EPSRC Fellowship in Manufacturing: Collaborative Metrology Systems for High Value Manufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng

Abstract

To support the development of challenging, difficult to manufacture products, increased reliance is placed on techniques to allow accurate dimensional measurement of parts and components. New measurement systems are needed that provide data quickly with higher levels of accuracy and precision than is currently possible. Currently high accuracy measurements are made using dedicated expensive instrumentation in temperature controlled labs. The wide range of measurement challenges mean there is no single instrument available to suit all needs. In fact, the range of lab based instrument systems required to meet the measurement needs of industry continues to grow. It includes techniques ranging from contact measurements made using a mechanical probe, to non-contact measurements which use light, lasers, or X-ray based measurement methods. The main drawback of these systems is that they are usually slow to set-up, and significant time is required to take measurements. This means that although they are very accurate they are less useful for the control and improvement of challenging manufacturing processes, where data must be collected and analysed quickly.

Improved measurement systems are required which provide higher speed measurements, at lower cost, without compromising accuracy. Currently two approaches address this need. One approach uses on machine sensors to provide high-speed measurements, while the other approach is to position instruments closer to the manufacturing environment to reduce the time required to transfer work to the measurement lab. Both approaches have obvious benefits as they provide faster data; however, they are also less accurate as a result of the unwanted disturbances experienced on the factory floor. These limitations result in a trade-off: the user can either have high accuracy, or high speed measurement, but not both at once.

The research undertaken within this Fellowship will develop a new way of collecting and effectively processing critical measurement data. Instead of a reliance on high accuracy instruments, this approach will provide a new way of thinking with respect to how measurement systems are designed and implemented. The goal will be to allow different types of lower accuracy data to be combined in a beneficial way. For example, computer simulations of a machine, product, and process will be combined with sensors that monitor environmental conditions. In addition sensors used to take high speed measurements of parts during the manufacturing process itself will be used. Through a collaborative process these data will be combined to provide fast high quality data. To verify and further improve the system a small quantity of accurate feedback data from high accuracy instruments in temperature controlled labs will be used. In effect the approach will be to combine slow accurate data, with fast less reliable data, to produce enhanced accuracy fast measurements.

For example, if a batch of high precision components must be produced, the components must also have their geometry verified and corrected if required. On machine sensors may be used to verify geometry, but accuracy is limited due to environmental effects such as temperature and humidity. To compensate for these errors a collaborative measurement system will initially make measurements using both on-machine sensors as well as off-machine lab instruments. It will blend these data sets in addition to data from on-machine environmental monitoring sensors, and computer simulations to correct for errors and therefor enhance the accuracy of the measurements. The system will automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions by triggering the need for more lab-based data which will allow an improved error correction to be made. In this way the system will adapt and optimise the measurement process to suit the current manufacturing conditions.

Planned Impact

Metrology plays a critical role in underpinning the development and optimisation of all new manufacturing processes and technologies. Therefore this work will be of significant benefit to industry interested in the development, design or manufacture of difficult to produce high-value products, such as micro devices, sensor packaging, hard to machine aerospace components, or mass customised medical devices. These products all require high tolerance to be maintained, required high quality assurance, and present a serious challenge to manufactures. In addition for the development and successful application of emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing for example, metrology will pay a pivotal role in effective process optimisation and control. The fundamental metrology know-how created will allow more responsive and more accurate metrology systems to support scientific development, engineering design, and manufacturing.

During the development of this proposal a central recurring theme became apparent following discussions with the selected industrial partners. There was general agreement that the collaborative use of data will necessarily become an integral part of future manufacturing. WLR Precision Engineering commented that as an SME their future business model is based on the production of difficult to make products that cannot easily be sourced from low cost-base countries. They also commented on the rising trend for their customers to ask for increased quality assurance data from multiple measurement sources. Rolls-Royce stated that while they have examples of combining multiple datasets to enhance measurements, they lack a clear methodology for how to implement this efficiently. They also highlighted the significant lack in techniques that allow useful process control information to be extracted from the large quantities of data that can be generated in a modern manufacturing environment.

