Our Research

Thread 1

Interoperability

CPS Design Theory

Thread 2

The Cyber World

CPS Modelling design & Manufacture

Thread 3

The Physical World

CPS Concept to Reality

Thread 4

The Socio World

CPS The Extended Manufacturing Enterprise

Design Process and Integration

Design Process and Integration

 

As the Programme develops over time, this area of our website will describe the process and integration activities being developed by the Re-imagining Engineering Design Programme so that new ideas and concepts are generated rapidly, and where both the product and its associated manufacturing system (including its supply chain and people) are designed concurrently and fully tailored to each other.

Capability challenges

Since May 2022 we have refined our approach to identify and work in a more agile way on a series of technical Capability Challenges that will underpin and better lead and move towards the industry sponsored Exemplars.

The steps in our Agile Sprint Planning Process are shown in the following diagram.

These Capability Challenges will be described in our Research Papers to be released in due course and made accessible through our website.

Exemplars

Exemplars are the close to real world design challenges. A key aspect supporting the integration of the research activities is the definition of these exemplar challenges.  To ensure this provides appropriate realism and complexity the exemplars are being defined by the industrial partners.

These Exemplars will be described in our Research Papers to be released in due course and made accessible through our website.

Published papers from RIED

This section will be updated to provide information and links about the formal peer reviewed Published Papers produced by RIED Team over the life of the Programme.

  • A review of design frameworks for human-cyber-physical systems moving from industry 4 to 5 (September 2023)

    Within the Industry 4.0 landscape, humans collaborate with cyber and physical elements to form human-cyber-physical systems (HCPS). These environments are increasingly complex and challenging workspaces due to increasing levels of automation and data availability. An effective system design requires suitable frameworks that consider human activities and needs whilst supporting overall system efficacy.

    Although several reviews of frameworks for technology were identified, none of these focused on the human in the system (moving towards Industry 5). The critical literature review presented provides a summary of HCPS frameworks, maps the considerations for a human in HCPS, and provides insight for future framework and system development. The challenges, recommendations, and areas for further research are discussed.

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  • Multidimensional analysis for the correlation of physico-chemical attributes to osteoblastogenesis in TiNbZrSnTa alloys (October 2023)

    Abstract

    Data-enabled approaches that complement experimental testing offer new capabilities to investigate the interplay between chemical, physical and mechanical attributes of alloys and elucidate their effect on biological behaviours. Reported here, instead of physical causation, statistical correlations were used to study the factors responsible for the adhesion, proliferation and maturation of pre-osteoblasts MC3T3-E1 cultured on Titanium alloys. Eight alloys with varying wt% of Niobium, Zirconium, Tin and Tantalum (Ti— (2–22 wt%)Nb— (5–20 wt%)Zr— (0–18 wt%)Sn— (0–14 wt%)Ta) were designed to achieve exemplars of allotropes (incl., metastable-β, β + α′, α″). Following confirmation of their compositions (ICP, EDX) and their crystal structure (XRD, SEM), their compressive bulk properties were measured and their surface features characterised (XPS, SFE). Because these alloys are intended for the manufacture of implantable orthopaedic devices, the correlation focuses on the effect of surface properties on cellular behaviour. Physico-chemical attributes were paired to biological performance, and these highlight the positive interdependencies between oxide composition and proliferation (esp. Ti4+), and maturation (esp. Zr4+). The correlation reveals the negative effect of oxide thickness, esp. TiOx and TaOx on osteoblastogenesis. This study also shows that the characterisation of the chemical state and elemental electronic structure of the alloys’ surface is more predictive than physical properties, namely SFE and roughness.

