Manufacture gets clouds, crowds, games & dashboards

Wednesday 27th February 2013
UK manufacturing: Courtesy: Strathclyde University and

One Scottish University player, Strathclyde, will be part of six research projects to be carried out by Nottingham, Brunel, Ashton, Sheffield, Bath and Coventry Universities to improve manufacturing competitiveness in UK and using the latest ICT developments have been awarded £12m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant funding as part of a £45m package of investments in manufacturing research announced by Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

The aim is to provide new ways to develop, design and manage manufacturing and speaking ahead of the BIS Manufacturing Summit on Thursday, Mr Willetts said that although the UK had a proud history of manufacturing,  to build on this success it  needs access to the latest science and technology.

"This £45 million package of investment will see our world-class research base investigating innovative new manufacturing equipment and techniques. This will support our industrial strategy in a range of important sectors, driving growth and keeping the UK ahead in the global race.”

 “Advanced manufacturing is highlyknowledge-intensive and ICT has a huge role to play in improving manufacturing intelligence, supporting collaboration, increasing efficiency, speeding up innovation and enabling new business models and technologies," sats (right) Mark Claydon-Smith,  EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Lead.

The six projects demonstrate the collaborative nature of manufacturing research with 9 universities and over 70 manufacturing partners working together.”

Cloud manufacturing – towards a resilient and scalable high value manufacturing.  
Led by Professor Svetan Ratchev,(left)  University of Nottingham   Grant  £2.4m. This research will use concepts of ‘cloud manufacturing’, as a new platform to provide resilient, cost effective, environmentally-friendly and knowledge-intensive distributed manufacturing.  Within the ‘cloud’ a pool of data from design and manufacturing resources can be shared and readily accessed by users to improve manufacturing processes.

The multi-disciplinary research team will use complex systems, cloud computing and crowd sourcing methods in a radical departure from existing manufacturing ICT. The advantages are that manufacturers can optimise processes, respond quickly to change, and gain valuable data and knowledge from crowds.

Research will lead to increased participation by the UK’s SME's, small and medium size companies in global manufacturing networks, allow longer term strategic capital and infrastructure investment, and will dramatically increase the utilisation of available manufacturing resources and skills.

Intelligent decision support & control in continuous manufacture of pharmaceuticals, & fine chemicals 

Led by Professor Andonovic, (right) University of Strathclyde with Loughborough University. Grant  £2.5m.

The research team of chemical, electrical engineers and IT specialists will create IT tools based on advanced software using sensors, lasers and ultrasound.  The Intelligent Decision Support system will collate real time data during manufacture of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. It will be able to measure changes in a chemicals particle shape, form and size at a 100 micron level, as well as monitor and finely control production processes. This will result in operating a continous production line, rather than the current  batch system.

The project will cut current industry manufacturing times, reduce energy and operating costs, produce better quality products, increase flexibility allowing for changes to optimise products or made easily to processes. Advanced ICT  use will increase the global competitiveness of this key UK industry.

Prototyping Open Innovation Models for ICT- enabled Manufacturing in Food and Packaging.
Led  by Dr Sharon Baurley, (left) Brunel University with the University of Nottingham. Grant £1.8m

This research is to harness and develop ideas from the social media sphere, using the power of the ‘crowd’ to develop new products and types of packaging in the food industry.  It involves a number of major industry partners and research will focus on designing a platform of ICT tools for state-of-the-art manufacturing processes allowing customers to co-create while products are being developed. ICT tools and platform will gather user content, organise those ideas, and integrate them with design and production systems.

The advantage of using consumers in product development will be a shorter time to market for new products, and ability to integrate design and manufacturing process with people, enabling customers to ‘converse’ with both brands and manufacturers.

Transforming adoption of Product-Service Systems through innovations in applied gaming technology. Led   Professor Tim Baines, (right) Aston University, with Professor K Ridgway, University of Sheffield and Professor  S de Freitas, Coventry University. Grant  £1.5m.

Research aims to help mainstream manufacturers transform their company models from manufacturing products only to provide services as well (product-service systems)  using video-gaming technologies and computer simulations. 

The research team will create games using 3D virtual worlds which can represent and handle complex data systems of manufacturing companies adopting product service systems. Business managers can interact with the software to engage, inform and support attitudinal change within a business context and industry partners will test out the games.

