Adrian’s master’s thesis wins Hirschvogel Excellence Award

Posted: June 13, 2023
Alex Adrian

The Frank Hirschvogel Foundation and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is proud to announce Alex Adrian, a former graduate student of MAE and now an engineer at GE Aerospace, the winner of the Hirschvogel Excellence Award.

The Hirschvogel Excellence Award is a $5,000 prize that is presented to one graduate student for the best master’s thesis in Mechanical Engineering.

“Being chosen for the best master's thesis in mechanical engineering was an incredible surprise that affirms all of the hard work put into this research,” Adrian said. “I never sought out awards or academic recognition with my work, but instead focused on putting everything I could toward producing high-quality research to benefit the greater engineering community as a whole. Even though artificial intelligence is an extremely active research area, it is still difficult to access large, publicly available training datasets of engineering simulation data; I am proud to have contributed to improving the accessibility of such datasets.”

Alex’s thesis research with the Digital Design and Manufacturing Lab (dDML) was the first stage of a larger NSF-funded project, which focused on developing publicly available artificial intelligence algorithms and training datasets for mapping the design space of engineered products - specifically automotive frames.

The goal of the project is to use artificial neural networks to predict component- and assembly-level manufacturing variations using processing parameters from a sheet metal forming operation.

Alex was involved in many stages of this research including developing the automation and validation of a multi-stage simulation workflow, generating a large training dataset comprised of processing parameters and geometric measurements of formed components and welded assemblies, creating a method of analyzing the variety and balance of the resulting dataset to aid in identifying inherent biases, and finally training a fully-connected neural network on the component forming stage data to predict spring back given the forming process inputs.

“This award is just as much a testament to the guidance of Dr. Shah and the dedication of the dDML team as it is to the work I did for my thesis - I truly could not have done it without them, Adrian said. “I would like to thank Dr. Shah for his mentorship and support, as well as sparking my interest in research and providing the opportunity to work on this project. I also want to thank Satchit Ramnath for his advice, both in my decision to pursue graduate studies and in the technical details of this project. I would also like to express gratitude for the endless support of my fiancée Kaitlin and my parents. Another big thank you to my dDML lab mates Abhishek Bolar and Nolan LaMarche for their help running simulations, processing results, and providing laughs. I'd also like to recognize the financial support provided by the National Science Foundation through GOALI Award No. 2029905.”

This award is given by The Frank Hirschvogel Foundation, a philanthropy arm of the Hirschvogel Automotive Group. In 2018, the Foundation provided a gift to OSU to support the award of a prize of $5,000 for the best MS thesis in ME, annually for five years. The award was presented for the first time at Ohio State in 2019.

The Hirschvogel Automotive Group, headquartered in Denklingen, Germany, is among the world’s largest automotive suppliers in the area of steel and aluminum forgings and machining. The group’s customers include all major automotive manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. Hirschvogel Automotive Group’s forging plant in Columbus was established in 1988.

Alex also wanted to offer a piece of advice.

“Don't shy away from challenges in life,” he said. “The most significant growth and personal development come from putting yourself in uncomfortable situations that force you to learn new things, develop new skills, or change your mindset.”