Dr. Sha Receives National ASME Award

Dr. Zhenghui Sha received the national-level award at the ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conference this month.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers held its annual International Design Engineering Technical Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sha, assistant professor in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, received the Young Engineer Award, which recognizes a promising young investigator who is making outstanding contributions to the progress in the application of computers in engineering.

Dr. Sha Joined the ASME SEIKM Technical Committee (TC) Panel to Discuss Data Science and Hackathon in Mechanical Engineering

The ASME SEIKM Technical Committee and the ASME CIE Hackathon Committee co-organized this year’s SEIKM Panel on the topic of “The Role of Hackathon Mechanism in Promoting Data Science in Mechanical Engineering Research and Education: Perspectives from Academia and Industry.” This panellists are Zhenghui Sha (UT Austin), Yan Lu (NIST), Ye Wang (Autodesk), and Daniele Grandi (Autodesk). They discussed 1) the ways and mechanisms to build academia-industry relationships in providing ME students with practical data-driven engineering problems and hands-on experiences, 2) how to train the data-literate mechanical engineers that can harness the data revolution in different engineering fields, and 3) the connection/gaps between data science education in the classroom and data science applications in industry.

The motivation of the ASME Hackathon initiative is to support an engaging and inclusive platform for researchers to practice data-driven discovery and explore new statistical and machine-learning techniques appropriate for the use of unstructured data that would be beneficial to mechanical engineering, and developing pathways to train the data-literate mechanical engineers that can harness the data revolution in different engineering fields.

Graduate Students Presented Papers and Posters at the IDETC/CIE Conference

Three graduate students, Yinshuang Xiao, Xingang Li, and Daniel Weber, recently attended the 2022 IDETC/CIE conference in St. Louis, Missouri in person. Check their papers, posters and video presentations below.

Y. Xiao, F. Ahmed, Z. Sha, “Travel Links Prediction In Shared Mobility Networks Using Graph Neural Network Models,” ASME 2022 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 14-17, 2022.

X. Li, Y. Wang, Z. Sha, “Deep Learning of Cross-Modal Tasks for Conceptual Design of Engineered Products: A Review,” ASME 2022 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 14-17, 2022.

D. Weber, Z. Sha, “Z-Chunking for Cooperative 3D Printing of Large and Tall Objects,” CIE Graduate Research Poster Competition, ASME 2022 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 14-17, 2022.

Some pictures taken during their presentations:

Swarm Manufacturing of a Mini-Electrical Vehicle as a Demo for Future General Purpose Factories

Check our recent work on hybrid swarm manufacturing, collaborated with our partners at AMBOTS and Dr. Wenchao Zhou. This is a challenging topic that integrates knowledge from design for assembly (DfA), design for additive manufacturing (DfAM), manufacturing scheduling, and multi-robot path planning. The work was presented at the 2022 Symposium on Freefrom Fabrication (SFF) on Wednesday 07/27/2022. 

SiDi M.S. Student Presented the Work on Z-Chunking for C3DP

The M.S. student, Daniel Weber, presented his first conference paper “Z-Chunking for Cooperative 3D Printing (C3DP) of Large and Tall Objects” at the 2022 Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) Symposium. Check out the short video below.

Abstract: Cooperative 3D Printing (C3DP) is an emerging technology designed to address the size and printing speed limitations of conventional gantry-based 3D printers. To print large-scale objects, C3DP divides a job into chunks to be printed by a swarm of mobile robots. Previously, we developed a Chunker algorithm to partition jobs into printable parts in the XY direction, which theoretically enables the printing of objects of unlimited size in XY dimensions. However, print size is limited in the Z direction due to the physical constraints of the printer. In this paper, we introduce the first working strategy and rules of Z-Chunking for C3DP, such as where and how to place chunk boundaries along the Z direction and alignment geometries for easy post-assembly. Additional challenges of interfacing with XY chunking and facilitating re-assembly of the job are also considered. We conduct two case studies on objects of varying geometric complexity (e.g., simple solids vs. hollow structures) in which the object is chunked, printed, and assembled.

Graduate Students from SiDi Lab Received Several Awards

Two Ph.D. students and one M.S. student from SiDi Lab recently received several awards and recognition from several international conferences and the University of Texas at Austin.

