15 Jul 2011
Following the announcement in March this year of £45m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for nine national Centre’s for Innovative Manufacturing, the first of these centres launched officially at Cranfield University this week.
The new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services is run as a collaborative initiative between Cranfield and Durham Universities, supported by four core industry partners - BAE Systems, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence - and 13 additional industry partners.
The Centre will combine innovative technology and engineering knowledge, supported by the partner organisations, to tackle some of the major long-term research challenges in through-life engineering services.
Professor Rajkumar Roy, Director of the new Centre and Head of the Manufacturing Department at Cranfield University, hosted the event, which included presentations demonstrating the value of through-life engineering services in delivering reliable, competitive, high value products with the lowest life cycle cost.
Professor Roy commented, “The launch of this new Centre comes at a crucial time for the manufacturing industry in the UK, which is experiencing real opportunity for growth and change. The provision of high-value services will become a major priority for UK companies in the next five years. However, there is limited feedback from the service phase to design and manufacturing, often resulting in maintenance problems, support issues and unforeseen costs. This Centre’s remit is to address this challenge to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.”
Five initial projects at the Centre have a funding commitment and will focus on current and future problems indentified by industry partners as being key to long term capability:
- Cross-sector challenges in through-life engineering services
- Reduction of ‘no fault found’ situations through system design
- Characterisation of in-service component feedback
- Improvement of the system design process
- Self-healing technologies for electronic and mechanical components and subsystems
Complementing the new Centre and recognising the importance of this important growth area for manufacturing, Cranfield University has launched a new MSc in Through-life System Sustainment, commencing October 2011.