Month: August 2016
Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, teacher-researcher in systems engineering and numerical analysis, and head of projects at ESME Sudria Lyon, Andrea Bareggi received the Joseph Whitworth Prize 2015 in June, a prize for excellence in academic research awarded by the Manufacturing Industries Division Board of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). He describes for ESME Sudria the motivation behind the research that earned him this distinction, and which is at the heart of his scientific article co-written by Garret O’Donnell of the Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College Dublin: “Thermal and mechanical effects of high-speed impinging jet in orthogonal machining operations: Experimental, finite elements, and analytical investigations” (download the publication here).
Andrea Bareggi (right) with Clive Hickman, Chief Executive of The Manufacturing Technology Center, during the Joseph Whitworth Prize award ceremony held at the prestigious Marble Hall in London
“In the context of Industry 4.0, or the introduction of digital technology into industrial production, the machining of metallic materials must be revitalized in order to regain the importance it had acquired during the 19th and 20th centuries. Although mass production uses plastic materials, a majority of transportation and civil engineering production is based on machining technologies.
One of the major problems of machining metallic materials, in particular of materials that are difficult to machine such as titanium alloys like Ti6Al4v and Inconel (which are used extensively in the aerospace industry), is the removal of heat during machining and the lubrication to reduce the forces during the process (see below).
Fig. 1 – The traditional use of machining fluid to lubricate and eliminate heat in the machining zone
If the heat is not removed immediately, the cutting tool (or insert) can break from thermal shock and imperfections can arise on the surface of the machined piece due to the strong temperature gradient. The traditional way to remove heat is to add mineral oil directly between the tool and the piece to be machined. This solution worries ecologists, however, for mineral oil is extremely harmful to the environment. Even more worrisome is the effect that cutting oil has on human health, as it is toxic to the skin and especially dangerous if inhaled. Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) is one of the most widespread solutions allowing for less mineral oil use. Today, MQL is the prevailing solution for materials that are difficult to machine. Nevertheless, MQL increases the risk of inhalation by the operator, for the oil particles are vaporized in a high-pressure and high-speed air flow. A variety of solutions are currently under development, but the trend is for dry machining (machining without mineral oil) for traditional machining, and near dry machining for materials that are difficult to machine.
The research I conducted these past few years at Trinity College Dublin and ESME Sudria were based on dry machining. Since heat must be removed during machining, I proposed the use of a well-aimed high-pressure air jet to cool the machining zone. To carry out this industrial research project, I drew upon experimental techniques to measure the temperature in the cutting zone by placing a thermocouple in the insert (a particularly difficult procedure, considering the reduced dimensions and hardness of the insert, which is made up of a tungsten carbide substrate and several protective layers of titanium nitride and titanium carbide). The cutting forces were analyzed by a dynamometer placed on the lathe (see image below). This data was used to develop an orthogonal cutting model – the simplest type of cut one can perform – to determine the machining parameters (speed and pace). The idea is to maximize the amount of material machined (the main productivity index is the Material Removal Rate, MMR), all the while minimizing the cutting temperature and forces by using the air jet.
Fig. 2 – Experimental assembly with the thermocouple and dynamometer
Finite Element Modeling (FEM) is a calculation technique that arose in the 1960s. Over time, it has become the integration method for differentials which deal with dynamic phenomena. The formulation used to describe the problem of machining is called Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian. Combined with adaptive remeshing, the finite element approach allows us to factor in machining parameters and to visualize the distribution of the effective stress, strain, and strain rate inside the machined material (see image below).
Fig. 3 – FEM allows for the measurement of machining parameters which otherwise are extremely difficult to obtain
The new feature of this research work is the discovery of a mechanical effect of the air jet on the chip forming the face of the insert. Depending on the direction of the air jet, this mechanical effect can increase or reduce the energy required for machining low-carbon steels by around 8%. The important thing to consider is that this effect is independent of the temperature, as demonstrated by the finite element analysis: in the image below, the position of the air jet is seen from a qualitative point of view and the heat transfer coefficients are evaluated at a pressure of 7 bar.
Fig. 4 – The two positions of the air jet during the tests and the mechanical and thermal modeling by finite elements
The tests and the model showed that the position which is perpendicular to the insert face (overhead position) is the more efficient position in terms of the energy required for machining, in contrast to the traditional position of methods such as Minimum Quantity Lubrication. This finding opens new avenues in the search for techniques that can reduce the energy needed for machining. Further research work in this area will lead to greater knowledge of the velocity field of the fluid around the machining zone, with more efficient drain utilization by way of an air jet. In addition, an analysis of air compression costs is necessary for any commercial developments of this new technique. These developments are currently underway at ESME Sudria Lyon’s Centre de Modélisation et Calcul Numérique.”
