Intelligent and Interoperable Manufacturing Systems

Providing industrial solutions to achieving an intelligent and interoperable manufacturing environment.

Established in 1999, the Intelligent and Interoperable Manufacturing Systems (IIMS) research group is one of top research teams in the world conducting research on smart machining (e.g. STEP-compliant design and manufacturing), service-oriented manufacturing (e.g. cloud manufacturing) and customer-centric product design (e.g. product configuration and additive manufacturing).

The IIMS research group aims to provide industrial solutions for industry to achieving an intelligent and interoperable manufacturing environment. IIMS is now internationally recognised and has established extensive cooperation relationships with many research teams from overseas, research institutes and industries.

Our research

Smart machining

We work on developing next generation Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining systems centred around the deployment of STEP-NC to replace the 60-year-old G-code model for CNC machining. Unlike G-code, the STEP-NC model data brings design information such as feature and tolerance into execution of machining processes. This way, the machine tool is empowered with richer data for it to be smarter. The group has now established a strong base in this research field, which is internationally recognised as being in the vanguard of intelligent and interoperable manufacturing research.

Some projects include:

  • STEP-NC enabled intelligent machining and condition monitoring, energy-efficient machining, STEP-NC controller, STEP-NC based CNC machines control strategy, and CNC system
  • STEP-based model-based design and manufacturing
  • Cyber physical machine tools for smart manufacturing
  • Machining simulation (including high-fidelity machining simulation and Web-based machining simulation)

Customer-centric product design

With concentrations on product configuration and development, and system development, including:

  • Product configuration system in a cloud environment
  • Design for additive manufacturing in a cloud environment
  • Conceptual design for mass personalisation in OKP companies
  • Design and development of novel hearing technology devices
  • Enabling technology for rapid development of high value-added customised product
  • Knowledge management technologies to support product development in medium-sized high technology enterprises

Service-oriented manufacturing

With a focus on a newly emerging service-oriented manufacturing concept – cloud manufacturing, which extends the concept of Cloud Computing to manufacturing, so that their capabilities and resources are componentised, integrated, optimised and provisioned globally, creating a new industry paradigm. Topics include:

  • Resource service scheduling in cloud manufacturing
  • Design of a hybrid cloud manufacturing environment for rapid production of personalised products
  • Cloud Manufacturing in Modern Industry from an Industrie 4.0 Perspective
  • Ontology for Cloud-based Manufacturing
  • PRSS-based production control in Cloud manufacturing

Our people


Affiliated staff

Postdoctoral researchers

  • Dr Yongkui Liu: Cloud manufacturing enterprise modelling; dynamic resource service scheduling in cloud manufacturing; Industry 4.0
  • Dr Jenny Xu: Dual-resource constrained scheduling systems

Visiting scholars

  • Dr Tiegang Zang, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Dr Xuemin Gu, Northwestern University of Technology
  • Dr Zhongyi Mei, Beihang University
  • Dr Qiunan Meng, Dalian University of Technology
  • Dr Linzhen Zhou, Yancheng Institute of Technology
  • Dr Xiaofeng Xu, Zhejiang A&F University
  • Dr Wei Sun, Dalian University of Technology

Visiting PhD students

  • YuanYuan Zhao: Ontology for Cloud-based manufacturing
  • Chunyang Yu: PRSS-based production control in Cloud manufacturing
  • Honghui Wang: Research on design method of CNC machining energy consumption knowledge platform based on ontology
  • Ke Wang: A CNC system based on real-time Ethernet and Windows NT
  • Terry Zhang: Web-based machining simulation
  • Alireza Mokhtar: Feature interactions for prismatic parts in STEP-NC

Useful links