MTC Engineering Doctorate Centre

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


The purpose of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Engineering Doctorate Centre is to accelerate the adoption and utilisation of new high-value manufacturing technologies within UK industry by bridging the identified gap between basic research and technology commercialisation in this area. This will be achieved through partnership between university research partners (the University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and the University of Birmingham) and founding MTC industrial members (Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Aero Engine Controls) through co-sponsorship and co-supervision of cohorts of Engineering Doctorate Research Engineers to tackle key research challenges in Net Shape Manufacturing, Advanced Tooling and Fixturing and Intelligent Automation. The 12,000 sqm purpose-built 25M MTC building at Ansty, Warwickshire will provide a hub for the researchers, who will benefit from investment in large-scale research equipment and access to key research and technical staff. Research Engineers will benefit from a carefully constructed formal training programme combining advanced technical skills with management/professional development training and contextual awareness. This is to ensure that Research Engineers are not only equipped with detailed hands-on knowledge of the latest advanced manufacturing methods and approaches but also an understanding of how their research fits within the value chain so as to achieve optimal solutions.

Planned Impact

The immediate beneficiaries of the MTC Engineering Doctorate Centre will be the MTC industrial members. The founding Tier 1 industrial members who will play a significant part in the success of the Centre are Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Aero Engine Controls (AEC). Research outcomes generated by the Centre will play a significant part in value creation for UK industry. For Rolls-Royce, the outcomes of the Engineering Doctorate research will contribute to a number of business requirements: new product/component demands in terms of geometry, materials and precision; reduced variability, reduced usage of materials and reduced excess material processing and; to make processes more robust and reliable. These will increase productivity and reduce waste in order to remain cost competitive and create volume readiness for future programmes. Airbus Operations Ltd manufactures one of the highest value elements of the aircraft structure, the wings. Research at the Centre is expected to deliver on a number of themes, particularly in the areas of jigs and fixtures and autonomation/automation that will assist the company in the design and manufacture of future airliners to customers requirements (driven by cost) within the targets defined by the European ACARE 2020 vision. These aim to improve safety, reduce fuel burn, lower maintenance and acquisition costs, and demanding environmental requirements of reduced pollen and noise. The new cost challenge driven by environmental and global customer requirements, plus year on year productivity improvements mean that advanced technology is key in ensuring targets are met. AEC will benefit from outcomes related to research in low volume/high mix intelligent automation in machining to reduce cost and variability; reducing cost premiums by automating small complex assemblies and; providing guidance in the selection of technologies for net shape manufacture of complex geometries in order to provide confidence for smaller suppliers to make investments in novel technologies. Further industry members of the MTC at the three Tier levels will benefit from the development and implementation of new manufacturing technologies that aim to create value through increased productivity by reducing costs, reducing variability and reducing wastage. The UK will benefit from wealth creation, high-value employment and increased re-investment into research and technology. It will benefit from a new generation of forty of more high-skilled research leaders to take UK manufacturing forward through the challenges ahead. The quality of life for the population of the UK will be improved with safer, more reliable transportation with reductions in the negative environmental impact that they create.


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