After studying at ESME Sudria, (Class of 2012) began to work for OCTO Technology. While there, he and his work colleague Christopher Parola developed elCurator, a simple and innovative content sharing tool. Today an entirely distinct startup co-founded by Jeremy (Tech Leader) and Christopher (Product Manager), elCurator can boast being used by more than 1,000 businesses worldwide – and the media is taking notice. The proof: the magazine Silex ID dedicated an entire article to the startup on its website in July.
Jeremy Venezia, Co-Founder and Tech Leader of elCurator
What have you been up to since graduating from ESME Sudria?
Jeremy Venezia: During my last year at ESME, I majored in Information Systems. Right from the very start of my studies, I was particularly passionate about everything that had to do with IT, even if I was open to other subjects as well. This appetite for IT is what pushed me to take my end-of-studies internship at OCTO Technology.
How did you find the internship?
Totally by chance, thanks to a friend from my class who was already doing an internship there. My friend suggested I apply when he learned the company was looking for a second intern. OCTO Technology is an IT company that is active in just about every sector – banking, insurance, media, etc. It is as competent at consulting as it is in product development, accompanying customers every step of the way in the development of new products. Unlike other service enterprises, OCTO does its utmost to promote good practices in terms of quality development, using methods which adapt to the context at hand… OCTO is truly a fantastic company, and it was clear from the very beginning that I was a good fit – so good in fact that I stayed on after my internship. I thus worked for two years as a consultant before embarking upon the elCurator adventure…which incorporates – and draws inspiration from – the OCTO culture and good practices employed at the company! OCTO served as a real springboard for our project.
One of the peculiarities of elCurator, in fact, is that its concept was born inside another company. Is it normal for the company to encourage the development of outside projects?
Totally. They supported us, and I honestly think it would have been difficult to create elCurator without them. It all started with an idea someone had at OCTO consisting of developing a tool that could allow for links to be shared, thereby meeting the needs of the enormous sharing culture that had existed at the company since its creation, but which mostly took place via email exchanges. Because we all received so many emails, inevitably some went unread. And sorting them wasn’t necessarily all that practical. We therefore had to come up with a special platform that could enable sharing and centralize these links in an efficient manner. The tool was developed as part of OCTO Day, an event organized once per year in the company during which all the employees put their work on hold to perform service for OCTO and its community. A small team was formed to create elCurator, a tool which, originally, simply allowed for link sharing. Afterwards, Christopher and I continued to pursue the project on our lunch breaks or after work – in other words, whenever we had a bit of free time. We worked in lean startup mode to gradually improve the tool and add features geared towards users. This allowed us to reach more and more people, until eventually 70% of OCTO employees were using the platform daily. After receiving positive feedback internally, the OCTO managers began to wonder if it was now time to do something more “serious.” “If it works well for us, why wouldn’t it work well for others?” As you can see, we received a great deal of encouragement and support to see elCurator through to the end. Our startup thus became a subsidiary of the Group.
It’s funny, starting your own business wasn’t really part of the plan, was it?
No, that wasn’t the goal at all in the beginning: we were just two OCTO consultants who loved their jobs. As it happens, both Christopher and I are open to new possibilities. The business thing sprang up out of the blue. It was certainly unexpected, but since both of us are passionate about IT and product development, we seized the opportunity and didn’t look back. I think we made the right choice.
How many people work for the startup, and what are your projects?
There are seven of us, the majority of whom are Web and mobile developers. The rest of the team is in charge of business development and marketing. Over the long term, our dream is to create the perfect platform for A to Z monitoring; that is to say, find content at its source (combine content and make automatic recommendations with respect to user preferences), back up content, and help users read content at the right moment and in a relevant way before sharing it. Such tools can be separated and are not necessarily designed to be present on just one or the same platform. The new features are not required to be integrated into elCurator, but can gravitate around it to allow for the entire monitoring chain to be treated, whether on a personal or collaborative basis, both within a company or elsewhere.
In addition, we are currently doing extensive research in terms of development. Thanks to open source, we are able to offer tools that anyone can use. We hope to promote the sharing of our technology even further.
One of the decisions made by the startup is to offer elCurator to schools for free. Why?
To us, it was obvious. By taking such a stance, we are counting on those students who use elCurator to continue to do so when they have finished school, and to recommend it to their higher-ups at their future places of employment. Our technology can be implemented on a school-wide scale, or else inside a small classroom, either to learn how to monitor correctly or to share content directly on an extremely precise topic.
