EP/K018191/1 – led by Professor Robert Harrison, University of Warwick – Grant value £1.9 million
This project focuses on component-based modular reconfigurable systems, i.e. manufacturing systems that are built up from various elements and assembled together, in a similar fashion to building with 'Lego'. The research programme aims to create self-reconfiguring manufacturing systems, where knowledge captured within the system drives future design optimisation in order to enable a radical improvement in manufacturing effectiveness and sustainability.
The Arrowhead project aims to address the technical and applicative challenges associated with cooperative automation. Cooperative automation is enabled by the technology developed around the Internet of Things and Service Oriented Architectures. It is the key to the dynamic interactions between energy producers and energy consumers, between machines, between systems, between people and systems.
This project aims to create new software components for a sharable lightweight 3D visualisation of production stations capable of directly generating work instructions (MODAPTS /MTM) and process logic (for deployment on PLC and robots) from this visualisation, which can ultimately be monitored via the same 3D visualisation after the station is deployed in the factory. The production system is also, importantly, to be modelled in a component-based software form to enable the reuse of processes and system-configuration knowledge from a library.
The project, and in particular the software components to be created, will address the following key challenges. (1) Deriving and reusing process knowledge and system design data for automotive assembly automation systems through the storage and re-use of data objects within a library). (2) The creation of a shared visualisation which supports a new form of practical process interaction (across the supply chain over the lifecycle via virtual build events, remote system monitoring, and reuse and reconfiguration capabilities). (3) Directly engaging users in the design and realisation of production stations from initial design concept through to operation and beyond into the reuse/reconfiguration stage.
Currently systems regularly fail to meet user customer expectations due to a lack of their effective engagement in this process. (4) The software to be developed targets the achievement of faster more effective innovation in process/manufacturing engineering support in response to changes in end-user (e.g. Ford) product manufacturing needs. Outputs of the 3Depolyment software are the 3D visualisations, deployable process logic, and a library of reusable software components to compose new production stations. The project opens up new markets for ICT business with a large group of potential users who are unable to utilise the currently available software solutions on the market because of cost, complexity, functionality and business-model issues. This is an applied research project involving exploiting ICT related research outputs from University of Warwick.
Funded by Innovate UK, the AM Reality project focuses on the development of a novel augmented manufacturing reality, which will enable the automation of the design, configuration, re-configuration and use of manufacturing automation systems. The aim is to overlay and integrate digital data (e.g. CAD, Scans, video) and physical data acquired from sensors (e.g. power usage, temperature) into a virtual reality environment. The main objectives of the project are:
- To create a generic toolkit to enhance servicing and maintenance of automation systems
- To combine digital data and physical data to include feedback from the use phase into the design and simulation stages
- To optimise production efficiency
- To decrease set-up times and maintenance downtime
The project consortium consists of a major end user (Ford Motor company), three innovative SME as technology providers for the virtual environment (FDS), distributed sensor integration (i.e. InotecUK) and specialist engineering knowledge (DBR Associates), a major technology provider of CAD and digital data systems (Autodesk) and two major research organisations with extensive experience in manufacturing research, automation systems and virtual reality (High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute and WMG).