Fully-funded EngD Studentship sponsored by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing and EPSRC

Active and adaptive control of machining processes (EngD)

Partners: University of Sheffield (AMRC with Boeing), EPSRC
Start Date: 4 September 2017
Duration: Four years
Stipend: Tax free stipend of £18,000 per year, plus all tuition fees paid at UK/EU rates.
Applications Deadline: Applications eligible until 3 September 2017

Please check eligibility requirements carefully before applying.

Project details

This project will investigate applications of active and adaptive control of machining processes with a view towards significantly improving production speed and performance. Specifically, this project will seek to design the control algorithms that will enable machining processes to adapt in a beneficial fashion, in response to measurement data from existing sensors (eg motor current). In other words, this project is about improving the performance of existing hardware by improving the operating software. The key enabler in this respect will be the use of continuous feedback from sensors through to machine actuators. Such feedback will be fundamental in enabling machining processes to achieve high quality output in spite of variations in component hardness, tool wear, thermal expansion, etc.

Many numerically controlled (NC) machine tools carry out milling and turning tasks. The AMRC observes that such processes running in production facilities typically have the opportunity to improve productivity by 10-50% by optimising cutting feed rates. Furthermore, tool life can be at least doubled by avoiding chatter vibration and reducing high rates of change of the cutting forces. To optimise feedrates, reduce cutting times and avoid chatter vibration, an understanding of machining
process fundamentals, chip formation, machining dynamics and tool path programming is required.

This research will investigate control algorithms that optimise the performance of the machines via the NC code used to drive the machine. The candidate will need to gain an understanding of milling and turning processes, be able to use analogue sensors and analogue-to-digital converters to collect data such as vibration, electrical current and cutting forces. The candidate will need to gain experience using computer aided design and manufacture software to program NC machines.

About the AMRC with Boeing

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is a worldclass centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. The AMRC with Boeing is a multi-million pound industry/university partnership which builds on the shared scientific excellence and technological innovation. It has internationally acknowledged research in developing innovative and advanced technology solutions for materialsforming and metal working and is housed in the Factory of the Future, a BREEAM-rated building with a zero carbon footprint. The AMRC with Boeing now employs around 500 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe, in two purpose-built centres on the Advanced Manufacturing
Park in South Yorkshire.

The University of Sheffield AMRC cluster also includes the Nuclear AMRC; AMRC Training Centre; and the AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre. The AMRC with Boeing has over 70 partner companies and is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. The AMRC with Boeing machining group is the largest group, with over 85 R&D engineers across its flagship Factory of the Future and Factory 2050 facilities.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have, or expect to get, a 1st or good 2:1 degree (or Masters with Merit) in a relevant science or engineering subject such as control engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, or physics, and be willing to get involved in hands-on activities. You should be enthusiastic about research with an interest in technology development and innovation in manufacturing.

Due to EPSRC residency requirements, this project is open only to UK and EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least three years immediately preceding the start of the course.

Candidates must also be able show that their English language proficiency is at a level which allows them to successfully complete the EngD. All applicants require an English language qualification, typically a GCSE or an IELTS test (a score of 7 or above is required, with a minimum of 6 in each component).

If in doubt about any aspect of eligibility, please email: idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk

How to apply

All applications should be submitted online. See the How to Apply section of the IDC website.

Please follow the instructions carefully, and ensure that you specify which project you are applying for and include in your statement why you are interested in the project and how you will contribute.

For an informal discussion, in the first instance please contact the IDC Centre Administrator, Clare Clarke: idc-machining-science@sheffield.ac.uk

Apply now