Pitt | Swanson Engineering


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Industrial engineering (IE) is about choices - it is the engineering discipline that offers the most wide-ranging array of opportunities in terms of employment, and it is distinguished by its flexibility. While other engineering disciplines tend to apply skills to very specific areas, Industrial Engineers may be found working everywhere: from traditional manufacturing companies to airlines, from distribution companies to financial institutions, from major medical establishments to consulting companies, from high-tech corporations to companies in the food industry. The BS in industrial engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). To learn more about Industrial Engineering’s Undergraduate Program ABET Accreditation, click here. Our department is the proud home of Pitt's Center for Industry Studies, which supports multidisciplinary research that links scholars to some of the most important and challenging problems faced by modern industry.

A statement co-signed by department chair, Bopaya Bidanda, on diversity, equity, and conclusion.

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Pitt’s Manufacturing Assistance Center Expands to Pitt Titusville and Partners with Conturo Prototyping in Homewood

Industrial, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 1, 2021) … In a strategic move to adapt to the economic challenges of COVID-19 while providing greater reach and more flexible programming, the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) will expand its program to Pitt’s Titusville campus while launching a new hands-on partnership with Conturo Prototyping LLC in Homewood. The restructuring extends the MAC’s career training and placement program to prospective students in Crawford and surrounding countries, and links with Conturo Prototyping to continue to provide the hands-on curriculum to students in Homewood. Remote learning will still be provided from the MAC’s current home location at 7800 Susquehanna Street, and eventually extended to the Community Engagement Center (CEC) in Homewood and the Hill District CEC . Additionally, the curriculum will be made more accessible for working students by front-loading the three-week computer-based sessions, followed by a three-week machine program. Since many of the MAC’s students are adult learners with different time constraints than traditional students, the shift to a 50-50 hybrid model and compressed curriculum will be more accessible. “This restructuring is an exciting urban-rural partnership that will expand the reach of the University of Pittsburgh in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Catherine Koverola , Pitt-Titusville president. “We look forward to continuing to work with all of our hub partners to bring to fruition this innovative educational model, which will help to meet the education and workforce needs of our neighbors in the Titusville region.” Bopaya Bidanda , co-founder of the MAC and department chair of industrial engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, explained that COVID-19 required a reimagination of the MAC’s day-to-day operations by integrating virtual learning with the instruction of competitive manufacturing skills. “There continues to be a pressing need for advanced manufacturing training both in the city and across Pennsylvania’s rural counties, especially those surrounding Pitt’s Titusville campus. By streamlining our delivery system, we can reach more students while operating more efficiently within our resource constraints,” Bidanda said. “COVID-19 created a financial hardship for our operating model and so pivoting to an online curriculum and a shorter, intensified hands-on component allows us to reformat the MAC, serve a greater population, and more quickly get our graduates in front of employer demand.” Bidanda added that the MAC will be another strong component for the Titusville Education and Training Hub and further support workforce training in Crawford and surrounding counties. The University in 2018 began its transition of the Titusville campus to a community-focused resource with a combination of traditional college courses and vocational training, with both academic and corporate partners. The MAC’s new partnership with Conturo Prototyping, according to company founder and Swanson School alumnus John Conturo, helps to solve three obstacles: maintaining the MAC’s presence in Homewood; providing accessible training for communities east of the City; and addressing the “skills gap” in the machining and manufacturing industries. “Over the past few decades there has been a sharp decrease in the number of individuals pursuing trades rather than a traditional 4-year degree, especially in manufacturing. Because of this, the skills gap is making it difficult to keep up with demand for precision parts and machining services. If the workforce to address that demand doesn't exist, we need to create it,” Conturo explained. Indeed, Conturo and his company were planning on developing their own advanced training facility and curriculum until he learned that a partnership with the MAC would address public, private, and community needs. “I’ve employed a handful of MAC students, so I know the quality of students that come out of the program. By creating this partnership with the MAC, I can expand to a new facility in Homewood to accommodate more full-time staff and resources; absorb the classes currently offered; provide more advanced resources for hands-on training in a state-of-the-art facility; and provide a stronger, successful resource for Homewood and surrounding communities.” Lina Dostilio , associate vice chancellor for community engagement, noted that Pitt’s Community Engagement Centers (CECs) will be an important resource that was unavailable when the MAC relocated to Homewood from Harmar Township in 2018. “The CECs will lift some of the burden from the MAC’s operational structure,” she explained. “We can help to market the MAC to prospective students, especially in the city’s underserved neighborhoods, and will include virtual programming through our CEC in the Hill’s Digital Inclusion Center. The delivery of the online interface, any proctoring or office hours, and educational support will still be led by the MAC.” Bidanda noted that most student costs are absorbed through external funding, including grants, workforce redevelopment funds, trade adjustment, and the GI Bill. The MAC’s placement rate for graduates is a healthy 95%. James R. Martin II , U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt, emphasized that this new model maintains the MAC’s mission and Pitt’s commitment to the communities it serves while addressing employer demand for workforce manufacturing skills. “The strength of a major university like Pitt is its ability to see beyond traditional academics and research to support the people who live in its communities and to provide lifelong learning skills,” Martin said. “Engineering in particular, which throughout history has helped people develop tools and new learning that then advance society, is the perfect conduit for connecting people with the knowledge they need to advance their own lives. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has forced academia and industry alike to regroup and develop new programs that address the needs of the communities we serve. I am incredibly proud of how the MAC, Dr. Koverola, the CECs, and John have come together to develop what I think will be a stronger program than when we started.  This is a win-win all around.” ### About Conturo Prototyping LLCConturo Prototyping is a precision manufacturing company located in the East End. With a specialty in producing complex machined components, Conturo plays a vital role in the local technology ecosystem by providing parts for autonomous vehicles, cutting edge robotics, moon landers and much much more.  The business was founded in 2016 by Pittsburgh native, John Conturo after he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since inception, the enterprise has experienced rapid growth and now occupies 17,000 sq ft with a staff of 21 full time machinists, engineers, technicians and administrators across both of locations in Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA.


