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Mechanical, Automotive & Materials Engineering

Sergio Marchionne’s UWindsor visit leaves impression on engineering students

When you meet with an executive at the helm of one the largest automakers in the world, you expect him to mainly talk shop.

At least that’s what a group of automotive engineering students expected when they had a chance to spend time with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Nov. 17 at the University of Windsor. Instead, Dr. Marchionne fondly recalled his days as a UWindsor business student and told the eager graduate students in the Windsor-Torino-FCA exchange program to slow down and enjoy this “intellectually stimulating” part of their lives.

Peter Frise recognized for excellence in student mentoring

Mechanical and automotive engineering professor Peter Frise has received the UWindsor Alumni Excellence in Mentoring Award for his contributions to the development — personal, academic and professional — of students before and after their graduation.

“Mentoring must be continual chain of effort that extends throughout the relationships in one’s life,” says Dr. Frise. “This means that all senior people, in any organization, should reach out and play a role in helping junior people to succeed in their own careers. This is doubly true in a university such as ours — and that is why this award means so much to me.”

Ceremony recognizes top UWindsor researchers in turbulence & energy

A reception Sept. 16 at the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation honoured high-achieving researchers in the University of Windsor’s Turbulence and Energy Laboratory.

Several graduate students were recognized for their innovative research in addition to faculty and staff who assist with the operation of the Turbulence and Energy (T&E) Lab.

Researchers to apply AI to improve human element in manufacturing

This screenshot of a live computer vision simulation shows how image processing recognizes certain objects and their locations within their environment.

Two UWindsor engineering researchers have received more than $715,000 in federal funding to bring cutting-edge artificial intelligence to the manufacturing floor.

Professors Jonathan Wu and Afshin Rahimi say they can mitigate human error and maximize productivity in manufacturing plants through advanced computer vision.

“Human errors were the major driver behind $22.1 billion in vehicle recalls in 2016,” says Dr. Wu, a former Canada Research Chair in Automotive Sensor and Information Systems.

He and Dr. Rahimi aim to create a smart production assistant that will help manufacturing plant operators gain unprecedented visibility into their manual production operations, allowing them to optimize their worker efficiency while maximizing productivity. They will achieve this by automating data generation using computer vision, converting raw data into useable information, visualizing information using common business intelligence methodologies and prediction of future.

The professors have received $717,450 of support from the Mitacs Accelerate program and additional support from Smart Computing for Innovation (SOSCIP) in partnership with i-5O, an early stage Silicon Valley based start-up that has developed a proprietary computer vision powered digital twin to help manufacturers track, measure, and improve their manual production processes. Headquartered in San Francisco with operations in Toronto and Windsor, the company works with large Fortune 500 manufacturers in North America and Asia.

Khizer Hayat, chief innovation officer of i-5O, says its collaboration with Wu and Rahimi will bring the latest in artificial intelligence for improving human performance to the manufacturing industry.

Students engineer solution to material loss at local manufacturer

Lincoln Laser Solutions laser cladding process.

A team of engineering students has saved a local manufacturer thousands of dollars by suggesting improvements to shop floor production processes.

As part of their coursework, PhD candidates Maryam Shafiei Alavijeh, Danilo Stocco, Victor Eghujovbo and master’s candidates Alireza Pasha and Zahra Nazemi partnered with Lincoln Laser Solutions, a Windsor-based company that specializes in laser cladding and additive manufacturing, and found improvements that could save the company $30,800 annually.

“Part of the course requirement is for the students to complete a hands-on project where they must apply process improvement methods and tools learned in the class,” says professor Asif Khan, who teaches the class Lean Manufacturing and Process Improvement. “The focus of this group-based project is to study a process, identify waste and loss, find the root cause, and propose countermeasures to attack the loss.”

Scholarship recipient inspired by fund honouree

Zac Sinasac

Zac Sinasac, just finishing his first semester of graduate study in automotive engineering, is grateful for the opportunities he has been afforded.

“I say thank you as much as I can to the people who have supported me,” he says, listing faculty, family, friends — and donors to scholarships for UWindsor students.

Sinasac says the $1,000 Shawn Yates Memorial Award helped inspire him to excel.

“It’s a motivation, because you’re being rewarded and recognized for your efforts,” he says. “Sometimes you’re so deep in your books that you don’t realize people take notice.”

He made the effort to learn more about Yates, a UWindsor alumnus (BASc 1982, MBA 1992) who helped to found the Windsor Engineering co-op program with the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) before his death in July 2017.

Driving cybersecurity evolution

Meitong Pan, a master’s student who works with Dr. Mitra Mirhassani in the Analog and Mixed Signal Research Lab, examines an FPGA board used to implement complex digital computations.Meitong Pan, a master’s student who works with Dr. Mitra Mirhassani in the Analog and Mixed Signal Research Lab, examines an FPGA board used to implement complex digital computations.

Companies are well aware of the environmental benefits of electrifying vehicle fleets, but how much is known about the security of these systems?

A University of Windsor researcher aims to dig deeper through the investigation of cybersecurity issues that arise when using electric vehicle fleets with battery charging infrastructure.

“The environmental, geopolitical and financial advantages of electric vehicles are well-studied and addressed in many research publications. However, security of these systems is not given the full attention that it requires,” says Dr. Mitra Mirhassani, the project lead and associate professor who specializes in electrical engineering.

Amazon announced in fall 2019 the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever, according to David Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations. The world’s largest retailer purchased 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based start-up. While companies like Amazon are making the switch to electric fleets, municipalities are preparing with plans to add infrastructure to accommodate the surge in consumer and corporate investments in alternative fuels. The City of Windsor is looking to set up 11 dual-port electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the municipality, according to a 2019 city council report.

A natural changemaker

Pamela Nadin-McIntyre meets with a drilling team during a visit to Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s offshore operations on West Africa’s Ivory Coast.

Pamela Nadin-Mcintyre was introduced to the importance of innovation and its role in business at a young age.

As a daughter of a Windsor tool and die business owner, she remembers watching her dad brainstorm and execute countless ideas to drive business and stay competitive.

Decades later and three provinces away, she is the innovation lead — in addition to safety, technical safety, and risk management — for Canada’s largest independent crude oil and natural gas producer, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural).

“My dad’s the one who really helped push me in this direction,” says Nadin- McIntyre BASc ’86.

In addition to ensuring the right systems are in place to maintain the safety of people across Canadian Natural’s operations, she leads dedicated teams that are focused on improving the company’s environmental performance through technology and innovation. And for someone who is passionate about the environment, it’s more than just a job.

UWindsor satellite design leading student competition

Male student using a telescope in a lab.

A team from the University of Windsor received top marks from the judges in the design review portion of the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge, in October in Quebec City.

The competition requires students to develop a satellite that can take a photo from space when commanded to do so by amateur radio operators around the world. It is intended to advance space education in Canada, inspiring students to pursue science and engineering educations and careers.

The satellites will undergo full launch and space environmental qualification testing, with the goal of launching the winning satellite into orbit.

In Quebec, teams conducted 2.5-hour presentations to a panel of industry experts.