A New Airbus / RAEng Chair is Announced

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Ashutosh Tiwari as the new Airbus / Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Research Chair in Digitisation for Manufacturing.

This is a five-year senior position aimed at establishing a unique, world-leading research collaboration in Advanced Manufacturing between the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE), Airbus UK and the internationally renowned University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The research is structured around the four research challenges facing digitisation of manufacturing. These challenges include how to instrument both new and legacy machines to surmise the quality of work-in-progress products and to adapt machine settings for new tasks; how to digitise interactions of humans with the manufacturing shopfloors; how to digitise parts, trays, jigs, fixtures and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) using live material movement data; and how to learn from anomaly resolutions to build the overall capability at the manufacturing system level.

Ash Tiwari

Professor Tiwari said: “My vision is to establish a world leading engineering research group that focuses on developing a digitised factory that requires no setups for manufacturing wing variants and no intrusive measurements of wing parts for ensuring quality.

“I am particularly excited with the prospect of pursuing both use-inspired digitisation research and underpinning fundamental research, supported by industrial-scale facilities at Airbus and AMRC.”

The focal point of this research will be the AMRC’s £43 million state-of-the-art ‘Factory 2050’ - the UK’s first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing research facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching between different high-value components and one-off parts.

Supported by ACSE, Airbus and AMRC, Professor Tiwari and his team will develop and demonstrate, in a realistic factory environment, highly automated and flexible manufacturing solutions that deliver a step increase in productivity of aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly.

David Ramsay Harra, Head of Innovation and Development for Assembly at Airbus, said: “I am extremely excited to welcome Professor Tiwari as the Chair in Digitisation for Manufacturing at the University of Sheffield. At Airbus, we always strive to drive innovation by pushing the boundaries.

“The collaboration between Airbus, AMRC and the University of Sheffield’s ACSE department allows us to do this through rapid development and demonstration of new approaches & technologies. I see the appointment of Professor Tiwari as a key enabler and accelerator to this process.”

The partnership will focus ACSE’s world-leading research expertise upon Airbus’ medium term manufacturing challenges within a real-world factory setting. There will be a clear expectation of transitioning this underpinning research to high Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs).

Professor Daniel Coca, Head of Department at ACSE, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Professor Tiwari has been awarded this prestigious Chair by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The new partnership established with Airbus and AMRC represents the achievement of a key milestone in the delivery of one of our key strategic research aim, to capitalise on our renowned expertise in autonomous, complex and intelligent engineered systems and establish a world-leading research and innovation capability in digital manufacturing, also known as Industry 4.0.”

Professor Tiwari was previously in the Manufacturing Department of the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University, UK. Over the past 18 years, he has established Cranfield as one of the centres of excellence in the development and application of informatics techniques for manufacturing technologies, processes and systems, and has developed a very strong research track record, both at national and international level.

Focusing on digitisation, simulation and optimisation of skill-intensive manufacturing processes, he has led 8 EPSRC projects, 6 Innovate UK projects, 3 projects funded by EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing, 5 KTP projects, a Low Carbon KEEP project, and 30 PhD/EngD studentships. He currently holds an EPSRC High Value Manufacturing Catapult Fellowship and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IMechE, the IET and the HEA.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs aim to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of industrial partners. Applications for the scheme are currently open and will close on Tuesday 6 March 2018. More information is available on the Royal Academy of Engineering website.