Service life of products is essential, says Professor Raj Roy

Posted on 17 Apr 2012

Professor Raj Roy, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services at Cranfield, stressed the importance of investing in the whole life cost of products at MACH 2012 on Tuesday.

Beginning his presentation with an insight into the future of manufacturing and the predicted introduction of remote factories, Professor Roy went on to describe results of a survey of manufacturing companies, conducted by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering.

“The survey results showed that while 55% of companies indicated that innovation was their prime area of opportunity for growth, around half said that service offerings were just as important,” said Roy.

Using the example of the car-renting scheme Streetcar, Prof Roy explained that manufacturers would increasingly need to implement Through-Life Engineering into the design of their products in order to remain competitive on an international level.

He used the example of Toyota Machine Handling Group and the company’s mantra of not selling machines, but in effect renting them on a service-based scheme – something he called Product Service Systems (PSS).

Roy explained: “Nearly all machine tool manufacturers like the ones here today offer services like the delivering of spare parts and training. A lot of them have developed remote services and offer special field services in Machine Repair and Overhaul (MRO).”

Roy also described the work he and his colleagues at Cranfield University have done with the MoD. The analysis of manufacturing operations at missile manufacturer MDBA and BAE Systems has enabled the MoD to obtain high value products with better availability, predictability and reliability with a lower life cycle cost.

An MRO survey conducted by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering found that the aerospace sector in particular found time-based, reliability-based and usage-based maintenance systems useful in their operations.