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  • Electrochemical removal of secondary roughness on selective laser melted titanium with an ethylene–glycol-based electrolyte (July 2023)

    Partially sintered satellite particles in scaffolds produced via Selective Laser Melting (SLM) create discrepancies between the as-designed and the as-manufactured properties (esp. porosity). These discrepancies impede direct comparison of manufactured parts performance to computer simulations. We propose anodic electrolysis using an electrolyte based on non-aqueous ethlylene-glycol TiCl4 (EthaTi) to remove the secondary roughness on titanium SLM-ed porous scaffolds. Post-processed gyroid scaffolds regained 10% porosity with respect to their as-manufactured value (65.20 ± 0.23%), which was close to the as-designed value (75.12%). Compared to other well-established electrolytes, this method is cost-effective, user-friendly and practical, as it requires shorter processing times, is temperature-stable and of gentler chemistry.

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  • Predicting electrical power consumption of end milling using a virtual machining energy toolkit (V_MET) – (September 2023)

    Understanding electrical energy consumption of machines and processes is of increasing importance to (i) minimise costs and environmental impact of production activities and (ii) provide an additional information stream to inform condition monitoring systems (i.e. digital twins) about a machine’s status and health. The research outlined in this paper develops a Virtual Machining Energy Toolkit (V_MET) to predict the electrical power consumption of a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) milling machine cutting a particular part program from preparatory codes (i.e. G code). In this way the evaluation of the energy impact of manufacturing part programs prior to implementation and real-time monitoring of the process can become a routine activity at part of a total manufacturing system optimisation. The novelty of this work lies in the inclusion of a virtual CNC process model to determine cutting geometry (i.e. width and depth of cut) to enable the prediction of relatively complex part program geometry.

    V_MET consists of three components: (i) the NC interpreter to extract key parameters (e.g. spindle speed, feed rate, tool path) from G-code instructions, (ii) a virtual CNC process model to determine instantaneous cutting geometry (i.e. width and depth of cut) and the material removal from the resulting machining by simulating the motion of the tool path to predict the interaction between the tool tip and workpiece and (iii) an energy model to predict the electrical power consumption for a given set of conditions, developed using regression analysis of data collected under real manufacturing conditions.

    Validation of V_MET has been conducted by physical machining of different product features to evaluate the validity over a range of different cutting parameters, NC operations (i.e. linear, clockwise interpolations) and repasses over previously cut regions. Overall good accuracy has been observed for the predicted energy requirements as a function of the cutting regimes, with 4.3% error in total energy and Mean Average Percentage Error (MAPE) of 5.6% when compared with measurements taken during physical cutting trials.

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  • Local Fitness Landscape Exploration Based Genetic Algorithms (January 2023)

    Genetic algorithms (GAs) have been used to evolve optimal/sub-optimal solutions of many problems. When using GAs for evolving solutions, often fitness evaluation is the most computationally expensive, and this discourages researchers from applying GAs for computationally challenging problems. This paper presents an approach for generating offspring based on a local fitness landscape exploration to increase the speed of the search for optimal/sub-optimal solutions and to evolve better fitness solutions. The proposed algorithm, “Fitness Landscape Exploration based Genetic Algorithm” (FLEX-GA) can be applied to single and multi-objective optimization problems. Experiments were conducted on several single and multi-objective benchmark problems with and without constraints. The performance of the FLEX-based algorithm on single-objective problems is compared with a canonical GA and other algorithms. For multi-objective benchmark problems, the comparison is made with NSGA-II, and other multi-objective optimization algorithms. Lastly, Pareto solutions are evolved on eight real-world multi-objective optimization problems, and a comparative performance is presented with NSGA-II. Experimental results show that using FLEX on most of the single and multi-objective problems, the speed of the search improves up to 50% and the quality of solutions also improves. These results provide sufficient evidence of the applicability of fitness landscape approximation-based algorithms for solving real-world optimization problems.

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  • Generative design for additive manufacturing using a biological development analogy (January 2022)

    Published in the Journal of Computational Design and Engineering

    This work presents a novel bottom-up methodology to generate designs that can be tightly integrated with the additive manufacturing environment and that can respond flexibly to changes in that environment….The method is bio-inspired, based on strategies observed in natural systems, particularly in biological growth and development. The design geometry is grown in a computer-aided design-based, bio-inspired generative design system called ‘Biohaviour’.

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Conference papers & presentations from RIED

This section will be updated to provide information and links about the Conference Papers and Presentations produced by the RIED Team over the life of the Programme.

