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UC Engineering Alumnus Named to Manufacturing Engineering Magazine’s '30 under 30'

CEAS mechanical engineering alumnus Zongchang Liu uses a cross-disciplinary approach that increases efficiency and productivity in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing Engineering magazine recently awarded him its '30 under 30' honor.

Date: 5/15/2018 8:00:00 AM
By: Brandon Pytel
Phone: (513) 556-4686

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Liu headshot
Liu earned Manufacturing Engineering magazine's "30 under 30" honor for his work with machine efficiency.

In the manufacturing sector, time is money. When machines don’t operate the way they should, companies can lose money fast. It’s even more pressing if the company doesn’t know what’s wrong with the machine. Labor costs can add up, and all the while, the company falls behind schedule.

Zongchang Liu, graduate of the University of Cincinnati mechanical engineering PhD program, spends his time devising solutions and preventative measures for these industries and their machines. His work recently earned him Manufacturing Engineering magazine’s prestigious “30 under 30” honor. The honor is “designed to recognize and encourage young people who can make a difference in manufacturing.”

“I feel honored and I am very appreciative of the award,” said Liu. “This is an achievement not only for me but for all my peers at the College of Engineering and Applied Science.”

Liu focuses on prognostics and health management of machines (PHM) in the manufacturing sector, collecting data on machines to predict potential failures or malfunctions. By predicting these failures before they happen, Liu’s work can save downtime and increase energy efficiency of the machines. He can also implement preventative measures, minimizing production losses down the road.

He does this through the skills he has learned working at UC’s Center for Intelligence Maintenance Systems (IMS). By applying hundreds of sensors to manufacturing machinery and using artificial intelligence and other data science tools, Liu and his colleagues can automate the process of data to information transformation from the sensors and reconfigure the machinery in real time.

“Our goal is to achieve a zero-defect, zero-waste and zero-downtime system to create a worry-free environment in the manufacturing sector,” said Liu.

As a PhD student in mechanical engineering, Liu worked under the mentorship of Jay Lee, PhD. “Professor Lee was not only an adviser; he was a role model,” said Liu. “He has the background to understand what the industry needs and the vision to see what can happen in the future.” 

Liu appreciated the overall environment the university created, citing UC’s supportive atmosphere as key for developing his entrepreneurial spirit.

Liu currently applies the data science technology to several manufacturing fields, including the energy and transportation sector. He is collaborating with projects in China that involve the design and development of cargo ships, wind farms and high-speed railways.

Additionally, Liu is the co-founder and chief technology officer of CyberInsight Technologies, a startup company that offers innovative solutions that reduce downtime and improve efficiency of manufacturing systems. Manufacturing companies are often good at making their products really well, he said, but they may not have the interdisciplinary talent to develop models or build software that can predict and prevent failures. At CyberInsight Technologies, Liu uses a cross-disciplinary approach rooted in data science and artificial intelligence to provide consulting and technical development services that fit each client’s specific needs.

Liu sees this technology as the future of the manufacturing sector. Proactive and predictive insights to manufacturing can prevent failures while improving machine efficiency. With this technology, manufacturing companies can keep doing what they do best knowing Liu has already caught any potential problems.