IMG works on a wide range of industry-led research projects addressing current manufacturing challenges in the field of large-volume and complex assembly.
We carry out a range of generic research projects on behalf of the AMRC’s industrial members.
Recent research projects include:
IMG researchers have been investigating the dynamic stability of serial robot arms to help develop new techniques to counteract structural vibrations that cause ‘chatter’ when robots are used for machining. Their extensive studies have resulted in major insights into how to improve the dynamic response of robotic structures.
Robots produce results that are highly repeatable, but lack the accuracy required in most aerospace processes. IMG researchers are testing and developing calibration systems for robotic arms that will allow low cost robots to undertake high-precision aerospace tasks.
Significant improvements in recent years mean robots can now be used for some machining tasks. IMG is currently working with leading high end automotive manufacturers on several projects in this field.
Researchers have been assessing the suitability of revolutionary new ways for operators and automation to interact, which have emerged thanks to the impact of increased computing power on functionality and safety systems.
Augmented reality manual assembly
IMG has developed an ‘Augmented Reality’ driven workbench to improve manual assembly performance, where automation is not economically viable by enabling operators to carry out complex assembly tasks with little or no training.
Externally funded projects
We also work on a variety of externally funded collaborative projects alongside key industrial and academic partners. Recent and ongoing projects include:
Validation & Integration of Manufacturing Enablers for future Wing Structures (VIEWS)
The VIEWS project is part funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and covers a wide spectrum of projects for introducing new technologies into airframe production.
The AMRC is to investigate advanced metallic processing, visual works instructions, automation and assembly technologies, automation Infrastructure, production simulation and modelling as part of this programme.
Future of the Aircraft Factory (FoAF)
FoAF is a £16 million project, funded by Airbus UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute, to develop innovations that help manufacturers meet future demand for single aisle aircraft.
IMG is working closely with Airbus, suppliers and other universities to solve process problems and develop enabling technologies for the next generation of aircraft factories.
Vehicle ARchitectures for CITY cars (VARCITY)
VARCITY is a national programme, led by Jaguar Cars, with funding from the Innovate UK, which aims to develop technologies for a premium city car for the year 2020.
IMG is establishing a process which will allow advanced carbon fibre composites used in the car to be machined and trimmed by robots.
Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through Leading Environmental Technologies (SAMULET)
SAMULET is a national programme, part-funded by Innovate UK, to create new, environmentally-friendlier ways of making jet engines and aerospace structures.
IMG has worked with BAE Systems to develop an accurate robotic countersinking cell that reduces cycle time and maximises repeatability while meeting high accuracy requirements.
Structures TEchnology Maturity (STEM)
STEM is an Innovate UK project to push the boundaries of aerodynamic performance by developing new concepts in aircraft wing design. IMG worked with GKN Aerospace and Nikon Metrology to develop a complete assembly tooling and robotic strategy for making a winglet from advanced composites.
Fast Ramp-up and Adaptive Manufacturing Environment (FRAME)
FRAME is a European project to move from the conventional, operator-centred process of integrating a new machine or line into a production system and ramping up output, to a fully automated, self-learning and self-aware production system.