Engineering researcher Dr Rajesh Ransing, from Swansea University, will be getting first-hand experience of industrial practice with a world leading manufacturing company as part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industrial Secondment Scheme.
Dr Ransing is one of only 11 academics from nine British Universities this year who will take up placements with partner organisations in the engineering sector. Dr Ransing’s work on 7Epsilon, which involves process control and productivity/quality improvement for turbocharger wheel production, will be hosted by the Uni-Pol Group. The secondment is financially supported by the Engineering Research Network Wales (ERNW).
The Uni-pol group adheres to the Six Sigma process control methodology, with Dr Steve Leyland – Group Technical Director in the lead, through the implementation of Six Sigma black belt techniques. It uses industry leading simulation tools, best practises for process improvement. With the advent of Computed Tomography (CT) scanning techniques, automotive manufacturers are seeking to reduce both external visual defects and also stricter control of internal defects (Figure 1). In order to maintain Uni-Pols high quality castings, that are currently in parts per million (ppm), these defects need to be minimised or eliminated. Each wheel can take up to two weeks to manufacture using an investment casting process and over two hundred process variables influence the final quality. In addition to casting quality it is also a customer expectation to reduce manufacturing costs up to 6% year on year.
The project is designed to identify the methodology of transforming this data into actionable information. This is an opportunity for Dr Ransing and Uni-Pol to demonstrate the benefits of a methodical approach to the analysis of process control. This level of process control will also guarantee that process improvements will be sustained in the long term so that unforeseen increases in scrap levels do not reduce installed capacity in a leaned out process. Risk based thinking, BIG Data, 7Epsilon and Cyber-Physical Systems are new concepts and the Uni-pol group needs to create first hand evidence on financial savings achieved.
Hosting the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment on 7Epsilon is one of the best opportunities that Uni-Pol have considered.
“We get the evidence and Dr Ransing gains experience of the real industrial problems that we face”, says Dr Leyland.
“Addressing cultural issues in foundry industry are equally, if not more, challenging and difficult than solving complex mathematical equations and inventing new theories”, argues Dr Ransing. However, he is confident that the ISO9001:2015 revision of the quality standard, Industry 4.0 and Big Data will change customer expectation and trigger the necessary change.
Dr Ransing added:
“This secondment opportunity has allowed me to take time off from teaching duties to gain real insights in the manufacturing world and demonstrate the impact of my research.”
Swansea University has just started offering a new manufacturing option stream within its popular Mechanical Engineering degree scheme. The secondment opportunity also allows Dr Ransing to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of manufacturing engineers.
Please contact Dr. Rajesh Ransing ([email protected]) for further information.