Manufacturing Process Optimisation Using Data Analytics
The proposed project seeks to create and implement novel data analytics techniques in order to improve and optimise high value complex manufacturing processes.
The School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering invites applications for a 3-year research PhD studentship. The proposed project seeks to create and implement novel data analytics techniques in order to improve and optimise high value complex manufacturing processes.
A typical high value manufacturing process involves a significant number of variables, procedures, and activities that represent a tremendous amount of data. This data, however, is rarely considered or used effectively as part of the process, particularly in a predictive or real-time manner. Modern and innovative data analytics techniques, to date, have not been effectively utilised to optimise high value manufacturing processes, or used to proactively identify manufacturing trends in real time. This research offers a unique opportunity to conduct research in an actual industrial manufacturing setting, and will allow the creation and implementation of novel data analytics techniques, including visual analytics dashboards, to real high-value manufacturing processes. The manufacturing process to be used in the research is high pressure die-casting, and the process to be optimised as proof of concept will be manufacturing downtime.
Manufacturing downtime is defined as any time a process is stopped. While this most often occurs because of tool or machine breakage, downtime can also be caused by planned maintenance, equipment adjustments, or even operator comfort breaks. Downtime is considered one of the biggest and most challenging problems in manufacturing, costing British manufacturers in excess of £180bn per year (OneServe, 2017). Reducing downtime makes UK industry significantly more competitive, leading to increased economic growth, reduced energy use, reduced environmental impact, and enhanced UK industrial sustainability.
Understanding what disrupts machine uptime is critical to preventing machine downtime and improving lean manufacturing processes. The core innovation of the research will be to leverage advanced data analytics techniques in order to operate on underutilized real-time manufacturing data. Further, this analysis will be coupled with advanced physics-based simulations and high risk/ high value experimentation in an actual mass production environment. The result will be a comprehensive analytic framework that operates on real-time data, and will be used to identify trends, predict the likelihood of downtime in real-, near-, and far-time, as well as quantify the resulting impact, including quantification of risk and reliability. Further, the research will be used to minimize production disruption, optimize resource allocation and cash flow, and identify and implement clear strategies to minimize and/or prevent downtime.
This research offers the unique opportunity to access large quantities of actual mass production data produced in a working industrial environment. The successful candidate will work side by side with a full time research professional, and will be fully integrated into the research team. There will be further opportunity to undertake experimental research in a mass production environment. The research will involve international travel as well as industry-related company visits and interactions.
As part of the project, and current global conditions permitting, the successful candidate will be expected to travel to Europe, Japan and possibly other parts of Asia and the USA. These trips will be used to visit the parent company as well as disseminate results at appropriate international conferences.
UK/EU applicants: Full stipend award of £15,009 per annum (index linked and payable over 3 years) plus full University registration fees for 3 years.
A top-up of up to £10k total over the three year period may be available to exceptional candidates.
International applicants are welcome to apply at the above stipend, however the project will not cover the additional cost of international registration fees.
PhD students in the School have the opportunity to apply to be demonstrators on undergraduate modules. Compensation for this can amount to in excess of £2,400 per year.
Mechanical Engineering overview
Doing a PhD in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is a highly rewarding experience. You will carry out your research in a friendly and supportive environment, supervised by academics who are leaders in their field, using well-equipped laboratories and research facilities, alongside students from all over the world. We have around 100 students enrolled on a PhD at a time. The School has a vibrant PhD student mentoring programme and a student led Research Culture Committee.
The School’s research is focused around six interconnected research themes: Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Future Aircraft, Composite Materials and Structures, Simulation Technologies, Clean Energy and Biomaterials and Biomechanics.
PhD opportunities are available in a wide range of subjects aligned to the specific expertise of our PhD supervisors. Many are linked with leading companies and organisations.
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in the research activities undertaken within the School. Students attend international conferences and participate in relevant external academic and industrial networks worldwide.
- The School has strong links with both local and international engineering employers, and has longstanding relationships with companies such as Airbus, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren F1 and Rolls-Royce.
- PhD research contributes to major interdisciplinary centres in the University, including:
•Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE)
•Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC)
•Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC)
- The School has well equipped laboratories and great research facilities. PhD students share offices alongside postdoctoral staff. The School has Research Culture Committee to enhance the research environment of the School and support PhD students.
Employment after the Course
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in industry, industry or become entrepreneurs.
People teaching you
Dr Trevor Robinson
Doctoral Programme Director
Mech & Aerospace Engineering
You will carry out leading research under the guidance of your supervisory team. A full time student will normally complete in three years (up to a maximum of four), or part time over six years (up to a maximum of eight).
Research will usually be in one of the key, interlinked research themes in the School, and the subtopics they cover, include:-
Advanced Manufacturing and Processing - cost modelling, ergonomics, intelligent control, laser processing, life cycle analysis, material characterisation, mechatronics, parallel kinematic machines, polymer processing, robotics and ultra-precision manufacturing.
Future Aircraft - aero engines, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, aircraft operations, design and analysis, optimisation and structural testing
Composite Materials and Structures -damage mechanics and crashworthiness, material characterisation, multifunctional composites and nano-enhanced composites
Simulation Technologies - FEA/CFD/EFG/DES/MD, kinematic modelling, meshing, multiscale/Multiphysics, optimisation, simulation intent, systems modelling, uncertainty quantification, virtual testing and design visual analytics and big data
Clean Energy - biofuels, catalysis, life cycle assessment, power systems, turbomachinery and waste management
Biomaterials and Biomechanics - biomimetics, material characterisation, mechanobiology and medical devices.
Also, over the course of study, you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School, or other internal and external training courses organised through your supervisor.
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component (*taken within the last 2 years) is required.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.
|Northern Ireland (NI) 1||£4,500|
|Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2||£4,500|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1||£4,500|
|EU Other 3||£22,000|
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
For further information please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit-advice/information-for-students.
Mechanical Engineering costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
How do I fund my study?1.PhD Opportunities
Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes
We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.3.PhD loans
The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students, £10,000 for students in Scotland and up to £5,500 for Northern Ireland students.4.International Scholarships
Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.
Funding and Scholarships
The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.