Postgraduate research opportunities Revolutionizing Robotic Metal Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) (Enhanced Yearly Stipend)


Key facts

  • Opens: Wednesday 18 January 2023
  • Deadline: Saturday 30 September 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 42 months
  • Funding: International fee, Home fee, Equipment costs, Travel costs, Stipend


This is an exciting 42-month fully-funded PhD, supported by Innovate UK focusing on advanced robotic quality control inspection during metal additive manufacturing operations, directly aligned and supported by the Net Zero, Renewable, Nuclear, Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Marine, Defence and High-Value Manufacturing sectors.
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To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess an Upper second (2.1) UK BEng Honours or MEng degree in a relevant engineering (Electrical, Mechanical etc.) or physics related subject
  • Be a UK or eligible EU national and adhere to Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria

Candidates with a preference for practical industry focussed experimental research would also be desirable.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The goal of the project is to investigate sensor-driven inspection and control of robotic metal 3D printing, to safely deliver high-quality parts right first time, every time, in challenging industrial environments.

Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) (3D printing), has rapidly come to prominence as a valid and convenient alternative to other production techniques, thanks to a growing body of evidence of its advantages and real potential in terms of lead-time reduction, design flexibility, capability and reduced manufacturing waste.

However, additively manufacturing large scale energy and transportation components is extremely challenging and currently requires a great deal of empirical know-how for every new application, leading to long lead times and high cost for new component applications and materials. Wire +Arc AM technology offers a solution to the design and manufacture of large scale components which, until recently, could only be made by forging and extensive machining, resulting in excessive cost and material waste.

This project seeks to exploit the volumetric imaging capability of ultrasonics, and introduce this inspection modality directly into the AM process control loop. By investigating robotic in-process ultrasonic inspection and control, this project aims to deliver high-integrity components right, first time, every time and overcome current technical and process limitations.

The student will be based in the newly opened £2.1M Sensor Enabled Automation & Control Hub (SEARCH) Laboratory, working alongside a research team of over 35 researchers and PhD Students, while also having access to state of the art sensor, robotic and welding equipment. 

The student will undertake specific industrial technical training courses (Ultrasonics, Welding and KUKA Advanced Robotic Programming) along with the University Research Development Program (RDP) to deliver training and development on traditional PhD activities such as presentations, conferences and journal writing. 

The student will work in collaboration and spend time on site working with the lead industry partner to gain a greater appreciation of the specific industrial challenges and opportunity for automated inspection during fusion welding.

This project promises to be an exciting, fun and industrially relevant project, working alongside skilled engineers and scientists with state-of-the-art robotic equipment to delivery meaningful industrial change. 

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The primary supervisor will be Prof. Charles MacLeod, Professor in Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE), within the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications. Prof. MacLeod’s research interests include automated robotic inspection of high-value components and assets. He leads the automated in-process welding inspection team consisting of multiple post-graduate researchers and students.

The secondary supervisor will be Prof. Gareth Pierce, Co-Director of the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE).

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Applicants should submit their CV, academic transcript, and a covering letter outlining their suitability for the position through email to Dr. Charles MacLeod.

Number of places: 1

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Contact us

Candidates requiring more information or interested in applying should email Dr. Charles MacLeod.