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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M009106/1
Title: Optimised manufacturing through unique innovations in Quantitative Thermal Imaging
Principal Investigator: Willmott, Dr JR
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Mettis Aerospace Nuclear AMRC University of Oxford
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 March 2015 Ends: 29 February 2020 Value (£): 923,859
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
04 Nov 2014 Manufacturing Fellowships Interview Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The applicant's vision is that this fellowship will allow him to build a team of industrially aware academic researchers in infrared (IR) optoelectronics, providing leading research in manufacturing imaging, thermometry and related automation. This will be within a thriving and stimulating multidisciplinary environment, where researchers and industrialists from electronic engineering, signal processing, image processing, molecular materials and engineering research can come together to collaboratively bridge the 'innovation gap' and solve problems that are vitally important to manufacturing. As competition increases with developing nations, manufacturers in the west must increase efficiency, quality and reduce energy costs. 'Smart' instruments that can visually sense their environments, make decisions and communicate over wide areas will be required. The fellowship will allow the applicant to develop the resources, contacts, technology and skills required to meet these requirements. Non-contact IR temperature measurement is an indispensable tool for manufacturing. It can improve product quality, reduce energy consumption, automate processes and make high temperature manufacturing safer. In spite of the great utility of the technique, there are significant barriers to achieving its huge potential. The dominant problem is that thermometers are calibrated using ideal IR radiators, known as blackbody reference furnaces (emissivity>0.995). All real 'bodies' in manufacturing are non-ideal radiators, such as billets of aluminium; where not only are measurement errors of up to 200 Celsius common but it is currently impossible to accurately assess the measurement uncertainty. A two-fold research strategy is proposed. Firstly, the material science of emissivity must be studied on a fundamental level; where emissivity changes during a manufacturing process, algorithms must be developed to account for this change, for all materials that are important to industrial processes, such as titanium, steel, zinc and many more. Secondly, innovations in instrument components must be achieved. Detector inventions have been key to 'step changes' in how IR thermometer technology can be applied; with around one new useful detector to appear commercially every ten years. These slow to market inventions have successively brought practicality, faster measurement speed and sub zero Centigrade measurement. The unique aspect to this proposal the applicant's link with the world leaders in detector research, who's innovations can be brought within IR instruments, moving IR measurement forward as soon as new detector materials are proven, rather than waiting for commercial suppliers to market new technologies. This will open up a vast array of pioneering manufacturing research in automation, image processing and optoelectronics.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk