Young scholars at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) continue to shine in international awards for research excellence. Dr Pai ZHENG, Wong Tit Shing Young Scholar in Smart Robotics, Assistant Professor of Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at PolyU, has been honoured with the prestigious SME (the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award in the class of 2024.
SME was founded in 1932 as a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing. Since 1980, the SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award has recognised manufacturing engineers, age 35 or younger, who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry.
Dr ZHENG expressed his profound honour to be the fourth Chinese scholar working outside North America to receive this prestigious award and said, "I will continue to dedicate myself to the research and development of intelligent human-machine collaborative manufacturing systems, providing innovative and practical solutions for the ever-changing needs of the manufacturing industry."
Dr ZHENG’s research is in the frontier of robotics in smart manufacturing and robotics systems field, including human-robot collaboration, smart product-service systems, and engineering design informatics. The advanced research results he developed have been patented as inventions, and the associated software has been licensed for successful translation into practical applications.
Mutual-cognitive human-robot collaboration (HRC) system
One of Dr ZHENG’s core technical achievements is a mutual-cognitive human-robot collaboration (HRC) system, including multimodal holistic scene perception, visual-language model-based cognition, and self-learning control strategies. This invention has won seven international/domestic innovation and entrepreneurship competition awards. The efficacy of the prototype system was evaluated in the lab environment and EVB disassembly process by the industrial partner in Changsha, China.
Cognitive predictive maintenance solutions for industrial complex equipment
By leveraging the cutting-edge industrial internet-of-things (IoT) architecture and information communication technology, Dr ZHENG has developed a set of graph-based smart maintenance methodologies for complex equipment based on industrial big data, overcoming the bottlenecks of the high maintenance cost, long cycle time, and dependence on human expertise for complex equipment maintenance. The efficacy of the developed AI solution has been partially demonstrated in an oil drilling platform in Chengdu, China, together with the industrial partner, Beijing Aerospace Data Stock Company.
In addition to his significant contribution to the industry, he is committed to nurturing the next generation of talent. He has led his student teams to excel in many major competitions, including the winner of the 21st Asia-Pacific Information and Communications Technology Alliance (Student-Tertiary Technology), Gold Award of the 8th China International College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, and Grand Award of Hong Kong ICT Awards 2022 – Student Innovation Award. Dr ZHENG is also the winner of the PolyU Young Innovative Researcher Award (YIRA) 2023.