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  • Jan 27, 2015

    Linda Burns, who works as an engineering supervisor, knows that the brakes of a truck can involve much more than simply stepping on a pedal.

    The brake system for many vehicles has become a complexity of sensors and computers that can automatically slow down a vehicle when its mechanisms detect that the wheels are sliding on the pavement.

    Burns is one of a dozen employees from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, based in Elyria, Ohio, who have spent this week at Rochester Institute of Technology’s new laboratory.

    Called the Knorr-Bremse North America Mechatronics Laboratory, this addition to RIT’s engineering program has its dedication ceremony on Friday. The lab is located in a former classroom on the first floor at Gleason Hall on RIT’s campus in Henrietta. At the lab’s work stations, the Bendix engineers have done tasks that require a familiarity with both electrical and mechanical engineering. This combination of disciplines is referred to as mechatronics and has become increasingly important as more mechanical devices become dependent on computers and sensors.

    “The key is that systems are becoming smarter,” said Edward Hensel, associate dean for research and graduate studies at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. The establishment of a lab, which was completed last fall, emerged from discussions that RIT officials had with Bendix representatives when they were on campus three years ago for a career fair. “It’s an example of how RIT listens to the industries that hire our graduates. We identified skills that engineers in the workplace need to have that weren’t being offered,” Hensel said.

    The need for skilled professionals who have a high-tech knowledge to go along with their basic mechanical skills has carried over to Monroe Community College establishing a program to train technicians to troubleshoot problems in servicing advanced manufacturing production equipment.

    “We are looking to roll out the first of a series of courses in the fall,” said Ross Micali, program manager in MCC’s Economic Development & Innovative Workforce Services division. Students in the MCC program can either earn a mechatronics certificate or an associate’s degree in applied integrated technology.

    Meeting workforce needs

    Mechatronic programs are intended to have a workforce better prepared for a high-tech economy. The RIT lab is expected to be used by other industries, and not just in the transportation field. It also will be available for courses taught to RIT students — and already has been used by an undergraduate engineering class on measurements.

    A broad range of engineering skills is important in the transportation industry because tasks previously done by mechanical engineers also require the skills of electrical engineers versed in sensors and computers.

    Brake systems are a prime example. “In a traditional setting, the electrical engineers would be responsible for the sensors and computer systems, and mechanical engineers would be responsible for air systems and the physical braking systems,” said Hensel. “Today we need to couple those much more closely together,” Hensel noted. “They need to learn more about each other’s disciplines.”

    Burns, 35, the Bendix supervisor, is a mechanical engineer wanting the RIT certificate program to teach more about electrical engineering. “It gives me the opportunity to do more hands-on applications,” said Burns about the value of the five days in the new lab.

    At one of the work stations, a push rod that causes the vehicle to brake is activated when compressed air is released by a brake pedal. The air flows through tubes from one of the tanks into a brake chamber. But another device at the work station electrically triggers the brake, which on the road would kick in if a wheel of the vehicle was sliding. “This allows everything to be visualized,” said Phillip Kasper, 31, a Bendix electrical engineer taking the lab course.

    Bendix donated most of the equipment in the lab. The Bendix engineers at the lab this week are in an RIT certificate program in mechatronics and already have taken online engineering courses from RIT. The five-day lab is the culmination of the certificate program.

    Future plans

    In the new semester, a group mostly from New York Air Brake, which is based in Watertown, will begin taking online courses in the mechatronics certificate program.

    Bendix and New York Brake are members of the Knorr-Bremse Group, based in Munich Germany, and have donated more than $70,000 to the RIT lab. Knorr-Bremse is a manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles.

    Other companies have expressed an interest in the program. Equipment in the lab could be modified, for example, so that a company making washing machines could give its engineers training in mechatronics, Hensel noted. The modern-day washing machine involves much more than mechanically setting a timer. Sensors can stop the machine or signal that the machine is unbalanced. “We are programming knowledge into mechanisms to make decisions on the fly,” said Hensel about the importance of engineers to be well-versed in various disciplines.

    JGOODMAN@DemocratandChronicle.com

    Twitter.com/Goodman_DandC

    Oct 7, 2014

    Tim Kremers, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, was hired for a co-op last spring because of his abilities as an engineer. When one of his co-workers suffered a sudden heart attack, however, it was the skills he had acquired from working as a lifeguard that proved to be the most valuable.