  • From Nature to Structure : Exploring a Bio-Integrative Design Framework for Architectural Design (November 2023)

    This paper was presented by Orlagh Casey at the IAAC’s Responsive Cities Collective Intelligence Design symposium in Barcelona on 27-28 November 2023.

    Abstract : The field of architectural design is undergoing a profound transformation catalysed by the rapid advancements in smart material systems. This paradigm- shifting journey is marked by the integration of innovative materials, capable of responding to environmental stimuli and adapting their properties, thereby challenging traditional architectural framework. Within this innovative landscape, mycelium-based materials have emerged as sustainable construction materials. This research introduces a novel
    Bio-Integrative Design Framework (BIDF) to guide the incorporation and understanding of living matter in architectural design.
    The integration of generative design software, inspired by evolutionary developmental principles, further enhances the potential of mycelium-based materials in architectural design. The RIED (Re-Imagining Engineering Design) engine embraces nature’s principles, enabling designers and engineers to explore an extensive design space, resulting in a vast array of optimised solutions. The integration of the BIDF-RIED engine can introduce a new level of adaptability and sustainability to architectural projects. The RIED engine transcends conventional design methodologies, emphasising adaptability, design growth, and intelligent learning systems. Fostering a novel design engine with emerging living materials offers a vast design space, considering functionality, material behaviour, structural ability, and environmental constraints.

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  • A bio-inspired evolution-development method for modelling and optimisation of buffer allocation in unreliable serial production line (December 2023)

    This paper was presented at the 2023 3rd International Conference on Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive Engineering (CMAAE 2023) held in Nanjing, China.

    A buffer is an important element in a production line and its allocation influences the throughput and inventory of the line. The buffer allocation problem can be framed as a multi-objective optimisation problem and is often addressed by using meta-heuristic algorithms, such as evolutionary algorithms. However, these algorithms primarily focus on the “genetic evolution” aspect and do not take in to account the impact of the biological “organism development” process, potentially constraining the exploration of the solution space. In this paper, a bio-inspired evolution-development (evo-devo) approach for modelling and optimising buffer allocations is proposed. The organism representing a production line is defined and modelled, and the evolution and development processes of organisms are developed for researching optimised solutions. The method has been validated by a simulation of a buffer allocation optimisation in an unreliable serial production line with multi-objectives, aiming to maximize production throughput and minimize the total buffer size. Results show that the
    proposed method can efficiently obtain solutions, while also achieving greater exploration of the solution space than competing evolutionary algorithms such as the Non-Dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II. The proposed approach’s functionality means that it could be applied to other areas of generative design of future factories.

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  • Investigation of starting conditions in generative processes for the design of engineering structures (December 2023)

    This paper was presented at the 2023 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI), Mexico City, Mexico in December 2023.

    Engineering design has traditionally involved human engineers manually creating and iterating on designs based on their expertise and knowledge. In Bio-inspired Evolutionary Development (EvoDevo), generative algorithms are used to explore a much larger design space that may not have ever been considered by human engineers. However, for complex systems, the designer is often required to start the EvoDevo process with an initial design (seed) which the development process will optimise. The question is: will a good starting seed yield a good set of design solutions for the given problem? This paper considers this question and suggests that sub-optimal seeds can provide, up to certain limits, better design solutions than relatively more optimal seeds. In addition, this paper highlights the importance of designing the appropriate seed for the appropriate problem. In this paper, the problem analysed is the structural performance of a Warren Truss (bridge-like structure) under a single load. The main conclusion of this paper is that up to a limit sub optimal seeds provide in general better sets of solutions than more optimal seeds. After this limit, the performance of sub-optimal seed starts to degrade as parts of the phenotype landscape become inaccessible.

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  • Theory of Evolutionary Systems Engineering (December 2023)

    This paper was presented at the 2023 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI in Mexico City, Mexico from 5-8 December 2023.

