Month: October 2019

The CTIN4SPIRE Seminar Series Hosts OTIS Elevator Company

On October 24th, Mr. Kiron Bhaskar, Mr. Stephen R. Nichols, and Dr. Randy K. Roberts spoke at the Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Ingenuity course. The course, funded by CTNext, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by providing students with exposure to emerging technologies in automation and AI, IoT, big data, cyber physical systems, and smart manufacturing. The course is built upon seminars by invited industrial speakers to introduce cutting-edge technologies and challenges.

Dr. Roberts held a position at UTRC before moving to OTIS 23 years ago. He now works in the systems engineering area and has a background in physics-based modeling. Mr. Nichols grew up in Connecticut and was on a FIRST Robotics team before working at OTIS. He earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering, interned at OTIS, was hired with a full-time position at OTIS, and attended graduate school, supported by OTIS. His interests include innovation, program management, finance (in which he worked for two years), and systems engineering. Mr. Nichols previously led the technology group responsible for passenger experience and is now focused more broadly on systems engineering and connected systems topics. He has worked with OTIS for 13 years. In India, Mr. Bhaskar was involved in the oil & gas industry doing hands-on mechanical engineering work. He has been in the Systems Engineering group with OTIS for 11 years.

In the talk entitled “Elevator Systems Engineering & the Digital Thread”, Mr. Bhaskar stated that with elevators, OTIS is always earning money throughout the life cycle of the product, so it is a profitable and stable business. Some challenges facing the elevator industry include: the ability to stop the elevator car when it is going too fast, complex buildings are making it harder to install elevators, tall buildings are difficult and challenging as well. Mr. Bhaskar also discussed that it is important for OTIS to follow trends in industry, which include connectivity, passenger experience, predictive maintenance, smart dispatching, robotic interfaces, facial recognition, and understanding passenger locations in the building. OTIS ONE is a new IoT platform with transparent, proactive & predictive tools. Advanced monitoring through smart sensors is transferred to the cloud so that the mechanic can understand the problem and solve it faster.

Mr. Nichols discussed the Digital Thread. “Reducing risk is a theme that OTIS is trying to keep. Reduce risk as you go.” He explained that model-based engineering is faster and cheaper than conventional engineering. “You can do more virtually than you can ever do physically”. To do this, one should use leverage models and data across the product life cycle. There should be a model to predict, and data to learn and verify. Then one can obtain continuous integration using models and leverage surrogate models for fast analysis. Then use minimum viable product (MVP) to activate the learning loop quickly. The learning loop is a model where one reacts, observes, learns and predicts. It is the loop between the model and data from an operation, allowing one to gain insight, learn, optimize, & customize.

Dr. Roberts spoke about model-based design applications. SysML is a language that is used to implement model-based systems engineering (MBSE). At the very beginning of a project, SysML allows one to connect together the parameters of requirements, parametrics, behavior and structure. You can put this into a flexible, relational SSOT (single source of truth) database that forms the basis for the digital thread. This is a form of MBSE, the use of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification, and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout the product life cycle.

Mr. Bhaskar, Mr. Nichols, and Dr. Roberts closed by discussing how students could apply for summer internships at OTIS and encouraged students to apply for engineering and manufacturing jobs at OTIS by visiting the careers page of

The CT4INSPIRE Seminar Series Hosts Dr. Rick LaRowe

On September 26th, Dr. Rick LaRowe spoke at the Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Ingenuity course. The course, funded by CTNext, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by providing students with exposure to emerging technologies in automation, cyber physical systems, and advanced manufacturing. The course is built upon seminars by invited industrial speakers to introduce cutting-edge technologies and challenges.

LaRowe is the Principal Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, a top-tier defense contractor. LaRowe joined Raytheon in 2002. Raytheon is divided into four primary businesses, and LaRowe works in the area of Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). This area uses expertise across a broad portfolio of sensors, weapons and integration of systems to provide its global customers with affordable, integrated solutions that span multiple mission areas, including air and missile defense systems, missle defense radars, early warning radars, naval ship operating systems, command and control, and other advanced technologies.

In his talk entitled “Digital Transformation: Opportunities & Successes in the Aerospace Industry”, Dr. LaRowe makes it clear that the biggest problem with digital transformation is the lack of consistency in digital formatting. He says that we should always approach a problem by thinking about the customers. For Raytheon, the primary customers are the Department of Defense (DoD). For the DoD, Raytheon wants to push model-based systems engineering and provide a source of truth.