Origami Powered by Light

Industrial, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (Feb. 10, 2021) — If you watch the leaves of a plant long enough, you may see them shift and turn toward the sunlight through the day. It happens slowly, but surely. Some man-made materials can mimic this slow but steady reaction to light energy, usually triggered by lasers or focused ambient light. New research from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University has discovered a way to speed up this effect enough that its performance can compete against electrical and pneumatic systems. “We wanted to create machines where light is the only source of energy and direction,” explained M. Ravi Shankar, professor of industrial engineering and senior author of the paper. “The challenge is that while we could get some movement and actuation with light-driven polymers, it was too slow of a response to be practical.” When the polymer sheet is flat, the light animates it slowly, curving or curling over time. The researchers found that by forming the polymer into a curved shape, like a shell, the bending action happened much more quickly and generated more torque. “If you want to move something, like flip a switch or move a lever, you need something that will react quickly and with enough power,” said Shankar, who holds a secondary appointment in mechanical engineering and materials science. “We found that by applying a mechanical constraint to the material by confining it along on the edges, and embedding judiciously thought-out arrangements of molecules, we can upconvert a slow response into something that is more impulsive.” The researchers used a photoresponsive azobenzene-functionalized liquid crystalline polymer (ALCP) film that is 50 micrometers thick and several millimeters in width and length. A shell-like geometry was created by confining this material along its edges to create a curve. Shining light on this geometry folds the shell at a crease that spontaneously nucleates. This folding occurs within tens of milliseconds and generates torque densities of up to 10 newton-meters per kilogram (10Nm/kg). The light driven response is magnified by about three orders-of-magnitude in comparison to the material that was flat. “The outcomes of the project are very exciting because it means that we can create light powered actuators that are competitive with electrical actuators,” said Kaushik Dayal, coauthor and professor of civil and environmental engineering at CMU. “Our approach towards scaling up the performance of light-driven polymers could reinvent the design of fully untethered soft robots with numerous technological applications,” added lead author and post-doctoral researcher at CMU Mahnoush Babaei. The paper, "Torque-dense Photomechanical Actuation,” (DOI: 10.1039/D0SM01352H) was published in the journal Soft Matter.
Maggie Pavlick

IE's Youngjae Chun Receives Second-Year Funding From Children's Heart Foundation For Congenital Heart Defect Research

