Light Controlled Factory
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The Light Controlled Factory will use networks of light based measurement systems to enable increased automation in manufacturing and the flexibility to evolve and adapt to changing demands. This will increase production capacity and drive down costs improving the competitiveness of the British high value manufacturing sector. The factory will be able to rapidly adopt and utilise new measurement-enabled production technologies as they reach technological maturity.

Supported by grant funding from the EPSRC and match funded by industry, this research project is delivering advances in optical metrology which will enable the future factory by giving machines and parts self-awareness of their position in time and space. This is a step-change for the British manufacturing industry. The techniques will be applied across component assembly, integration and testing will increase production accuracy ensuring ‘right-first-time’ manufacturing.

The research is being delivered by University of Bath, University College London and the University of Loughborough. Work has been broken down into four research themes (RT):

Research Theme 1: Measurement assisted assembly technology with integrated processing machines

Exploring the opportunities to increase flexibility within a production environment through the integration of measurement assisted assembly with processing technologies and the dynamic coupling of measurement and actuation for correcting errors.

Research Theme 2: Establishing the uncertainty of the spatial fidelity of large, complex tools and parts due to gravitational effects and thermal gradient

The effect of gravitational deflection and temperature variation on large parts and tooling structures can be the dominant dimensional uncertainty source that is larger than assembly tolerances. This work will model and predict gravitational and temperature based shape distortion generating a new class of computational tools allowing enhanced process controls

Research Theme 3: A ubiquitous, 7D measurement environment for the entire factory space

The creation of a single system to enable the real time positioning of parts and machines within an assembly factory

Research Theme 4: Technology demonstrator and integrated experimental validation

Testing and verification integrating Research Themes 1 – 3 and establishing pathways to manufacture in years 4 and 5.

Research Theme 5: Create and operate a Light Controlled Factory network

Ensuring that the project reaches the widest possible industry and academic audience to promote and enhance the world leading methods developed.

The technology being developed offers such significant increases in mechanical accuracy that it can be adopted by sectors which require levels of accuracy measured in microns. These sectors, such as the aerospace industry, are critical to the manufacturing strength of the UK in the future.

Our Experts

The multi-disciplinary LCF research community is led by world-renown academics who guide our researchers and engage with the LCF’s nine industrial partners to deliver greatest impact to the high value manufacturing community.

Project Work Packages

The project has been divided into interlinked work packages based on the research aims and objectives.

Join the debate

Ask questions about the project via our open forum aiming to promote discussion and the sharing of best practice within dimensional metrology.

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Find out how to contact the Light Controlled Factory team, ask questions about the project and more.