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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I033467/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation
Principal Investigator: Jackson, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Case, Professor K Kinnell, Dr P Goh, Dr Y
Marimuthu, Dr S Young, Professor R Monfared, Dr R
Harrison, Professor R Parkin, Professor R Fletcher, Dr S
Webb, Professor P Petzing, Dr J Lohse, Dr N
JUSTHAM, Dr LM West, Professor AA Harding, Professor JA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aero Engine Controls Airbus Group Limited Ford Motor Co
Manufacturing Technology Centre Rolls-Royce Plc
Department: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2011 Ends: 31 March 2017 Value (£): 5,871,323
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Control Engineering Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Feb 2011 EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing Panel B Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Manufacturing automation is an expanding field concerned with the delivery of high-value engineering technologies and services globally. The highest value areas of automation relate to the more difficult to automation applications, for example many occurring in aerospace and precision automotive applications. Industry sources estimate that in a typical aerospace manufacturing plant the costs associated with manual operations and the inspect-adjust-rework activity could cost millions of pounds across the UK. Automation in various forms has the potential to reduce this inefficiency but also has the potential to do great damage to quality if applied incorrectly. Whilst automation has been applied across many sectors of industry, the spectrum of applications has rarely pushed the boundaries of research. Safe and limited solutions are often the norm. The high value manufacturing industries have applied limited automation because of the highly skilled nature of the finishing, inspection and assembly work inherent in the manufacturing processes. These processes are difficult to automate because of minor variation in components that influence interaction between processing equipment and component being processed. In addition, parts are often made from expensive materials, with many parts requiring careful handling in a high added value state (e.g. fan blades). Whilst humans can accommodate variation at certain levels they often introduce variation by virtue of being human (e.g. through lack of concentration). These high value industries need an advanced kind of automation that delivers the precision of computer controlled machinery with the adaptability of a human operator, but with 24/7 capability and 100% quality performance and at reasonable cost and operational speed. When the variation in the product caused by variation in human performance has been removed by deployment of intelligent automated systems, it will be possible to gather better data about design for manufacture and feed this back into product development in a systematic manner.Intelligent Automation is a convergence of human-machine modelling, digital manufacturing, knowledge generation and learning with intelligent devices. The aim is to develop a generic process and product modelling and deployment capability that can radically impact on current limitations experienced within industries that rely on substantial input from human skill, expertise and adaptability.This EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation will have a platform activity and two closely related and integrated research themes. The platform activity will emphasise 'Fast Track' projects for Early Win outcomes closely linked to the Tier 1 industrial partner expectations. Adventure projects will also be undertaken, aimed at more speculative high risk research. A small amount of Policy and Standards influencing work will be carried out. The first flagship research theme is: Modelling and Deployment for Right First Time Manufacturing, where extensive computer based modelling of intelligent automation systems will be undertaken to establish greater confidence during the design phase through to digital deployment and on to real deployment and operation. The second flagship theme is: Humans and Intelligent Automation Systems, where human skill is examined and how this influences difficult to automate industrial processes/tasks. The area of humans and robots sharing the same work space will also be investigated.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk