Research Projects


Additive Manufacturing of Smart Metal Forming Tools

The project aims to develop a framework for producing a smart metal forming tool based on additive manufacturing technology. The smart tool is self-monitoring and is developed by integrating metal powder-based additive manufacturing, electronic sensors technology, and cold spray coating. Metal-powder-based additive manufacturing provides a capability to produce a high strength forming tool comprised of intricate internal heating and cooling channels. Further, AM manufacturing coupled with cold spray coating technology enables the embedding and protection of electronic sensors in the tool for in situ monitoring and real time control of manufacturing process conditions, such as temperature, pressure, and strain. Such smart tooling can result in improved tool and part strength, quality, and fatigue properties, as well as increasing tool wear-resistance and enabling in situ tool maintenance. 

Researcher: Dr. Davoud Mashhadi Jarflou

Innovations Methods for the Development of Surgical Tools Supported by Semantic Knowledge Management

Medical environments pose a significant challenge for design. In addition to applying technical knowledge and expertise, a designer must moreover consider a highly regulated, difficult to access environment, a breadth of medical science, and diverse stakeholders, all while also considering larger business and enterprise concerns. This work approaches medical device innovation as a knowledge management problem, and thus focuses on the development of medical device methods and knowledge management tools to support them based on in house development work in surgical tools for multiple applications. The ultimate goal of this work is to introduce a design and innovation methodology for surgical tools that is supported from product definition to realization by a suite of modular aids implemented using semantic web technologies.

Researcher: Tom Hagedorn


This collaborative project with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) aims to use predictive metamodels to provide the mathematical framework for NIST’s AM composable models architecture. Towards this goal, this project has used both experimental data and the outputs of physics-based models to develop several novel predictive metamodeling approaches that uniquely capture the system behavior based on performance and validates it with the relevant information from design intent. These include black-box statistical approaches as well as grey-box models that utilize existing process knowledge to improve model fidelity and novel model selection techniques.


Researcher: Zhou Yang


Information Framework for Volumetric AM Metadata Engine (VAME)

Additive Manufacturing (AM) for Metal offers potential advantages over traditional manufacturing process, allowing users to tweak internal structures as well as material properties. However, current CAD tools are limited in their applicability to this domain, leading to poor design for AM and subsequent build failures that could be avoided flagged by CAD software during the design phase. This collaborative project with FTL Labs focuses on the development of a visualization tool highlighting potential design problems with goal of incorporating AM best practices into the design process, avoiding build failures, and decreasing manufacturing costs. This work focuses on the creation of a knowledge base and information framework using ontology that can identify problematic features. The ontology is populated with AM best practices for thin walls, unsupported angles, and hole orientations that can highlight orientation with least number of problems.

Researcher: Shreyas Patil


Information Modeling and Decision Support for Additive Manufacturing (AM)

The rapidly evolving technology of AM is vastly underutilized in industry today, because companies are uncertain of when and for what products AM should be used.  To address this pressing need, this research focuses on 2 thrust areas. First, synthesizing related information in an ontological framework for AM in a way that is human readable and computer decidable to facilitate integration of product design and manufacturing via rules-based process planning. Second, the development of a Decision Support System for Additive Manufacturing (DS-SAM) method to account for the criteria of various AM and non-AM options to compare and determine swiftly if the part should be designed for AM or conventional manufacturing

Researcher: Dr. Douglas Eddy

Past Projects

An Economical Retrofit Seat Belt Design Upgrade for Motor Coaches

The motor coach industry faces a significant challenge to provide the needed safety of seat belts for passengers on older models in the field. Such vehicles were not originally designed to withstand the forces exerted by seat belts during crash scenarios. Industry estimates claim that retrofit of these models with seat belts will be prohibitively expensive as would be the preliminary retirement of the vehicles that were designed before the inclusion of seatbelts. UMass – Amherst in partnership with Sara’s Wish Foundation completed a novel preliminary design of an economical retrofit of older motor coaches with seat belts. In many cases, this design can equip an old motor coach with lap and shoulder restraint seat belts for under $10,000.
Researchers: Dr. Doug Eddy ,Shreyas Patil, Saad Ahmed, Ben Hua, Jeremy Keys, Conrad Zanzinger


