Invited Research Lecture: Recent Trends in Ultra Precision Machining - From University to Industrial Implementation

Date: 21 Mar 2007 - 21 Mar 2007

Venue: Auditorium, Tower Block, SIMTech, 71 Nanyang Drive


Ultra-precision machining plays more and more important roles in today’s manufacturing industries because of the rapid trends of minimising critical feature dimensions. Developing machines and equipment with ultra-high precision and accuracy will generate new opportunities and lead to breakthroughs. In this talk, the speaker will first give an overview on the recent trends in ultra-precision machining. A number of relevant research areas at Cranfield University will be highlighted, such as superabrasive grinding, diamond machining, micromachining, machine tool design. The talk will give examples of work carried out in each of these areas. In the superabrasive grinding field, the work concentrates on high efficiency deep grinding and examples will be given where a factor 40 reduction in processing times and much reduced process chain are shown. In diamond machining, grinding of optical quality surfaces, optimised removal rates, control of sub-surface damage and electronic in-process dressing (ELID) will be covered. In micromachining, the talk will concentrate primarily on the new equipment obtained by Cranfield and some of the initial work. An interesting project of developing machines to produce mirrors for very large telescopes, i.e., ELT (extra large telescope) will be also discussed.

About Mr Wills-Moren
Mr William (Bill) Wills-Moren served an apprenticeship in the Aircraft Industry in the UK, during which time he obtained a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering and the necessary endorsements to eventually become a Chartered Engineer. Following two years National Service in the Royal Air Force, he spent five years at a number of machine tool companies, his last appointment being Chief Engineer for Charles Churchill (Bedford) Ltd. During this time he obtained a Higher National Certificate in Production Engineering. He became a Chartered Engineer in 1967. He then moved to Cranfield in 1968 and spent 25 years with Cranfield Unit for Precision Engineering (CUPE), later Cranfield Precision Engineering Ltd. The first 19 years from were spent at CUPE which was a constituent part of the University. In 1987 CUPE was formed into Cranfield Precision Engineering Ltd. A company wholly owned by the University. In the early 1970's Bill was appointed Chief Engineer and later became Deputy Director. On the formation of the company, he became Technical Director. In 1987 he was appointed by the United Nations Development Program as Chief Technical Advisor to Chengdu Tool Research Institute to assist in the forming of a new Research Centre, the Development Centre for Dimensional Measuring Instruments and Machines. This was a part time job, taking approximately three weeks each year. In this role he visited China five times, the last visit being November 1992. During the 25 years at Cranfield, Bill was responsible for the design and development of a wide range of high precision machine systems for clients in many parts of the world. These included metrology systems for the US space programme, a large diamond turning machine for machining substrates 1.5 meters diameter and 1 meter long again for the space programme, a grinding machine for off-axis parabolas 1.5 meters x 1.5 meters x 0.6 meters in size, and many others.

He was also responsible for setting up and operation of the Ultra High Precision Machining Laboratory at Cranfield. This laboratory contains, amongst others, the UK's National Initiative on Nanotechnology Diamond Turning and Grinding Machine, the Large Diamond Turning Machine developed for turning X-ray telescope mirrors for the UK Science Research Council (mentioned earlier) and a seven axis grinding machine designed for the company of IBM and purchased back from them when their project was completed. These machines were all designed by the Cranfield staff under the guidance of Bill Wills-Moren. Work done in this laboratory included ductile machining of glass and ceramics.

In 1993 Bill took early retirement from Cranfield Precision and formed Wills-Moren Associates. He also became a Visiting Fellow of Cranfield University. Wills-Moren Associates carried out project work for many companies around the world including the UK, USA, Australia, Europe and South East Asia. The work for Cranfield University involved lecturing internally and externally around the world and various project work.
Bill is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (MIMechE), and a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (MIEE). He is also a member of European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology (euspen).

Who Should Attend

R&D managers, engineers and researchers in the areas of precision engineering, equipment/machine development, and manufacturing automation will find this lecture very informative and beneficial.


Free admission. All are welcome. Registration is on a first-come-first served basis.