The Department of Production and Quality Engineering encompasses fields at the intersection between technology and management. A holistic view of industrial solutions rooted in a production engineering and manufacturing technology characterizes our activities. Our strong industrial focus, extensive international collaboration and a good work environment has earned the department an international reputation for its research.
Our fundamental research activities concentrate, as much as possible, on strategic focus areas as determined by our host faculty, the Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology. In particular, it is the following areas that are of interest for our department:
- product development and manufacturing,
- sustainable industrial manufacturing and consumption
- food-stuff-technology (an area of increasing concentration).
These topics are our current focus:
- Flexible production
- Product and operations modeling
- Quality management and performance measurement
- Safety and reliabilitiy
A considerable number of our research projects are empirically based, and activities often involve extensive testing using modern laboratories and equipment. Still, company based case studies provide a foundation for many other investigations.
The department's long-term and basic research is conducted, to a large extent, in tandem with the PhD programme. Our basic research activity is strengthened by its integration with doctoral level education, and through the theoretical and practical work of our PhD fellows. This department bears a national responsibility, concerning advancements in the fields of production and quality engineering, as well as in terms of the fundamental educational profile of the discipline.
Application oriented research
Short-term and application oriented research is conducted through commissioned projects, quite often in cooperation with SINTEF's Technology and Society unit. The majority of the department's permanent research personnel are formally associated with SINTEF as consultants.
How can industry deliver customized products on time and at minimum cost? We have developed manufacturing solutions for industry with high degree of automation and extensive use of robotics. Department research also led to the development of a metal printing process that uses metal powder to build a product layer by layer to exactly the desired shape. The process may be applied to manufacture both complex prototypes and spare parts, even hip prosthesis, and the technology is in use by spin-off companies.
Radio-frequency identification, or RFID, is a promising technology to make products more "intelligent". The department uses RFID within the food safety sector. Meat products are transported in boxes where quality parameters, such as temperature, are monitored throughout the logistics chain. Another application is in closing the information gap in the product lifecycle chain. By means of sensors on products or parts, information concerning condition, wear, and lifetime can be recorded and used for maintenance, end of life decisions, product design and improvement.
A safety focus
Optimization and management of maintenance operations, as well as safety and reliability analysis of complex industrial facilities – such as oil development platforms and sub sea installations – is a field in which the department is well established. The research of our RAMS group provides a basis for developing saftety instrumented systems used for emergency shutdown in the oil and gas industry, in chemical plants, for fire and gas detection systems, and for automatic train stop systems. We are also developing mathematical methods and tools for maintenance optimization, to minimize both the life cycle cost and the risk of accidents.
A selection of the larger projects the department is currently engaged in:
- IFaCOM - Intelligent Fault Correction and self Optimizing Manufacturing systems, an EU 7FP project.
- LinkedDesign - develop a Linked Engineering and mAnufacturing Platform (LEAP) as an integrated information system for manufacturing design.
- SFI NORMAN - Norwegian Manufacturing Future. Long term project in connection with SINTEF, the Norwegian Research Council, and a number of large Norwegian industrial companies (see description right).
- Norwegian Centre for Project Management
- Value creating maintenance in the power production industry
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness
- Value creation through effective maintenance
A selection of the larger, rather recently completed research projects:
- IMS 2020 - focusing on the creation of roadmaps towards Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) in the year 2020.
- Product Lifecycle Management and Information Tracking Using Smart Embedded Systems (PROMISE ) – EU project (IP)
- Providing Real Integration in Multi-disciplinary Environments (PRIME) - EU project (STREP)
- Global Education in Manufacturing (GEM) – EU/IMS-project concluded in 2004
- P2005 – NFR project, concluded in 2005
- Maintenance and rehabilitation of Wind Power, concluded in 2005, but continued for 2006-2010.