It is readily acknowledged that decisions made in the early design stages influence the product cost, performance, utility and impact on the environment. However, we know that advances in new technologies such as Additive Manufacturing result in compressed design and manufacturing cycles. Smart materials and automation influence the manufacturing system and the need for a data-driven manufacturing value-chain utilising the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 changes the business models and consequently the entire manufacturing environment. Basically, to meet future manufacturing needs our design and manufacturing tools need to transcend disciplines and industrial sectors.
However, as researchers we tend to focus on on multi-disciplinary engineering (where experts from various disciplines draw on each other knowledge) or inter-disciplinary (where expert knowledge, tools and methods are integrated together to solve a single challenge). It is our view that we need to create new knowledge beyond the single subject of investigation/discipline and provide methods for engineers of the future to use. Our vision is to create this capability with a pipe-line of 'Trans-Disciplinary Design-Engineers' and evolving tools to enable rapid uptake across sectors of enhanced and new manufacturing processes.
To achieve our vision, the heart of our Platform proposal is focussed on the retention and development of our Early Career Research staff. To sustain and expand our talent pipeline, we are providing career management and targeted staff development. This will enable our research staff to leap forward into their next career step and become Trans-Disciplinary Design-Engineers, who have the skills to realise the potential of current and future manufacturing processes and techniques.
The under-pinning research will provide these trans-disciplinary design engineers with a suite of evolving models. The models will be dynamic, data driven and will allow designers to be trans-disciplinary through providing the means to understand new manufacturing process, costs, economics and complete through life decisions at the early stages of a design. Fundamentally changing how 21st century products are designed.