Investigation of  Novel Surgical Adhesion Dissection Technology

In this work, the UMass Center for e-Design helped to investigate a proposed low trauma surgical dissection tool in collaboration with the UMass Medical School’s Surgical Technology Innovation and Commercialization group with support from Davol-Bard. Trauma in many surgical operations can lead to subsequent adhesion formation, causing discomfort and complications that are treated through surgical adhesiolysis. In this project the Center for e-Design worked with our collaborators to investigate a potential surgical technology by cataloguing past research into similar technologies and characterizing the performance and suitability of in both in-vitro and in-vivo porcine model. Deliverables included a design of experiments investigation of key device drivers, a technical breakdown, and both clinical and engineering analysis of the viability of the technology.


Investigation of Product and Procedural Innovations in Bariatric Weight loss operations

Bariatric weight loss operations are a growing elective surgical market; with significant potential improve the quality of life and overall health of patients. Nonetheless, these operations still have room for improvement in terms of their result and the prevalence and difficult of treating surgical complications. This collaboration between the UMass Center for e-Design, UMass Medical School’s Surgical Technology Innovation and Commercialization Group investigated potential new approaches to the bariatric market with support from Davol-Bard. Deliverables included an analysis of the bariatric surgical market and available products from a clinical, entrepreneurial, and technical perspective, as well as proposed concepts for both innovative new surgical treatment approaches and medical devices to both support new operations and improve existing ones.
Researcher: Tom Hagedorn

3D Finite Element Modeling For Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse, a condition in which the vagina begins to protrude from the body, is believed to have biomechanical origins relating to weakening of the pelvic tissues and muscles. However, there is limited understanding of the exact mechanism by which prolapsed occurs, much the detriment of clinicians and device makers looking to treat prolapsed. In this project the Center for e-Design constructed t a 3D finite element model of the female pelvic system to study the biomechanical properties prolapse to better understand its etiology and treatment. The model has successfully demonstrated the interrelationship between tissues properties, loading conditions, and subsequent prolapsed.
Researcher: Zhou Yang  

Development of New Products Solutions for Fat Grafting Surgeries

Fat grafting surgeries comprise a small but growing market in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. However, limited and often unreliable surgical outcomes, complicated, time consuming procedural approaches, and a need for better purpose made devices all hinder further growth of the market. This collaboration between the Center for e-Design and UMass Medical School’s Surgical Technology Innovation and Commercialization group (STIC-UM) aimed at addressing shortfalls by proposing both technological and procedural improvements with support from Davol-Bard. Towards this goal the Center for e-Design and STIC-UM conducted a thorough review of the underlying science supporting various fat grafting protocols, investigated the fat grafting market to identify major barriers to growth and opportunities for innovative new approaches, and the proposed of a set of new product concepts to streamline existing operations, improve their outcomes, and introduce fundamentally new surgical approaches.

Researcher: Tom Hagedorn

Decision Making Method for Sustainable Product Design

This work developed a new method for the early stages of product design that enables direct consideration of performance, environmental, and economic impacts, while consistently modeling a designer’s stated preferences among these often conflicting objectives. This method reflects the increase in knowledge about the material and energy flows of various processes in recent years, and offers a methodical approach to account for the inherent uncertainty associated with such knowledge. Additional work provided a semantic framework to integrate requirements information from sustainability standards and regulations directly into a design process. This framework represents both the objectives that pertain to sustainable design and the applicable sustainability standards and regulations. This integrated approach not only eased the adoption of the standards and regulations during a design process but also influenced a design toward sustainability considerations
Researcher: Doug Eddy

A Unified Approach to Design of Sustainable Products through Integration of LCA within PLM

Performing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study or considering substances and compliance at a late design stage poses significant risks, which include: little flexibility to make changes, loss of market share, noncompliant products under different regulations, and limited preparation for existing and future regulations.   Thus, substantial value and benefits will be realized by including LCA studies and considering substances and compliance throughout all the design stages, especially the early stages. Our research achieves: accounting of all impacts, integration with compliance information, and estimation of results from the selection of BOMs. Here, we demonstrate the potential benefits of integration of GaBi LCA software within Teamcenter. A charcoal grill design case study shows how evaluations can be made based on achievement of strategic goals, along with verification of compliance and the visibility of LCA and other results.
Researcher: Renpeng Zou, Doug Eddy