Light Controlled Factory
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The research proposed is highly transformative and ambitious as it seeks to define a new conceptual model for the Light Controlled Factory and develop the key technologies required in order to realise this vision. This research will define the “template for a new type of factory” that will be able to rapidly adopt and utilise new measurement-enabled production technologies as they reach technological maturity.

Research Aim: To investigate and create three classes of novel, generic technologies that address the research challenges for the creation of the Light Controlled Factory, in a coherent and robust manner
(i) Novel, measurement-assisted assembly and high precision material removal and deposition processes within an assembly infrastructure
(ii) Novel, computational and experimental techniques for establishing the uncertainty of the dimensional fidelity of assembly machines and parts in shop floor conditions
(iii) An innovative, ubiquitous multi-dimensional measurement environment with graduating layers of accuracy and targeted measurement capability, to provide production machines and parts with aspects of temporal and spatial self-awareness.

Research Objectives:
1. To investigate assembly alignment and machine position controlled in real time by Large Volume Metrology (LVM) systems to a positional accuracy of between 10 and 250 microns over 10 to 30 m assemblies, and define new control methods to minimise the dynamic mechanical and thermal impact of processing machines on the spatial fidelity of the assembly system
2. To specify and develop innovative, hybrid – computational model and measurement – techniques for establishing and compensating for the impact of environmental uncertainty sources on the dimensional fidelity of large assembly tools and parts (5 to 30 m) and their tolerance stack-up, in environmentally uncontrolled shop floor conditions with up to 15 degrees Celsius temperature variation
3. To design and implement a novel, ubiquitous 7D (6DOF and time) measurement environment for the entire AIT factory space, comprising networked LVM systems integrated with localised, embedded metrology to provide graduated positional accuracy from 10 to 500 microns, in shop floors
4. To integrate the scientific and technological innovations in a technology demonstrator that will provide a unified test bed for the integrated development, testing and validation of these novel concepts under controlled laboratory conditions, to establish pathways to manufacture.
5. To create an academic network on the Light Controlled Factory in order to catalyse national focus on this novel research field and enhance the academic and industrial impact.

Research Theme 1

Measurement Assisted Assembly Technology with integrated processing machines

Research Theme 2

Model based and physical measurement methods for establishing the uncertainty of the spatial fidelity of large, complex tools and parts due to gravitational effects and thermal gradients

Research Theme 3

A ubiquitous, 7D measurement environment for the entire factory space

Research Theme 4

Create a Technology Demonstrator and Integrated Experimental Validation