As manufacturing shifts towards smart factories, with increasingly interconnected and intelligent systems, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has funded the DigiTOP project to develop a predictive toolkit to capture, model and predict the way that humans and technologies work together to optimise productivity, performance and wellbeing.
  • Dates1 July 2018-30 September 2021
  • SponsorEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Funded£1,904,381
  • PartnersUniversity of Nottingham, Loughborough University, Bristol Robotics Lab, Jaguar Land Rover, Babcock International Group, BAE Systems-Air, High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.

A multidisciplinary team from Cranfield University is working with academics at the University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to deliver an open-access suite of digital tools that will enable the real-time capture and prediction of industrial human-system interactions. The team brings together expertise in industrial human factors and human-robot interaction, human sensing and performance analysis, simulation and visualisation, virtual and augmented reality, and systems engineering, to create tools that will optimise digital technologies for manufacturing system performance. A number of laboratory demonstrators are being used to create and test the tools and, at Cranfield, demonstrators have been developed for investigations of augmented reality and digital twin integration in the Digital Service Engineering laboratory, and for studies of human-robot interaction/collaboration in the Intelligent Automation Laboratory.

Two groups from the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing are involved in the research:

The Industrial Psychology and Human Factors Group in the Centre for Structures, Assembly and Intelligent Automation is responsible for investigating the various individual and organisational level factors that influence acceptance and adoption of digital manufacturing technologies, such as trust, acceptance, technical awareness and ethics.

The Digital Service Engineering Group in the Through-life Engineering Services Centre is researching the validity and benefits (to human users and manufacturing organisations) of the digital twin, with particular focus on the measurement of productivity and performance improvements, and structured analysis of research transference from real > virtual and virtual > real environments.

Further information

For further information about the project, please visit the DigiTOP website.