As such the general comments from industry experts at Rolls-Royce and WLR Precision Engineering were that developing a better understanding of collaborative metrology will be critical for future success in a competitive global market. It was also acknowledged that currently there is significant inertia preventing industry from moving in this direction. Notably a lack of fundamental knowledge, concerns over feasibility, and practical issues such as data security were typical concerns. This proposal will address these issues by providing fundamental knowledge with the foundation for on-going research, combined with practical demonstration of the possibilities and benefits of the proposed techniques. This fundamental knowledge will form the basis for future metrology standards related to the analysis of large data sets, and methods for combining and analysing multiple datasets.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Alblalaihid K (2016) Performance Assessment of a New Variable Stiffness Probing System for Micro-CMMs. in Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)

publication icon
Biro I. (2016) The evaluation of a multi-sensor robotic visual inspection system in Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, EUSPEN 2016

publication icon
Hodgson J (2017) Novel metrics and methodology for the characterisation of 3D imaging systems in Optics and Lasers in Engineering

publication icon
Widjanarko T. (2016) Design of a laser scanner system for sub-mm 3D shape measurement using commercial off- The-shelf components in Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, EUSPEN 2016

 
Description Technical expert supporting TDW/004 - Realization of technical products
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000030234145&_ga=2.90960090.135368235.1520934037-...
 
Description Manufacturing integrated building components using digital hybrid Concrete Printing (HCP) technology
Amount £1,222,952 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S031405/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2021
 
Description Standard Research
Amount £291,227 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M020746/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 05/2018
 
Description Studentship
Amount £195,000 (GBP)
Organisation Loughborough University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 02/2018
 
Description CIRP UK Working Group on Integrated Measurement & Process Control 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This work aimed to complete a general assessment of in process measurement challenges faced in UK engineering companies. Members of members of CIRP UK Integrated Measurement and Process Control group hosted by Nottingham University conducted the research and are in the process of writing and article to report the findings. I conducted interviews with research partner companies and other contact/collaborators to add to the research effort.
Collaborator Contribution Conducting interviews with industrial partners and collaborators.
Impact Results report disseminated internally to participating universities
Start Year 2017
 
Description MTC core research support 
Organisation The Manufacturing Technogy Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contribute academic support to three MTC core research programmes (I AM Cloud, Simulation-Enhanced Inspection, Validation for 3D Point Cloud Gathering Technology).
Collaborator Contribution The MTC shares experimental results
Impact non so far
Start Year 2015
 
Description 1st NPL 3D Metrology Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented work of 3D sensor evaluation at the 1st NPL 3D Metrology conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.3dmc.events/
 
Description 3D Metrology Conference, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A talk titled 'Toward Intelligent Automated 3D Measurement: Task Specific Viewpoint Optimisation' was given to the audience at the 3D Metrology Conference, in Hamburg Germany.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://3dmc.events/
 
Description CIRP General Assembly 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attended the CIRP general assembly, including a meeting of UK CIRP members. Also met with UK researchers focused on metrology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://cirp2016.org/
 
Description CIRP Meeting 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attended CIRP meeting, to take part in technical discussions related to precision engineering, metrology, and manufacturing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.cirp.net/meetings-conferences/winter-meetings.html
 
Description CIRP UK meeting 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting of CIRP UK members held at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield. At the meeting I was involved in founding a collaborative working group, to which I have been participating since, on the subject of in process metrology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description CIRP winter meeting 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attended the CIRP winter meeting in Paris, and contributed to the scientific and technical committees on the subjects of Precision Engineering and Metrology, Design, and Surfaces.

At the meeting I also met with collaborators from RWTH Aachen, Germany. With the team from Aachen I planned reciprocal lab visits and also discussed a new research collaboration on perception systems for human-robot manufacturing cells.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.cirp.net/meetings-conferences/winter-meetings.html
 
Description Data science applications to high value manufacturing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Applications of data driven inspection technology were presented to the Loughborough University centre for data science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Engineering Experience Day - Sixth form students from Leicester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A one day workshop consisting of a range of activities and presentations was delivered to a group of Sixth Form students. Examples of research activities in robotics and sensing were presented, and an engineering design challenge activity was run. The aim was to enhance uptake of STEM subjects and encourage applicants to continue HE or FE studies in STEM related subjects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Future Intelligent Technologies Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Took part in two days of discussion and brainstorming activities related to future intelligent technologies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/events/fitworkshop/
 
