PhD Opportunity in Manipulation Technologies for Difficult and Delicate Components EPSRC National Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation

The EPSRC National Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Intelligent Automation is part of a government funded initiative to support the development of new technologies that will underpin future growth in high value manufacturing.

The Centre is a collaboration between Loughborough and Cranfield Universities and industrial partners Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Aero Engine Controls and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). The EPSRC Centre has a physical presence at both Universities allowing joint access to state of the art facilities and rapid transfer of knowledge between researchers and industrial partners via the MTC and the Cranfield exploitation network.

The aim of this PhD project is to explore technologies and techniques that can automatically pick up, grip, and process difficult and delicate components. This has to be achieved without damage as a result of the force on the component itself or through movement and collisions with associated components/fixturing. Humanoid hands are generally expensive and too high in complexity with a high dependency on pre-programmed robots. This coupled with various ‘fixtures’ aligned with the profile of the component results in numerous tools required within tool changers. Low cost industrialisation of appropriate technologies and techniques is required. The technologies of interest are 3D machine vision, multi degree of freedom touch sensing, industrial robots systems integration. The research will have a practical case study element that would suit researchers interested in manufacturing processes and manufacturing technologies. The research is part of a wider theme on intelligent machine control using a combination of a-priori and real-time acquired knowledge.       

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Applications are invited for a full time three-year PhD based at Loughborough University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.

Award value: The studentship is valued up to £23,000 (the exact amount depends on fee status and experience). Due to funding restrictions this covers University fees at the level set for UK/EU students and in addition provides a tax-free maintenance grant. Overseas students are liable to account for their own living costs.

Candidate Requirements Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

A first class or high 2.1 honours degree in Mechanical, Manufacturing Engineering or a similar subject

Excellent record of academic and/or professional achievement

Enthusiasm to undertake the research required for a doctorate

Ability to work independently and guide own learning

Good English written and spoken communication skills

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship:

Candidates are required to send a resume and covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date) to 

Further details about making a graduate application are available by clicking the Apply link below.

Please quote EPSRC IA-CIM in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: Noon 30th Sept 2013

Applicants seeking additional information are invited to contact Centre Administrator Ms. Smita Jenna (

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