Industrial partners invited to join a proposal for research on Digital Manufacturing

The Open University

7th January 2022

An academic in the Faculty of Business and Law at The Open University invites industrial partners to join a research proposal on Digital Manufacturing – “Leveraging the digital thread for integrated virtual and physical testing”. 

Industry partners are invited to join a proposal to an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) call for research on Digital manufacturing. This call aims to fund research into how digital approaches can be applied to improve manufacturing processes, manufacturing systems or both.

Our proposed research will focus on developing a digital framework that supports the integration of virtual and physical testing in new product development and manufacturing. Currently, manufacturing industries are not only going through the digital transformation but also massive transformations in restructuring their products and processes by introducing and adopting new technologies to meet NetZero and sustainability targets. To ensure quality and validate the product, physical testing is essential, especially for a complex product with many components, and testing is closely intertwined with design and analysis throughout the product development and manufacturing process. Although virtual testing facilitates physical testing, the need for physical testing will remain. In fact, the need for physical testing will only increase as uncertainty arises due to new technology, new manufacturing processes, and new infrastructure. This research will investigate how twining physical test data can improve virtual testing and how to facilitate the proper data exchange between design, virtual testing, and physical testing. This can reduce the need for physical tests for product variations and design iterations that will reduce product development time and cost.

Modern product development processes use product lifecycle management (PLM) systems to manage data across the product lifecycle. There is currently a push to further extend this to create a ‘digital thread’ that provides a connected flow between PLM data and operational data from physical assets. This project aims to develop a digital framework for integrating design, virtual and physical testing that leverages this digital thread to create an information-rich layer that facilitates the systematic data flow between these domains.

We invite responses from manufacturing companies who are interested in participating in the project as industry partners. Industry partners can be involved by providing data for case studies, participating in workshops and annual meetings, and providing feedback on the research direction.   Industry partners will have access to all the research developed in the project.  

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact:    

Deadline: 21st January 2022

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