Uni-Pol Talk - Mechanical Engineering

Technical Director discusses industry 4.0 with students

Uni-Pol Dr Steve Leyland

Photo: Dr Steve Leyland and Dr Andrew Rees

Dr Steve Leyland, Group Technical Director of Uni-Pol speaks to students about industry 4.0, 6Sigma/7Epsilon and the factory of the future.

After his talk we interviewed Dr Leyland discussing his relationship with Swansea University and his thoughts on the future of the industry.

What has attracted Uni-pol to Swansea University?

I have known and worked with Dr Ransing for around 10 years. His experience and the experience of his colleagues is what drew us to working with the University.

You’ve recently completed your PhD research in Cambridge and are currently working with Oxford - What is in Swansea University that makes you to travel across M4?

What I like about Swansea University is that it is very industry focussed compared to other universities that I have worked with who put their emphasis on the theoretical side of research and development. The research that Engineers, within Swansea University, are completing is relevant to the needs of industry and therefore has an immediate benefit to companies.

To what extent do you think Rajesh’s RAEng industry fellowship is benefitting Uni-pol?

Rajesh’s RAEng industry fellowship has allowed us to focus on the technical progress and deepen our understanding of what we do. Rajesh has helped us to look more closely at the data and to let the data be the driving force behind our manufacturing decisions. Until recently we have relied on experience not on data, making decisions on feelings instead of fact. Now we can make fundamental tweaks at the beginning of the process that save us from making mistakes further down the line.

What is your vision of industry 4.0 compliant factory of the future?

My vision of an industry 4.0 compliant factory of the future is of having full knowledge of the process and most importantly being able to minimise the waste produced and time. There is so much data that is being or can be generated and there is so much that we can learn from it.

What are the expectations from OEM’s/customers on dimensional inspection and field failures?

The advances in inspection abilities mean that the customers are able to see castings inside out. They can analyse internal and external defects with 3D scans in real time. The importance is now to comply with strict design rules. The acceptance is zero tolerance, even if a manufactured part which has a simple job has even the slightest or benign deviation it will need to be rejected and reasons explained. Customers are expecting adherence to data driven and continually improving quality systems.

How does Swansea University’s 7Epsilon approach help Uni-pol save money?

Swansea University’s 7Epsilon approach helps Uni-pol save money by being able to collect and report correct data at the right points during the manufacturing process. 6Sigma (developed by GE) takes in small portions and reports on specific areas. 7Epsilon adds all the portions together so that you can see the overall picture, which means we can constantly make alterations throughout the process instead of at the end of each small portion.

Mechanical Engineering Student Talk
Photo: Dr Steve Leyland, Dr Rajesh Ransing and the students on EG-M93 Metallurgy and Process Optimisation course 

Thank you for giving an inspiring lecture to our students on linking metallurgy to mechanical properties and data analysis in Industry 4.0 context. What was your impression with the enthusiasm and engagement of our students attending your lecture?

I thought the students today were really engaging, they asked a range of questions from the fundamentals, through to my career and my thoughts on how industry 4.0 will impact them. Their questions were very career and future focussed; they’re looking ahead at the developments within the industry and seeing where they’ll fit when they graduate, which is great to see.

How do you see Uni-pol developing research links with Swansea University and its impact and factory of the future initiative?

I was speaking to Deputy Head of College Professor Sienz earlier about the Factory of the Future concept and we would look to create a Research and Development Centre here and utilise the wealth of knowledge that is currently with the College. There isn’t a need to employ vast departments of researchers when we can “cherry pick” the knowledge at the right times of the manufacturing process.

More photos from the event can be found here.

Find out more about Mechanical Engineering degrees here.