Looking back, what did you learn at ESME Sudria, and how does it help you in your daily work as a Tech Leader?
The fact that you only declare a major during your last year allowed me to learn a lot about a variety of different subjects (telecommunications, electronics, energy, computer science, etc.), enabling me to become highly resourceful. When I arrived at OCTO, for example, I knew nothing at all about the technologies I was asked to work on. But that did not prevent me from progressing. That kind of sums up the IT field: you need to be able to learn by yourself and know how to search for and find the right information at the right time. The education I received at ESME Sudria allowed me to do just that. This spirit, this curiosity, this desire to seek out information, this capacity to see the unknown as an opportunity instead of an obstacle…these are the qualities I value and which I often find in the engineers who graduate from a multidisciplinary school like ESME Sudria.
Find elCurator on its website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Although exercise bikes are now used abundantly by people in the confines of their own homes, they are often frustrating and monotonous for those who are used to cycling outdoors. Addressing this issue, the company Cab2way has offered 5th year Digital Intelligence & Data majors at ESME Sudria the chance to create a simulator prototype composed of three 4-foot high, panoramic screens allowing for the recreation of an environment that can produce the same sensory stimulation as that experienced by outdoor athletes. These students have taken up the challenge by developing a model featuring a variety of immersive technologies (video/sound synchronization, GPS data, a fragrance diffuser, etc.) that are sure to charm your inner Christopher Froome. Who knows, soon you might just be riding in the Tour de France from the comfort of your own home!
This year, 24 3rd year students from all ESME Sudria campuses headed to the Latvian city of Valmiera to study at the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences during their semester abroad. Among them: Thomas Franzoni (ESME Sudria Class of 2018).
When it came to selecting a destination for his semester abroad, Thomas is not afraid to say that Latvia was not his first choice. “Initially I thought about going to Ireland, but this proved to be impossible.” Once over the disappointment of being unable to tread the native soil of U2 and Pierce Brosnan, Thomas began to prepare for his semester abroad in Latvia. “I was skeptical. What’s more, the primary motivation behind my choice of destination was a strong desire to improve my English, to the point where I could speak it fluently…” Six months later, Thomas, more than satisfied, has resumed his journey at ESME Sudria. “I was pleasantly surprised by the semester I spent in Latvia. I was able to practice my English as much as I had hoped, and even discovered the local Latvian language,” he explains. The trip of a lifetime? Affirmative!
Technology and tourism
Once there, Thomas quickly got the hang of things. “Life in Latvia was remarkable: the customs, culture, population, prices, accommodation, course structure, food, leisure activities, weather…we were amazed by everything there! Most of us stayed in dorms belonging to the University of Vidzeme. Upon arriving (and as per information which was provided beforehand), we had the choice of rooming with another French student or with a foreign student. Those wanting more space and privacy also had the possibility to live alone. As for myself, I roomed with a French friend for three months before finally deciding upon an individual dorm for the following two months to get a taste for living alone.” Apart from the 15 to 20 hours per week of courses on a variety of technologies which were taught in English (C++, web development, systems analysis, virtual and augmented reality, computer networks, etc.), Thomas was free to devote his time to exploring the country, which before his departure was anything but familiar. “We took advantage of our free time by eating together, discovering Valmiera and its surroundings, taking trips to Riga (two hours by bus), resting, traveling, and enjoying a number of sporting events and organized festivities… We also benefited from our enrollment with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). This network provided valuable information and offered us the possibility to travel both within Latvia and elsewhere. Thanks to our supervisors at the university, we were also able to visit various sites in Latvia and Estonia: major Latvian telephone and networking companies, observatories, museums, etc.”
An unforgettable evening for “ESME Sudria ambassadors”
To top it all off, Thomas and the other ESME Sudria students had the good fortune to be invited to a special reception by the French Embassy in Riga. “It all started with an entirely chance encounter between our class and an attaché from the Embassy in the beginning of the semester at the University of Vidzeme. A few months later, in April, we were invited to the home of the ambassador, Stéphane Visconti, along with other exchange students, interns, and international volunteers! The reception, attended by the ambassador as well as several of his colleagues and Embassy employees, was a huge success. It was followed by a magnificent banquet featuring delicious French products, including a selection of cheeses, meats, pâtés, baguette bread, wines, and champagnes.”
ESME Sudria has been a proud partner of the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences since 2013. Like Thomas, more than 50 ESME Sudria students have already completed their semester abroad there.