Lunch and Learn Series Spring 2021

“Manufacturing in Unstructured Environments” – the first in a series of free webinars hosted by the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI).

Gary McMurray, Ph.D.
Director and Principal Research Engineer, Georgia Tech Research Institute, and Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines

Monday, Feb. 8   -Online Seminar-
Noon – 1:00 pm Eastern Time, U.S. 

Abstract: Robotic systems have traditional been very successful in performing tasks where the inputs are well defined and known in advance. Automotive and electronic manufacturing are the classic success stories where robotic systems have demonstrated incredible value for the industry. The tasks performed by the robots almost exclusively involve the manipulation or interacting with objects whose physical properties are known a priori and the objects are rigid and dry. In the many manufacturing sectors, robotic systems must be able to work in an unstructured environment where every product is unique, deformable and even wet. This presentation will discuss various approaches to enable autonomous solutions to these problems. This will include software to minimize manual programming of robots as well systems that integrate advanced perception and control technologies to perform complex tasks like cutting, grasping, and manipulation. 

Bio: Gary McMurray is a Principal Research Engineer and Division Chief for the Intelligent Sustainable Technologies Division at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is also an Associate Director for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) at Georgia Tech. IRIM serves as an umbrella under which robotics researchers, educators, and students from across campus can come together to advance the many high-powered and diverse robotics activities at Georgia Tech. The Intelligent Sustainable Technologies Division conducts innovative research to improve the human condition through transforming the agricultural and food systems, sustainable use and access to energy and water, and safety of people at work and from pandemics. Mr. McMurray’s research has focused on the development of robotic technologies and solutions for the manufacturing and agribusiness communities, including the protein and the fruit and vegetable industries. He is an expert in visual servoing – the use of vision for the real-time control of robotics, and the author of over 50-refereed technical papers and journal publications in robotics.  

Mr. McMurray serves on the advisory board for Advanced Animal Systems for the Foundation of Food and Agricultural Research. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Robotics Industry Association.

The Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) hosts a Lunch and Learn Series each semester. This spring, sessions will be held every Monday at noon (12:00 pm EST) as live, online events. These sessions are excellent opportunities for Georgia Tech faculty, undergraduate and graduate level students and researchers, as well as a global manufacturing community to learn and share advanced manufacturing knowledge. Upcoming topics and speakers are shown below. 

Mark your calendar. All are encouraged and welcome to attend. Registration is not required.

February 15:
“Approaches for In-depth Studies of Workpiece Surface Integrity in Machining”
Dragos Axinte, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Nottingham, UK
Meeting link:

February 22:
“Resilient Manufacturing: The Georgia Manufacturing Survey 2020”
Jan Youtie, Ph.D.
Director of STIP (Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy),
Georgia Tech, EI2
Meeting Link:

March 1:
“Ultra-precision Machining of Optical Surfaces”
Senthil Kumar, Ph.D.
Professor and Co-Director of the SimTech-NUS Center for Large Format Machining, National University of Singapore
Meeting Link:

March 8:
“TBA, Additive Manufacturing (AM)”
Aaron Stebner, Ph.D.
Professor, Georgia Tech, School of Mechanical Engineering
Meeting Link:

March 15:
“TBA, Synthetic Biology and BioMade”
Douglas Friedman, Ph.D.
Executive Director of the (EBRC) Engineering Biology Research Consortium, BioMade – EBRC, University of California, Berkeley
Meeting Link:

March 22:
“Digitalization for AM — How to Leverage Digitalization in AM Operations”
Tim Bell, AM Business Manager – Head of the Center of Competency for AM, Siemens Digital Industries
Meeting Link:

March 29:
“TBA, Additive Manufacturing”
Marco Zani, Founder and CEO
Mark One
Meeting Link:

April 5:
“Monoclonal Antibody Manufacturing: Transforming Our Most Important Biologics Manufacturing Process from an Artform to a Science”
Olav Lyngberg, PhD.
Senior Scientific Fellow,
Janssen Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson Company
Meeting Link:

April 12:
“Model-Based Manufacturing and Smart Manufacturing Systems Test Bed at NIST”
Moneer Helu, Ph.D.
Group Leader, Program Manager, and Project Leader,
NIST Model-Based Enterprise, Smart Manufacturing Systems Test Bed
Meeting Link:

Weekly Lunch and Learn topics include (but are not limited to) critical challenges addressed by advanced manufacturing research; innovative manufacturing equipment, facilities, processes, or technologies; the capabilities and needs of industrial manufacturers; tech transfer and rapid prototyping for startups;  employment/workforce training opportunities for students considering a manufacturing career; and more! 

