New AMRC Catapult Fellowship to help companies maintain accuracy without losing production time18 June 2015
New research to help manufacturers cut production time lost checking and setting up machine tools has been launched following the award of a prestigious four year EPSRC High Value Manufacturing Catapult Fellowship.
Dr Andrew Longstaff, a Principal Enterprise Fellow from the Centre for Precision Technologies at the University of Huddersfield, will work on the project with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC).
Dr Longstaff's research expertise is in the accuracy of machine tools, how errors build up over time and how that is affected by factors like temperature, machine movement and changes in loading conditions. He is a senior researcher in the globally-respected EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology, based at the Centre for Precision Technologies.
Dr Longstaff said: "I'm delighted to receive this prestigious fellowship, which will not only help companies to be more productive but will also help them to correctly diagnose what is causing problems if they arise.
"Reducing the time you take to calibrate a machine tool is about having a structured approach to the more complicated and time consuming elements, supported by quick checks. I will be looking at what people need to measure, how they should measure it and how often they measure it.
"The results of the research will be spread among the wider manufacturing community through the Catapult, enabling companies to reduce the time they take to calibrate machine tools and giving them more confidence that they will to produce components accurately."
Dr Longstaff has previously worked with the AMRC on a successful project to reduce the time it takes to manufacture safety critical aero engine components.
While AMRC researchers succeeded in reducing machining times from days to hours, he focused on techniques for calibrating the machine tools - an essential process to keep them running accurately which originally took them out of production for days, but can now be carried out in a single shift or less.
Dr Longstaff will also be working with AMRCs Process Monitoring and Control Group. The group's core disciplines include in-process inspection, adaptive machining and condition monitoring. By combining these disciplines with rapid machine tool calibration, industry can have confidence that processes developed at the AMRC are robust and transferable to production sites, ensuring accuracy and repeatability of the process and avoiding unnecessary equipment down time.