ESPRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology

Project: Research

Project Details


The vision of the proposed EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (CIM) is to break new ground by creating the concept of the factory on the machine to deliver to UK industry disruptive solutions in advanced manufacturing for the next generation of high added-value products. Embracing and developing the factory on the machine concept will be a critical step in enabling a sustainable manufacturing sector for the next generation of engineered products dependent on precision and micro/nano scale geometrical accuracy and functionally optimised surfaces.Key challenges to achieving the concept of the factory on the machine are: Challenge I: Elevation of machine tool accuracies beyond the present formidable barriers to those currently only achievable by advanced accuracy equipment in stable operating environments, through embodiment of our leading research in machine error modelling and reduction. Challenge II: Building sound foundations for the factory on the machine by developing new metrology instrumentation, used within the machine environment and a novel toolkit, for geometrical characterisation (size, geometry and texture) for the next generation of engineering products.In order to answer the challenges and vision of the CIM, the overall research programme is divided into key research themes and platform type activities. The two major thematic areas of research within the CIM are:Theme I - factory on the machine : to create a configurable and scalable platform for implementing advanced manufacturing and measurement technologies on machines ranging from nano, micro to large volume capability. Analogous with the lab on a chip concept, the delivered system will fuse production capability with high-precision metrology to provide an automatic quality control feedback loop for both product quality and machining process sustainability. Theme II - underlying techniques for factory on the machine : The aim here is to create new measurement and specification methodologies and products (smart software and hardware systems) and to deliver an underpinning new technology in measurement science for micro/nano scale surfaces on macro/meso dimensioned objects with Euclidean or non-Euclidean (non-rotational and non-translational symmetry) geometry and deterministic texture all to be applied within the factory on the machine environment. Platform activities will encompass: (i) Retention and recruitment of key identified research and technique staff; (ii) Generation of new knowledge and instrumentation derived from fundamental EPSRC, EU and TSB funded research projects (iii) Support blue sky research and feasibility studies in machine tool/surface technology and (iv) Knowledge exchange to key partners through specific projects, collaboration agreements, licensing, workshops, training, national networks, sand pits and open days. Platform activities will be targeted towards key partners firstly, their supply chains/end users, then secondly wider sectors of UK industry, as well as national and international standardisation bodies. Overall, this CIM research will link measurement and production in a unique way to minimise cost whilst at the same time enabling the manufacturing base to meet the challenge of ever increasing complexity and quality in manufacture. It will provide coherent research solutions to the manufacturing sector to ensure that advanced UK manufacture is at the forefront of emerging technologies. Partnership with UK industry will provide a research focal point, a national network to disseminate the outcomes and a link with other networks, CIMs and IKCs to ensure that the research provides the required outputs to drive industry forward. This would boost the capabilities of the project proposers to an unrivalled and unique position within the field of machine tool accuracy and surface metrology, allowing the research team to command a global leading role in the foreseeable future.

Key findings

1. Develoments to improve machine-tool calibration tool and techniques
- use of AI planning methods to significantly increase the speed of machine calibration
- extending calibration methods to consider geometric, non-rigid, thermal and dynamic factors
- development of feedback and self-learning techniques for continuous non-intrusive calibration

2. Development of multi-axis error compensation system(s) for machine tools
- Load and thermal FEA prediction modelling methods
- Sensor networks for real-time on machine monitoring
- Adaptive real-time control systems

3. Establishment of relationships between surface geometry and machine tool characteristics
- Machining process modelling
- Characterisation of surface finish
- Correlation of surface finish to machining conditions

4. Development of optical principles for in-process surface metrology
- Multiplexed inteferometer integration
- Improved robustness, sped and stability
- Calibration and repeatability
- Solid-state interferometer integration methods

5. Development of enabling optical methods for robust wavelength scanning instruments
- Full field measurement principle and system
- Calibration routines and stistch algorithms
- Prototype instruments for in-process integration

6. Development of fibre multi-sensor systems for ultra-precision applications
- Ligh wavelength scanning principle
- Acoustic frequency scanning principle
- Probe systems
- Post processing and integration in-process

7. Characterisation of non-Euclidian surfaces
- Development of surface representation and charaterisation models
- Adaptive zoom sampling
- Data fusion methods
- Development of sampling strategy

8. Characterisation of deterministic surfaces
- Development of a variety of feature extraction methods
- Surface characterisation for Additive Layer Manufactured surfaces
Effective start/end date1/09/1128/02/17


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