Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Engineering

First Supervisor

Dr Majid Tolouei-Rad

Second Supervisor

Dr Kevin Hayward


This work focuses on special purpose machine tools (SPMs), providing a modular platform for performing drilling-related operations. One of the main challenges in using SPMs is selecting the most appropriate machine tool among many alternatives. This thesis introduces a feasibility analysis procedure developed to support decision-making through the assessment of the strengths and limitations of SPMs. To achieve this, technical and economic feasibility analyses, a sensitivity analysis, and an optimisation model were developed and a case study was provided for each analysis. The results indicated that although technical feasibility analysis leads decision-makers to select a feasible machine tool, complementary analyses are required for making an informed decision and improving profitability. Accordingly, a mathematical cost model was developed to perform economic and sensitivity analyses and investigate the profitability of any selected SPM configuration. In addition, an optimisation procedure was applied to the cost model in order to investigate the effect of process parameters and the SPM configuration on the decision-making. Finally, the developed analyses were then integrated into a model in a proper sequence that can evaluate whether the SPM is appropriate for producing the given part and achieving higher productivity. To validate this integrated model three different case studies were presented and results were discussed. The results showed that the developed model is a very useful tool in assisting manufacturers to evaluate the performance of SPMs in comparison with other alternatives considered from different perspectives.

Included in

Engineering Commons