Three quarters of world-wide wealth is created by providing services, helping manufacturers compete in this way is seen as a huge opportunity, a competitive advantage, key to UK manufacturing success.

The Language of Collaborative Manufacturing. Led  by Dr Ben Hicks, University of Bath. Grant £1.9m
Dr Hicks (left) said: “Modern engineering projects, such as aircraft manufacture, operate globally,and involve thousands of engineers and companies.  Managing such collaborative, large-scale, high-value engineering projects and communications within them is both complex and risky. 

“Companies need to minimise on delivery setbacks, cost overruns, risk and collapsed projects. For example, overruns on engineering projects cost the US economy £96m a day.”

Dr Hicks and the research team will produce a new suite of  tools and a ‘next generation project dashboard’ to address these issues. They will analyse relationship between emails and CAD (Computer Aided Design) models, simulations and reports, to predict the status and performance of a project.

They will identify successful characteristics of project phases,  create methods to aid the management of intellectual property,  capture of design records, lessons learned, decisions taken, and the rationale that helps manufacturing.

As a result, status of engineering projects will be better interpreted, enable early warning of issues, improve management, increase productivity, and ultimately improve a product’s design and manufacture.

Adaptive Informatics for Intelligent Manufacturing. Led  by Professor Andrew West,, University of Loughborough. Grant value £1.9m.

A multi-disciplinary team from Loughborough University and practitioners from industry will form a research cluster with the aim of improving global competitiveness in supply chains of defence, automotive and aerospace industries.

The project will support manufacturing practice and infrastructures by developing a range of intelligent software services that can be used throughout the lifecycle of the product or process on demand. The research will bridge information gaps associated with inefficient supply chain integration and a lack of knowledge of operational usage throughout product and process life cycles.

This  aims to deliver an ICT solution for companies  capturing and analysing a larger range of data, faster, at lower cost and managed better than ever before. This will improve company efficiencies, increase market share and develop new products, processes and services.

It will enable supply chains to remove defects generated throughout manufacturing, share lifecycle knowledge of product and processes, optimise strategy and understand the impact of legislation, technologies and the impact of adopting new designs and business models.

Cloud manufacturing: IBM UK Ltd, ARM Ltd, PA Consulting Group, RTI, Midlands Aerospace Alliance, GBA Group of Companies, NineSigma Europe BVBA, BioProject Consultancy Ltd, Afroalpine Pharma Ltd, Manufacturing Technology Centre, EADS Airbus, Zagaya, Hewlett Packard plc, DLA Piper UK LLP.

Intelligent decision support & control, continuous pharmaceuticals, & fine chemicals manufacture   Operational Management: Umit Bititci. Industrial Co-Creators: GlaxoSmithKline PLC, AstraZeneca, Process Systems Enterprise (PSE), Perceptive Engineering,GSE Systems Ltd, Honeywell, Siemens, Accelrys, Intelligence Business Solutions, Gilden Photonics, Mettler Toledo, Sympatec.

Prototyping open innovation models for ICT-enabled manufacturing in food and packaging: Autodesk GmbH, Leatherhead Food International, Campden BRI, EnginSoft UK Ltd, Hayes Town Partnership, Giraffe Innovation Consultants.

Transforming adoption of Product-Service Systems by innovation in applied gaming technology: TEKS, Xerox UK Ltd, UK Council for Electronic Business, Technicut, Finning UK Ltd, Total Eclipse, Ford Motor Company, Serious Games International, SEMTA, Second Places Ltd, PlayGen, PERA Innovation, MAHER Ltd, MAN Truck and Bus Ltd, Virtualware Labs, Footprint Sheffield Ltd, AMRC, Birmingham Science Park, BIS, HCL Technologies Ltd, Alstom.

The Language of Collaborative Manufacturing: Delcam International plc, FBM Babcock Marine Ltd, Arup Group Ltd, Volvo Aero Corporation, Dyson Appliances Ltd, Airbus, CIMPA SAS, National Centre for Text Mining, Shapespace, Jaguar Land Rover.

Adaptive Informatics for Intelligent Manufacturing (AI2M): Manufacturing Technology Centre, SAP AG, MOD, Ford Motor Company, KET Ltd, Invotec Circuits, GE Aviation, S2S Electronics Ltd, MTG Research Ltd.


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