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  • Posted: 11 October 2018
  • Closing Date: 30 November 2018
  • Region: Edinburgh

National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, Industry  Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing

Heriot-Watt University,  School of Engineering & Physical Sciences,  Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Prof M J Daniel Esser, Prof Andrew Moore, Dr Ian Thomson

Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students)


Research Challenge

This industrial doctorate research challenge is to develop and exploit digitally-enabled manufacturing methods, including laser-based production of micro-optics, laser-welding of glass to metal, and metal additive manufacturing, to design and demonstrate high-power laser sources optimised specifically for 3D additive manufacturing machines.

The laser source in industrial systems dictate the system design and is usually the highest cost component of the system. Mainstream industrial sources, such as high-power fibre lasers, have a major impact on the systems’ cooling requirements, optical designs, architectures, factory floor space and ultimately on production costs.

The UK industry has determined that, in the long term, the cost of industrial laser systems must be reduced by a factor of 5, whilst the efficiency and performance must be increased by a factor of 30, as laid out in the “Laser-based Manufacturing Applications: UK Roadmap-2014.”

These significant challenges can be addressed by utilising emerging manufacturing methods, as well as adopting a whole-system redesign to fulfil application-specific requirements.

Therefore, the project aim is to design, develop and demonstrate novel laser systems utilising emerging digital manufacturing processes, with the specific goal of embedding the laser source into industrial powder bed additive layer manufacturing machines.

More details of the project objectives and collaborative plan will be provided to interested candidates.

Location & Facilities

This project will be hosted in the fully developed research labs and facilities of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-Based Production Processes (CIM-Laser) at Heriot-Watt University. The last 5 years of significant public and industrial investment in CIM-Laser has resulted in leading expertise and facilities for the laser-based production processes that will be exploited in this project, in particular industrial laser development (led by Prof Daniel Esser), ultra-short-pulse materials processing including laser bonding of glass to metal (Prof Duncan Hand and Dr Richard Carter), as well as the fundamental understanding of metal powder bed & laser beam interaction (Prof Andrew Moore). []

Industry co-supervision

The student will be jointly supervised by Prof Esser and Prof Moore at Heriot-Watt and Dr Ian Thomson at Renishaw, with full access to the relevant Renishaw and CIM-Laser lab areas and equipment. The student will engage as an “early adopter” with the Innovate UK UltraWELD consortium who is in the process of industrialising this new manufacturing technology. []

Funding Notes

This 4-year project is funded by the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland through the Industry  Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing, as well as Renishaw PLC in Edinburgh. The prestigious studentship covers a stipend of £15 000 per year, full fees, as well as project delivery costs such as international travel, access to equipment and project material costs. Funding is available UK residents and EU nationals.

Project start date

The intended project start date is 1 December 2018, although alternative arrangements can be made if warranted.


Please send a CV including 2 references to Prof. Daniel Esser at

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