Future Engineering System: Data visualisation and usability evaluation

Graphic of cogs and a dock


The Future Engineering System (FES) is being developed in collaboration with numerous strategic partners including Rolls-Royce, Siemens, University of Sheffield, eQ Technologic, Sysemia and CFMS.The overarching objective of the research is to advance design engineering for the benefit of the engineering industry and UK economy.

The FES aims to reduce the cost and improve efficiency of design engineering by integrating design data and a) computationally testing how different design parameters for parts of an engine, will affect the engine as a whole and b) presenting engineers with simulated views of an engine and integrated data sets.

By doing these two things, engineering organisations can more quickly and accurately evaluate whether an engine design is worth progressing to manufacturing, thus saving time and money. This desired future state contrasts with the current situation wherein engineers do not know whether an engine design will work as expected until it is manufactured and physically tested which is extremely time-intensive and costly, particularly when a design fails. 

The role of the Socio-Technical Centre in this project is twofold. Using our research skills and knowledge of socio-technical systems, we will:

  • Conduct research with subject matter experts to understand what data people need to perform their job effectively, and in what format they want this data.
  • Conduct usability testing of the different FES interfaces developed by our strategic partners and provide feedback and guidance to them so that usability is maximised.    

Key topics: Usability, data visualisation, human-computer interaction, technology implementation, change management, process improvement, decision-making.