Process monitoring and control systems are the key to lights-out machining, where complex components can be produced without human intervention and with increased productivity and quality.

The AMRC process monitoring and control technology team aims to help UK manufacturers become more competitive by employing the latest monitoring and control tools for intelligent, autonomous manufacturing. 

We focus on four essential technologies: 

  • Low-cost, non-intrusive sensors to obtain physical data from processes. 
  • Widespread connectivity of manufacturing equipment, machines and facilities. 
  • Robust computational intelligence for decision making from data. 
  • Control systems designed to react to process variations and maintain processes at optimum operating conditions. 

The process monitoring and control team has a strong background in machining process development, and a wide range of experience in applying on-machine inspection probes for in-process measurement, calibration and machine health checks.

We have a range of specialised equipment tailored to the demands of our industrial partners, including: 

  • Process measurement systems – sensors, pre-amplifiers and data acquisition hardware including vibration and acoustic emission sensors, directional microphones, current transducers, LVDTs and non-contact displacement sensors, load cells, thermocouples and strain gauge equipment. Zigbee wireless data acquisition equipment is also available. 
  • Software systems – LabVIEW and Matlab, used for data acquisition, signal processing and computational intelligence. Minitab, MODDE, and SIMCA software, for statistical data analysis, design of experiments and multivariate data analysis respectively. 
  • ARTIS tool condition monitoring system. 
  • Machine tool health checks – technologies for testing and calibrating machine tools, including laser trackers, laser interferometers, ball-bar systems and on-machine probes.

Awarded R&D funding:

  • Simulation Tools for Intelligent Machining. EPSRC funded project of £577k.
  • AMRC board funding of above £400k working on technology roadmap projects
  • Manufacturing Excellence in Metal Aircraft Landing Gear. Collaborative R&D total project value £2.4M.
  • Intelligent Tooling; embedded sensing for machines and cutting tools. Collaborative R&D total project value £500k

For more information, please contact:

Jon Stammers, Technical Fellow – Process Monitoring and Control