Rapid Manufacturing Research Group
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The group has an interest in a range of activities which promote and support Mechatronics. Mechatronics is, by its very nature, integrative and draws upon many technologies in the realisation of intelligent products, processes and systems. Some examples may be found on this site.

Fundamental Research
The group conducts projects concerning the fundamental aspects of the enabling technologies that facilitate mechatronics. This includes:

  Modelling & Simulation Sensors and Actuators
  Mechanisms & Dynamics Control
  Machine Vision Interfacing
  Systems Integration Artificial Intelligence
  Knowledge Engineering  

Design & Embodiment
Once the fundamental enabling technologies are understood the process of design may begin following established methodologies. The generally complex procedure is exacerbated by consideration of trade offs in mechanical, electrical and electronic capabilities as well as in hardware versus software functionality. Mechatronics is clearly an applied discipline and thus it requires manufactured artifacts to demonstrate the principles. Manufacturing processes may demand enhanced precision or complexity and this must be taken into account.

Once a machine is designed and built, it needs to be maintained. An intelligent machine can monitor its own operation and predict when failures of components or systems may occur due to normal wear and tear. Condition Based Maintenance may then be used for optimal plant efficiency and process availability. A truly intelligent machine learns from its previous data (experience) and builds Knowledge which it may then exploit. If the machine is intelligent it may have Embedded Information Devices which may be used to keep information permitting an optimised machine lifecycle and suitable recycling or re-use stategies to promote sustainability.

Technology Transfer
The Knowledge Transfer Partnership is an excellent vehicle for transferring the principles and technologies of mechatronics into industry, especially those of small and medium size. The group is very active in promoting and participating in such partnerships. The web pages contain more details and typical examples.

Train and Maintain
The group participates in the design and delivery of short courses and teaching modules that may be built up to an MSc award. The courses are designed to be delivered in a full or part time mode which is especially suited to industry (a module is delivered in an intensive one-week attendance session). Many practicing Engineers find this contributes greatly to their Personal Development Plan (PDP) for life-long learning or companies to their Integrated Graduate Development Scheme (IGDS). The MSc course information may be found under the Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering's pages.

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