Industrial Doctorate Centre in Machining Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


The proposed Industrial Doctorate Centre aims to provide Research Engineers (Engineering Doctorates) with skills and expertise at the forefront of knowledge in machining science. These individuals will enable UK industry to develop and maintain a world-leading capability in high value manufacturing sectors that involve machining processes. Furthermore the unique training experience that is provided will enable the Research Engineers to foster a stronger collaboration between the UK's fundamental engineering science research, and the manufacturing engineering community.Machining, in particular metal removal processes, are sometimes perceived as a 'traditional' manufacturing process that have been evolving for many decades and rely upon mature technology. However, this view is short-sighted as it fails to consider the significant developments in engineering science that have taken place over the past few decades and the impact that they can make to step-changes in machining performance. In almost every sphere of engineering science - from nonlinear dynamics to electrical machines and tribology - there are recent significant developments that are of direct relevance to machining applications, which could contribute further step changes in productivity and profitability. A failure to successfully translate these technology developments into machining applications would hinder the future competitiveness of the UK manufacturing sector.The proposed IDC will address this central vision by combining the world class research in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield, with the well proven and unique industry-facing activities at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC). The expertise of the proposal investigators who form the supervisory pool for the IDC can be applied to a wide spectrum of research problems in the field of machining science. Examples include: Machine tool designCutting tool geometryTool and work-piece characterisationStandard features machiningAdaptive control of cutting processesMetal cutting tribologyCoatings technologyMachine and machining dynamicsWork-holding dynamicsElectrical machines and drivesMachine visionStress analysis of machining Fluid mechanics of coolantsDigital control systems The core engineering science behind these machining-focussed issues (tribology, dynamics, experimental mechanics, control) are all areas where the faculty of engineering has demonstrated world leading or internationally excellent research activity. Meanwhile, the AMRC's track record for industrial collaboration allows this research to be tailored and applied to the needs of manufacturing industry. An IDC provides a unique opportunity for the University of Sheffield to offer industrially-focussed research training at an Engineering Doctorate level. In particular, the IDC will have, from its outset, the most comprehensive network of companies involved in all aspects of machining worldwide via the existing AMRC membership.The proposed IDC complements existing UK training centres, where there is no existing capability that specifically focuses on training manufacturing engineers on advanced aspects of machining. The IDC would align fully with the University's strategic aim to foster research collaborations across the Engineering disciplines, following the recent implementation of a Faculty based management system.

Planned Impact

The IDC in Machining Science will have a variety of impacts, ranging from those felt by the individual engineer through to manufacturing industry and its supply chain as a whole. The first group impacted by the IDC will be the trained EngD Research Engineers. They will benefit from gaining a qualification that represents a unique interaction between University lead machining science research and industry. They will undertake ground breaking research in an industrially motivated topic area on an industrially posed problem, giving them a unique perspective of the role machining science, and University research in general, can play in addressing industry's needs. In conjunction to their research projects, students will also undertake research and research management training, as well as being mentored through an IMechE accredited MPDS scheme. This combination of skills will allow the research engineers to become the technical leaders of the future, giving them a skill set with which they will be capable of influencing and driving forwards the engineering agenda of the company within which they are employed. In a recent report the Department of Business and Skills identified that industry facing research, citing the AMRC as an exemplar facility, was a key driver for benefiting the national and international competitiveness of the manufacturing sector. Clearly, the IDC will be aligned to this view as it will provide a key mechanism for technology transfer from Universities to industry. This again highlights the impact the IDC will have on a national level, and how it will benefit society in general through increased British manufacturing competitiveness.


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