Professor William Ion

Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Personal statement

Prof. William Ion is currently Deputy Head of the Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management (DMEM) and was Head of Department from 2002 to 2008.  He is also Vice Dean (Knowledge Exchange) for the Faculty of Engineering. 

Following a period in industry Professor Ion joined the University in 1986 and throughout his academic career has focussed his research, knowledge exchange and teaching activities within the design and manufacturing field with a particular focus on forging and forming technologies, additive manufacture, design for manufacture and design processes.  His portfolio of research projects includes funding from EPSRC, TSB, EU and industry addressing both fundamental and applied research as well as knowledge exchange, having been involved in and led projects totalling over £20m.   He is the founding Director of the Advanced Forming Research Centre (established 2009) and was the Strathclyde lead on the UK wide team that secured the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (established 2011). He has been actively involved in the development of design and design management education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels since joining the University, having led the development and introduction of the Department's Product Design Engineering programmes (1991). He was chair of the of the Design Education Special Interest Group of the Design Society from 2002 to 2013 and a member of the core organising committee of the International Engineering and Product Design Education  conference series since its inception in 1999 (organising 14 conferences).  He was also the lead academic and director of the Erasmus Mundus funded International Masters in Global Innovation Management (2008 - 20130), taught jointly with the Universities of Aalborg and Hamburg Harburg. 

His research interests include: knowledge information management; collaborative design environments; rapid and virtual prototyping; design for manufacture, advanced manufacturing and engineering design education. He has been an investigator on research and development projects totalling over £20m including the following: the JISC/NSF funded project with Stanford University “Distributed Innovative Design, Education and Teamworking” (DIDET); the EPSRC Grand Challenge project “Knowledge and Information Management Through Life’ led by University of Bath IMRC; SAMULET (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through leading Environmental Technologies) and over 20 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships since 1995.  In recognition of his contribution to KTP he was given the 2013 UK Academic Ambassador award by the Technology Strategy Board.  He is also Director of the EPSRC supported Industrial Doctorate Centre in Advanced Forming and Forging and a member of the The Design Society Advisory Board.


Developing the Skills System for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS)
Anderson Pauline, Hawthorne Margaret, Findlay Patricia, Ion William, Morrison Douglas, Morrison Douglas Hamilton, Millar Stuart, Viza Evi
Low cost three-dimensional virtual model construction for remanufacturing industry
Siddiqi Muftooh U R, Ijomah Winifred L, Dobie Gordon I, Hafeez Muthair, Pierce S Gareth, Ion William, Mineo Carmelo, MacLeod Charles N
Journal of Remanufacturing (2018)
Using linkography to compare creative methods for group ideation
Hatcher G, Ion W, MacLachlan R, Marlow M, Simpson B, Wilson N, Wodehouse A
Design Studies Vol 58, pp. 127-152 (2018)
Applied humour in creative product design
Hatcher Gillian, Ion William, MacLachlan Ross, Wodehouse Andrew, Simpson Barbara, Marlow Marion
Creativity and Humour (2018) (2018)
Industrial validation of strain in cold roll forming of UHSS
Tsang Kwun Sing, Ion William, Blackwell Paul, English Martin
Procedia Manufacturing Vol 15, pp. 788-795 (2018)
Evolving improvised ideation from humour constructs : a new method for collaborative divergence
Hatcher Gillian, Ion William, MacLachlan Ross, Sheridan Marion, Simpson Barbara, Wodehouse Andrew
Creativity and Innovation Management Vol 27, pp. 91-101 (2018)

more publications

Professional activities

21st International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education
Faculty Robotics and Automation Users Group Discussion
Design Society (External organisation)
Invited to present at Auril 2012, Sheffield
15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
High Value Manufacturing Catapult (External organisation)

more professional activities


Developing the skills system for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS)
Anderson, Pauline (Principal Investigator) Findlay, Patricia (Co-investigator) Ion, William (Co-investigator)
23-Jan-2019 - 22-Jan-2019
Strathclyde CDT in Lightweighting and Design in Advanced Materials
Blackwell, Paul (Principal Investigator) Ion, William (Co-investigator) Evans, Dorothy (Administrator)
SCDT in Lightweighting that is funding 7 PhD students
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2022
Ion, William (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022
Fast-tracking Health Innovation for NHS Scotland. MRC Confidence in Concept / R180246-102
Ion, William (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 28-Jan-2020
Robotic Wire + Arc Additive Manufacture cell
Pierce, Gareth (Principal Investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator) Ion, William (Co-investigator) MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator)
"Additive manufacturing (AM) has gained significant interests from industries of different sectors. Among different AM processes, Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), which used metal wire as feedstock and electric arc as a heat source, has been shown to be suitable for producing large scale components with comparatively low equipment cost and running cost. The WAAM process has been developed in Cranfield University for many years, many large components of different materials, including titanium alloys, aluminium alloys, nickel alloys as well as steels have been successfully built for industrial partners.
The end-user industries, such as Airbus, FMC technologies and Glemalmond Group see significant benefits presented by the WAAM process to be able to manufacture structural components in a short lead time with low cost. Kuka Systems sees the great opportunity to get the forefront of this technology and to get the business benefit from commercialisation of the first WAAM machine. The main target of this project is to develop a commercial robotic WAAM machine (ROBOWAAM) that can be used by industrial partners for building meter scale components. Cranfield University will integrate its extensive WAAM process knowledge into a feature- based path planning software to support the end-users to manufacture components for their applications. In additional an online feedback control system will be developed and integrated into ROBOWAAM machine to correct build height errors.
To assure the deposition quality of the part, in-process nondestructive testing (NDT) method needs to be applied. Usually NDT is applied after the components has been finished. It is a time consuming and costly process if a defect is found which would either require a repair procedure or may lead to scrapping of the part. Thus an in-process NDT method is required to for inspecting each layer of the deposition. If a defect is found then the current layer will need to be machined before the recommence of the deposition. Cranfield University will collaborate with the University of Strathclyde and Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) on a feasibility study of the in-process NDT method on the WAAM parts with existing NDT technologies. The in-process NDT will be incorporated with the WAAM process into a parallel processing system and the capability of this system will be demonstrated in this project.
In addition, an extended study will be performed on the automation requirements of the whole WAAM chain. This will include the pre-WAAM processes such as substrate cleaning, post-WAAM process such as heat treatment and final machining, parallel processes such as in-process NDT and top surface machining, as well as material manipulation between processes."
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2019
Pierce, Gareth (Principal Investigator) Gachagan, Anthony (Co-investigator) Ion, William (Co-investigator) MacLeod, Charles Norman (Co-investigator) Mineo, Carmelo (Co-investigator) Ridgway, Keith (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 30-Jan-2019

more projects


Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management
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