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The Language of Collaborative Manufacturing is a £1.9M research project sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and led by the Universities of Bristol and Bath in collaboration with our industrial partners.  We aim to deliver next-generation project dashboards that can identify potential project issues, improve productivity, and improve the management of aspects such as intellectual property, risk and cost.

LoCM team welcome Dr Nataliya Mogles

The LoCM team are pleased to welcome Dr Nataliya Mogles to the project team. Nataliya has a background in ambient intelligence, agent-based modeling, AI, cognitive modeling and behavior change. Nataliya has joined the team to continue the research work associated with dashboard evaluation and framing (re-representation) to support management and decision-making. Nataliya will work closely with Lia to develop, implement and evaluate dashboards with the Formula Student teams at Bath, Bristol and UWE.

Welcome Nataliya!

Developing a Knowledge Network Visualisation too at the NCC

A knowledge network visualisation tool has been developed to support the National Composite Centre (NCC). Utilising novel text searching algorithms to identify core knowledge competencies from the NCC’s internal documents, the knowledge visualisation tool shows clusters of skills within NCC, which NCC staff members have certain skill-sets and the reports in which people have contributed on. This allows NCC staff members to search for skills and people with those competencies and knowledge, and to traverse the knowledge network within NCC. A first phase development of the software has been trialed in NCC and we are endeavouring to enhance the tool in a cyclical design process that incorporates user feedback.

A demo of the generation process can be found here. Check it out!

Congratulations to Drs Gopsill and Snider!

The LoCM team are delighted to announce that James (Dr Gopsill) and Chris (Dr Snider) have been appointed as lecturers at Bath and Bristol respectively.  James is a Lecturer in Engineering Design (http://www.bath.ac.uk/mech-eng/people/gopsill/index.html) and Chris is a Lecturer in Design and Manufacture (http://www.bris.ac.uk/engineering/people/chris-m-snider/index.html).

And if appointments as lecturers was not enough both James and Chris are now co-investigators on the LoCM project bringing all of their knowledge and experience to support our new PDRAs.

Congratulations to James and Chris!

Quarter 14 update – June 2017

In this quarter, a dashboard to support Team Bath Racing was implemented as part of an on-going study to examine the how the provision of project health monitoring dashboards affects managers’ interpretation and predictions of project activities and events. Initial results suggest managers using the dashboard focused more on time and personnel aspects of project activity, whereas managers interpretation of project activities without provision of the dashboard has been more product focused. Further, managers using the dashboard appear to be better placed in identifying and addressing missed predicted targets, having been more likely to formulate alternative strategies compared to managers not using the dashboard. In addition, through testing with Formula Student members, this study has also yielded several user driven design recommendations for further improvements to the developed dashboards.

The dashboard prototype designs were finalised in March, providing real-time insights into TBR17’s digital project activity. The dashboard provides team managers with information about the type and level of activity and time spent on creation, modification and manipulation of digital outputs across 16 core areas of their project; as well as their social media reach and impact.

LOCM Workshop on Exploiting Digital Assets – June 6th 2017

On Tuesday the 6th June the LOCM team, led by Professor Newnes, will be hosting a workshop on exploiting digital assets for engineering companies. The day will provide demonstrations/interaction with the research that we have undertaken with our industrial partners with the aim of providing delegates with an overall insight into the methods we have adopted using a hands-on approach. The day will include talks from Airbus personnel and research staff. In addition, the afternoon session will provide a forum for industry to present the challenges and opportunities for exploiting digital assets in support of engineering projects, process improvement and engineering operations and asset support through-life.

We welcome all our collaborators past and preset and hope to see many of you on the 6th. To register to attend please complete the form at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploiting-digital-assets-to-maximise-return-on-investment-of-physical-assets-tickets-34609295334​.

The event is free to attend.

Quarter 13 update – February 2017

During this quarter our research efforts have been largely focused on the detailed design, setup and commissioning of the data acquisition, database system, dashboard development environment and experimental program for the formula student design and build phase that takes place between February and May 2017. In addition to this we have been providing on going support for the National Composites Centre competency dashboard and Airbus in-service resource and performance toolset.

