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Aura CDT & Siemens Gamesa PhD Scholarship: Blade Factory Digital Twin for Recording and Analysing Production Parameters

Aura CDT

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Dr Peter Osborne , Prof J Gilbert , Prof David Wagg No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Hull United Kingdom Chemical Engineering Civil Engineering Data Analysis Energy Technologies Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Materials Science

About the Project

The UK is committed to the use of offshore wind energy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The EPSRC-NERC Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment enables delivery of this target by developing solutions to key offshore wind sector challenges; thereby supporting a sustainable energy supply. In partnership with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), a 4-year taught and research industry-sponsored Aura CDT PhD is offered. The PhD directly addresses sector needs to understand the application of digital twins to predict real world performance of turbine blades 

Wind turbine blades are some of the largest composite structures currently manufactured and they are becoming larger and more sophisticated. Blades are manufactured in SGRE’s Hull facility through a number of complex manual and machine-based processes. In order to monitor and improve these processes a digital twin of them is required. A digital twin is a digital representation of the processes and procedures within the manufacturing environment, displayed and modelled as close to real time as possible. As such, a digital twin is a very powerful tool which can be used to combine the many and complex data streams inside the factory environment into a single simulation; from that simulation, data can then be monitored to help improve machine or process efficiencies, reduce safety risks, and make other general improvements. 

Working with SGRE, the largest manufacturer of offshore wind turbines, you will investigate the end-to-end production process inside the Hull factory environment and identify the key aspects and data models that are needed to create the type of simulation that is desired. The work is supported by SGRE and will involve close collaboration with SGRE colleagues in the UK and Denmark.

The project aims are:

·      Identify all relevant parameters affecting the blade manufacturing process and further identify which of these could contribute to the digital twin simulation.

·      Explore how to digitalise the data collection infrastructure of the manufacturing process while considering the connectivity of machinery and edge devices.

·      A clear end-to-end process and storage map that would show what is required for a digital twin. This in terms of both technical requirements and in process terms.

·      Create a digital twin along-side our plant simulation team, adding value in module development from the identified issues.

·      Develop techniques to analyse data to establish any correlations between specific parameters and known defects and implement inside the created digital twin.

·      Storage and future applications of ‘as-built’ blade digital twins considering client-side storage and rendering in a real manufacturing environment.

·      Understand and identify creative ways to display complex data in a simple way that makes intuitive sense. 

The post is available from September 2021 as a full-time position. You will join Cohort 3 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD in Sheffield supported by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

For more information visit

Student Profile

We would like to hear from candidates with a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Mechanical or Chemical Engineering or related disciplines with experience of modelling mechanical systems and/or manufacturing processes.

Please contact [Email Address Removed] for further guidance or questions.


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘Home” student rate and maintenance (£15,560 per annum, 2021/22 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Applications close on Sunday 24 January 2021; interviews will take place in February.

Apply now

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