R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Engenharia Mecânica

Unidade de I&D

Centro para o Desenvolvimento Rápido e Sustentado de Produto [MECH-Centro-Leiria-4044] visitada em 06/03/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is a unit of 9 PhD investigators supervising a large number of PhD and MSc students. The productivity of the group on rapid sustainable product development is excellent, with Impact Factors in the range of 0.9 to 4.3. Four papers have been cited six or more times. The publication record is excellent. Eight patents and prototypes have been produced.
The relevance of this research is very high. This is evidenced by the organization of 4 international conferences (3 of them are annual conferences apparently started by this unit) and several national conferences and events. Unit investigators participate in 11 international networks and have several publications as a result of international collaboration. The work is rather practical and useful, with solid scientific background.
The unit has been able to show that its research is extremely viable. From the results achieved so far, it is very likely that internationally recognised research will continue. The activity of this unit has centred around numerous low budget projects. It should probably aim at being awarded an ambitious well funded EC R&D Project.
The training record is very good, with 1.8 MSc and PhD theses per investigator.
The unit has a single group, based at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PIL). Its mission is to contribute to the advancement of the science and technology leading to more suitable, effective and efficient products, materials and processes, helping industry in generating added-value and fostering social awareness of the role and importance of rapid and sustainable product development activities.
The unit management is efficiently structured through the Scientific Board, the Advisory Board and the General Assembly. The unit coordinator is energetic and enthusiastic, which positively affects the group. An investigator of this centre has been appointed Associate Member of the International Academy for Production Engineering.
An important added-value of this unit is that, according to the Coordinator, most mould manufacturers in Portugal are based in the Leiria region.
The unit is a member of the manufacturing network CEMICRO (Centre for Excellence in Micro manufacturing),
The PIL has created a technology transfer unit; the centre collaborates with industry either directly or through this tech transfer outfit.
The unit activities hinge around three programs: tissue engineering/bio manufacturing, the wheel of design, and reverse engineering. The Unit Coordinator presented the unit’s research on stereo lithography, emphasizing thermal-, IR-, metallic- and micro-stereo lithography, as well as the development of materials. Experiments and computer simulations are being pursued; a semi-empirical model accounting for the influence of diffusion-controlled processes upon the curing reaction
International Collaboration:
Dr. Ian Gibson (The National University of Singapore collaborates with the unit in two key areas:
-NURBS-based modelling of CAD surfaces using haptic interfaces, accounting for surface deformation with the addition of physically-based modelling. Numerous applications in CAD, industry and medicine are being pursued.
-Tissue engineering with specific tasks in the development of bone tissues for load-bearing applications, the use of composite material technology platform, FDM-style fabrication of biocompatible polymers and bio-mimetic architectures.
Reading University in the UK conducts joint research with the unit on polyurethane based materials for applications in medical devices. Computational tools simulating mixing, reaction, gelation and vitrification in reaction injection moulding are being developed.
Publications (Productivity):
The publication record in leading journals in the field, with high Impact Factors, is very good. Some of them are the result of international collaboration. 11 national and international publication related prizes have been won between 2003-2006.
Projects and Funding (Feasibility):
The funding figures reported to FCT by the unit are significantly different (50%) from those provided during the visit. The latter amounts to 929 k€, of which 22% comes from industrial contracts and only 4% from European Commission R&D Programs. The unit is encouraged to place special emphasis on applications for European funds.
The unit is actively coordinating a Latin-American Network on Bio manufacturing.
Conference organization (Relevance):
The International Conference on Advanced Research in Virtual and Rapid Prototyping (VRAP), one of the leading international conferences in this field, was launched in 2003 by this unit. Two national conferences (on Industrial Engineering and Management and Environmental Engineering) were also organised in 2003.
The unit has joint PhD programs with Aveiro University (on Polymer Engineering) and Minho University (on Mechanical Engineering). 10 PhD and 6 MSc students have concluded their dissertations along 2003-06. The graduate training record is excellent, and it is remarkable that the unit is performing so well, being a part of PIL.
The strategy of relieving PhDs from all teaching duties is effective, rational and appropriate. The teaching and research laboratories are well equipped and organised.
The PhD and MSc students are apparently highly motivated and participative.
The Future: Emergent research areas:
Three PhD students are working on dissertations in the following fields:
-Micro- and nano-technologies
-Smart design of scaffolds by rapid prototyping
Dissemination activities:
Open Days for the School of Technology Management are organised on a yearly basis.
65 Mechanical Engineering Seminars, addressed to both academia and industry, have been organised since 2003.
The Centre has been involved in the creation of the “Rede IDT”, a regional network for innovation and technological development, including the major R&D stakeholder in the central region of Portugal.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Centro para o Desenvolvimento Rápido e Sustentado de Produto [RG-MECH-Centro-Leiria-4044-111]