The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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2022 Steve Malkin Lecture: "Integrating Physical and Data Sciences for Advanced Manufacturing"


Friday, April 8, 2022 - 11:00am


Robert X. Gao, Cady Staley Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University


Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall


As the fundamental building blocks of Industry 4.0, sensing and artificial intelligence play a critical role in advancing the science base for manufacturing.  The ability in acquiring data in-situ and extracting clues from the data to guide the action of assistive infrastructure such as robots is essential to enhancing process control and production planning.

This lecture pays tribute to the late Distinguished Professor Stephen Malkin, who has inspired the speaker to pursue a career in manufacturing.  It highlights research that has led to the design, modeling, and experimental evaluation of novel sensors for manufacturing process monitoring. Examples include an acoustic emission and force sensors-embedded intelligent grinding wheel with RF-based wireless data transmission for in-process monitoring of wheel truing and grinding processes for ceramics machining, and a multi-physics sensor with acoustic-based wireless data transmission for the online quantification of four parameters (melt temperature, pressure, velocity, and viscosity) within an injection mold, using only one sensor package. The second part of the lecture illustrates artificial intelligence techniques that enable a robot to learn from the past and current human actions associated with assembly operations, based on which future human actions and motion trajectories are predicted in order for the robot to proactively pick up the needed parts and/or tools for handover to the human operator in a coordinated, safe manner. The lecture highlights the potential of convergent research in pushing the envelope of manufacturing in the 21st century.

Biographical Sketch :
Robert Gao is the Cady Staley Professor of Engineering and Department Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Since receiving his Ph.D. degree from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany in 1991, he has been working signal transduction methods, stochastic modeling, and AI-based data analytics for improving the observability of dynamical systems such as manufacturing equipment, with the goal to improve process and product quality control.  He was on the faculty of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, during 1995-2008.

Professor Gao is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and CIRP (International Academy for Production Engineering). He has published over 400 technical papers, including more than 180 journal articles, three books, and holds 13 patents. He is a recipient of the SME Eli Whitney Productivity Award (2019), IEEE Best Application in Instrumental and Measurement Award (2019), ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award (2018), and IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society’s Technical Award (2013). During his tenure at UMass Amherst, he received the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Faculty Award (2007), the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (1999), and an NSF CAREER award (1996).  He has served as an Associate Editor for several journals of the ASME, IEEE, and IFAC, and is currently a Senior Editor for the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. He is Chair-Elect of the Scientific Committee of the North American Manufacturing Research Institute (NAMRI) and Chair of the Collaborative Working Group of AI in Manufacturing (CWG-AI) of CIRP.

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