R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Engenharia Mecânica

Unidade de I&D

Unidade de Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Engenharia Mecânica e Industrial - UNIDEMI [MECH-LVT-Almada-667] visitada em 31/03/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
The unit currently has 17 PhD FTE researchers and 2 PhD students. For most of the period under review, the size of the group was 9 PhDs, increased to 10 in 2006. This increase is due to FTE researchers transferring in from other units and unit reorganization. The unit produced 7 PhDs during the evaluation period.
The research topics covered by this group include:
• Quality Engineering (PPE)
• Design Theory and Methodology (PPE)
• Non-conventional technologies (PPE)
• Concurrent Engineering (PPE)
• Supply chain design and Management (POM)
• Uncertainty, simulation and project management (POM)
• Organization design and management systems (POM)
• Information systems and interoperability (POM)
The group published 17 international journal papers during the period, which corresponds to a production ratio of 0.47 journal paper / PhD / year. Four books have also been produced during this period. The funding level for this unit is low, with FCT being almost the single source.
The potential for collaboration between the Product and Process Engineering (PPE) group and the Production and Operation Management (POM) group is excellent. The unit leadership indicated that their major objective in supporting the unit is to provide conditions that promote research and collaboration. The leadership also believes that the collaboration with other institutional and research groups is important to the overall success of the unit and actively pursues synergistic collaborations. It was noted that changes from the Bologna accord have driven many changes in the unit and it is adapting.
It was noted that it is difficult to attract PhD students in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering as they are competing with industry for new graduates. The salary levels for the new graduates to go to industry seem to be very good, leading to students choosing industry rather than graduate school to obtain a PhD. The unit is strongly encouraged to focus on securing funding for full time Ph.D. students, and reducing the teaching load of current students.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Integrated Product and Process Development [RG-X-MECH-LVT-Almada-667-931]
Product and Process Engineering - PPE [RG-MECH-LVT-Almada-667-843]
The integration of design, industrial engineering, manufacturing and management provides a strong platform for research opportunities. The plan to move forward is good; however, current capabilities are not at the forefront of the area where the ultimate goals are identified. The group is challenged by the fact that they do not currently have any full time Ph.D. students. Some students teach (2 courses per semester) and others are working in industry. This does not leave a significant amount of time for PhD research. Furthermore, the students working in industry focus on more pragmatic and shorter term projects. While the group had a number of publications, increasing the publication rate in high-impact factor international journals is critical. This will establish a strong reputation and international visibility for the group and help in recruiting students from Portugal and abroad.
While the targeted research areas are leading edge, the group must make significant advances in capabilities to capture a leading position in these areas. For example, the work in axiomatic design might be interesting but the benefit was not demonstrated in the context of a specific example. The group indicated that this work was never published and without publication the group cannot hope to be recognized internationally. Research related to high speed machining or micro machining research is another example of a facility intensive topic area. The laboratory is not equipped to perform state of the art work in this area. It is expensive to build the capabilities that are needed to move to the forefront of this area. For example, in the micro-manufacturing area a wide variety of sensors and equipment are needed to enable the group to take a leadership role. While the team is securing some of the necessary equipment, significantly more will be required. The group must determine how such systems will be accessed. Several modes are available to gain access to more advanced equipment. Besides purchasing specialized equipment for the group’s use, partnerships can be developed with other potential users to leverage support in this area. Some of these partnerships are being developed, but significantly more will be necessary for success.
Overall, this group needs to grow to critical mass for success. Access to a variety of large scale funding (e.g., Framework 7) will require the unit to partner with other research units (groups from Portugal as well as other countries) and with industrial partners. Given the focus areas of the two groups that comprise this unit, they should have significant industrial interactions. Such interactions are not evident from the material presented at the review. However, it is understood that the make-up of the groups is relatively new, and many of the interactions are in the initial phases.
Production and Operations Management - POM [RG-MECH-LVT-Almada-667-817]
The POM group has a variety of projects with some good results and potential for strong international visibility. The focus on “resilient systems” and networks appears a worthwhile research theme. However, the success of the group is challenging to measure given the nature of the projects. Thus, the team is encouraged to identify metrics for success in their research (besides number of publications) and employ those to demonstrate effectiveness. The goals set for the group are quite good; however, the team is still trying to determine a clearer picture of how to achieve the goals. They are encouraged to focus on developing a strategic path. Finally, selection of journals with higher impact factor is encouraged.
Simulation of Free Surface Flows [RG-X-MECH-LVT-Almada-667-1149]
ThermoFluids [RG-X-MECH-LVT-Almada-667-1038]