    Evolutionary approaches to engineering design involve generating populations of candidate solutions that compete via a selection process iteratively, to improve measures of performance over many generations. Although the attractive properties of biological evolutionary systems have motivated researchers to investigate emulating them for engineering design, there has been an emphasis on using encodings of the technical artefacts themselves, rather than encoding a complete bio-inspired system which is capable of producing such artefacts. It is the latter approach which is the subject of this contribution: how might a bio-inspired system be designed that self-organises the process of engineering design and manufacture?

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  • New perspectives on interoperability across design simulation and validation in an intergrated design process. (September 2023).

    Professor Mark Price’s presentation from the IMechE Simulation Conference 2023.

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  • CAD-Centric Generative Design Systems (May 2022)

    The ASSESS Initiative is a broad reaching multi-industry initiative with a primary goal to facilitate a revolution of enablement that will vastly increase the availability and utility of Engineering Simulation, leading to significantly increased business benefits across the full spectrum of industries, applications and users. Since June 2022, ASSESS as been part of NAFEMS.

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  • THERMEC 2023 – Vienna – (July 2023)

    Members of the RIED Loughborough attended the THERMEC 2023 Conference in Vienna, Austria, a very prestigious bi-annual International Conference on “PROCESSING & MANUFACTURING OF ADVANCED MATERIALS: Processing, Fabrication, Properties, Applications”

    The work presented was on the biodegradable and bioresorbable materials for medical devices and scaffolds based on Ca-Mg-Zn chemistry for bulk metallic glasses. PhD researcher Shangmou Yang and supervisors Profs Paul Conway and Carmen Torres presented and defended the paper entitled “Can multifunctionality of bioresorbable BMGs be tuned by controlling crystallinity?” during the session ‘Metallic Glasses 3’ chaired by one of them most eminent and internationally respected experts in bulk metallic glasses, Prof Jürgen Eckert, from Montanuniversität Leoben & Erich Schmid Institute of Materials Science, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Leoben (Austria).

    Shangmou presenting at THERMEC 2023

    Shangmou presenting at THERMEC 2023

    It was Shangmou’s first international experience presenting his work; he was well prepared and did a very good job in front of scientists from all over the world who are also working on that alloy system. This work is co-sponsored by Alloyed Ltd, the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and EPSRC Programme Grant ‘RIED’.

    Shangmou happy (and relieved!) after his presentation

    And to make it even more special…

    The RIED-Wien local team came to support us and boost our mood!

    We met with Dr Vincent McKenna, RIED alumnus, who now resides in Vienna. It was a fabulous occasion, and we spent a lovely time with him there, celebrating how well he is doing in the city he now calls home. We are already looking forward to meeting him again (here in the UK or in Wien!)

    Shangmou, Vincent, Carmen and Paul at the Belvedere Palace gardens, in Vienna

    Shangmou, Vincent, Carmen and Paul at the Belvedere Palace gardens, in Vienna

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  • Evolving Design Modifiers (December 2022)

    Evolutionary Developmental biology (EvoDevo) is a process of directed growth whose mechanisms could be used in an evolutionary algorithm for engineering applications. Engineering design can be thought of as a search through a high-dimensional design space for a small number of solutions that are optimal by various metrics. Configuring this search within an EvoDevo algorithm may allow developmental processes to provide a facility to give more immediate, localised feedback to the system as it grows into its final optimal configuration (form). This approach would augment current design practices. The main components needed to run EvoDevo for engineering design are set out in this paper, and these are developed into an algorithm for initial investigations, resulting in evolved neural network-based structural design modifying operators that optimise the structure of a planar truss in an iterative, decentralized manner against multiple objectives. Preliminary results are presented which show that the two levels feedback at the Evo and Devo stages drive the system to ultimately produce feasible solutions.

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  • Human Robot Collaboration (HRC) Taxonomy (June 2022)

    Conference Publication by Laura McGirr in June 2022 at the ISR EU2022 Conference in Munich, Germany.

    The goal of the research outlined in this paper is to facilitate improved communication and
    enable co-ordinated research collaboration across academic researchers and industry in the implementation of HRC installations.

