Attracting high levels of funding, the globally-renowned research teams at the University of Huddersfield are working on a range of projects to improve precision techniques
Huddersfield engineer Alan Myers and the University?s state-of-the-art Geiss five axis milling machine
Modern industries demand the most precise measurement techniques that science can provide. So they turn to the University of Huddersfield.
Among its globally-renowned research teams are the Engineering Control and Machine Performance Group (ECMPG) ? led by Alan Myers and part of the University of Huddersfield Centre for Precision Technologies ? and the Systems Research Group (SRG), headed by Professor Gary Lucas, of the School of Computing and Engineering.
Both of these groups work with multinational partners and regularly take part in research projects that attract high levels of funding. For example, the ECMPG has been approached by a consortium of 11 organisations to join a new project funded by the European programme known as Framework 7. The aim of the research is to achieve massive improvements in machine tool accuracy. University of Huddersfield ECMPG has been put in charge of the vital first stage of the scheme.
Group leader Alan Myers explains that his University of Huddersfield team?s task is to develop the concept behind the project, which aims to bring about an average improvement of greater than 75% in the accuracy of machine tools.
Virtually every machine tool, he explains, suffers from errors caused by a variety of factors. The consortium?s aim is to eliminate these, as far as possible, by developing an inertial frame that sits within the structure of the machine tool. Exactly what form this frame will take is the concept that the University of Huddersfield team have begun to work on, funded by Framework 7 to the tune of almost £350,000.
The project is scheduled to last for three years and, when its goals are achieved, there is the potential for almost all machine tools to operate at a much higher level of accuracy. This will mean faster, more efficient production of parts and a massive reduction in the amount of waste material as fewer faulty parts have to be scrapped.
The latest project is an addition to an existing Framework 7 project ? which involves the development of computer software to improve machine tool accuracy ? that the ECMPG is currently working on. The two Framework 7 grants combined are worth £658,000 to the University of Huddersfield.
Also under way at the University of Huddersfield is the Multiphase Flow Project, funded by the government-backed Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Professor Gary Lucas and the SRG will be allotted at least £257,000 to work on extra refinements to a technique that it has developed named Electromagnetic Velocity Imaging. This enables industries such as those involved in oil and gas production to obtain a visual image of the velocity distribution of multiphase flows in pipelines, with huge gains in cost and efficiency.
University of Huddersfield SRG will also team up with colleagues at Leeds University, who have worked on a technique known as Electrical Impedance Tomography, which enables the concentration distribution of different materials in a pipeline flow to be measured by using imaging technology. And the Magnetic Resonance Research Centre at Cambridge University will also take part in the project.
?The big goal of the research project will be to integrate these individual systems,? says Gary Lucas. Once this is achieved, a device will be developed that can be fitted to pipelines. It will not only be much more accurate than existing measurement methods but much less costly. And safer too ? many of the devices currently on the market make their measurements using radioactive sources.
The oil and gas industries are among the most likely users of the new technology. But the disposal of nuclear waste by pipeline is another application.
Research and Enterprise, University of Huddersfield,
Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH
Tel: +44 (0) 1484 473666
Added the 28 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1