KU Leuven

In-process measuring of large parts: Verify your workpiece while you can still react

2024-04-30 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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As part of the Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven, the Flexible Sheet Metal Working research group is specialised in the development of innovative processes for versatile sheet metal based production. For this purpose the research group works closely together with industrial partners, both machine tool developers and software solution suppliers. For the CNC controlled processes on which the research group focuses, the dimensional accuracy of the targeted parts is an important quality aspect and thus early feedback, while still in process, is key to facilitate adaptive strategies during which the accuracy can still effectively be improved. However, measuring in-process poses several challenges: geometric constraints in the machine environment, non-standardized ambient conditions such as temperature, process influences such as light effects, heat output, elastic deformation of the workpiece under gravity conditions etc. The envisaged in-process measurement system requires versatile and fast in-process measurements with intelligent reuse of information where relevant. The targeted methods and techniques will be of a generic nature, suitable for a wide applicability in a broad manufacturing domain where larger workpieces are to be treated.
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Zero scrap manufacturing and optimal quality assurance require timely verification of the achieved part accuracy during production.   For this purpose in-process dimensional measurement systems, contributing to a real time dimensional follow up of an emerging component, are envisaged.  The present non-contact measurement methods show limitations and the process conditions under which observations can be made need to be taken into account to determine a digital twin of the emerging workpiece.

This research is part of a large scale project, AccuPart,  in which several manufacturing process categories will be investigated in parallel by collaborating research teams. For large scale parts, characterized by large elastic deformations or possible temperature effects during production,  the development of dedicated hardware and software solutions for measuring in process has been initiated and a large scale operational experimental platform, compatible with industrial expectations, is available as result. Optimization of recurrent measurements based on process knowledge and advanced stitching techniques will allow fast updates of the digital models with minimal data collection delays. For this vacancy a focus on large sheet metal parts in a CNC forming and welding environment is selected.  Purpose is to provide timely feedback that can allow to adjust the process plan and process parameters in order to optimize the geometric output.


Valid candidates have a strong background in solid mechanics allowing to interpret the behaviour of larger structures under different load conditions.  They are familiar with geometric modelling, advanced CAD systems and exchange formats such as STL, STEP,...,  and they have some proficiency in programming, preferably in a Python environment. Mechanical engineers with a strong ICT interest, or Computer Scientists with a strong manufacturing fascination are relevant profiles.  Some experience with manufacturing processes in general and CNC programming and robotic systems form relevant assets.
Candidates should have distinguished themselves during their undergraduate and graduate studies and have the ambition to obtain a doctoral degree.


A PhD scholarship is available to support this research.  The candidate will work in a team of three research partner organizations and will intensively collaborate with colleagues focusing on complementary process categories and on facilitating non-contact measurement techniques.  The industrial relevance of the research work will be assured by interaction with a number of industrial end-users of the envisaged functionality.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Joost Duflou, tel.: +32 16 32 28 45, mail: joost.duflou@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

In-process measuring of large parts: Verify your workpiece while you can still react
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-04-30 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-04-30 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page