Bin Wu has been responding to real-world problems related to industrial systems design for twenty years. “When we talk about industrial system design,” he explains, “we are talking about how to put facilities, people, and information systems together so that this system can function for whatever purpose it was designed to serve,” whether to manufacture or to supply. Traditionally, says Wu, when designing an industrial system our main consideration was always productivity – how to produce or manufacture things more efficiently. Three years ago, however, the MU Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering received a wake-up call that changed the direction of his work.
Bin Wu, Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, has been researching, teaching, and consulting within the field of industrial engineering for twenty years. “When we talk about industrial system design,” he explains, “we are talking about how to put facilities, people, and information systems together so that this system can function for whatever purpose it is designed to fulfill – for example, to manufacture or to supply. Traditionally, when we designed a system, the main efficiency considerations were related to productivity.” About three years ago, however, Wu received a wake-up call: his son’s birth created a sense of urgency to address environmental issues, and specifically energy efficiency. He realized then that when designing and improving systems, particularly industrial systems, “energy has got to be a very important consideration, if not the most important consideration.”
Officially opened on September 1, 2006, the Missouri Industrial Assessment Center’s purpose “is to be the center in the state to provide services and resources to promote energy efficiency, particularly industrial energy efficiency.” The IAC carries out activities in the areas of research, education, and outreach. Since its establishment, the IAC has been busy conducting energy audits and workshops for manufacturing organizations throughout the state. Because the IAC provides practical experience for students, helps manufacturers improve energy efficiency, and develops best practices in industry, Wu calls it a “win, win, win situation.”
Wu has published four books, all in the area of manufacturing and systems design, several of which have become internationally adopted as textbooks: Manufacturing Systems Design and Analysis (1992, 1994), Manufacturing and Supply Systems Management (2000), and Handbook of Manufacturing and Supply Systems Design (2001).
Following years principally involved in research, Wu now spends more time working with both students and the public on energy efficiency and the environment. As he puts it, “I feel very strongly that every one of us needs to do something and behave in responsible ways, individually or collectively, [to] do something about it.” As an educator, Wu gets the message out to his students, who he says are the future: , “It’s really a very fulfilling thing to do. I have been a professor for all of my professional life—doing research, writing books and other publications, and teaching. I can honestly say that what I’m doing now regarding energy efficiency is absolutely the most fulfilling.”