Quality of Research
Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC)
Research Assessment Exercise (2008)
The Manufacturing Engineering Centre made 1 submission to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 as shown below. Follow the link for full details of the Research Assessment Exercise outcome of the unit of assessment.
The Manufacturing Engineering Centre focuses on manufacturing research and links with industry. The Centre conducts world-class multidisciplinary research and development in key areas of advanced manufacturing and information technology, and uses the results to develop technologies for partners in the manufacturing sector to help them compete successfully in existing and new markets.
The Centre has more than 100 industrial partners including Daimler, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Siemens and Zeiss. It has collaborative projects in more than 22 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas and also actively engages with industry in Wales. In a little over a decade it has completed four thousand projects with local companies.
The Centre has won the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry’s First Prize for success in building lasting research partnerships with industry. It also won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher education for it programme of support for industry. It is the only advanced manufacturing research centre in the UK to have earned both accolades.
Professor Duc-Truong Pham, Director of the Manufacturing Engineering Centre
The Centre has a highly respected tradition of supporting postgraduate research and provides an excellent range of resources to support its postgraduate researchers. These include high quality research facilities and an extensive in-house training programme. The Centre’s close-knit research community offers a cosmopolitan, supportive environment fostered by both staff and postgraduates. A number of funded studentships are offered for outstanding applicants.
Research priorities at MEC include developing technologies for micro and nano manufacturing, and for rapid/direct manufacturing. These are then integrated into the processing chains for new products such as biosensors and point-of-care diagnostic systems.
The techniques developed at MEC allow machining at microscopic levels. Recent achievements have created an industrial lens for use in a low light environment. The structures on the surface of the new lens are less than 100 nanometres in height (a nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre) and were created using the Centre’s Focused Ion Beam. The beam uses highly charged atomic particles to machine materials in tiny detail. The lens has potential applications in fibre optics, sensors and solar cells, where loss of light can be a particular problem.
The Centre also develops sophisticated computer algorithms for optimisation of manufacturing processes, including the so-called “Bees algorithm” which was developed from modelling the learning behaviour of honey bees.