Bioengineering, Industrial

NORTHBROOK, Ill. (December 22, 2020/PRNewswire) ... Youngjae Chun, associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, will receive second-year research funding as part of more than $735,000 from the The Children's Heart Foundation, the nation's leading organization dedicated to funding congenital heart defect (CHD) research. Chun is one of three researchers receiving second-year funding for research that, according to the Foundation, has made significant progress this year: Kristopher B. Deatrick, MD [University of Maryland] for continued work on Stem Cell Therapy for Post- Cardiopulmonary Bypass Low Cardiac Output Syndrome. Youngjae Chun, PhD [University of Pittsburgh] for research on A Self-Growing Percutaneous Heart Valve Frame to Treat Congenital Heart Disease. Allen Everett, MD [Johns Hopkins University] for ongoing study of the Role of Cyclohexanone Toxicity in Mediating Congenital Cardiac Surgical Outcomes. These research efforts will help experts learn more about the life-long care needs of individuals living with CHDs and how to continue to improve their overall quality of life. Announced in March 2020, Chun's research focuses on developing a new type of metallic frame for pediatric heart valves that could not only be placed by a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure but would also grow with the child, eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries. The Foundation will fund over in CHD research and scientific collaborations this year across four key initiatives: 1. independent research funded by the Foundation, 2. collaborative research with the American Heart Association through joint Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards, 3. funding the American Academy of Pediatrics' Pediatric Cardiology Research Fellowship Award, and 4. funding Cardiac Networks United (CNU), a national pediatric and congenital cardiovascular research network. The Children's Heart Foundation provides funding to Cardiac Networks United to improve outcomes for children with CHDs. One of CNU's current research efforts—the Chest Tube Project—is now being implemented at nearly 20 U.S. hospitals as researchers consider the optimal time for chest tube removal in young CHD patients. In addition, the Foundation funded the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2020 Pediatric Cardiology Research Fellowship Award given to David Staudt, MD, PhD, pediatric cardiology fellow at Stanford University. His research—Unraveling Molecular Modifiers of Hypertrophic and Restrictive Cardiomyopathy—is important because it begins to identify genetic mutations and underlying causes of hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathies, which could lead to therapies that counteract or prevent CHDs. "Amidst uncertainty in 2020, our dedication to funding the most promising research has remained unchanged," said Barbara Newhouse, President & CEO of The Children's Heart Foundation. "The research we're funding is truly moving the needle." Every 15 minutes, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect, making CHDs America's most common birth defect. The Children's Heart Foundation's mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHDs by funding the most promising research. Since 1996, the Foundation has been a proven leader, funding nearly $14 million of CHD research and scientific collaborations. About The Children's Heart FoundationThe Children's Heart Foundation will mark its 25th anniversary in 2021. Its mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects by funding the most promising research. For more information, visit www.childrensheartfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Author: The Children's Heart Foundation (via PR Newswire)

University of Pittsburgh Joins New DOE Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Nuclear

