Publications

  • Abstract

    Manufacturing decisions are currently made based on considerations of cost, time and quality. However there is increasing pressure to also routinely incorporate environmental considerations into the decision making processes. Despite the existence of a number of tools for environmental analysis of manufacturing activities, there does not appear to be a structured approach for generating relevant environmental information that can be fed into manufacturing decision making. This research proposes an overarching structure that leads to three approaches, pertaining to different timescales that enable the generation of environmental information, suitable for consideration during decision making. The approaches are demonstrated through three industrial case studies.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    Clean-in-place (CIP) is a widely used technique applied to clean industrial equipment without disassembly. Cleaning protocols are currently defined arbitrarily from offline measurements. This can lead to excessive resource (water and chemicals) consumption and downtime, further increasing environmental impacts. An optical monitoring system has been developed to assist eco-intelligent CIP process control and improve resource efficiency. The system includes a UV optical fouling monitor designed for real-time image acquisition and processing. The output of the monitoring is such that it can support further intelligent decision support tools for automatic cleaning assessment during CIP phases. This system reduces energy and water consumption, whilst minimising non-productive time: the largest economic cost for CIP.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    Clean-in-place systems are largely used in food industry for cleaning interior surfaces of equipment without disassembly. These processes currently utilise an excessive amount of resources and time, as they are based on an open loop (no feedback) control philosophy with process control dependent on conservative over estimation assumptions. This paper proposes a multi-sensor approach including a vision and acoustic system for clean-in-place monitoring, endowed with ultraviolet optical fluorescence imaging and ultrasonic acoustic sensors aimed at assessing fouling thickness within inner surfaces of vessels and pipeworks. An experimental campaign of Clean-in-place tests was carried out at laboratory scale using chocolate spread as fouling agent. During the tests digital images and ultrasonic signal specimens were acquired and processed extracting relevant features from both sensing units. These features are then inputted to an intelligent decision making support tool for the real-time assessment of fouling thickness within the clean-in-place system.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • A Decision Support System for Waste Heat Recovery in Manufacturing 2016, CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology

    Abstract

    One third of energy consumption is attributable to the industrial sector, with as much as half ultimately wasted as heat. Consequently, research has focused on technologies for harvesting this waste heat energy, however, the adoption of such technologies can be costly with long payback time. A decision support tool is presented which computes the compatibility of waste heat source(s) and sink(s), namely the exergy balance and temporal availability, along with economic and environmental benefits of available heat exchanger technologies to propose a streamlined and optimised heat recovery strategy. Substantial improvement in plant energy efficiency together with reduction in the payback time for heat recovery has been demonstrated in the included case study.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    Accepted for publication. TBA.

    SMART authors: James Colwill , Liam Gardner

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  • Abstract

    Characterisation of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin films commonly requires the use of invasive techniques for
    the identification of their structural growth and the detection of defects which occur during the deposition process.
    Structural growth and the presence of defects can affect the performance of the final device. A non-invasive
    inspection system for CdTe films has been developed to identify the structural properties of this material,
    comparing two different deposition techniques, Close Space Sublimation (CSS) and Magnetron Sputtering (MS).
    The proposed system utilises a 1 μm diode laser which passes through the CdTe layer, originating detectable
    diffraction patterns, which are characterised using image processing techniques and assessed using a neural
    network-based cognitive decision-making support system. Results are found to be consistent with the conventional
    microscopic techniques (SEM and TEM) used to analyse morphological and structural properties of thin-film CdTe
    solar cells.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone , Nick Goffin

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  • Abstract

    Modern industrial machining environments face new challenges in implementing process monitoring systems to improve energy efficiency
    whilst ensuring quality standards. A process monitoring methodology for tool state identification during milling of aluminium has been
    implemented through the utilisation of an infrared (IR) camera. A features extraction procedure, based on statistical parameters calculation, was applied to temperature data generated by the IR camera. The features were utilised to build a fuzzy c-means (FCM) based decision making support system utilising pattern recognition for tool state identification. The environmental benefits deriving from the application of the developed monitoring system, are discussed in terms of prevention of rework/rejected products and associated energy and material efficiency improvements.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    In the UK, 25% of final energy consumption is attributed to
    the industrial sector (DECC, 2013) which also accounts for one
    third of the electricity consumption. However it is estimated
    that between 20 to 50 percent of industrial energy consumption
    is ultimately wasted as heat (Johnson et al., 2008). Unlike
    material waste that is clearly visible, waste heat can be difficult
    to identify and evaluate both in terms of quantity and quality.
    Hence by being able to understand the availability of waste
    heat, and the ability to recover it, there is an opportunity to
    reduce energy costs and associated environmental impacts. This
    research describes the design of a novel framework that aids
    manufacturers in making decisions regarding the most suitable
    solution to recover Waste Heat Energy (WHE) from their
    activities. The framework consists of four major sections: 1)
    survey of waste heat sources in a facility; 2) assessment of
    waste heat quantity and quality; 3) selection of appropriate
    technology; 4) decision making and recommendations. In order
    to support the implementation of the framework within the
    manufacturing industry, an associated software tool is
    discussed. 
     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone , Yang Luo

