Principal Investigators – Prof Sean McLoone

The Centre for Intelligent Autonomous Manufacturing Systems (i-AMS) at Queen’s Belfast University has become a member of the UK-RAS Network. The centre is a multi-disciplinary team of researchers spanning the disciplines of Electrical/Electronic/Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, and Psychology, working together to develop innovative technologies and solutions to address the challenges of Industry 4.0.

They believe that cooperative multi-robot and autonomous systems will play a central role in delivering underpinning flexible manufacturing systems. Here the vision is of robots as co-workers, with robots and humans working cooperatively and interactively to achieve common tasks, and of autonomous systems that are resilient and can adapt seamlessly as tasks and operating conditions change.

In i-AMS members recognise that tackling this challenge requires an interdisciplinary approach involving the integration of advanced data analytics, machine learning, intelligent system and autonomous robotics concepts with new design, digital manufacturing, human-robot interaction, and control paradigms.

Their facilities have been extended through a £5M Innovate UK investment to create a factory research test bed with state of the art industrial scale equipment to further investigate digital and autonomous manufacturing. Equipment includes: Range of augmented reality and VR systems, Digital Manufacturing software tools, Cobots; Universal and Baxtor Robots; Industrial robots, Exechon Parallel Kinematic machines, 5-axis CNC milling and turning machines, Laser Process Manufacturing Lab, Metrology systems, self-driving vehicles (SDV’s)

The research programme is centred around the following themes:

(1) Virtual sensing, prognostics, energy reduction & virtual factory simulations

(2) Flexible automation and cobotics

(3) Autonomous and intelligent decision making