Industrial Doctorate Centre in Advanced Forming and Manufacture

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Design Manufacture and Engineering Man


SummaryThis proposal is to establish an Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in 'Advanced Forming and Manufacture' located in the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) of the University of Strathclyde. The proposed centre will bring together staff at Strathclyde with in depth expertise covering the metallurgy, forming and forging, computational simulation, micro-manufacture, automation, process control, measurement, operations management, quality control and sustainable manufacturing to create a Centre of learning and research with strong links to many of the UK's leading manufacturers. The 3000m2 AFRC will create a stimulating environment for the EngD students in a purpose built facility created specifically to support manufacturing research which makes the latest process simulation and modelling software available alongside a wide range of industrial manufacturing hardware and supporting materials and metrology laboratory facilities. This proposal aims to put the IDC at the core, of an internationally leading group in Advanced Forming and Manufacturing technology and so draw on strong links to EPSRC, EU and TSB funded research activity. To meet the interdisciplinary research demands of manufacturing industry a substantial centre bringing together all the relevant skills on a single site is essential. This requires a critical mass of staff and early stage researchers of the sort that this proposal can deliver. It is also clear from Government and other reports that a vibrant high value manufacturing industry in the UK, and elsewhere, will be limited by a severe shortage of skilled engineers unless the universities dramatically increase the scale of their activities in this area.Research at the proposed IDC will be based in the Advanced Forming Research Centre but with a wider scope covering all aspects of manufacturing technology and its application: from the forging of turbine blades in exotic alloys to the low cost fabrications of micro-components. Fundamental technology issues to be addressed by the IDC will include computational simulation, condition monitoring, control systems and tool life: the manufacturing systems issues will include analysis of performance data, demand management, whole system simulation (from warehouse to microstructure) and a design of experiments approach to process improvement. The teaching elements of the centre will be developed and delivered by the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Management. The driver behind the activity of the IDC will be to meet the challenges arising from the rapid growth in overseas competition and the need for low energy processes and systems to meet the UK's targets for carbon emission reduction. The major themes for the proposed IDC are the following: - Forging technology - Advanced Materials - Process Improvement Micro-system Manufacture - Information Management - Operations Management - Process DesignThe total student numbers are 32 with 8 studentships supported by industry, 6 by the AFRC and 8 by the University with funding requested from EPSRC for a further 10 studentships. The planning for the proposed centre has assumed a seven year period with an initial intake of 6 rising to 10 by year four. The student numbers associated with both industry and the University will provide strong support to the EPSRC studentships requested. Thus the actual funding window of the centre will span a period of 84 months with each cohort spanning 48 months with a total cost for the centre of 3.136M of which 1.231 is requested from EPSRC.

Planned Impact

The key beneficiaries of the research are as follows: 1. AFRC partners who consist of a) companies who use forging and forming in their supply chain b) forming and forging companies and c) companies who provide inputs into the forming and forging process e.g. materials suppliers and equipment manufacturers. The AFRC has in place several mechanisms to ensure effective and appropriate communication and collaboration with its partners and the IDC will be best place to exploit these. The IDC will be chaired by the Research Director, who also chairs the AFRC Technical Board, comprising the Operations Director, representatives of each of the Tier 1 Members, one representative for the Tier 2 Members, research theme leaders, and a representative from the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering. The AFRC Technical board is the forum through which the core research programme is developed with input from partner companies and as such, research activities undertaken within the IDC will be of direct relevance to partners' commercial interests. This will be predominantly achieved through enhancing existing processes and undertaking research into new processes and materials. Ultimately this will contribute to ensuring that the manufacturing capability in the UK stays ahead of key global competitors with consequential impact on business growth. 2. The forming and forging industry in the UK and overseas This will be achieved predominantly through access to knowledge and expertise within the AFRC. The AFRC is open to partnership from all companies with interests in forming and forging. The collaboration agreement defines the contribution expected from partners/members as well as the expected benefits (refer to section above). Companies who do not wish to 'sign up' to partnership will be able to access AFRC outputs through the planned annual research conference, short course series and masters programmes. The AFRC will also actively utilise the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programmes as a knowledge exchange mechanism. 3. The AFRC research team, University and network of research partners in other UK and overseas institutions. Students and staff working within the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Advanced Forming and Manufacture will work closely with industry partners as a part of the research activities. As such they will have a good understanding of both academic and industrial working practices as well as key expertise within a forming and forging related field - allowing for future career development in either industry or academia. The collaborative nature of the AFRC will involve joint projects with other manufacturing research centres and as a consequence help develop, in a coordinated manner, UK manufacturing research capability. The IDC will actively seek to attract promising graduates into manufacturing research through EngD study, thereby providing UK industry and academia with a supply of highly capable and industry ready researchers. 4. The Scottish and UK economy The AFRC aims to become a global centre of excellence in forming and forging research and the IDC aims to provide the catalyst to propel the AFRC towards achieving this aim. This will be achieved through exploitation and dissemination of the research outputs; through publication in international journals and conferences and hosting industry relevant workshops and seminars. As a consequence this will attract interest in 'local' investment from global players - this investment could take the form of investment in the AFRC, the University, partner companies or direct investment in new capability. The proposed Industrial Doctorate Centre in Advanced Forming and Manufacture and the AFRC aim to bring an understanding of the challenges and capabilities of forming to the wider community (secondary/tertiary education, industry, general public) through publications, roadshows, workshops and seminars.


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