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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

2018 RAMP - Reusable Abstractions of Manufacturing Processes

Building up a US manufacturing resource!

Department of Commerce - National Institute of Standards and Technology

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $2,850
Type of Challenge: Scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: NSF Directorate for Engineering
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: ASTM International E60 Committee, ASME MSEC, SME NAMRC
Submission Start: 01/29/2018 09:00 AM ET
Submission End: 04/21/2018 03:00 AM ET


On April 5, we held another live webinar that focused on submission guidelines for RAMP 2018 and improvements to the UMP Builder, an open tool that helps participants record Unit Manufacturing Process models.   An example submission of a Face Milling Model was reviewed to help communicate the required components of a RAMP 2018 submission.   A transcript of the Q&A during the live webinar will be made available via the discussion board. You can find a copy of the slides here. You can access the webinar recording here.

On February 6, we held a live webinar to discuss the rules and logistics of RAMP 2018.  You can find the webinar recording here  and a copy of the slides here.  The webinar also demonstrated a prototype tool to support RAMP 2018 called the UMP Builder, which can be accessed at  Please use the discussion board if you have any questions.

In the future, manufacturing will be planned out in the virtual world. How can we do this if we don’t even have models for the basic processes such as welding, drilling, and forging? Sewing, assembly, or distillation? Nope, we don’t even have models for those either! At least, not the types of models really needed for our high-tech world. Manufacturers need models to improve operations, to protect the environment, to share information, and to compose them into systems. Using your models will let manufacturers simulate, improve, and optimize all sorts of processes. Showcase your manufacturing research by entering the RAMP 2018 Challenge!  Finalists will be invited to present their entries in a workshop at the co-located ASME International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) 2018 and the 46th NAMRI/SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) in College Station, TX, on June 18-22. 

Click on the "Rules" link on the left of the page to check out the official rules for details on eligibility and submission criteria.

Theme: This year's RAMP competition will be underlined by the theme...

Tracking Resources and Flows through the System

Similar to last year's competition, the building blocks of each submission are the Unit Manufacturing Process (UMP) models, which represent Reusable Abstractions of Manufacturing Processes (RAMP). Two of the main drivers within this Theme are sustainability and composability. Particular interest will be paid to those submissions that address some element of both drivers. Possible approaches that participants could take to address this year's theme include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Composition of a set of UMP models to conduct material flow analysis (MFA)
  • Waste minimization for part manufacturing (or product assembly) using UMP models
  • Detailed sustainability analysis of a single process using multiple UMP representations
  • Environmental and economic tradeoff analysis using alternative UMP methods
  • Balanced benefits and burden related to sustainability of UMPs

New to 2018 RAMP:  

The most significant upgrade to this year's competition is the new UMP Schema that must be followed for submission.   The schema is expressed as an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) Schema Definition (XSD).  Participants can import the schema into any XML editing tool to help build their XML submissions.  Examples of well-formed XML documents built from the schema include an Atomic Layer Deposition UMP Model and a Data-Driven Milling UMP Model.  More information about the schema can be found in the Rules.


First Place


Second Place



Below, we have provided some key points for your submission.  For the further details, see the Official Rules for RAMP 2018, which include all terms and conditions regarding this challenge.


Manufacturing Process Selection:  

You can choose any manufacturing process(es) to demonstrate the application of a UMP representation using ASTM E3012-16 and in support of the theme.  ASTM is providing access to this standard free of charge for the purpose of the RAMP Challenge. To obtain a copy of the standard for use in the RAMP Challenge, you can click here.

The standard is further described in a Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering paper titled “Standard representations for sustainability characterization of industrial processes.”  The paper may be downloaded here.

Information Model: 

The identified UMP information model(s) each should include an XML instance conforming to the new UMP Schema. The UMP Schema provides the structure necessary to meet these requirements. Please refer to the UMP Schema Documentation for a detailed explanation of each element and attribute in the schema.  Within the XML instance, the following must be addressed:

  • Entity identification: Identify the five elements shown in the E3012-16 standard, including inputs, outputs, product and process information, resources, and transformation functions.
  • Nomenclature: Describe the nomenclature of all recorded entities represented in the structured form, including any computed values in the transformation functions. This should include information such as names of the computed values, its meaning, type of the input variable, and the unit in which the data is represented in the model.
  • Information sources: Source of the information used to define the UMP models, such as existing literature, industry case studies, and textbooks.
  • Constraints and bounds: For each recorded parameter and the model itself, describe the feasibility bounds. For example, material density cannot be a value less than zero.

