Collaborations

The Intelligent Systems, Decision and Control research group collaborate widely with industrial partners and other universities. Here are some examples.

Rolls-Royce Logo

The group co-ordinates and directs a programme of control and monitoring systems research for a University Technology Centre supported by Rolls-Royce. The Centre, which was founded in 1993, undertakes world-leading control and monitoring systems research to enable the transfer of technology solutions that deliver product benefits to the company.

For example, a unified design methodology for tuning gas turbine engine controllers, developed by researchers in the group, is being used by Rolls-Royce across its latest fleet of Civil Aero Trent engines. Trent engines are used to power, for example, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 aircraft that have been adopted by the world’s leading airlines. The new methodology has resulted in significant cost savings as a result of improved design practice, reduced development effort, and streamlined verification requirements.

A second example is the development of a framework that enables an Equipment Health Management designer to identify the most valuable elements of health management system design, perform rapid assessment of multiple monitoring architectures, and deploy the system. This has been developed to significantly reduce service disruption, thereby leading to savings of several hundreds of million dollars.

Useful Links:
Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC)

Tata Steel Logo

In its 18 years of existence IMMPETUS (the Institute of Microstructural and Mechanical Process Engineering: The University of Sheffield), an EPSRC funded tri-departmental institute with this group leading the systems and control theme, has been collaborating with more than 50 industrial companies, including the steel industrial giant, TATA-Steel Europe. In 2013, the World Steel Association reported European demand at around 153 million tonnes (£100bn in Total Output) with only moderate growth forecast. This represents 73% of available capacity (in Europe) and highlights the competitive pressures under which the UK industry is operating. To remain competitive and retain leverage as far as technological edge is concerned, TATA-Steel Europe has been collaborating with The University of Sheffield, to advance research in modelling (prediction of multi-scale metal properties), control (hot and cold rolling), and optimisation (chemistry and process conditions for right-first-time production of metals).

Jaguar Land Rover Logo

The group is a member of Jaguar Land Rover’s Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSi). PSi will develop the capability of the virtual simulation industry in the UK and will give manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover access to new, world-class simulation tools and processes. By helping manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover deliver more complex new vehicle programmes more quickly, it will help save costs in product development by reducing the reliance on physical prototypes; it will also have environmental benefits by limiting the number of prototypes that need to be driven and tested in the real world. The groups’ research is developing state-of-the-art capabilities for robust full-vehicle design optimization.

Network Rail Logo

The group was instrumental in the formation of a strategic partnership with Network Rail and the establishment of the Rail Innovation & Technology Centre (RITC). The RITC aims to identify Network Rail's research and development needs, matching projects and expertise against them and to present Network Rail with a range of state-of-the-art engineering research outcomes and ongoing activity from which it can draw, use to stimulate its own thinking or contribute to or collaborate in.

The focus of the RITC's activity is intelligent systems engineering involving detection, sensing, communication, materials, structures and software technologies that can be applied to rail infrastructure, operations and traffic.

One example RITC project has been an EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account funded project to develop a solar-powered data logger. This technology is now being taken forward to commercialisation by Arrowvale Electronics.

Useful Links:
Rail Innovation and Technology Centre (RITC)

Airbus Logo

The group has developed a new model based approach that predicts residual-stress of aluminium aerospace components. The research has informed Airbus on how to fine-tune the design of critical components and avoid part distortion. This reduces the manufacturing cost and eliminates material waste - as opposed to traditional practices involving component over-design and post-manufacturing machining of distorted material.