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Big Data: Big Deal? Or Big Deal!

Event Type
Department of Mechanical Science & Engineering
143 Mechanical Engineering Building
Sep 20, 2017   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Dr. Jeffrey Abell, General Motors Global Research & Development
Holly Foster
Originating Calendar
MechSE Seminars


Discussion of big data has been about data, software, and methods with an emphasis on retail and personalization of services and products. Big data also has impacted engineering and manufacturing and has resulted in better and more efficient manufacturing operations, improved quality, and more personalized products. A less apparent effect is that big data has changed problem solving: the problems we choose to solve, the strategy we seek, and the tools we employ. This seminar illustrates this point by showing how the big data style of thinking enabled the development of a new quality assurance philosophy called process monitoring for quality. A blend of process monitoring and quality control, that is founded on big data and big models; catalysts for the next step in the evolution of the quality movement. Process monitoring for quality was used to evaluate the performance of the ultrasonically welded battery tabs in the new Chevrolet Volt, an extended range electric vehicle.


About the Speaker

Dr. Jeffrey Abell is GM Technical Fellow and Lab Group Manager, Manufacturing Systems Research Lab, General Motors Global Research and Development.  He is responsible for all battery manufacturing research in the company and his team played a key role in bringing the Chevy Volt advanced high power battery to production.  He has successfully implemented various evolutionary based optimization methods to solve complex industrial design problems and was awarded the 2011 and 2014 General Motors Boss Kettering Awards for outstanding technical innovation.  He has a Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering degree from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), and graduate degrees in Systems Engineering from Oakland University. 


Dr. Abell is Co-Director of the GM – UM Collaborative Research Lab - Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing division and a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).  He has written numerous technical publications, is a licensed Professional Engineer (Michigan) and is active in various professional societies and associations.  He can be reached at


Host:  Professor Chenhui Shao

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