Rolls-Royce sponsored PhD scholarship - Control of robotic systems for performing on-wing repair of aero-engines

University of Nottingham

Rolls-Royce sponsored PhD scholarship – Control of robotic systems for performing on-wing repair of aero-engines

The Rolls-Royce UTC in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology at University of Nottingham

Applications are invited to undertake a 3 ½ year PhD programme in partnership with industry to address key challenges in on-platform manufacturing engineering. The successful candidate will be based at the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Manufacturing and On-wing Technology at the University of Nottingham.

We are seeking applicants to start on a Rolls-Royce project before September 2016.

This project is in relation to the technical needs of Rolls-Royce to develop automatic and hybrid tooling solutions to enable in-situ/on-wing repair and maintenance of gas turbine engines.

At the Rolls-Royce UTC at University of Nottingham we have developed in-house robotic systems capable to navigate into crammed/hazardous environments and then, perform inspection and active operations such as machining. This is driven by the need to carry out repair tasks without the need of disassembly of the industrial installations. We have developed a free-leg hexapod ( and advanced it into a walking machine tool ( We also developed a series of continuum robots in both short ( and long ( versions. Both systems can be coupled to result into hybrid robots having ability to both walk/navigate and then perform active tasks with end-effectors attached to both hexapod and continuum arm sub-systems ( Thus, at the Rolls-Royce UTC we have developed a unique capability to design, model and realise our own robotic systems to perform tasks within difficult to access environments.

This project builds on these research/industrial successes and proposes control solutions for automated robotic systems capable to be tele operated using smart human-machine interface devices.

This is an exciting PhD project that has a unique combination of academic and industrial challenges which will enhance the student’s ability to tackle complex intellectual and practical aspects of mechatronics/control and manufacturing engineering.

We are seeking talented candidates with:

  • First or upper second class degree in mechatronics/robotics/cybernetics/mechanical or related scientific discipline
  • First rate analytical and numerical skills, with a well-rounded academic background
  • Demonstrated ability to develop mechatronics/precision mechanical devices
  • Ability to develop kinematic and/or dynamic analysis of mechanical/robotic systems
  • Ability to simulate of complex mechatronics and to use finite element modelling
  • Ability to implement control and kinematics with hardware - in- the – loop
  • Background with relevant packages, (Matlab, C++, LabView)
  • A driven, professional and self-dependent work attitude is essential for the successful candidate
  • Experience of working within industry will be an advantage
  • The ability to produce high quality presentations and written reports

This is an excellent opportunity to work on a novel robotic system with strong links to industrial applications and key skills and knowledge in preparation for a high-impact, high-technology research or industrial career.

The scholarship on offer (to eligible students) comprises a tax-free stipend of £14,296 a year; tuition fees paid and a generous study package.

Eligibility: Only UK Higher Education “Home Fee” status applicants and EU residents satisfying the three-year residency requirement are eligible.

Please contact the UTC director for further information.

UTC director: Prof. Dragos Axinte. Email: Tel: 011595 14117

Deadline: Until the position is filled. Please quote ref. ENG993

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Midlands of England