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New funding awarded for through-life engineering services
New £1 million funding has been awarded by the EPSRC to create a world-leading team for the UK in through-life engineering services (TES).
A core aim of the work will be new generations of approaches that will help more high-value UK manufacturers access the services market.
Under the TES model, manufacturing, engineering and technology combines with service-based business models – like leasing and benefit sharing – incentivising the manufacturer and maintainer to provide greater user value. The approach is relevant to manufacturers delivering products across industries, and any that work with complex engineering – whether that’s transport, railway infrastructure, medical equipment, power plants, military fighting vehicles and weapons, machinery and electronics in general.
Professor Raj Roy, Director of Manufacturing and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services at Cranfield University, said: “The value of TES is rooted in a basic principle: assets that work generate value, those that don’t just generate a cost. TES covers the design, creation and in-service sustainability of complex engineering over its whole life cycle. High-quality data is used to maximise availability, predictability and reliability at the lowest possible cost.”
The five-year project is being led by Cranfield and Nottingham universities working with expertise from industry partners such as Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and Network Rail. In particular the research will take on the challenge of creating service technologies able to monitor and anticipate more than one failure mechanism: corrosion, fatigue and the role of temperatures. That means developing our understanding of degradation science and finding ways to make in-situ assessments of what’s happening to all types of mechanical components via very small service access holes.
Professor Roy added: “The new TES research initiative can help improve and widen access to technologies that will underpin the shift to service models. Demonstrations of success will inevitably attract more manufacturers to TES. But ultimately, when it comes to realising the 20/20 vision of the national strategy on engineering services (to meet the goal of a 20% reduction in whole life costs and a 20% increase in availability), there’s going to need to be a collaborative and concerted approach.”