Manufacturing - Mechanical Engineering Research


Abu Dhabi vision 2030 sets a very progressive and challenging goals and to be realized requires strong industrial and manufacturing base. Manufacturing provides the tools that enable production of designed systems, it empowers a growing, stable economy and a rising standard of living.

Typical manufacturing areas include:

  • Software (for example, Computer Aided Design (CAD),and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM))
  • Material removal (for example, milling, drilling, laser process equipment)
  • Material forming (stamping, bending, joining etc.)
  • Additive processes (3D printing, laser sintering, and rapid prototyping equipment)
  • Other categories such as work holding, tooling, materials handling, and automated systems.

It is clear that development and application of advanced manufacturing technologies goes hand-in-hand with powering knowledge-based economy of a modern society.  Thus the primary focus of the advanced manufacturing research program at KU will be aligned with the university’s strategic research plan and the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision plan in supporting critical manufacturing technologies and research that will eventually benefit UAE’s economic growth. 

The thrust of the advanced manufacturing program will be on improving the manufacturing process’ productivity and quality and in particular machining related. The following are the pillars of this manufacturing research program (which is aligned with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision Plan): 

High Productivity Machining Process

Create research projects related to high productivity technologies such as:

  • High Speed Machining – conducting research using high speed machine tools to understand the impact of these machine on the cutting process and surface finish.
  • Multi-spindle machining – studying the impact of having multi-spindles on productivity and material removal rates, vibrations/chatter, and surface finish.
  • Develop mechanistic models for the above machining technologies to help optimize the process.
  • Fiber placement for composite parts’ production

Advanced Machine Tools Technologies

  • Develop and/or acquire a suite of new machine tool technologies such as parallel kinematics machine tools, high speed machining, multi-spindle machine tools, etc… and conduct research that will push their performance envelope.
  • Enhance machine tool performance and health using different types of sensors to measure temperature, strain, vibration, humidity (when using laser) and other relevant types.  

3D Metal Printing

Develop expertise in a new trend that is taking place in many research centers around the world, namely, 3D metal printing. This is viewed to be the next generation manufacturing technology, however, many challenges need to be addressed and resolved.

  • Develop a homemade 3D printing machine to acquire the knowledge and know-how on the design and development of such high technology equipment.
  • Acquire a 3D Selective Laser Sintering machine and using it as a platform to understand and optimize the metal printing process.    

Advanced Fixturing Systems

Fixturing is extremely important for automotive and aerospace industries and the following would address such needs:

  • Fixturing of flexible work piece to minimize deformation during machining or fiber placement
  • Reconfigurable fixturing to adapt to different work piece geometries at minimal cost/time.

The Manufacturing research group at the department of mechanical engineering is currently overseeing the implementation of the following research projects:

Five Degrees-of-Freedom Hybrid Serial-Parallel Kinematics Machine Tool

A Parallel Robot Prototype for Automated Composite Manufacturing

Five Degrees-of-Freedom Hybrid Serial-Parallel Kinematics Machine Tool


Manufacturing Research at Mechanical Engineering Department at Khalifa UniversityHybrid serial-parallel link manipulators combine the advantages and eliminate disadvantages of their ancestors the pure parallel or serial kinematics manipulators. Hybrid systems enable user to tailor the machine and/or performance according to the required application. This will result in having modular units that could be arranged in different configurations to produce certain number and types of degrees of freedom and/or certain characteristics such as stiffness or range of motion. The focus of this proposal is a particular type of hybrid serial-parallel machine. This machine consists of two planar three degrees-of-freedom manipulators assembled together in a special configuration.

The aim of this project is to characterize the impact of having two serially connected parallel link manipulators on the static and dynamic behavior. Additionally, that measured performance will be compared with theoretical model results. Therefore, the first phase of this project is to design and prototype a five axis serial-parallel kinematics machine, which is comprised of two serially connected 3 -Prismatic- Revolute-Revolute (3PRR) manipulators. This will be followed by static stiffness measurement which is compared with theoretical values. This project is manufacturing based, and focus on machine tool design and machining. 


PI: Dr. Bashar El-Khasawneh
Co-PIs: Dr. Anas Alazzam, Dr. Dongming Gan

A Parallel Robot Prototype for Automated Composite Manufacturing


Fiber placement is a manufacturing technology to produce advanced composites, which are commonly used in the aircraft manufacturing. Compared with traditional fabrication techniques, robot based automated fiber placement (AFP) offers many advantages including cutting and debulking and consolidation of the material in situ, precise control and high degree of repeatability.

Parallel robots have multiple support limbs with low inertia, high structure stiffness, good positioning accuracy and high speed which are good for AFP process. Thus this project will initialize the work of applying parallel robots on AFP manufacturing.

Based on these, a 6DOF parallel robot prototype will be built considering the requirements of AFP process. Basic robotics knowledge and task-orientated mechanical design techniques will be the key parts of this senior design project which will be part of the potential KU internal funding project and a collaboration project with the company MUBADALA targeting Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.