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INNOVATIVITY® inspires PhD student

Sydney, Australia - 8 August 2012

(Original article from AMCRC , Posted on 29 June 2012 by Jacqui Martin, )

AMCRC - July enews

Having submitted his PhD and attended one of AMCRC’s Innovativity programs earlier this year, Wen Li now has plenty of ideas about how his investigations into predicting energy consumption during manufacturing could be commercialised.

Part of the team at the Life Cycle Engineering and Management Research Group at the University of New South Wales School of Mechanical Engineering, Wen Li’s work has focused on developing techniques that will forecast levels of energy consumption and eco-efficiency. At present, energy use can only be measured retrospectively. But Wen Li’s model provides manufacturers with information which enables them to make changes and modifications in order to achieve significant efficiencies in energy use. In aiming to develop a system that would apply across a range of manufacturing processes, Wen Li has focused on a model which covers different types of machines and specific tasks such as turning and milling, grinding and injection moulding.

Having been immersed on his PhD studies over the last couple of years, Wen Li says he found the Innovativity experience enormously refreshing – ‘because up until then, I hadn’t thought much about the potential of my research in the market place.’ Being exposed to concepts such as the importance of learning how to negotiate, how to communicate and sell ideas and how think about different business models has been a fantastic experience. 

‘Most PhD’s are researchers and performance is measured by publications,’ he says, ‘so I found the discussions and information about developing business models very helpful.’
Wen Li says he is now thinking more about the commercial aspects of his work and future opportunities in the market place with manufacturers and software developers. If successful, his research into forecasting energy use has the potential to provide enormous benefits for businesses and the economy.

"Innovativity has encouraged me to think more setting up my own business.", Wen Li


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