To support the Information Model, the submission must also include a PDF file includes the following supporting information:

Introductory Information:

Describe information about the submission and the participants, including the title and participant information.

Graphical Representation

The five elements shown in the E3012-16 standard must also be clearly identified in the graphical representation:

  • Inputs: Identify inputs, which include information about the physical inputs to the process, such energy and material.
  • Outputs: Identify outputs, which include information about the physical outputs of the process, such as waste and finished parts.
  • Product and Process Information: Identify the necessary product and process information that would be required to instantiate the transformation functions, such as CAD files, CAM files, technical drawings, and specifications sheets.
  • Resources: Identify specific manufacturing assets, such as machines, tools, and operators, that would be required to instantiate the transformation functions.
  • Transformation Functions: Describe a series of equations that compute the output from the input.

Note: The Graphical Representation should match the XML instance as specified in the Information Model.  The purpose of the Graphical Representation is for presentation and communication.  If there are multiple UMPs submitted, a graphical representation for each UMP must be prepared.

Written Narrative:

Describe in less than 1500 words how your entry meets the judging criteria and addresses this year's theme, Tracking Resources and Flows through the System.  The written narrative should address the following topics.

  • Validation: Explain how the model is validated. An example of validation includes procuring the data (i.e., inputs and outputs) from a physical (or virtual) manufacturing setting and validating this output against the computed output from the transformation function that is run with inputs from the real manufacturing setting. Other approaches may be taken.
  • Novelty of UMP representation in addressing the Theme.  This can be demonstrated through the following:
    • Advancements to knowledge and understanding of UMP modeling through innovative and expressive representations and methodologies, novel formal representations, more accurate or specialized metric, metric representations that support cascading to higher production levels, or exploration of variations for families of UMP models.
    • Advancements to standards supporting reuse models. This may include automated methods that allow linking of UMP models into systems, facilitating system composition through naming conventions or other methods, generalization that unifies a collection of processes, or standards-based methods for integration with applications.
    • Advancement of techniques for development and validation of UMP models. This may include demonstration of validation techniques for the effectiveness and accuracy of the UMP models or techniques for producing useful derivatives of UMP models or creative methods for mining documentary model descriptions into formal representations.

Directions for submission:

Multiple files may be submitted, but should be uploaded as a single file submission, as a ZIP file.  To clarify, your ZIP file should include XML documents for each UMP model and a PDF of the supporting information.


To enter, the participant must create an account at and visit the Event Website. Entries sent to NIST in any manner other than through the Event Website will not be evaluated or considered for award.

Model types:

Any manufacturing process can be modeled for purposes of information sharing and sustainability assessment.  The modeled process can be one that you have uniquely studied, or from open literature or other 3rd party sources. Any size scale and manufacturing process type (batch, continuous, and discrete event) is acceptable. 

Entry processes can span sizes from traditional scale down to nano-scale and be based on mechanical, electrical, chemical, biochemical, and bio technologies. Note that sustainability is a balance of competing objectives, including cost and time as well as environmental considerations, so many different types of process performance metrics may be considered.  In addition, the use of the models for system-level sustainability performance is a focus of this year's competition.

Entries Allowed: Multiple entries are permitted. Each entry will be reviewed independently. Each entry must characterize at least one process yet participants can submit more than one model per entry. The participant must submit an analysis of a Unit Manufacturing Process that uses the ASTM E60.13 E3012-16 Standard Guide for Characterizing Environmental Aspects of Manufacturing Processes, and that meets the criteria described herein.