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  • Abstract

    In the UK, 25% of final energy consumption is attributed to the industrial sector (DECC, 2013) which also accounts for one third of the electricity consumption. However it is estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of industrial energy consumption is ultimately wasted as heat (Johnson et al., 2008). Unlike material waste that is clearly visible, waste heat can be difficult to identify and evaluate both in terms of quantity and quality. Hence by being able to understand the availability of waste heat, and the ability to recover it, there is an opportunity to reduce energy costs and associated environmental impacts. This research describes the design of a novel framework that aids manufacturers in making decisions regarding the most suitable solution to recover Waste Heat Energy (WHE) from their activities. The framework consists of four major sections: 1) survey of waste heat sources in a facility; 2) assessment of waste heat quantity and quality; 3) selection of appropriate technology; 4) decision making and recommendations. In order to support the implementation of the framework within the manufacturing industry, an associated software tool is discussed.

    SMART authors: Yang Luo

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  • How to Manufacture a Sustainable Future for 9 Billion People in 2050 2013, 20th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering (LCE13)

    Abstract

    There is a growing body of evidence which increasingly points to serious and irreversible ecological consequences if current unsustainable manufacturing practices ad consumption patterns continue. Recent years have seen a rising awareness leading to the generation of both national and international regulations, resulting in modest improvements in manufacturing practices. These incremental changes however are not making the necessary progress toward eliminating or even reversing the environmental impacts of global industry. Therefore, a fundamental research question is `how can future of manufacturing industry` A common approach adopted in such cases is to utilize exercises to develop a number of alternative future scenarios to aid with long-term strategic planning. This paper presents the results of one such study to create a set of `SMART Manufacturing Scenarios` for 2050.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , James Colwill , Leila Sheldrick

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  • A Framework for Modelling Energy Consumption Within Manufacturing Systems 2011, CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology

    Abstract

    Energy is an inextricable part of life in the 21st century, thus its availability and utilisation will become increasingly important with the concerns over climate change and the escalation in worldwide population. This highlights the need for manufacturing businesses to adopt the concept of ‘lean energy’ based on the use of the most energy efficient processes and activities within their production facilities. The energy consumption in manufacturing facilities can be reduced by either using more efficient technologies and equipment, and/or through improved monitoring and control of energy used in infrastructure and technical services. The research reported in this paper adopts a novel approach to modelling energy flows within a manufacturing system based on a ‘product’ viewpoint, and utilises the energy consumption data at ‘plant’ and ‘process’ levels to provide a breakdown of energy used during production.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    Green sources of power generation and efficient management of energy demand are among the greatest challenges facing manufacturing businesses. A significant proportion of energy used in manufactuirng is currently generated through fossil fuels. Therefore in the foreseeable future, the rationalistion of nergy consumption still provides the greatest opportunity for the reduction of greenhouse gases. A novel approach to energy efficient manufacturing is proposed through modelling the detailed breakdown of energy required to produce a single product. This approach provides greater transparency on energy inefficiencies throughout a manufacturing system and enables a 20-50% reduction of energy consumption through combined improvements in production and product design. 

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    Many manufacturing organizations while doing business either directly or indirectly with other industrial sectors often encounter interoperability problems among software systems. This increases the business cost and reduces the efficiency. Research communities are exploring ways to reduce this cost. Incompatibility amongst the syntaxes and the semantics of the languages of application systems is the most common cause to this problem. The process specification language (PSL), an ISO standard (18629), has the potential to overcome some of these difficulties by acting as a neutral communication language. The current paper has therefore focused on exploring this aspect of the PSL within a cross-disciplinary supply chain environment.