    “I’ve had to save people in the water before, but until that day I had never needed to perform CPR,” said Kremers, a certified lifeguard of the RIT Student Life Center for the past four years. “It’s one of those skills that’s great to have but you hope you never have to use.”

    Apr 21, 2014
    Dr. Kandlikar Wins Faculty Mentoring Award

    The Provost’s Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Awards recognizes an RIT faculty member who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to faculty mentoring by actively helping non-tenured, tenure-track faculty in developing their career(s) at RIT by offering advice, feedback and guidance that reflects a deep understanding of their department, college and university. Congratulations Dr. Kandlikar!!!

    Feb 17, 2014
    First Annual Engineering Week Celebration at RIT!!

    Monday, Feb. 17                                         Super Hero Shirt Day

              Student Clubs in Erdle Commons and Gordon Atrium

              10 AM—12 PM and 2 PM—4 PM

    Tuesday, Feb. 18                                        Hawaiian Shirt Day

              Photo Booth Day     in Gordon Atrium 10 AM – 1 PM  

    Wed., Feb. 19                                             College Co-op Shirt Day

    Clear Your Cookies—Yummy Cookies served by Your Faculty!

    2-4 PM         Gordon Atrium 

    Thursday, Feb. 20                                       Ugly Sweater Day

    Patent Consultant Day

    10 am – 12 noon    Gordon Atrium, Attorney Joseph Noto, Esq.

    ASME UR/RIT Engineering Radisson Hotel, evening

    CAB presents, A Beautiful Mind    10 PM, Ingle Auditorium

    Friday, Feb. 21                                           Dress like your favorite Engineer Day

  • Oct 31, 2013

    Rozie Yeghiazarian is as passionate about engineering and technology as she is about art and design. It makes sense the Hollywood, Calif., native is looking forward to combining those right-brain, left-brain disciplines and, as she says, “inspire a new approach to technological obstacles, one that involves both the quizzical frown of an engineer and the vibrant imagination of an artist.” She is only one of 10 undergraduates chosen from more than 500 applicants from 65 countries to be awarded a BlackBerry four-year tuition scholarship this year—given by the company to young women seeking degrees in STEM programs, with a particular interest in mobile computing.

    Question: What brought you to RIT?
    Answer: RIT is known for the two fields I am interested in. I can delve deep into my love for engineering and industrial design. The environment is brilliant for inspired ideas and creative discussion.

    Q: How did you hear about the BlackBerry Scholar award?
    A: A mentor from my high school FIRST robotics team thought I might be interested in it. I spent every free moment seeking and applying to every scholarship I could find in the hopes of earning money to help pay for college. This was the first scholarship I had seen that I could connect with on a personal and professional level, so I pounced on the exciting opportunity with everything I had.

    Q: Winners were selected “for their passion for entering the mobile computing industry.” Describe your passion for mobile computing.
    A: I’m thrilled to be one of the recipients. As a BlackBerry Scholar, I’ll receive a scholarship, BlackBerry device, as well as mentorship and professional opportunities. I will also be paired with a BlackBerry employee as my mentor throughout the program. I aspire to incorporate my experiences from both mechanical engineering and industrial design and change how we interact with mobile computing devices. My two diverse interests have become my unique and progressive perspective. Earning respect within these communities, I will promote gender equality within my surroundings and help increase opportunities for young girls considering a future in STEM. I see myself working on the next generation of the BlackBerry Z10 model, tinkering with the already high-end user interface, and tapping into the vast potential that is the app market.

    Q: What activities are you involved with on campus?
    A: On campus, I am a member of Engineering House, and to stay physically active, I started rock climbing at the Red Barn. I made it into RIT’s competitive dance crew, Velocity—we choreograph our own pieces, teach, practice, perform and compete. I will be joining the RIT chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. Now that I have gotten accustomed to college life and worked up a schedule for myself, I feel prepared to take on more extracurricular activities.

    Q: Why did you choose engineering as a major/career field?
    A: Coming out of high school, I was certain of one thing regarding my future: I am a designer. My goal is to create and run a design firm that will work on numerous projects and have the capabilities to handle front-end industrial design and back-end mechanical engineering work.