During this quarter 2 research papers have been prepared and submitted to the International Conference on Engineering Design, and a journal article has been accepted to the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture. The project team have also been invited to showcase elements of the project, and in particular, Formula Student at the Maker Faire exhibition in Newcastle in April (http://www.makerfaireuk.com). Dr. Gopsill has also been invited to present research on automatically generated Design Structure Matrices (DSMs) at the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation at Imperial College London in June.

Update from Zagreb’s CADLab

In our group at University of Zagreb (www.cadlab.fsb.hr), we think about ourselves as systems thinkers. For a long time, our teaching and research were focused purely on the technical systems and studying the phenomenon of the design as a product or as a process. Following the global trends and shifting a focus towards the information and knowledge management in engineering design, with particular attention being on the human role in interaction with the technical systems either as users or designers, moved us toward new, exciting area of socio-technical systems. Understanding how individuals and teams are performing in interaction with each other and technical systems, and adapt to the changes due to the internal (such as team boundaries or perturbations in organisational structure) and external (such as market trends, new customer’s requirements or changing technologies) circumstances, become recently our new research objective.

To cope with the challenges of such a multidisciplinary topic, we decided to introduce new research methods in our group, following the research paradigms borrowed from social sciences and computer science. The experimental design research becomes the central paradigm, including observation and analysis of the human participants during the individual or teamwork in engineering design, or building computer simulations of the engineering teams by application of the agent-based modelling. We are following the same in teaching, where our focus is gradually shifting towards smart products that interact and co-exist with humans in ways that were not being the case before. Possibility to acquire the real-time data about the performance and interactions of the technical systems and people are enabling us new opportunities for management of the design and development process complexity but is also opening endless possibilities for innovation in research and education.

Quarter 12 update – November 2016

During this quarter our research efforts have been focused on four areas:

  1. Eliciting user needs for a Formula Student team project health monitoring dashboard and consolidation / grouping of analytical techniques (proxies) to meet FS user needs.
  2. Preparing industry-facing summaries of the proxies that we have developed.
  3. Creating a real-time skills and competency mapping dashboard with one of our industrial partners.
  4. The preparation of a joint research proposal with another of our industrial partners to exploit the findings and techniques developed in this project.

Formula Student Dashboards

On the first point, in order to understand how the Formula Student team could benefit from our project’s techniques, a series of user-interviews were conducted. Academic staff supervisors and student project managers from Universities of Bath, Bristol and UWE took part in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were coded using thematic analysis, which identified 85 unique user requirements. Further axial coding and affinity diagramming showed user insights focused on four core areas of activity within the project: 1) planning and monitoring project progress, 2) CAD based design process, 3) communication and team dynamics, and 4) team competencies.

For each requirement, we discussed and agreed which were outside the scope of project management support and, in line with wider project aims, were not automatable. For the remaining 36 unique in-scope requirements, researchers tagged each with one or more of the nine developed proxies that could be applied to support that user-requirement. A hierarchical cluster analysis method was used to group user insights that could be addressed by similar sets of analytics/proxies. The outcome of this analysis was the generation 10 design scenarios. These design scenarios provide narrative descriptions which envision how users may interact with a dashboard. They both enable researchers to anchor envisioned proxy applications to the users’ requirements, work practices and context; and also provided a clear and simple means to support communication with users in the evaluation and the iterative design process of creating dashboards tailored to support Formula Student:

fs

 

Accelerating our Impact with Airbus

A joint EPSRC-funded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) project titled “Big-data: improving aircraft performance” has been funded to exploit the findings and methods we’ve developed in the Airbus In-Service department.

This six-month long project led by Dr Lei Shi and Prof. Linda Newnes aims to embed the approaches created within the project, including big-data analytics, trend analysis and autonomic computing, to interrogate and categorise aircraft wing In-Service projects.  The research at the University of Bath has demonstrated that it is possible to automatically predict the complexity, duration and cost of such repair cases. This has been achieved through interrogating 10,000+ historical projects to create and validate the proposed approaches. Initial tests have been completed to ascertain whether the approaches can be used on the ‘live’ data from the Airbus In-Service workflow system.

Our overall aims are to develop the processes through on-site development and testing, to make the approaches self-sustaining, and to assist the in-service teams with their decision-making.

Do you face similar challenges?  Let us know in the comments below…