June 30, 2022

Two SIU researchers receive grants to improve manufacturing

Two researchers have received funding from the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) to study ways to improve operations at state manufacturers.

James A. Mathias, associate professor in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Materials Engineering, has received a grant to study ways to enhance resilience and sustainability for small and medium-sized manufacturers in Southern Illinois, and Kanchan Mondal, director, Mechanical, Aerospace & Materials Engineering, received funding to create a “Testbed for Experimenting with Industrial IoT and Cybersecurity Integration in Small Manufacturing.”

The grants are just two of just eight statewide awarded by IMEC to faculty from Illinois universities and community colleges. The grants are aimed at engaging faculty in finding innovative solutions to help Illinois manufacturing prepare for the future. The total investment of the grants exceeds $650,000.
Mathias will use his $49,000 grant to focus on reducing energy costs at small and medium-sized manufacturers in Southern Illinois. His project will employ one graduate student and two undergraduate students, as well. Mondal and Emmanuel Nsofar, director and professor in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Materials Engineering, respectively, are co-investigators on the project, along with Mathias.

Mondal’s $49,550 grant will create a testbed at SIU called the Resilient, Adaptive Production leveraging IoT Disruptions (RAPID) Testbed. It will examine industrial IoT, a new concept in fully connected, transparent, automated and intelligent factory setup aimed at improving manufacturing processes and efficiency. 

Mondal’s project would allow small and mid-size manufacturers in Southern Illinois to utilize a “sandbox” when exploring the integration of smart manufacturing in their own companies.  “Ultimately, the testbed will be a resource for supporting the security and resilience of small and medium manufacturers, especially in the Southern Illinois region while enabling them to be agile in adapting to changes as they transition to smart manufacturing,” Mondal said. Koushik Sinha and Sajedul Talukder, associate professor and assistant professor in the School of Computing, respectively, are co-investigators along with Mondal.

IMEC is a team of improvement specialists dedicated to changing lives and creating a positive impact on Illinois' workforce and economy. Its mission is driving growth through enterprise excellence by helping organizations become more effective and efficient by identifying issues, developing and implementing solutions.