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PhD project title

Innovative Energy Saving Process for Advanced Manufacturing.

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions (300 words max)

Rotational moulding is an extremely important industrial process used in the manufacture of large and small, hollow plastic products. QUB has been at the forefront of major technological advances in the process for more than 30 years. Innovations in process monitoring (Rotolog™), process simulation (Rotosim™) systems and process optimisation (Rotocooler™) have had significant impacts on the process globally. One of the latest innovations currently on trial at QUB is the use of internal mould water spray cooling device (Rotocooler™). The Rotocooler device has the potential to significantly reduce manufacturing times and energy waste by accelerating the cooling phase of the process through the innovative use of water mist. This represents a fundamental step change in the capabilities of the rotational moulding process significantly reducing manufacturing cycletimes and energy usage and it is the catalyst for this project.  The vision is to create an entirely autonomous rotational moulding process cooling system where the cooling phase (50-70%) is directed and controlled through an intelligent system that uses a combination of signals from in-process sensors and predictions from simulation. The core research work will be the integration of the data derived from real-time process measurement and simulation, and it is fully interdisciplinary as it demands the expertise of mechanical engineers in rotational moulding, simulation and process monitoring, and electrical engineers in signals processing, data analytics and process control. The project will require a dynamic individual, with strong leadership potential and organisational skills to fully exploit this opportunity by drawing together the work of an existing team of interdisciplinary researchers with the international industrial consortium that is developing the advanced moulding system. The German Company Maus GmbH, who are a worldwide service provider in moulds and manufacturing systems for rotational moulding, will lead this. Maus GmbH will offer placements at its German research centre in Karlsruhe totalling 8 weeks that will provide specialist technical and skills training along with opportunities for engagement with global customer.

Key words/descriptors

 

 

Advanced Manufacturing, Rotational Moulding, Process Optimisation, Energy Reduction, Data Analytics, Industry 4.0.

 

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

This is an inter-disciplinary, international and intersectorial research and development project combining advanced manufacturing process optimisation and the significant reduction of industrial energy use.  This proposal fits with the specific CITI-GENS theme and the broader University expertise in Advanced Manufacturing and exploring the interface between technological advances and social concerns.  Indeed, ‘Society’ and the ‘Manufacturing Industry’ is seeing a significant new wave of revolutionary technology (Industry 4.0 / Internet of Things) that provides the platform for significant change in the way we work.  The use and control of Information Technology (as provided by this Advanced Manufacturing Process Development) provides an opportunity to be innovative in when we work, where we work and the way we work.

Supervisor Information

 

 

First Supervisor:  Dr Peter Martin, Reader                                            School: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Second Supervisor:  Dr Emi Garcia-Palacios, Lecturer                        School: Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science                                                                                                                         

Third Supervisor: Oliver Wandres                                                          Company: Maus GmbH

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

Maus GmBH, Rotomoulding Tool Manufacturers, Am Viehweg 9 - D-76229 Karlsruhe, Germany

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:

 

 

A detailed placement plan of 8 weeks has been developed and agreed in collaboration with Maus GmbH, which will be based at Maus’s research and production facility in Karlsruhe, Germany:

Year 1 (4 weeks)

Week 1: Initial training at Maus GmbH; Introduction to staff, familiarisation with Maus Mould design, development and manufacture Week 2: Familiarisation with Rotocooler design, development, manufacture, use and optimisation Week 3: Shadowing the work of a Maus Engineer at various German rotomoulding factories Week 4: Training course on various automation and production techniques at Maus

Year 2 (2 weeks)

Week 1: Training on further automation / moulding making techniques and technologies Week 2: Testing Phase – specific Rotocooler automation trials and optimisation

Year 3 (2 weeks)

Week 1: Dissemination Phase - Various dissemination activities associated with the project e.g. presentations at Maus for various internal and external customers. Week 2: Participation in major presentation and dissemination event hosted by Maus for German Association of Rotational Moulders (ARMCE)

 

 

Non HEI Partner profile

 

Maus GmbH, who will be the non-HEI partner in the project, is a dynamic and fast-growing German company who are world leaders in providing innovative tool and mould manufacturing solutions to the global rotational moulding industry (https://maus-gmbh.de/en/about-us/). Their tool and mould technology is specifically designed to be disruptive and they specialise in developing fully automated manufacturing systems. With partnerships and customers around the world, they have a global reach from their base in Karlsruhe, Germany. Here they also offer specialist training and staff development for customers servicing the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Porsche.

Maus GmbH in partnership with QUB developed the world’s first internal mould water spray cooling device (Rotocooler) for the rotational moulding industry, formally signing a licence agreement in 2015. QUB has been working closely with Maus for over 10 years and partnered together on a previous EU funded FP6 project (MICRO-MELT FP6-30434).

 

Oliver Wandres, is Managing Director of Maus GmbH and will act as the non-HEI partner supervisor.

Research centre / School

 Polymer Processing Research Centre, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Subject area

Manufacturing Polymer Processing