SAN ANTONIO, TX (November 19, 2020) ... The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today formally launched the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111 million public-private partnership. Led by UTSA, the university will enter into a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead a consortium of 59 proposed member institutions in introducing a cybersecure energy-ROI that drives American manufacturers and supply chains to further adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation’s leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness.U.S. manufacturers are one of the top targets for cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries, impacting the production of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To protect American manufacturing jobs and workers, CyManII will transform U.S. advanced manufacturing and make manufacturers more energy efficient, resilient and globally competitive against our nation’s adversaries.“The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be among the inaugural member institutions of this national effort to develop cyber security and energy research to benefit U.S. manufacturing expertise,” noted Rob A. Rutenbar,Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at Pitt. “Both our Swanson School of Engineering and School of Computing and Information at the forefront of innovations in advanced manufacturing, cyber infrastructure and security, sustainable energy, materials science and supply chain management. Our faculty are looking forward to participating in this groundbreaking institute.”“The exploitation of advanced materials and computing can provide us with a more holistic approach to secure the nation’s manufacturing infrastructure, from communication networks and assembly lines to intricate computer code and distribution systems,” added Daniel Cole, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and co-director of the Swanson School’s Hacking for Defense program. “Just as our personal computers and cell phones are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, so too is our complex manufacturing industry. But thanks to this national effort through CyManII, we will not only be able to develop defenses but also create more sustainable and energy efficient technologies for industry.”“I am excited for the potential collaborations between our faculty and the innovations they will develop,” said David Vorp, Associate Dean for Research at the Swanson School. “We already have a healthy collaboration with faculty in the School of Computing and Information, and sustainability informs our research, academics, and operations. CyManII presents a new opportunity for us to engage in transformative, trans-disciplinary research.”As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on three high priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development. “As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” said Howard Grimes, CyManII Chief Executive Officer and UTSA Associate Vice President and Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Initiatives. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.CyManII aims to revolutionize cybersecurity in manufacturing by designing and building a secure manufacturing architecture that is pervasive, unobtrusive and enables energy efficiency. Grimes says this industry-driven approach is essential, allowing manufacturers of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy ROI rather than continually spending money on cyber patches.These efforts will result in a suite of methods, standards and tools rooted in the concept that everything in the manufacturing supply chain has a unique authentic identity. These solutions will address the comprehensive landscape of complex vulnerabilities and be economically implemented in a wide array of machines and environments.“CyManII leverages the unique research capabilities of the Idaho, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories as well as critical expertise across our partner cyber manufacturing ecosystem,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “UTSA is proud and honored to partner with the DOE to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing for the nation.”CyManII has 59 proposed members including three Department of Energy National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 powerhouse universities, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits. This national network of members will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.CyManII is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). ------ Learn more about the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
Author: EmilyGuajardo, CyManII Communications Manager

Swanson School Stent Technologies Clinch Wells Competition Awards

Bioengineering, Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (Nov. 9, 2020) … Two Swanson School of Engineering projects received awards at the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s Wells Healthcare Competition, which provides funding for students who are developing innovations related to the health care field. Moataz Elsisy, a PhD student in the Department of Industrial Engineering, received an award for the Organ Perfusion Stent (OPS), an innovative endovascular device that seeks to increase the availability of healthy donor organs for transplant surgery. Elsisy works in the Medical Device Manufacturing Laboratory led by Youngjae Chun, associate professor of Industrial Engineering at Pitt. The lab’s unique device targets patients who die from heart failure. “These donors may still have healthy organs in the torso, such as the liver, kidney or pancreas,” Elsisy explained, “but the effects of heart disease may affect blood flow and damage these potentially life-saving organs.” The OPS aims to minimize cardiac burden by separating aortic blood flow into two different chambers -- one for cardiac flow and another for oxygenated blood flow from an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) system. The device would significantly increase the number of available organs from the cardiac death donors, eliminating any potential organ blood shortage complications. “Our device increases the number of available healthy organs to those who are in desperate need for transplantation,” said Elsisy. “The device will save health care costs up to $1.2 million per donor. A single donor can take two patients off dialysis, one patient off insulin, and one patient out of the hospital for liver failure.” He adds that the device can also enhance the quality of life for transplant receivers, as they will not require daily insulin injections or dialysis several times a week. The second award went to Sneha Jeevan, a bioengineering senior, who works in the Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory led by Jonathan Vande Geest, professor of bioengineering at Pitt. Their device hopes to address complications related to the treatment of peripheral artery disease. “Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs,” explained Jeevan. “It has become an increasingly serious public health issue, with 236 million people ages 40 and older world-wide being affected. It also has a large monetary cost, with insurance companies and private payers paying $21 billion annually to cover costs, including medication, physical therapy, and device reintervention.” While stents can be used to treat the disease, these devices are not compatible with small arteries and often renarrow, particularly across joints, after they are implanted. The winning project, Biocarpet, is a flexible, drug-eluting, and biodegradable endovascular device that they hope will provide a solution to the current limitations in stent technology. The Biocarpet combines a blend of biocompatible polymers and special thermoforming techniques that allow it to conform to any complex vascular anatomy. This advantage will reduce device kinking and restenosis, both of which occur frequently when treating PAD with current stent technologies. “The Biocarpet’s biopolymer conformability and improved delivery method act as key differentiating factors, which will allow for reduced reintervention rates and improved patient outcomes for PAD,” Jeevan added. “Once the device is established as an effective treatment for PAD, it can potentially be used in other cardiovascular diseases, changing the way that hospitals treat arterial disease and giving patients the best possible treatment while minimizing costs.” # # #

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