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Additive Manufacturing for Modular Robotic System Design

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2019
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU)


PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated approximately $63 billion in net revenue in 2016, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. PepsiCo pride themselves on their superb work force. The people in their business genuinely care about doing a great job! They have a common goal - strive to continuously improve their business performance and their own personal development.

Current pricing, speed and safety have been the key challenges in unlocking the potential of robotics within PepsiCo and there is a desire to research into a ‘3D printed robot technology’ to integrate with the packaging halls of the company’s manufacturing sites globally.

The aim of this research project is to create and develop an advanced prototype of a modular robotics design system. The system will enable the user to specify, design and produce the appropriate data for the manufacture of bespoke robotic systems for utilisation within the food production and packaging industry. A combination of experimental, analytical and additive manufacturing design techniques will need be developed in order to determine the best and most efficient approach to solving this problem.

At the highest level the project can be divided in to the following specific areas -

1. An intuitive robot specification, design and user interface platform;

2. 3D printed robot component design;

3. User programming and control interface.

4. Artificial Intelligence based system to allow the robot to make decisions about speed, pick and place.

The aspiration of the project is to deliver an advanced system prototype for robotic system design and implementation.

Previous applicants can re-apply to this studentship.


Professor Philip Breedon

Ahmed Khan

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

How to apply

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 23:59 pm (UK time) 2 April 2019.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

The studentship will pay UK/EU tuition fees (currently set at £4,260 for 2018/19 and are revised annually). It will also provide a maintenance stipend of approximately £14,777 per year for three years (the stipend is linked to the RCUK rate, starting in 2018).

This studentship is to 50% funded by PepsiCo and 50% funded by NTU. A contractual PhD bursary agreement is in place and successful applicants would be required to sign this agreement.

Guidance and support

Further guidance and support on how to apply can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Philip Breedon