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Machine learning project automates complex tooling job at Expert Technologies Group

A two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between WMG, University of Warwick and expert industrial automation specialist Expert Technologies GroupLink opens in a new window has introduced machine learning into a range of engineering settings that were previously thought too complex to implement.

KTP Associate Mateusz Ogrodnik reduced the time of designing new mechanical fixture plans* from weeks to minutes.


Historically the job of creating mechanical fixture plans was deemed too complex to automate. Despite involving repetitive tasks, the processes were too nuanced for simple automations to handle, and tooling designers were still an essential component.

However Expert Technologies were keen to devise and implement a novel approach to this unsolved problem, so that designers’ time could be better utilised on higher value, strategic tasks in the business.

The key challenge was the sheer computational complexity of this process. A typical fixture plan has around 40 elements which would mean that around 250 parameters had to be implemented into an automated solution.

As part of this project, Expert wanted to create and embed a systematic approach to solving complex engineering problems for the future. With the use of machine learning on an upward curve, this project would pave the way for them to continue to use this kind of technology for other hugely complex problems.


With the support of WMG, they opted to apply for an Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). KTPs link forward thinking businesses with a knowledge base to deliver on an innovative project led by inspired graduates.

Initially, Knowledge Transfer Associate (KTA), Cesar Reyes, was appointed. His work laid strong foundations and a year later, a second KTA, Mateusz Ogrodnik joined the team. His approach, thanks to experience in optimisation and software development, along with support from WMG's Professor Pasquale Franciosa, led to the development of a completely novel set of algorithms that reduced the computational complexity.

Mateusz arranged meetings with senior engineers at Expert to understand how an experienced designer would approach the problem which helped to speed up the time it took for the automated system to create a design. This was followed by building a prototype app, where multiple case studies could automatically be tested. As the number of bespoke algorithms grew, and time left to create a solution decreased, Mateusz spent time working directly with the engineers to undertake further beta testing to arrive at the final prototypes. Mateusz also attended the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference in Canada, where he was able to gather further insights for this project as well as other opportunities to take forward at Expert.


· A final prototype tool was created which reduced the time of developing mechanical fixture plans from weeks to hours which will lead to significant cost savings for the business.

· Mateusz has been hired by Expert as a Senior Software Development Engineer.

· Expert has put new software development approaches into practice which will de-risk other software-based projects.

· The project opened up a number of ideas for other Expert employees to build, develop and share within the company.

· New software projects, including complex machine learning tasks have been brought forward and de-risked thanks to this project.

· Expert has now applied for a further Accelerated Knowledge Transfer grant to work on a similar project.

Ian Snape, Engineering Director at Expert Technologies Group said:

“To witness the ground-breaking final prototype demonstration was a realisation of an unrealistic idea four years ago. Not accepting the ‘norm’ and embracing development failure as an opportunity to dissect and optimise, is the heartbeat of this achievement. We celebrate the powerful new fusion of engineering and data science within this Expert / WMG collaboration and look forward to the next set of limitations we rip up.”


WMG Reader and academic supervisor on this project Pasquale Franciosa said: 

“The work with Expert Technologies Group through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership root is great evidence of transferring academic research outputs into industrial operation. The project nicely bridged engineering design with digital technologies and proved that this is the way forward to support business growth, whilst releasing capacity and maximising productivity.”

For more information on working with WMG on KTP projects contact

For more information on Expert Technologies Group visit:

Expert Technologies Group | Industrial Automation Technology

*A fixture is a device for locating, holding and supporting a workpiece during a manufacturing operation. Fixtures are essential elements of production processes as they are required in most automated manufacturing, inspection, and assembly operations.

Thu 20 Jun 2024, 21:21 | Tags: Digital SME SME-Digital SME-Growth SME-KTP Success Story