DIAL’s automation and control research theme explores innovative solutions to address current and future industrial automation challenges in the digital era. The state of the art automation lab provides a flexible and reconfigurable environment to implement and test various smart control and decision support systems. The various strands of work under this research theme include:


  • Manufacturing tracking systems: The aim is to enable organisations to achieve full traceability of products and manufacturing operations within their factories. Application of tracking technologies such as RFID, direct part marking combined with advanced data processing software architecture allows fully traceable data regarding products and processes.
  • Data driven autonomous control systems: Combining real-time tracking systems with autonomous control systems enables a manufacturing system to make data driven, context-specific decisions. Applications of holonic and multi-agent based control systems combined with state-of-art artificial intelligence algorithms enable improved flexibility and reconfigurability, allowing us to manage disruptions effectively.
  • Integration of novel manufacturing technology with conventional systems: The advancements in new manufacturing technologies require further investigation for integration with conventional manufacturing systems. For instance, we are exploring novel ways to integrate 3D printing with conventional manufacturing systems and are developing control architecture for such distributed manufacturing systems. Furthermore, the need for personalised, fully customised products creates unique challenges in developing control solutions. As part of this strand of activity, we are investigating the control requirements for mass customisation and the technological solutions associated with it.




Recent Projects:


DISruption Tolerant Automated Lean factories (DisTAL):  2012-2015


Materials and Process Tracking and Analysis for Production Efficiency (MaPTAPE) 2016-2018





Alan Thorne

Raj Srinivasan

Duncan McFarlane

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