We think so often of the materials from which things are made - wood, metal, plastic etc. Frequently, however, the real function of a material, beyond its internal strength, comes from the quality of its surfaces. This is the case where materials 'rub' (gears, bearings, knee and hip joint-implants etc), reflect or transmit light (lenses, mirrors etc), manage fluid-flow (turbine-blades, propellors etc) and control the microscopic passage of electrical charge (silicon chips etc). So, we see surfaces of all shapes and sizes are of fundamental importance to an enormous range of science, medicine, industry and defence. As the market become ever more demanding, there is a common drive for superior quality of surfaces, combined with faster manufacture at lower cost. This can no longer be addressed by incremental advances - a new way of looking at the problem is required.
Historically, research has focussed on specific processes. Now the tide has turned, and a new vision is required in terms of automation. This project looks at how this can be achieved in practice, in the context of Zeeko's computer controlled polishing machines, and industrial robots from Fanuc Robotics. The over-riding objective is to bring to market manufacturing solutions that are "Better, Faster, Cheaper".
|Effective start/end date||1/09/13 → 31/03/17|