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.