Automation is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, and other applications with minimal or reduced human intervention. Some processes have been completely automated.
Across the HVM Catapult, the next generation of manufacturing automation systems are being developed to automate complex manufacturing processes and develop new systems that can cope with the demands of tomorrow’s manufacturing. To do this, the HVM Catapult looks at new and innovative automation technologies that allow companies to manufacture high value goods using the skills of their existing workforce. This includes the development of advanced robotic manipulators for use in assembly, as well as logistics and materials processing. The HVM Catapult Automation Forum, which spans the seven centres, researches the interactions between humans and machines and provides automated systems with the cognitive ability to react to changes in consumer demand and product variability. The Automation Forum is actively working with manufacturers to provide simpler methods to implement automated systems, and in doing so, provide a greater uptake of technology to increase competitiveness.
Although the centre’s capabilities are focused on the nuclear manufacturing sector, its resources and expertise can also address the large-scale manufacturing demands of other high-value industries such as oil and gas, offshore wind, chemicals and aerospace.
Assembly is the general term for applications that assemble and inspect the fundamental parts to form a final product or sub-component.
Design for manufacture is a term used to describe the process of designing products/parts/components in a way that optimises all the manufacturing functions as well as ensuring that design supports the optimisation of cost, quality and regulatory compliance.
Advanced manufacturing is a highly knowledge intensive sector where advances in IT systems have a huge role to play in improving manufacturing intelligence; capturing, sharing and managing big data; supporting collaboration; increasing efficiency & speeding up innovation.
Joining technology is fundamental to engineering and manufacturing.
Machining is any of various processes in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process.
Materials characterisation refers to the broad and general process by which a material’s structure and properties are probed, measured and tested.
Metrology (the science of measurement) provides critical quality assurance for manufacturing processes.
Modelling and simulation is getting information about how something will behave without actually testing it in real life.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the process of creating objects directly from digital files via the successive addition of discrete layers of material.
Many of the emerging production methods that produce net shape components begin with powdered metals.
The efficient use of resources in manufacturing processes coupled with low carbon and low energy manufacturing processes is a major target across the whole of manufacturing industry.
Surface engineering refers to a wide range of technologies designed to modify the surface properties of metallic and non-metallic components for decorative and/or functional purposes.
Tooling refers to workings or specialist manufacturing aids which are usually limited in use to a specific production line or the performance of a specific contract or job.
Virtual reality refers to a set of techniques in which one interacts with a synthetic (“virtual”) environment that exists solely in the computer.