    Q: What advice would you give young women interested in pursuing STEM programs?
    A: Anyone with even the slightest interest in science, technology, engineering or mathematics should take the time to explore that curiosity. For women, entering a STEM field is a commitment that may require overcoming gender discrimination and becoming a better individual because of it. It is a commitment to look at a peer and know them for their abilities as opposed to their gender. For those of us already pursuing our interests, it is our responsibility to support and encourage those who are just beginning their journey or on the verge of diving in.

    Q: What are your plans after graduation?
    A: Currently, I am focused on mechanical engineering. The next step is to earn a graduate degree in industrial design for a well-rounded transition into product design and development. After gaining the appropriate knowledge and experience, I will create and run my own design firm.

    Oct 30, 2013

    Burak Baylav, a microsystems doctoral student at Rochester Institute of Technology, won a “Best in Session” designation at TECHCON 2013. He presented research on a new processing technique with viable implications for the semiconductor industry at the event sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corp. on Sept. 9-10 in Austin, Texas. The conference showcases progressive research in new materials and processes created to advance future generations of integrated circuit and computer chip technologies by university-corporate collaborations.

    Baylav’s recognition was for the “Impact of Pupil Plane Filtering on Mask Roughness Transfer.” His work was part of a project sponsored by international semiconductor firm GLOBALFOUNDRIES and the Semiconductor Research Corp.

    In his research, he detailed the reliability of dense, integrated circuit patterns, specifically roughness present along pattern edges. Known as “line edge roughness,” it affects electrical characteristics of devices, causing variations in threshold voltage and current leakage. Line edge roughness has several contributing factors, including those coming from the masking pattern used in the manufacturing process. Baylav proposed an optical filtering technique to eliminate the transfer of masking pattern roughness.

    Baylav is part of the Nanolithography Research Lab group, under the advisement of Professor Bruce Smith, in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. He is a member of SPIE, the Optical Society of America and IEEE. He received his master’s degree in microelectronic engineering from RIT in 2010 and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2006. He will defend his dissertation later this year and begin work at Intel Corp. in February 2014.

    Oct 10, 2013

    Their friendship would span more than 49 years, starting at RIT, and being commemorated after their passing this summer. The families of Edward Hoffmann ’69 (electrical engineering) and Bart Guerreri ’67 (mechanical engineering) created a new RIT scholarship recently, naming it after the two longtime friends.

    The new Edward G. Hoffmann and Bart G. Guerreri Scholarship will be awarded to promising engineering students with financial need, a circumstance familiar to both men, who despite financial hardships became successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

    “The struggle was well worth it. Both men achieved unimaginable success,” says Frank Hermance, RIT Trustee, friend and fraternity brother. “Their mutual passion for knowledge, creativity and hard work, as well as their out-going personalities, drew them to each other. They shared a friendship that lasted a lifetime.”

    The Sigma Pi fraternity brothers remained in touch throughout their lives, participating in personal, professional and RIT events together. On Aug. 10, Hoffmann succumbed to pancreatic cancer. A week later, Guerreri passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.

    After graduation, Hoffmann became a flight test engineer at McDonnell Douglas in California. He moved up the ranks from Flight Test Group Leader to Program Manager, eventually becoming the company’s senior vice president, working with national and international aeronautical companies to develop commercial airplanes such as the DC-10 and military jets including the U.S. Navy’s T45TS Jet Pilot Training System. Hoffmann was among the international teams sent to Lockerbie, Scotland, to recover and examine the “black box” from the downed Pan American Flight 103 in 1988. Outside of work, he supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation, enjoyed restoring classic Corvettes and boating. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Bowker Hoffmann ’68 (business).

    Guerreri began his career at Raytheon as a design engineer and project manager, working on advanced logic units for IBM’s mainframe computers. In 1978, he formed DSD Laboratories, specializing in information security, business process reengineering and knowledge management. In the early years of the company, he was the only employee, assembling circuit boards in his basement with the help of his wife, Andrea. With more than 30 patents in his name, he has been honored in Who’s Who in America, served on the Dean’s Committee for International Development at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and on the Committee on Capital Formation for Small Business. He was named Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and also was a member of the RIT Board of Trustees.

    Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made through RIT’s Office of Development either by mail or online. (Follow the prompts online designating Make a Gift and Special Named Scholarship Funds, selecting Hoffmann/Guerreri.)

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