Advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0
The Mechanical Engineering Department welcomes Professor Lucas HofFriday, September 28, 2018
ÉTS is pleased to announce that Professor Lucas Hof will be joining the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Professor Hof, who was born in the Netherlands and has been in Montréal for the past five years, is an expert in advanced manufacturing in support of industry 4.0. His research focuses on finding methods for mass-producing high-precision customized parts using non-traditional materials at the lowest possible price. The other part of the equation is meeting these objectives while minimizing negative environmental impacts.
The general goal of the industry (manufacturers of smart phones, the biomedical and aerospace sector, etc.) is to meet consumer demand for customization through low-cost mass-production. Lucas Hof explains: “I am seeking processes (e.g.: electrochemical) that allow for greater flexibility with a view to attaining these objectives”. His work on new processes explores the possibilities made available through additive manufacturing, machine learning and other methods.
In taking the next step, the new ÉTS Professor is now looking to “develop innovative “remanufacturing” processes based on digital technologies (industry 4.0) to support the concept of a circular economy”, he continues. He would also like use recycled parts to manufacture high-precision products. This is an ecological and economical approach, because using recycled parts will lead to reduced costs for industry. According to Professor Hof: “Meeting the demand for customization is not a choice we can avoid, but my focus is on reducing the impact on the environment as much as possible”.
A passion for applied science
Before joining ÉTS as a Lecturer and Researcher, Lucas Hof earned his Ph.D. at Concordia University, in Professor Rolf Wuthrich’s group, where he co-developed an electrochemical machining technology to the point of industrial deployment, in collaboration with Posalux, a Swiss company. His doctoral studies focused on a high-precision glass treatment process related to mass customization. Before that, Lucas Hof studied at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He also spent time at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he headed a research project before returning to his country of origin.
Lucas Hof’s career also includes a stint as an entrepreneur. After working for a non-profit organization, he co-founded and headed a company that designed and manufactured interactive toys adapted for disabled individuals and the elderly.
After many years as an entrepreneur, Professor Hof has decided to return to research because, as he puts it, he “loves technology, and loves developing it, innovating and helping to improve the world”.
Professor Hof has more than ten years of teaching experience, including a number of years at Concordia University. He chose this career because of the independence it affords him. As for ÉTS, he was delighted to join, because “ÉTS is the bridge between academia and industry”, which reflects his own path, according to the man with a passion for applied science. He will be teaching ÉTS students the basics of industry 4.0, especially in connection with advanced manufacturing technologies.
Professor Hof is used to working with industry, and has headed a number of projects with manufacturing companies, primarily in the aerospace sector. It is his hope that these collaborations will continue to be numerous and fruitful at ÉTS.
On behalf of the entire ÉTS community, we would like to extend our most sincere welcome.