Description International Conference on Machine Vision, Barcelona 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented two original research papers at the International Conference on Machine Vision
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://icmv.org/pro.html#!prettyPhoto
 
Description Lab tours and technical demonstrations 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lab Tours with demonstrations of equipment were given to visitors from the EPSRC funded 'Light Controlled Factory Project' (EP/K018124/1). As part of the tour the OCT measurement test rig we created was demonstrated.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Oral Presentation at the CIRP General assembly conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Work on autonomous metrology was presented to delegates of the CIRP 2017 general assembly meeting held in Switzerland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cirp2017.org/?page_id=3095
 
Description Poster Presentation at 3D Metrology Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster was presented with the title : 'Performance evaluation of a precision 3D surface interferometer with focus on robotic deployment'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://3dmc.events/
 
Description Poster at 3DMC Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster was presented with the title '3D metrology and inspection of freeform surfaces using a robot integrated multi-sensor system'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://3dmc.events/
 
Description Poster presentation at 3DMC conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster was presented with the title 'Creating a 3D stereo vision system for robot mounted measurements'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://3dmc.events/
 
Description Poster presentation at the Launch of the EPSRC Future Metrology Hub 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster detailing recent work undertaken as part of my fellowship was presented at the launch event of the EPSRC Future Metrology Research Hub. Two posters were presented: (1) Novel metrics and methodology for the characterisation of 3D imaging systems; (2) Autonomous metrology for robot mounted 3D vision systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation and workshop discussion of metrology for in process control with a focus on precision tube manufacturing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The subject of metrology for precision tube manufacturing was discussed as part of a workshop held with representatives of Unison tube bending ltd. As part of this the Unison team were given presentations of state-of-the-art robot deployed metrology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation to the Midlands Regional Board of the EEF 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I presented research related opportunites for industry and businesses to work more effectively with universities in general, but also highlighted specific projects and opportunities for engagement with relation to my work at Loughborough University
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.eef.org.uk/
 
Description Research Seminar Loughborough University Centre Data Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This research seminar presented research findings to an audience interested in Data Science. As part of the talk the analysis strategies determined to be useful for point could processing to determine defects on large free-form surfaces were presented. In addition the key challenges, from a data science perspective, that are related to how metrology can be better used to support advanced manufacturing were described.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://cds.lboro.ac.uk/node/59
 
Description Research Seminar Loughborough University Wolfson School: Sensors and metrology for intelligent automation & High Value Manufacturing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A lecture and seminar discussion was given on the subject of sensors and metrology for intelligent automation & high value manufacturing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Research Visit Singapore and USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, I organised two research visits to Asia and North America. As part of these trips I visited the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technical University, SimTech, the ARMRC Singapore, Rolls-Royce Corporate Labs Singapore, MIT, Columbia University, Yale University, and The University of Pennsylvania. At each institution the team presented our research activities and engaged in debate about future manufacturing practices, particularly related to robotics, automation, sensors, and machine learning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Robotics and metrology in advanced sensor manufacturing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a scoping workshop conducted with employees from GE Digital Solutions to discuss future collaborative research activities, and how they might benefit from future use of cobots
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Rolls-Royce Community of Practice on Robotics and Automation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a one day meeting to discuss the potential to apply automation and in particular visual inspection to high value manufacturing processes at Rolls-Royce
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School Visit Derby 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a seminar with year seven pupils to discuss the impact of engineering and highlight exciting career opportunities, using the latest research output and other examples of cutting edge technology to provide the focus for the talk and discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Technical demonstration to industry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Technical demonstration to visitors from a UK metrology company
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Technology Demonstration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Technology related to large volume metrology, robot mounted sensors, and 3D measurement system simulation was presented to delegates visiting Loughborough University to attend the Second UK Robotics and Autonomous System Conference, UKRAS2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ukras.org/news-and-events/uk-ras/ukras19-programme/
 
Description Technology demonstration, or large volume metrology and robot mounted inspection 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Technology for 3D metrology in large volumes and for robotic part inspection was presented to delegates attending the final project meeting of the EPSRC funded project the light controlled factory.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UKCRIC workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented the potential for manufacturing technology and automation to be used in future infrastructure constructions and off-site manufacturing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016