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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S036180/1
Title: EPSRC NetworkPlus In Digitalised Surface Manufacturing: Towards "World's Best" Processes
Principal Investigator: Matthews, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Tiwari, Professor A Goel, Professor S Murphy, Professor A
Endrino Armenteros, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Micro Materials Ltd Monitor Coatings Limited
Poeton Industries Ltd Thin Metal Films Ltd TRL9 Limited
Wallwork Ltd
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 29 November 2019 Ends: 28 November 2023 Value (£): 1,015,120
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Civil Engineering Materials Design Engineering
Intelligent & Expert Systems Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Food and Drink
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 May 2019 Manufacturing Highlight Notice for Network Plus Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Coatings are key to the performance of most products and they contribute to sustainability by enhancing the efficiency and extending the life of the products that they protect, as well as by enabling the reduced use of scarce bulk materials. Therefore, coatings are a vital part of the nation's manufacturing industry, contributing to many sectors, including aerospace, energy, automotive and construction. However, until now the UK coatings industry has been severely lagging behind compared to High Value Manufacturing sectors in terms of all aspects of design, development, manufacture, and implementation into products, particularly in terms of the degree of digitalisation achieved (as epitomised in the "Industry 4.0" concept).

This EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing is needed because currently there is no UK University that has all the required interdisciplinary expertise in surface engineering and digital manufacturing and there is a lack of 'connected' knowledge in the area of digitalisation of coating manufacturing processes in UK industry. The Network will bring together academic and industrial expertise in multiple disciplines to address the challenges of digitalising the UK coatings manufacturing sector. The Network will create a community that will be able to carry out innovative leading-edge research which will ultimately allow the coatings manufacturing industry to achieve the best-in-class levels of High Value Manufacturing. The development of a UK-wide network around digital methods for surface manufacturing can bring optimum manufacture processes ("right first time") to the surface engineering and advanced coatings community in the UK.

The creation of this NetworkPlus will serve to capture and understand the current manufacturing scene and pump-prime digitalisation activity in this area. The new interdisciplinary research community developed within the Network will assist the UK PLC to develop manufacturing methods which are predictable, digital-enabled and more productive, providing the pathway to class-leading coating manufacturing processes. This will bring resilience and improved productivity across all key UK industrial sectors. End-users of the coatings industry span all sectors and thus the economical and societal impact of the Network will be wide-ranging. In turn, the digitalisation of the coatings manufacturing industry will also mean that the benefits of coatings on products are thoroughly recordable and accessible, as is needed to enable statistically robust knowledge of manufactured product lifetimes and performance. This is vital to enabling full life-cycle assessment of coated products and the sustainability implications of the coatings applied, contributing to the long-term aims of a resilient manufacturing.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk