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A research project investigating the use of cloud to provide a cost effective and environmentally-friendly manufacturing platform has been awarded a £2.4 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The project is one of six that has bagged a total of £12 million in grant money as part of a £45 million package of investments in manufacturing research, as announced by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.
The research into cloud manufacturing is being led by Professor Svetan Ratchev, director of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, who will oversee a team of eight researchers from across the university’s faculties.
The research is also being supported by a number of international IT and manufacturing organisations, including HP, IBM and Airbus.
In the application for the grant, the research group said: “UK economic prosperity will increasingly depend on maintaining and further expanding a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector based on sophisticated technologies, relevant knowledge and skill bases, and manufacturing infrastructure that has the ability to produce a high variety of complex products faster, better and cheaper.
“Whilst there have been tentative steps taken to harness cloud concepts in manufacturing, the theoretical methods, infrastructure and scientific knowledge needed to deliver the full potential of future cloud manufacturing have yet to be established.”
The project aims to develop a holistic framework for cloud computing and increase understanding of its role in global manufacturing networks.
“Cloud Manufacturing provides far reaching opportunities but has major research challenges, including understanding the diverse resource base, both in design collateral and production facilities; incorporating and integrating customer/user intelligence; and the representation and processing of information within a secure open service-oriented platform,” the group said.
The project commenced on 1 February 2013 and is expected to conclude on 31 January 2018.