I study applications of mechatronics methodology in the design and realization of manufacturing and assembly systems by using digital manufacturing tools. In particular, I am interested in the integration of data in mechatronic systems in advanced manufacturing systems through product lifecycle management technologies, both in the design phase, through the use of collaborative engineering tools, and in the realization phase, with the shop floor machine integration. Moreover, I am interested in the analysis and optimization of efficient workspaces in manufacturing and assembly systems, which include industrial robots and human workers with the application of digital manufacturing strategies and tools. In addition, I am interested in the improvement of material tracking systems in manufacturing. I am involved in research regarding cyber threats to manufacturing, which are a growing concern for the modern factory. I am also involved in research that models data flow from data acquisition equipment through various sensors in manufacturing cells to the product lifecycle management system and from the system to the machines. This research is funded by the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Disputanta, VA.
I research the implementation of environmental compliance requirements in the design and manufacturing processes of mechatronic and electromechanical products. More specifically, I study the current environmental standards for mechatronic and electromechanical products and determine how Product Lifecycle Management software tools are used to facilitate environmental compliance of such products. In addition, I investigate the applications of discrete event simulation for energy efficiency analysis and improvement of sustainability of manufacturing systems. I am also involved in a project related to the design of a rooftop solar tracker for affordable clean energy from the sun; a project funded by the Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), under its matching funds program. The ultimate goal is to bring down the costs of the tracking system by being more efficient with materials and the actual manufacturing.
Furthermore, I am interested in the development of a next-generation workforce to address the gap that currently exists in the area of advanced manufacturing, more specifically in the areas of mechatronics, collaborative engineering, data acquisition in manufacturing systems, spatial visualization, the use of didactic tools like sensor kits, micro-controller kits, and the use of robotics as a vehicle to recruit students to engineering and engineering technology. I am also interested in better preparing this workforce with the foundations in mechatronics for their future careers in the advanced manufacturing sector. I am involved in recruiting efforts related to mechatronic education and mobile robotics. I developed a dual course for the Career and Technical Education program at the high school level: Introduction to Mechatronics. With this, I trained 12 high school teachers on how to deliver these in a Mechatronic Teacher Workshop, as a result of two projects funded and supported by the Workforce Development Board of Hampton Roads Opportunity, Ink. In addition, I actively participate as a visiting speaker through visits to local high schools in the Hampton Roads area schools, such as Granby High School, Norfolk, VA, Norview High School, Norfolk, VA, and Nansemond River High School, Suffolk, VA.