Theme 1: Production systems, modularity, design and optimization of delivery

The construction sector is transforming into an advanced manufacturing industry with digital engineering capabilities. To deliver value to infrastructure clients, we are working with industry partners to explore new approaches to the manufacture and assembly of buildings, for example through research projects with Laing O’Rourke.

This theme is led by Dr Marco Aurisicchio (Dyson School of Design Engineering) and Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and brings the latest systems design, network analysis, optimization and visualization methods to develop new knowledge across associated research projects. Current and recent research includes:

  • Systems engineering and the production process (Project Production Institute 2015-2016) Professor Jennifer Whyte.
  • A systems engineering approach to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA): from requirements to customer solution, Darragh O’Sullivan, supervisors Professor Jennifer Whyte and Dr Marco Aurisicchio.
  • Efficient and flexible design and manufacturing of modularised building systems (Laing O’Rourke 2015-2019), Tanawan Wee, supervisors Dr Marco Aurisicchio and Professor Jennifer Whyte.
  • Logistics for modularised building systems (Laing O’Rourke 2015-2019), Leo Hsu, supervisors Dr Marco Aurisicchio and Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis.
  • Infrastructure and supply chain resilience (EPSRC 2014-2018), Nils Goldbeck, supervisors Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis and Prof Washington Ochieng.
  • Structural performance of pre-cast high speed railway bridges (Laing O’Rourke 2015-2019) Bradley Pring, first supervisor Dr Ana Ruiz-Teran. 
  • Digitally enabling electrification (TSB 2014-2016) Professor Washington Ochieng.
  • Optimisation of large concrete DfMA structures for the Nuclear Industry (TSB 2013-2016) Dr Panagiotis Angeloudis.

In our interest in production systems, this Centre builds on foundational work by Professor Joan Woodward that established that firm-level success hinged on the relationship between the technology and production system and the organizational structure. Working in Imperial College London fifty years ago she was the first to distinguish and articulate different determinants of success in unit-production (small scale); mass-production (large scale) and continuous process organizations.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) is an engineering and design approach that enables many of the activities that are traditionally done on the construction site to be undertaken in factory conditions, with larger components then delivered to site for installation.

Underpinning research themes under this stream include:

-          Analysis of the component structure of large infrastructure systems.

-          Systems engineering for offsite construction, assembly and integration.

-          Design of efficient, intermodal supply chains for DfMA construction.

There are opportunities to join us in taking forward this research agenda.