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Issue 478, 4 March 2002

Retirements

Professor Tim King

Tim King graduated from King's College, London with a BSc (Eng) in mechanical engineering (1972). His interest in design engineering led to him gaining an MDes (RCA) in industrial design (engineering) from the Royal College of Art, London (1975). His research career began with the completion of his PhD thesis (1979) at De Montfort University (formerly Leicester Polytechnic), where he remained for a further two years working on a collaborative study, supported by Rank Taylor Hobson, into the design and development of high precision industrial robots.

Professor King began his academic career in the department of mechanical engineering at Loughborough University of Technology, where he was employed from 1981-1992 as a lecturer and then senior lecturer. His initial interests in surface metrology led to his active membership of many organising committees of international conferences on metrology and properties of engineering surfaces. His work in metrology led to his research into the applications of minicomputers and early microprocessors, and through this he played a leading role in Loughborough's unit for the development of microprocessor applications in mechanical engineering.

Whilst at Loughborough, Tim became engaged with numerous textile industry-related research projects including: high-speed computer controlled actuators for pattern selection in weaving; vision based automation for knitted garment assembly; microprocessor based instrumentation for air-textured yarn characterisation; machine vision controlled laser cutting of lace; and friction spinning systems for natural and synthetic fibres. The successful outcome of the research led to his international reputation in the field of mechatronics, and in 1992 he was appointed to the chair of mechanical engineering at the University of Birmingham where he founded the engineering school's mechatronics research group and was responsible for the electro-mechanical group. His research at Birmingham included microprocessor and DSP based systems for computer-visual inspection and control of deformable patterned materials, the development of ultra high-speed piezoelectric actuators and motors, calibration techniques for surface metrology and CMM applications.

Professor King joined the University of Leeds in 1998 as professor of mechatronics. During his three years in the school of textiles and design he initiated several new areas of research including the application of piezoelectric actuators in high-speed jet-printing of woven fabrics and computer-vision inspection and removal of fibre contamination in wool scouring, the latter area receiving funding support under the DTI Foresight scheme.

Tim's work has gained him much respect internationally and he has enjoyed recognition of this by being invited to chair or co-chair many international conference committees on mechatronics and being elected to various professional bodies, in particular vice-chair and then chair of the IEE/ImechE mechatronics forum. His international conference activity has taken him to many interesting parts of the world - Beirut (Lebanon), Nanjing (China), Toowoomba (Australia), Kagawa (Japan) - and would seem to have given him an adventurer's itch, which along with his enjoyment of outdoor sports will no doubt facilitate a long and enjoyable retirement.

Tim will hold a part-time appointment as a visiting fellow in the school of mechanical engineering. His friends and colleagues wish him the very best in what we perceive will be an active retirement.


 
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