The university’s through-life engineering centre has fitted the facility as part of its research into ‘no fault found’.
The £100,000 building will be fitted with technology designed to replicate the unique conditions where faults occur that cannot be detected using conventional means in a normal workshop.
The problem of no fault found is extremely prevalent in the aerospace industry and the research is addressing an industry problem that is very costly without always correcting the fault.
The environmental chamber will open in May 2012, and will work closely with aeroengine maker Rolls-Royce and other UK manufacturers, which will aid Cranfield University with its research.
“The environment chamber will initially study how no fault found phenomenon is caused by the environmental factors and the role of design features. The initial focus will be on electronic systems,” said Professor Rajkumar Roy, head of manufacturing and materials department at Cranfield University, and director, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services.
Professor Roy added that industry and academia will benefit from mutual collaboration, an approach that the centre, funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), is following.
Prof Roy told The Manufacturer, “The future of UK manufacturing is linked to our capability to earn additional revenue from high value products by offering the product within a service offering.”
Rolls-Royce’s recent annual results highlighted the shift that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are making to accommodate income streams from services, with over 50% of the firm’s revenue coming from this area.
“We need to have trained engineers and leaders who will drive this larger part of the UK manufacturing business. The EPSRC centre has already got a MSC programme for industry in through-life system sustainment and intends to develop an industrial doctorate centre,” Prof Roy concluded.