LaRowe then defined digital transformation: the application of digital technologies to transform how Raytheon does business and supports customers’ missions. Digital transformation is essentially trying to enable technologies to support the production lifecycle. Digital transformation can be divided into four categories: digital sustainment services, digital business capture, secure smart factory, and digital product engineering. The two categories that LaRowe focused on were digital business capture and secure smart factory. Digital business capture includes operations analysis, modeling & simulation, and advanced analytics. Smart factory involves IoT, machine learning, automation, and robotics.

Next, LaRowe explained the difference between digital thread and digital twin. Digital thread is defined as a collaborative engineering framework that digitally connects data flow and data views of a system throughout its life cycle across traditionally “siloed” engineering functions. Digital thread ties together all of the different artifacts in the life cycle. On the other hand, digital twin refers to a physics-based set of digital models representing a physical system, its surrounding environment, and real-time data feeds.

LaRowe stressed the importance of an authoritative source of truth. During the manufacturing and design process, information is copied from one place to another. It is easy to lose track of which artifact is accurate. Linked data architecture helps to solve this problem by maintaining sustainability.

LaRowe emphasized, “what we are trying to do is change the way we do business”. This change must overcome the current challenges, which include resistance to change from large organizations, the difficulty of building a digital thread for a legacy system, and lots of data.

The CT4INSPIRE Seminar Series Hosts Dr. Kenneth Creasy

On September 19th, Dr. Kenneth Creasy spoke at the Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Ingenuity
course. The course, funded by CTNext, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by providing students with exposure to emerging technologies in automation, cyber physical systems, and advanced manufacturing. The course is built upon seminars by invited industrial speakers to introduce cutting-edge technologies and challenges.

Kenneth Creasy is the Senior Director of Manufacturing Technology and Innovation for Johnson & Johnson (J&J). In this role, he leads an enterprise-wide engineering organization supporting all segments of J&J. He focuses on identifying and developing disruptive technologies for the J&J Supply Chain. Prior to moving into his current role, Ken served as Director of Research and Development for the Neurosurgery businesses for Codman Neuro for 4 years and Director of Quality for Codman the previous 5 years. Ken has also served as a certified Master Black Belt in Six Sigma and Design Excellence for DePuySynthes and J&J. Prior to joining J&J, Ken had roles in R&D leadership at Honeywell and AlliedSignal. Ken started his professional career at Olin Corporation, with roles in R&D, Operations, Sales and Marketing. He is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and is a Graduate Fellow of ACS. Ken has served as Chair of the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry and served as chair and keynote speaker for the International Forum on Process Analytical Chemistry in 2001. He also serves on the Industrial Advisory Boards for CESMII (Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute) and ARMI (Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute). Ken received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut and a BS in Chemistry and Biology from Hartwick College. He holds 12 US patents as well as numerous foreign patents. He has authored over 50 items comprised of book chapters, journal articles, critical reviews, and lectures.

In his talk entitled “Scouting & Incubating Technology for Healthcare Supply Chain”, Dr. Creasy focuses on innovation. Creasy stated, “we innovate because the current state is not good enough”. To innovate, first, one must identify the current issues. Identification may take place through interviews, economic evaluation, or brainstorming. After scenario planning, one must look to mega trends in healthcare in order to get a view for supply chain innovation. Once the impact on healthcare industries is noted, the impact on Johnson & Johnson products can be taken into consideration. There, the selection of technologies can take place, and new design and development ideas can be formed.

Creasy made it clear that there are different types of innovation. For example, half a million contact lenses are made per day at Johnson & Johnson. This happens through a process called incremental innovation. Incremental innovation is driven by improvement methodologies, such as Six Sigma, a process which requires one to gather the needs, test them, and see what is available, as well as what is maintained.

Johnson & Johnson aims to create the future through their vision of Industry 4.0. The vision involves the collaboration corridor, which can be divided into three categories. The first category is product design and development, and includes machine learning, cyber security, advanced analytics, big data, and software defined computing. The second category is production planning, which involves recipe management, digital thread, and advanced manufacturing systems. The final category is suppliers, which include the use of robots, 3D printing, advanced sensing, autonomous vehicles, and more.
Creasy went into detail about the innovation lifecycle, which is to adopt, ideate, discover, and evaluate. The adopt stage provides input for successful process and design validation or verification strategies. The ideate stage monitors emerging technologies through a variety of innovation networks. The discover stage provides support for concept development, and the evaluate stage provides quantitative evidence of process and/or product performance impact of adapting identified technologies.

Creasy finished his talk by giving his opinion on what further steps can be made in the future to improve innovation within Johnson & Johnson. He was welcomed with thoughtful student questions after the presentation.