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Industry group honours engineering researcher

Xueyuan Nie, a professor of mechanical, automotive and materials engineering, is proud and humbled as a recipient of an award of excellence from an industry group.

Dr. Nie was honoured as a “key collaborator” by the Auto/Steel Partnership, a consortium of steel-producing companies and automakers. The award recognizes an outside contractor whose contributions to a project prove valuable in overcoming challenges.

Nie recalls helping Chrysler address a challenge in stamping advanced high-strength steels.

“The existing tooling dies could only stamp around 100 parts and soon failed,” he says.

He proposed a duplex treatment which added a hard ceramic layer to the dies.

“To be honest, some of the team members didn't believe this approach would work since the coating was only a few microns thick. It was hard to believe such a thin ceramic layer could withstand thousand tons of stamping forces.”

The surface engineering method he proposed has become an industry standard for preparing stamping tooling dies.

His lab ended up creating a die wear tester, is used for developing coating technology and provides data useful in design and optimization.

“Our goal is that we can use the tester not only to study die wear, but also use the test results to predict lifetime of tooling dies and parts that can be produced,” he says.

Nie’s award was presented during a virtual ceremony Oct. 26.

He calls the organization a perfect example of collaboration between key industry sectors and academic research labs. 

“I truly enjoy collaborating with AS/P and working with its Stamping Tooling Optimization Team,” he says. “They are very knowledgeable and dedicated experts.”

He expresses thanks to students in his research group and technical support staff in the Faculty of Engineering.

“This award is a testimony that any contribution from each team member can mean a lot to our industry and society,” Nie says.