Clemson University’s strength in advanced manufacturing underscored by three awards
South Carolina strengthened its position as a fast-rising force in advanced manufacturing as Xin Zhao became the third Clemson University faculty member in four years to win an award recognizing young engineers who contribute to manufacturing.
Zhao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is receiving the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Detroit-based professional organization SME.
The award recognizes “manufacturing engineers, age 35 or younger, who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry,” according to SME.
“Manufacturing in South Carolina is growing,” Zhao said. “Our capability is stronger and stronger. The work by Clemson is recognized by the whole nation. We are moving toward becoming one of the leading states in advanced manufacturing.”
His research is helping expand the use of lasers in manufacturing and could lead to self-cleaning windshields, more efficient solar panels and better ways of joining auto parts that are made of dissimilar materials.
Previous winners of the SME award were Srikanth Pilla and Fadi Abu-Farha, both of the Department of Automotive Engineering. ✲
Governor recognizes faculty member for composite materials research
Gov. Henry McMaster honored a Clemson University researcher who has quickly become a leader in the technology behind composite materials, part of a fast-growing industry that has brought South Carolina thousands of new jobs and investment in the billions of dollars.
Srikanth Pilla, the Jenkins Professor of Automotive Engineering and dean’s faculty fellow, is this year’s recipient of the Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research. He is based in Greenville at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.
Pilla specializes in creating lightweight and sustainable composite materials and finding ways to use them in manufacturing. Composite materials are developed to have advantages over more conventional materials. Some, for example, are lighter yet stronger than steel, reducing the weight of cars and airplanes to improve fuel efficiency.
The advanced materials industry, which includes composite materials, has brought 8,055 jobs and $4 billion in capital investment to the state since 2011, according to the state Department of Commerce. Pilla works closely with industry in his research, and one of his latest projects is expected to strengthen those ties.
The Clemson Composites Center, where he is founding director, received $1.5 million in funding from the state Department of Commerce and has drawn the interest of the automotive, aerospace and sustainable energy industries. The Center is part of the Clemson University Center for Advanced Manufacturing. ✲
The Thomas F. Hash ‘69 SmartState Endowed Chair in Sustainable Development was created in 2010 to develop new technologies to foster sustainability, protect the state’s natural resources and encourage smart growth. It was the first such position in Clemson’s Center of Economic Excellence in Sustainable Development. You can learn more about Hash HERE or read about his induction into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists on Newstand. ✲
Pictured L-R: Steve Hutchinson, Dabo Swinney, Tom and Carolyn Hash, and President Clements.
Vehicle Assembly Center hailed as new model for research and education
Automotive researchers, students and manufacturers are working side by side to develop and learn advanced manufacturing techniques at the new Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center. The 4,000-square-foot center has a full vehicle assembly line, joining lab, sub-assembly lab, embedded devices lab, collaborative robotics center and autonomous factory vehicles.
It is designed to enable innovative manufacturing solutions while creating highly trained engineers and technicians for industry.
“We are embarking on a new model where academia and industry can drive compelling research while simultaneously defining a new education paradigm as students at the graduate, undergraduate and technical college levels collaborate on full-scale manufacturing projects and fortify each other’s learning,” said Laine Mears, Vehicle Assembly Center director and BMW SmartState Chair in Automotive Manufacturing at Clemson University.
A large portion of the research is done by faculty and students in Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. Greenville Technical College students are enrolled in manufacturing training programs.
The Vehicle Assembly Center’s grand opening in February brought together its many collaborators. They included the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Greenville Technical College, BMW Manufacturing and Siemens.
The center is located in Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation in Greenville and is part of the Clemson University Center for Advanced Manufacturing. ✲
This spring six Clemson University alumni were recognized for contributions to their professions and communities at a celebratory banquet attended by family, friends, faculty and previous winners. Two were honored as Outstanding Young Alumni from the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. Both of these outstanding young people are exemplary in their professions and of service to others.
Four alumni were inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists. Dean Anand Gamopadhye aptly describes the recognition in this way: “This award is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.”
Fewer than 0.2 percent of alumni from the college are selected for this prestigious honor recognizing engineers and scientists who have brought distinction to Clemson University through conspicuous success in their careers, significant contributions to society and notable contributions to engineering and science practice.
From energy projects that stretch around the world to creating a legacy of innovative building to providing University leadership and consistent financial support for the department, these inductees have proven themselves to be, like the University’s namesake, devoted to advancing society and their professions.
Daniela Ruiz spoke only Spanish when she arrived at Clemson University as a freshman. The Beni, Bolivia, native has not only adapted over the past four years but excelled in the classroom and on the tennis court. The standout doubles player graduated in May with her bachelor of science in industrial engineering and is working on her master’s degree. Ruiz was among 52 student-athletes in the Atlantic Coast Conference to win the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award and is receiving $6,000 toward her graduate education.