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Public Presentations and Webinars

This section will be updated to provide information and links about other public Presentations and Webinars produced by the RIED Team over the life of the Programme.

  • Silent Designers Episode 5 – Mark Price, Biohaviour (October 2023)

    What role can design play in our Journey to Net Zero ? In this fifth episode of Innovate UK Silent Designers Podcast, we explore the theme of net zero and sustainable technologies, with guest Mark Price.. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify or watch it on the Innovate UK Site

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  • NI Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expo (June 2023)

    On Thursday 22nd June the RIED Project were at the Northern Ireland Manufacturing and Supply Chain Expo, as part of the QUB Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) stand, at the TEC Belfast.

    Professor Mark Price was invited to host a panel ‘From Blueprint to Breakthrough’ and held a talk on ‘New Perspectives on interoperability across design and manufacturing in an integrated design process’. Both the panel and talk were well attended and received, and the Expo has since noted 1827 attendees on the day. This is a great way to get conversation flowing on what we’re doing at RIED and more eyes on our work.

    Following on from this success, the RIED project is looking forward to taking part in more exhibitions, watch this space.

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  • RIED Research Programme Overview Public Session (May 2021)

    RIED Launch event

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  • RIED Research Programme Overview (June 2021)

    Presentation to the EPSRC Digitalised Surface Manufacturing Network

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  • Facilitating a Revolution of Engineering Simulation: Perspectives on Integrated Simulation Frameworks (September 2021)

    Presented at ASSESS Insight Webinar Series – September 2021

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  • Nature-Inspired Design and Manufacture – including “Lessons from Nature for fully integrated, concurrent design and manufacture” (February 2022)

    Webinar Event arranged by Loughborough University in February 2022

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  • RIED Keynote Presentation at the 37th International Manufacturing Conference (September 2021)

    Keynote presentation of the RIED project at the 37th International Manufacturing Conference

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RIED Research Publicity

This section will be updated to highlight any publicity about our RIED Research programme.

  • Clare Newton & RIED (June 2023)

    RIED is inspired by nature. we are observing natural systems at work and codifying these into engineering systems to produce innovative designs and processes. Nature also inspires art. Our great friend and outstanding photographic artist Clare Newton has produced an amazing exhibition where art and technology and nature are brought together. The Seeds of Change project explores the nature around us and gives alternative perspectives to the amazing world of engineering design that is being created in RIED.

    Exposing innovative science to the public is very important for me. The reason I made this a big part of the Seeds of Change project, is that I have not seen the inside story of science before and in particular in a non-scientific context.  
        Although there are science museums, they look at subjects that are around us, to enable children to easily relate to a subject.  There is very few informative science projects that are portrayed in local exhibition form, and in a non-scientific public place. The purpose of this project is to reach out to a different sector of audiences and bring an unusual aspect of science that they can be inspired by and make the imagery immersive, so that the viewer feels the same excitement as I did when shooting the project.
        Over the years, I have brought different worlds together to widen a viewer’s point of view. This project I reach out to the non-scientific communities in public gardens, nature museums, churches, and other resourceful places. I know the public enjoy something different and will become fascinated by what I uncover.”

    Clare’s exhibition can be viewed from the 6th June to 28th August 2023 in:

    Gilbert White’s House,

    The Wakes,

    High Street,

    Selborne,

    Hants,

    GU34 3JH,

    T: 01420 511275,

    Open daily Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm

    QR code to Seeds of Change
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  • Framework Training Interview (November 2022)

    Queen’s University Belfast & University of York – RIED: ReImagining Engineering Design

    Framework Training supported Queen’s University Belfast & University of York with specialist training on best practices for software development to support a new interdisciplinary project called RIED: ReImagining Engineering Design – to drive the generation of new methods for design engineering.

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  • ‘cyber seed’ that ‘grows like a plant’ could revolutionise how we design vehicles, medical equipment, and more (June 2021)

    Independent Online Newspaper Article

    The ‘seed’ grows algorithmically in a CAD environment – and while the outcomes are random now,
    researchers say it could develop incredibly quickly

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