First, congratulate Daniel Weber, an MS student in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin, on receiving the 2022 NSF SFF Student Award and the H. Grady Rylander Longhorn Mechanical Engineering Club Excellence in Teaching Fellowship from Cockrell School of Engineering to recognize the Teaching Assitant “Who excels as a leader and effective communicator in classroom teaching.”

Second, congratulate Xingang Li, a Ph.D. student in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin, on receiving the NSF support to attend the 2022 Frontiers in Design Representation Summer School at the University of Maryland.

Finally, congratulate both Xingang Li and Yinshuang Xiao, both are Ph.D. student in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin, on being selected to present their work on the 34th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM) during the 2022 IDETC/CIE conference. Each of them will receive a $1,000 stipend in support of their travels.

All the awards are very competitive this year and congratulations again to all of them!

A Talk Was Given at CAMDI Seminar Series

Dr. Sha recently jointly presented SiDi Lab’s research on Swarm Manufacturing with Dr. Wenchao Zhou, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arkansas and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of AMBOTS Inc. at the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Design Innovation (CAMDI) of UT Austin. The talk was recorded and is now available.

Paper Published on Design Science

Our paper titled “Robust design of complex socio-technical systems (STS) against seasonal effects: a network motif-based approach” is now published on Design Science. In this paper, we developed a design approach to robust STS by modeling complex systems as complex networks and investigating the significant motifs within the network. The network motifs are critical building blocks of the target system and the motif-based design for desired system property provides a new perspective on the STS engineering and design. Check here to read our article: https://www.doi.org/10.1017/dsj.2021.27.

The First Semester of Teaching at UT Austin

Fall 2021 has been a really hectic semester, especially for teaching. The shift of teaching mode from virtual to in-person (most professors had to take care of both in-person and virtual classes simultaneously) made the teaching schedule and in-class instruction a challenging task. You must prepare for the teaching and tailor the content precisely so that you can finish each lecture in time. I was grateful for the teaching arrangement because I was assigned to teach Machine Elements – a core course in Mechanical Engineering – that I have taught for more than four years. While I am familiar with the course content, this is the first time I changed the course project to a semester-long project – Design and Fabrication of a Remote-Control Car, developed by Dr. Michael Cullinan – my colleague at UT. My previous version has two small projects, each lasting about a half-semester. Of course, it is a challenging task for the students as the time management required to successfully finish this project while still maintaining every course assignment, such as homework and exams, on track is non-trivial.

In this project, each team was given an electrical start kit consisting of a DC motor, a
Servomotor, a speed controller, a remote control, a radio receiver, and a battery. Then, each team was responsible for designing the mechanical systems, including the steering system, the gear train, and the chassis, integrating those electrical components, and delivering an RC car for racing. I was impressed to see how my students were adaptive to the changing environment (keep in mind that we are still in the pandemic) and the uncertainties that the students must address because the project itself is pretty open-ended. I was also impressed by the learning outcomes that this project empowered, particularly the systems thinking skills (e.g., the ability to account for interactions between design variables or subsystems and the mindset of taking green and economic factors beyond technical details) and communication skills, including leadership. This made every student a careful observer of the connection between theories and real-world tests and a fast learner from mistakes. These skills are so critical to their future career once they graduate from college. I am sharing a few photos and a video. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in this project, and I’d love to share my teaching experience.

One Race Competition
The Final Race – The Top Four Teams
The Double-Elimination Tournament Brackets

Laxmi Poudel Joined UMich as A Postdoc Fellow

Please join me to congratulate Laxmi Poudel for being offered a Postdoctoral Fellow position at the University of Michigan in Dr. Dawn Tilbury‘s lab. Dr. Tilbury is a well-known professor in the area of control and manufacturing systems. This must be a great opportunity for Laxmi while he is pursuing his career goals in academia. All the best, Laxmi! We wish you all the success in the future endeavor, and your connection to SiDi Lab will continue as I believe this is your academia HOME.

Laxmi joined SiDi as a Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas in 2017. His research was focused on Cooperative 3D Printing and Scheduling. His research has laid down the foundation for the realization of the swarm manufacturing of the future. His dissertation can be downloaded here, “Computational Frameworks for Multi-Robot Cooperative 3D Printing and Planning.”