Personal details

Dr Azharul Karim
Senior Lecturer in Eng. Management
Science and Engineering Faculty,
Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Engineering,
Mechanical Systems and Asset Management
Discipline *
Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
+61 7 3138 6879
+61 7 3138 1516
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

PhD in Engineering (The University of Melbourne)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • Engineers Australia
  • IEEE
  • IEEE Reliability Society
  • Engineer’s Institution of Bangladesh (IEB)
* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Area of Focus: Energy
Main research areas
Dr Karim’s main areas of research include

  • Effective manufacturing strategies and practices
  • Lean manufacturing and manufacturing data mining
  • Product quality and reliability improvement
  • Solar drying and air conditioning
  • Thermal storage.

Effective manufacturing strategies and practicesIntense global competition, rapid technological changes, advances in manufacturing and information technology and discerning customers force manufacturers to adopt manufacturing practices and competitive priorities that enable them to deliver high quality products in a short period of time. Identifying manufacturers’ competitive priorities and manufacturing practices has long been considered a key element in manufacturing strategy research. However, relatively little effort has been devoted to the measurement of these constructs. Dr. Karim’s current research involves identifying effective manufacturing practices that have a significant influence on product quality and business success. He has developed a conceptual model, which relates manufacturing practices with manufacturing performances. His research interests are:

  •     Effective manufacturing strategies and practices
  •     Manufacturing data mining
  •     Product quality & reliability improvement
  •     New product development.

Lean manufacturing and manufacturing data miningSolving product yield and quality problems in a manufacturing process is becoming increasingly more difficult. There are various types of failures and their causes have complex, multi-factor interrelationships. Manufacturing process is now very complex due to the large number of processes, diverse equipment set and nonlinear process flows. Manufacturing database comprises of hundreds of process control, process step and wafer probe data. This huge volume of data coupled with quicker time to market expectations is making finding and resolving quality problems quickly an overwhelming task. Dr. Karim is currently involved in developing a data-mining methodology using dynamic growing self-organizing map (GSOM) to detect the faulty products in a manufacturing process. As part of the methodology, a clustering quality measure was developed to evaluate the performance of the algorithm in separating good and faulty products.Solar drying and air conditioningSolar energy has great potential for low temperature applications, particularly for drying of agricultural products. In drying and space heating, solar energy is an ideal choice because the warm air can be used directly, eliminating any need for an extra heat exchanger in the thermal system. Most fruits and vegetables contain more than 80% water and are, therefore, highly perishable. Losses of fruits and vegetables in developing countries are estimated to be 30–40% of production. The need to reduce postharvest losses is of paramount importance for these countries. Prospect of solar drying applications in the ASEAN region and in Australia is enormous. A large volume of fruits is produced in these countries and solar energy in abundant.The design of efficient and suitable air collectors is one of the most important factors controlling the economics of solar drying. The majority of the solar dryers are equipped with flat plate collectors, which are considered inefficient. Dr. Karim has developed an efficient v-corrugated solar collector for drying purposes. A drying model for tropical fruits was also developed. His current interest is to further improve collector efficiency and use alternative materials for collectors, storage of solar energy and improvement in drying performance and drying models.Thermal storageIn countries with hot climates, air-conditioning forms a large proportion of annual peak electrical demand, requiring expansion of power plants to meet the peak demand, which goes unused most of the time. Use of well designed cool storage can offset the peak demand to a large extent. Dr. Karim has designed, constructed and tested an air conditioning system with naturally stratified storage tank. A new type of diffuser was designed and used in this system. Factors that influence the performance of chilled water storage tanks were investigated. The results indicated that stratified storage tank consistently stratified well without any physical barrier. Thermal efficiency of stratified storage tanks was as high as 90 percent, which indicates that stratified tanks can effectively be used as a load management technique.
Dr Karim has received over AS$2 million in research funding since 1999.

  • 2008/2009 – An Investigation of the Flexibility and Usage of the Navy Technical Regulatory Framework (NTRF) – Partner Investigator (A$350,000)
  • 2008 – Maritime Systems Division Materiel Logistics Strategy Development – Partner Investigator (A$324,000)
  • 2003 – Quality related manufacturing practices – University Tun Abdurrazak Malaysia (UNITAR) Grant – Partner Investigator (RM20,000)
  • 1999-2002 – Ultrasonic Washing Machine Project – Grant from Economic development board of Singapore (EDB) under innovation development scheme (IDS) (Grant: COY-15-IDS/J93-1 v1: S99/50368) – Chief Investigator (S$1,100,000)
  • Research Coaching Grant – QUT (BEE Research Portfolio) (A$5,000)
  • Integrated Lean information model – QUT (BEE Smart System Theme grant) (A$5,000)
  • Thermal storage for low temperature applications – QUT ECR grant (A$10,000)
  • Development of a data mining methodology for product quality improvement – QUT Vice Chancellor Early Career Research grant (A$10,000)
  • Design and Development of multipurpose Solar test facility – QUT (BEE Smart System Theme grant) (A$30,000)

Awards and recognitions

  • IPRS and MIRS (Melbourne International Research Scholarship) during PhD study.
  • National University of Singapore Research Scholarship during Master of Engineering study
  • December 1994-June 1996: Research Assistantship from Malaysia Government
  • Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) Scholarship during Bachelor of Science Engineering study
  • Comilla board scholarship in HSC (A-level)
  • Two international patents
  • Far Eastern Economic Review Young Scientist award nomination.

Career history

  • 2008 – Present: Lecturer, School of Engineering System, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2006 – 2007: Research Fellow, Department of Management, RMIT University
  • 1999 – 2002: Head of R&D (Product development), JCS Automation Pte Ltd Singapore
  • 1999: Operations Engineer, Facilitec Services Pte Ltd, Singapore
  • 1994 – 1996: Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM)
  • 1992 – 1994: Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh.
This information has been contributed by Dr Azharul Karim.


Undergraduate units

  • Operations Management (ENB333)
  • Professional Studies 2 (EEB781)
  • Materials and Manufacturing 1 (ENB231).

Postgraduate units

  • Total Quality Management (ENN515)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ENN570)
  • Integrated Projects (BEN910).
This information has been contributed by Dr Azharul Karim.


External collaborations
Dr. Azharul Karim has research collaborations with

  • University of Melbourne
  • RMIT University
  • University Tun Abdurrazzak, Malaysia
  • Victoria Police.

Interests and community service

  • Sep 1996-Aug 1997: Social committee member of JCRC, Eusoff college, National University of Singapore
  • Mar 2003-Mar 2004: Secretary of Mechanical Engineering Postgraduate society, University of Melbourne.
  • July 2004- 2007: Treasurer of Australia-Bangladesh Friendship Society, Melbourne.

Regular Reviewer of following journals

  • International Journal of Production Research
  • European Journal of Operation Research
  • Applied Thermal Engineering
  • Solar Energy
  • Journal of Food Engineering
  • Energy.
This information has been contributed by Dr Azharul Karim.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.