Penn State

Penn State (3)

A team of researchers and analysts from Penn State, Case Western Reserve University, the GE Global Research Center and Microsoft are working on a $1.5 million collaborative research project to develop a cloud-based wireless sensing and prognostic system for monitoring machinery health conditions.

The initiative will make it possible for the system to detect early signs of wear, aging and fault conditions in the machines.

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) is providing $750,000 in funding while the other four entities are matching that amount through a cost-sharing agreement.

Dazhong Wu, senior research associate in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) and Janis Terpenny, Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and Head of IME, are the lead researchers of the project.

They are joined by Robert Gao, Cady Staley Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University; Li Zhang, senior research scientist for industrial Internet of Things (IoT) at GE Global Research Center; and Mark Beckmann, senior manager at Microsoft.

“The emergence of cloud computing, machine learning, and the IoT technologies makes it possible for a machine to function as an agent that is capable of intelligent behaviors, such as automatic fault and failure detection, self-diagnosis and proactive maintenance scheduling,” said Wu.

The project, titled “Cloud-Enabled Machines with Data-Driven Intelligence,” is set to begin Feb. 1 and will be funded by DMDII for 18 months.

“I cannot overstate how delighted I am about this project,” said Terpenny. “This initiative brings together researchers and practitioners from manufacturing and software industries in collaboration with leading university researches.  We are quite fortunate, here at Penn State, to have the facilities and equipment that are essential to advancing smart manufacturing technologies and methods.”

Terpenny is specifically referring to the Factory for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), which is housed within the IME department. FAME is a 10,000-square-foot integrated high-bay laboratory for teaching and research and is equipped with modern and legacy equipment.

“FAME provides the perfect environment for developments and experimentation for this project and the natural integration of research, teaching and impact with industry,” she added.

In order to demonstrate the cloud-based manufacturing systems with data-driven intelligence, both legacy machines and general-purpose computer numeric control machines will be used as test cases.

“The overall goal of this research is to establish a generic framework for real-time process monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis for smart manufacturing using cloud computing and big data analytics,” said Wu. “The outcome of this project has the potential to enable manufacturers to implement artificial intelligence into manufacturing machines.”

Students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will have unprecedented access to world-class animation and modeling software thanks to a gift, valued at $21.7 million, from Autodesk, a leading global developer of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

This is the first time Autodesk has provided full access to its top products through a grant of software to a college or university. The gift -- the largest ever at Penn State Behrend -- will give students access to three key software packages: Education Master Suite, which includes advanced 3D CAD and engineering analysis tools; Simulation Moldflow, a fast, accurate and flexible design tool for plastic injection molding; and Entertainment Creation Suite, which was used to animate the last 17 films that won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Faculty members in the college's School of Engineering and professors in chemistry, psychology, game design and management information systems already are using the software, which is available at more than 950 computer workstations on campus. Every student and faculty member at Penn State Behrend has access to it.

Students also can become certified in Autodesk Simulation Moldflow by taking an exam that will be administered annually on campus.

"Graduates of Penn State Behrend and its School of Engineering have enjoyed a rich employment track record, and with access to this software, they will be even better positioned for success," said Ralph Ford, director of the School of Engineering. "This gift will also support the future growth of Penn State Behrend as we develop new interdisciplinary programs that fuse the humanities, the arts and advanced digital technologies."

The Autodesk products will jump-start the college's digital arts, media and technology initiative, which blends film and video game development with other advanced simulation work. Penn State Behrend's K-12 STEM outreach efforts, including the Math Options, Upward Bound and Women in Engineering programs, also will use the software.

"Partnering with Penn State Behrend allows us to put sophisticated simulation software into the hands of future engineers, scientists and artists," said Tom Cameron, vice president of manufacturing sales at Autodesk. "This significant partnership reinforces our commitment to providing students and educators with the resources they need to inspire the next generation of professionals."

The Autodesk gift also advances the University's current fundraising campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. That initiative is the most ambitious in Penn State's history, with a goal of securing $2 billion by June 2014.

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From building the better soccer net to designing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, Penn State engineering students displayed their innovation and design proficiency at the 2011 Engineering Design Showcase on Dec. 8 at the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus. The event was hosted by Penn State's College of Engineering and organized by the Learning Factory, a University-industry partnership program that provides hands-on educational experience to future engineers.

During the showcase, final projects were judged by a panel of industry experts with prizes awarded to the groups with the best design applications and best displays. This year's event featured 76 student-designed and industry-sponsored projects that combine classroom learning with real-world technical demands and expectations.

The semester-long projects merge the classroom and real-world by exposing students to the technical demands, pitfalls and professional expectations they would experience as a practicing engineer in the industry.

Companies sponsoring this semester's projects include 4Carrots; A Lean Machine; Advantage Metal Powders; Air Products; Appek; Bell Helicopter; Textron, Inc.; Boeing; CONSOL Energy, Inc.; Discovery Space; Dresser-Rand; Experimental Designs, Inc.; Flowserve; General Motors; Green Thumb Services; Harris Corporation; Instasol Technology; Jersey Shore Hospital; KC Innovations, Inc.; Kydex; M4 Sciences; Metso; Movasu, Inc.; Nascent Services; NSWCCD; Pratt & Whitney; Quaker Chemical Corporation; Rockland Manufacturing; Samsung Electronics, Inc.; Shell; ShowKase; SimpleServe; Solar Dynamic Technology; Solutionwerks, Inc.; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; The Net Return; The Vitamin Shoppe; URS; and Volvo Powertrain North America.

The Student Design Project Showcase is organized by the Learning Factory, a university-industry partnership to educate the next generation of engineers by providing hands-on experience with real-world capstone design projects. The Learning Factory has facilitated more than 2,500 student design projects for more than 350 companies since its establishment in 1995.

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Photo Credit: Patrick Mansell

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