Professor andrew starr, head of through-life engineering services (tes) institute and professor of maintenance systems at cranfield university, explains why his manufacturing centre is vital for the operation and monitoring of complex assets.

High value and increasingly complex assets – such as aircraft and railway networks – demand intelligent support from conceptual design all the way to the end of their lives.

Through-life Engineering Services (TES) focuses on finding ways to manufacture products with the highest levels of reliability and lowest levels of cost over their entire life cycle.

The TES Institute at Cranfield University is developing the next generation of systems needed to manage the design, manufacture, operations, life extension and end-of-life processes of large-scale assets with expected lifetimes of up to 60 years.

We concentrate on research and education in three key areas: asset management, condition monitoring and damage tolerance. The key stages of life cycle we focus on are:

  • Design – preparing for long, cost effective system life and feeding back operational experience;
  • Life extension – justifying reliable decisions to keep using high-value equipment;
  • Planning – tackling optimisation, no-fault-found and obsolescence;
  • Preventive approaches – avoiding serious failure by sensing, diagnostics and prognostics.

Cost, safety and environmental impact are considered throughout life cycles and optimised support integrates diagnostics and prognostics, self-aware/sensing systems, and planning and scheduling for maintenance decisions, support and logistics.

Cranfield’s TES Institute brings together the Through-life Engineering Services Centre and Operations Excellence Institute.

The Through-life Engineering Services Centre allows us to work with industry on disruptive technologies and our Operations Excellence Institute shares our activities and knowledge, working with students and clusters of small manufacturing companies on collaborative projects. Our virtual reality and simulation suite provides state-ofthe- art visualisation of complex engineering data, event and risk simulation.

We work in partnership with industry to examine important challenges and provide solutions that add value. We analyse commercial data to search for patterns and improve information and decision-making, including research with people to establish best practices. We simulate and model systems to predict behaviour in mechanical and electronic devices and we test physical degradation in components and materials, building novel sensors and test machines.”

Applications for our work are found in aerospace, defence, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, utilities, and facilities management.

The Institute’s partnerships have worked on design, monitoring, diagnostics, prognostics and life extension for assets as diverse as aircraft engines, railway infrastructure, smart grids, fuel tanks and systems, gearboxes, wind turbines and agricultural systems.

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT: https://www.cranfield.

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