Reserve your virtual seat for Internet of Things for Manufacturing (IoTfM) Symposium

The Internet of Things continues to revolutionize manufacturing. Join us November 11 for a free, virtual symposium featuring leaders in this exciting field. 

Leading edge insights, practical applications

You’ll gain fresh insights from industry leaders, plus exclusive learnings from actual Internet of Things for Manufacturing (IoTfM) implementations.
Take away inspiration from thought leaders, major manufacturers and trusted experts.

Learn from the university ranked #1 in the field

Hosted by the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, this year’s 6th annual symposium will feature more than a dozen speakers, plus the opportunity to network digitally with hundreds of participants.

Register today

Reserve your virtual seat today for this free symposium. You’ll take away exciting ideas to accelerate your 2021 IoTfM plans.

We look forward to seeing you at the symposium on November 11!
Andrew Dugenske
Director, Factory Information Systems Center
Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute


Construction Industry Strives to Adapt, Adopt, Reshape

Repost of article by Vicki Speed, original article can be found here

Drones that tie rebar. Robots that make roadway repairs. Machines that perform earthwork with little or no human intervention. These are just a sampling of the robotic solutions many believe can influence and improve construction performance and safety, as a key part of transforming how the industry works.

In its “Worldwide Robotics and Drones Spending Guide,” International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts a worldwide $128.7 billion in global spending for robotics systems and drones in 2020, with construction taking a good share of the investment lead. Construction robotics spending has a predicted 25.2 percent compound annual growth rate between 2019-2023.

Experts emphasize the need to blend transformation and technology. “We need a modern renaissance that re-defines how we think about the build process,” said John Voeller, an ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) White House Fellow who provided technical advice to Congressional policy makers and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Integration is key to this shift. “Technology is just an enabler,” said Scott Crozier, general manager of Trimble’s Civil Engineering and Construction Division. “In this time of transformation, industry professionals must understand how their business, operations and tools need to connect if we are to reverse decades-long practices and ingrained inefficiencies.”

Again, there’s reason for optimism. According to that McKinsey report, “A combination of sustainability requirements, cost pressure, skills scarcity, new materials, industrial approaches, digitalization and a new breed of player looks set to transform the value chain. Consolidation and internationalization will create the scale needed to allow higher levels of investment in digitalization, R&D and equipment, and sustainability as well as human capital.”


Drone spending is anticipated to reach $1.4 billion in construction this year alone. While predominantly used to survey sites and perform volume calculations, these flying robots are capable of much more.

On the topic of UAS, White House Fellow Voeller pointed to the need for more advancements, such as 25-pound payload units that can stay aloft for 30-45 minutes, or a drone that can be partnered with a battery rack system that allows the drone to return home, swap batteries without human intervention and then return to its work.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are seeking to establish the framework for developing such next-generation, technology-enhanced solutions. The lab has already used small-scale aerial drones as tools for exploring potential benefits to safety managers within construction jobsites. The CONECTechLab at the School of Building Construction is collaborating with Rotor X and OptimAero on a research program to develop a drone capable of flying five miles carrying a 100-pound load. A version of the drone was tested at Fort Benning, Georgia, earlier this year.

“We see particular value in last-mile logistics on a jobsite,” associate professor Javier Irizarry said. “Instead of forklifts or heavy equipment being used to move tools, materials and supplies, these systems equipped with autonomous navigation could provide near-real-time services.”

Repost of article by Vicki Speed, original article can be found here Edited to fit this space.