Centre for Distributed Automation and Control opens within the Institute for Manufacturing

Automation lab

Could intelligent systems solve manufacturing problems on the shop floor? If we build intelligence into the production system, can it cope better with disruptions to the production process? The Centre for Distributed Automation and Control, launched today at the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge, is looking for the answers to these questions. Guests from academia and industry saw some potential solutions demonstrated in the Centre's Automation Laboratory.


The Centre has grown out of the activities of the Manufacturing Automation and Control group within the Institute and provides an industrially-focused base for high-quality research on advanced automation technologies for the manufacturing supply chain. The Centre has strong links with the Auto ID Center and the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre - both based within the Institute for Manufacturing. The already-strong industrial research portfolio will be augmented with an organised series of networks, events and publications.


'The centre is an academic base for industrial automation and control and will work with a small number of key partners to develop new but pragmatic solutions for tomorrow's manufacturing supply chain,' said Dr Duncan McFarlane, senior lecturer in engineering and head of the Centre. 'Production represents an important part in getting a product to market, but we also recognise that there are automation requirements at every stage of a product's life cycle.'


'The future for manufacturing is to combine build-to-order with rapid delivery and low cost,' said Dr Andrew Lucas, managing director of Agent Oriented Software, who spoke at the launch event. 'Historically, using conventional approaches to manufacturing control and automation, it has not been possible to achieve these three objectives simultaneously. Our company considers that the Centre for Distributed Automation and Control leads the world in combining automation, manufacturing control and logistics management. Over the next few years we aim to integrate the Centre's capabilities with our company's expertise in intelligent software agents. We will use the Centre's Automation Laboratory to demonstrate the potential of flexible distributed manufacturing to industry and society.'

Date published

29 November 2002

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