A high esteem for freedom of thought resounds throughout Farshid Ahmady’s career. The vice president of Research and Development for Solaronics, Inc. affirms that unrestricted thinking “is the very source for human creativity. Without it we are condemned to do the same, and doing the same means staying the same.” Ahmady says that this think-outside-the-box approach, coupled with the resourcefulness and adaptability learned after coming to the U.S. as a young man, has bestowed upon him the ability to question and innovate gas combustion technology for appliance applications.
After receiving his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering MSME, Heat Transfer and Fluid Transport, in 1985, from Oakland University, he commenced his long career with Solaronics, Inc. as senior project engineer. Ahmady says that soon after starting his career he perceived a huge gap between evolving gas technology and the appliance industry. This became the center of his focus, and he began developing practical, cost-effective technologies to be used in appliance applications.
“To start,” he tells APPLIANCE, “I had to look at the technology from within and evaluate its shortcomings and update it with advancements in other technologies.” Ahmady says in many cases the Solaronics R&D department teamed up with companies in other industries to develop solutions. In one case, a material utilized by NASA’s shuttle program was incorporated into a burner to increase heat load to 12 times its original capacity. Thirteen U.S. and Canadian patents are a testament to the success of Ahmady’s mission to provide innovative, practical solutions to the appliance industry.
Part of that success, states Ahmady, is owed to his design philosophy, which he calls the Total Solution. In short, this is the taking into account all aspects involved in the design, manufacture and servicing of an appliance at the same time—an all-inclusive approach designed to yield the best possible solution for the customer. Ahmady says that this philosophy ensures a design that is functional, cost-effective and compliant, a design that incorporates advanced technology with reliability, serviceability and practicality in manufacturing. To put it even more simply, he describes this approach as the marriage between advanced technology and an understanding of the pains of manufacturing (on the OEM’s end) and servicing (on the end user’s end).
Ahmady says that a particular challenge continually faced is the incorporation of new technologies into the appliance industry. He says that though a new technology may be very efficient and look good on paper, in practicality it may not be cost efficient, easy to manufacture or attractive to the consumer. Ahmady likens this situation to that of the electronics industry in the early 1980s, when microprocessor technology was finding its way into the auto industry.
Ahmady spends much of his leisure time with his two children, participating in their music and sport activities. He also enjoys reading history and technical books, skiing and traveling, saying “I think traveling opens your mind and gives you a better view of everything in life.”
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