Category Archives: EPSRC

RECODE Network Launch Event – 3rd June, London

Transforming the consumer goods industry through the use of big data and re-distributed models of manufacture poses entirely new challenges inherent to the capture, storage, analysis, visualisation and interpretation of big data. Combined with this is the cross-disciplinary requirement for radically new methods of engaging end-users, empowering customer interaction, facilitating ad-hoc supply chains, re-capturing and re-deploying valuable materials, optimising manufacturing processes, informing new user-driven design of customised goods and services, developing novel business models and implementing data-driven open innovation.

Led by Dr Fiona Charnley at Cranfield University, the EPSRC-ESRC Network in Re-Distributed Manufacturing, Consumer Goods and Big Data (RECODE) aims to engage a diverse community to explore the use of big data in the development of a re-distributed, joined up model of production for the future.

The RECODE Network Launch Event is being held on 3rd June 2015 at IDEALondon, 69 Wilson Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 2BB. This initial event will bring together academics, practitioners, policy makers and others to introduce the network, through key note talks from Cisco, Cranfield University and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and start to develop a multi-disciplinary community, roadmap and vision for the future of UK manufacturing.

Register for the event here.

[Image source]

Defining the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing (3DP-RDM)

The Bit by Bit research team are pleased to announce that we have successfully secured further funding to explore how 3D printing and additive manufacturing enables the re-distributed of manufacturing, and how the re-distributed of manufacturing provides opportunities for the wider adoption of 3D printing.

The new 2-year project “Defining the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing” (3DP-RDM) is part of the EPSRC’s “Manufacturing the Future” theme and is being funded through the EPSRC/ESRC’s recent “Re-distributed Manufacturing Call for Networks“.

The objective of 3DP-RDM is to convene a multi-disciplinary research and multi-industry user network that provides the required breadth and depth of research capabilities to define and disseminate the research agenda for 3DP enabled re-distributed manufacturing.

Starting in January 2015, the formation of this community will provide a platform for the delivery of a portfolio of up to six research feasibility studies to explore:

  1. The features of 3DP technologies that help enable re-distributed manufacturing;
  2. How re-distributed manufacturing may accelerate the diffusion of 3DP technologies, and vice-versa;
  3. Sector specific and generic aspects of 3DP enabled re-distributed manufacturing.

The project is led by Dr Tim Minshall (PI) at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, and by Prof. Phill Dickens (Co-I) at the University of Nottingham. They will be supported by Dr Simon Ford in a Network Coordinator role.

Energy Resilient Manufacturing

The deadline for the submission of Expressions of Interest to the EPSRC’s “Energy Resilient Manufacturing” call was today. Here at Bit by Bit we realised that we should submit something given the overlap between the call and additive manufacturing, and the relatively low effort involved in submitting a proposal.

As the call described:

Research ideas should have the potential to revolutionise the usage and management of energy in the manufacturing industry, significantly reducing the need for energy as an input to the manufacturing process and/or increasing the resilience of manufacturing to uncertainties in the energy supply.

Developing some initial ideas led to five project ideas, three of which spoke directly to 3D printing. We expanded upon these three ideas as far as possible within the very short word limit of the Expression of Interest form. Here are the three proposals we developed, each of which provides (1) a summary of the idea, and (2) an explanation of how the idea fits the scope of the call.

Proposal 1

Idea: 3D printing allows the on-demand manufacture of customised products. How does its potential for more localised production, lower design complexity and replacement parts help decouple economic growth from energy consumption?

Fit to call scope: The adoption of 3D printing by UK industry could transform supply chains and dramatically reduce energy consumption across the manufacturing network. More localised production and lower design complexity will create shorter supply chains, with the reduced number of production and transportation stages leading to step-changes in energy consumption.

Proposal 2

Idea: How does the distributed and localised nature of 3D printing improve UK manufacturing’s resilience to energy disruptions? This project will focus on the manufacturing flexibility offered by 3D printing.

Fit to call scope: Individual, smaller-scale 3D printing sites have lower energy requirements than conventional manufacturing. A distributed network of 3D printing sites could allow production to be better matched to available energy supply, thereby improving the resilience of UK manufacturing to disruptions in energy supply.

Proposal 3

Idea: 3D printing allows replacement components to be produced at lower cost, enabling repairs that were previously economically unattractive. Remanufacturing and service-based business models with lower energy requirements may be realised.

Fit to call scope: Extending product life through the use of 3D printed replacement components reduces the need for new products to be manufactured, significantly reducing energy consumption in the manufacturing system. The 3D printing of replacement components may enable a ‘design for repair’ ethos and new service-based business models to emerge.

While we think that each of these are worth exploring, we were unfortunately limited to the submission of just one proposal. Of the three it was Proposal 1 that we decided to submit. We now wait to see if we’re accepted to pitch our project idea at one of the events later this month.

Image source: http://white-white.deviantart.com/art/Energy-255906119