     The paper explores a specific cross-disciplinary supply chain scenario in order to understand the mechanisms of communications within the system. Interoperability of processes supporting those communications are analysed against PSL. A strategy is proposed for sharing process information amongst the supply chain nodes using the ‘PSL 20 questions wizard and it is concluded that, although there is a need to develop more effective methods for mapping systems to PSL, it can still be seen as a powerful tool to aid the communications between processes in the supply chain. The paper uses a supply chain scenario that cuts across the construction and manufacturing business sectors in order to provide a breadth to the types of disciplines involved in communication.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Application of Embedded Information Devices, An Advanced Approach to Support Sustainable Product Lifecycle Management 2007, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of Design and Manufacture for Sustainable Development

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Hybrid Two-Stage Planning for Food Industry Overproduction Waste Minimisation 2007, International Journal of Production Research

    Abstract

    Convenience food manufacture generates considerable waste due to the planning of production being undertaken based upon forecasted orders. This problem is particularly acute for products that have a very short shelf-life and are subject to considerable volatility in demand, such as ready-meals. Overproduction wastes (OPWs) typically result in finished products being disposed of through commercial waste channels, which is both costly for manufacturers and represents poor and unsustainable use of resources. This paper reports on a hybrid two-stage planning technique for the reduction of OPW by utilizing the advantages offered through both static and dynamic approaches to production scheduling. The application of this planning approach to a case study ready-meal manufacturer through the development of commercially available planning software is also described.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    With the increasing importance of computer-based communication technologies, communication
    networks are becoming crucial in supply chain management. Given the objectives of the supply chain: to have
    the right products in the right quantities, at the right place, at the right moment and at minimal cost, supply
    chain management is situated at the intersection of different professional sectors. This is particularly the case in
    construction, since building needs for its fabrication the incorporation of a number of industrial products. This
    paper provides a review of the main approaches to supply chain communications as used mainly in
    manufacturing industries. The paper analyses the extent to which these have been applied to construction. It also
    reviews the on-going developments and research activities in this domain.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    With the increasing importance of computer-based communication technologies, communication networks are becoming
    crucial in supply chain management. Given the objectives of the supply chain, supply chain management is situated at the
    intersection of different professional sectors, each of them with its own vocabulary, its own knowledge and rules. This paper
    provides a review of the main approaches to supply chain communications through the analysis of different ways of modelling
    a supply chain and the presentation of new semantic-based approaches that have been and are being developed to improve the
    quality of the information exchanges within the supply chain.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Utilisation of Passive Embedded Information Devices to Support a Sustainable Approach to Product Lifecycle Management 2006, Invited keynote in Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Mechatronics Technology (ICMT2006)

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Abstract

    Convenience food manufacture generates considerable waste through poor planning of production. This problem is particularly acute for products that have very short shelf-life and will be disposed of as waste should their shelf-life expire. Chilled ready-meals are convenience foods with relatively short shelf-lives and volatile consumer demands; their manufacture is based on forecasted volumes and when demand has been over-predicted, considerable wastes are created. This is referred to as overproduction waste( OPW), which typically sees finished products disposed of through commericial waste channels as a result of lack of demand. The research reported in this paper has investigated the generation of a reponsive demand management framework for the reduction of OPW's. 

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Distributed Planning and Control to Support Mass Customisation in Shoe Manfacture 2004, International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing

    Abstract

    The European shoe industry has experienced significant challenges in the last 20 years, mainly due to the pressures of modern global markets in which the industry has to compete with competitors from low labour cost countries in Asia and the Far East. A new trend is now forecast concerning the mass customisation of shoes, where customers choose and order customised shoes from a range of predefined materials and designs. This is to be achieved through the ‘shoe shop of the future’ with combined capabilities of obtaining 3D models of customer’s feet together with the exciting developments offered through the latest advancement in e-commerce. However, such a novel approach for the customisation of shoe design and production will have a significant influence on the batch sizes and expected lead times, and will reduce the average batch size of shoe production from 500–1000 pairs to about 10–20 pairs per batch. Consequently, customised shoes will result in an enormous increase in the number of batches, leading to an increase in the complexity of planning, scheduling and tracking of orders both across the supply chain and internally within various production departments of a shoe factory. This research proposes a distributed scheduling approach to provide the required autonomy in decision making and flexibility in job sequencing at departmental level to deal with the complexity of planning a large number of small batch production orders.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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  • Holonic Systems 1999, Chapter 4 in Handbook of Life Cycle Engineering: Concepts, Models and Technologies

    Abstract

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard

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