At the time of Entry, participants must meet the following Eligibility Rules: to be considered for a cash prize:

  • A Participant (whether an individual, team, or legal entity) must have registered to participate and complied with all of the requirements under section 3719 of title 15, United States Code as contained herein.
  • The Official Representative (individual or team lead, in the case of a group project) must be age 18 at the time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • In the case of a private entity, the business shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.
  • Participants may not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. Eligibility excludes NIST employees and NIST Research Associates as well as direct recipients of NIST funding awards to collaborate on the development of the ASTM standard E3012-16. Non-NIST Federal employees acting in their personal capacities should consult with their respective agency ethics officials to determine whether their participation in this Competition is permissible.
  • Employees of the NSF, the ASTM, and the ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) Conference Organizers are excluded from participating but members of ASTM and ASME are eligible to enter.
  • Any other individuals or legal entities involved with the design, production, execution, distribution or evaluation of the RAMP Challenge are not eligible to participate.
  • A Participant shall not be deemed ineligible because the Participant consulted with Federal employees or used Federal facilities in preparing its submission to the RAMP Challenge if the employees and facilities are made available to all Participants on an equitable basis.
  • Participation is subject to all U.S. federal, state and local laws and regulations. Individuals entering on behalf of or representing a company, institution or other legal entity are responsible for confirming that their entry does not violate any policies of that company, institution or legal entity.
  • Participants can consult with Federal employees or used Federal facilities in preparing its submission to the RAMP Challenge if the employees and facilities are made available to all Participants on an equitable basis.

NIST will announce via the Event Website any Entry(ies) the finalists and those entries to which the Judges have made a cash award (each, an “Award”).  The anticipated number and amount of the Awards that will be awarded for this Competition is set forth in the Official Rules; however, the Judges are not obligated to make all or any Awards, and reserve the right to award fewer than the anticipated number of Awards in the event an insufficient number of eligible Entries meet any one or more of the Judging Criteria for this Competition, based on the Judges' evaluation of the quality of Entries and in their sole discretion. 

Awards will be made based on the Judges’ evaluation of an Entry’s compliance with the Judging Criteria for this Competition. The designated official representative of all finalist entries will be notified in an email from NIST to the e-mail address provided in the submission document that they have been selected as a finalist. Finalists will be required to respond affirmatively and complete further documentation within 5 business days that they meet the eligibility criteria set forth in this notice and they (in the case of a team, one designated representative) are able to participate in person at the 2018 ASME International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) at Texas A&M University from June 18-22, 2018 in College Station, Texas. Travel supplements to defray costs of travel and conference participation may be made available as needed. Return of any notification as “undeliverable” will result in disqualification. 

If a finalist indicates they are unable to participate in the conference or does not respond within 5 business days, NIST reserves the right to invite the next highest ranked entrant (who is not already a finalist), as determined by the subject matter experts, to participate as a finalist. To win an Award, finalists must give a brief in-person presentation to the Judges during the MSEC conference in a special session dedicated to the RAMP Challenge.  Winners will be determined by the Judging Panel at the MSEC Conference, and further verified by NIST.

The winner verification process with NIST includes providing the full legal name, tax identification number or social security number, routing number and banking account to which the prize money can be deposited directly. Return of any notification as “undeliverable” will result in disqualification.  After verification of eligibility,

Awards will be distributed in the form of electronic funds transfer addressed to the official representative specified in the winning Entry.  That official representative will have sole responsibility for further distribution of any Award among Participants in a group Entry or within a company or institution that has submitted an Entry through that representative.  Each list of Entries receiving Awards for the Competition will be made public according to the timeline outlined on the Event Website.

The Official Representatives are responsible for all taxes and reporting related to any Award received as part of the Competition. All costs incurred in the preparation of Competition Entries are to be borne by Participants. For more information, please see the Official Rules for RAMP 2018.        

Judging Criteria

Complexity - 15%

Model reflects the complexities of the manufacturing process, especially those which influence sustainability indicators such as energy and material consumption.

Clarity and adherence to theme - 30%

Model is clear in describing the process and the process-related information and its contribution to advancing the theme.

Accuracy - 30%

Submission accurately models the process as shown through validation.

Novelty - 15%

Approach taken develops new techniques to address the Theme and to advance model reusability or reliability.