for generalized modeling and simulation methodologies and software development through UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE) and the Office of Information Technology. UCLA faculty and graduate students in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering provide the application, Toolkit, and general model methodology developments for the SM Platform and also provide supplemental design, control, and optimization manpower to work with UT-Austin faculty and students. UCLA also is the axis of collaboration with the Automation Providers with Nimbis and NIST.

Test Beds

Praxair is responsible for operating one of the test beds, a continuous steam-methane reforming process to manufacture hydrogen from natural gas in Houston, TX. Praxair has over 20 such plants in the U.S. The test bed operations staff are supplemented by members of the research staff from the Praxair research center in Tonawanda, NY. As a test bed, the Praxair SMR represents a legacy unit operation in which new sensor technology and high fidelity modeling integrated into the operation makes it possible to optimize fuel flow distribution leading to significant reductions in waste heat. The second test bed, operated by General Dynamics (GD) in Scranton, PA., is the largest facility for making a full range of artillery shells for the U.S. Army and commercial high pressure metal fittings using a line operation comprised of forging, machining, and heat treatment processes. As a test bed this plant is a hybrid of batch and discrete manufacturing operations which can be optimized together to reduce defects and save energy by sharing product line and in production materials properties in downstream machine configurations and machine maintenance and energy use information upstream to dynamically configure the heat treatment process. Operations staff from the Scranton plant are teamed with modeling experts at the UT Austin. Automation providers Emerson Process Management in collaboration with OSISoft are key partners in the data collection and management as well as in control and optimization applications. Schneider Electric is advising on the energy management possibilities and is a key partner in the security of the SM Platform and the function and access of applications through the SM Platform.

Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2010 sales of $10 billion. The Company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others.

General Dynamics is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and mission-critical information systems and technology.

Platform Development

The Smart Manufacturing Application and Data Platform (SM Platform) to be developed during this project is an innovative approach that integrates information technology, models, and simulations driven by real-time plant data and performance metrics. This SM Platform architecture will allow manufacturing organizations, regardless of their industry or size, to assemble new management systems at a much lower cost, optimizing process knowledge and improving energy productivity by integrating with existing process control and automation systems. Working in tandem with UCLA and Nimbis are Emerson, who is also coordinating with OSISoft, Schneider Electric and one government agency (NIST). Nimbis is coordinating with ANSYS Fluent and MATLAB on key software application environments.

Schneider Electric is a leading designer and manufacturer of automation and control solutions. They have an extensive range of products, from programmable relays through to high performance motion controllers and interface modules. Schneider has the technology capable of controlling simple machines through to complex process control applications across all industrial, infrastructure and building sectors.

Emerson Process Management, an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, metals and mining, food and beverage, life sciences, and other industries. The Company combines superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services.

OSISoft is global leader in operational intelligence, delivers an open enterprise infrastructure to connect sensor-based data, operations and people to enable real time data management and actionable insights. As the maker of the PI System, OSIsoft empowers companies across a range of industries in activities such as exploration, extraction, production, generation, process and discrete manufacturing, distribution, and services to leverage streaming data to optimize and enrich their businesses.

Nimbis Services currently offers technical computing expertise in building computer software platforms and will provision the marketplace providing pre-negotiated services from computing providers, independent software vendors, domain experts, and regional solution providers for experimental and periodic users. Nimbis is actively working on expanding the available services with Technical App Toolkit/housing (iPhone App model), trusted design/analysis flows and integration with various user groups. Nimbis acts as a nationwide brokerage and clearinghouse for a broad spectrum of Digital Analysis Computing (DAC) Services, e.g., “pay-as-you-go” access to compute cycles, third-party software, and expertise.

National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is the federal technology agency that works with industry to develop and supply technology, measurements, and standards.


AIChE and NCMS support development of energy and sustainability metrics for Project SM by engagement with a wide range of industrial stakeholders. Each represents significant manufacturing constituencies and will be responsible for disseminating information, technology transfer, conducting workshops, conferences, and webinars reaching out to small, medium, and large enterprises.

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with over 40,000 members from over 90 countries. AIChE has the breadth of resources and expertise you need whether you are in core process industries or emerging areas, such as nano-biotechnology.

National Center for Manufacturing Science (NCMS) is a nonprofit, member-based consortium. The organization’s objective is to drive the global competitiveness of North American Manufacturers through collaboration, innovation, and advanced technologies.