Developing Composites Design and Manufacturing in an SME for Assured Product Quality

  • Laxman Sivanathan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisEngineering Doctorate (EngD)


The research described in this thesis was carried out at Jo Bird and Co. Ltd., which is classified as a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). It manufactures glass-fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) enclosures to withstand the extreme environments experienced in the energy and marine industries. The company wanted to address several difficulties it faced with resin-transfer moulding (RTM) technology, in order to achieve defect-free manufacturing that would be capable of delivering value, quality and performance benefits to ensure the production of durable goods that could meet the requirements of specific industries and withstand the environments to which they were subjected. Furthermore, the company sought through the research to increase its capacity in areas such as design, manufacture, production capability, costing and testing. Research began in the midst of the difficulties that surrounded the RTM process at Jo Bird and then continued with the implementation of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology to understand and improve the company’s RTM manufacturing process. The overarching research question was developed as:
What are the impacts on product and production capability of choices of product material and processes that are led by design, manufacture, and structural performance, from the perspective of an SME (Jo Bird)?
Date of Award29 Sept 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorCarwyn Ward (Supervisor)

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