Open Systems and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies- QAN 603/0146/6


Purpose Statement

This qualification, though not explicit in the title and construction, is designed to be a truly cross-curricular qualification.  The main focus is on manufacturing, but it is broad ranging and covers science, design and ethics, so can be carried out in many subject areas as part of existing courses, without overlapping.  The main candidates would be students studying science and design technology, especially physics, since there is physics in varying degrees in most of the criteria.  However, the qualification could be taken by students studying a range of qualifications and the units can be interchanged so that students taking other qualifications with a similar unit value can interchange for existing units.  It is part of the widely recognised 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) promoted by the government.

Who is the qualification for?

This qualification is designed for students who are interested in the engineering and social dimensions of modern, high-tech manufacture.  All of the units explore the very latest technological advances in devices, both on earth, and out in space.  These devices are pushing the boundaries of philosophical and political issues about what it is to be a human being or what information do we really need and why.  The devices can be used for research, but also for war, so there is plenty for students to discuss and consider.  Many of the topics are changing daily, so students can participate in their own way to the ongoing debates and add their own perspectives.  Students studying this qualification will either need to be aware as citizens of the impact and strengths and weaknesses of these devices, or as engineers, they will need to know how to design them as a career in advanced engineering.

Who might be interested in taking this course?

All students who like gadgets and technology would be interested in this course, but also humanities students who are interested in the technology that dominates the 21st Century experience.  Robotics is increasingly replacing all levels of employment and students can explore what impact something like this will have on their planned future.

What will the student study as part of this qualification?

The students will study the science, design, manufacture and social issues related to some of the latest technologies around us.  The units of study are:

Credits TQT Notes
The Understanding and Appreciation of Rocket Science
4 45 hours This unit explores the forces and elements that play a part in understanding the engineering obstacles required to launch a rocket.  The unit looks at materials for construction and flight, as well as the testing required for success.  The unit also looks at the uses and possible future uses of this technology.
Working With Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
4 45 hours This unit explores what AI is and could be.  It explores the application of AI through robotics by creating simple control programs and using pre-made robots and robotic devices for testing and evaluation.  Candidates will explore robotics and assess its wider usage in society.
The Understanding and Application of Microsatellites
4 45 hours This unit explores the highly competitive industry of microsatellite construction and deployment. Candidates will explore some of the uses of the technology and investigate and test the materials and tools used to make the devices.  They will investigate how these tools and materials help in the journey to space, as well as the time in space.  They will investigate the social implications of so much space hardware.
The Development and Deployment of Unmanned Vehicles (UV)
4 45 hours This unit allows candidates to explore the creation and use of unmanned vehicles in different industries and environments.  As with the other units, they will explore the ideal materials and tools for manufacture and development and issues related to deployment in different situations.  They will also explore the social implications of these devices, especially in military settings.

The units of study are criteria based and will constitute the student’s coursework component.  They will then take an external examination for grading purposes.

Students will learn how to use common IT tools efficiently, safely and effectively as these underpin the learning process. They will demonstrate competence in real practical tasks involving the use of text, graphics and numbers with an emphasis on generic principles that can transfer between contexts. They will apply basic engineering and manufacturing techniques in a range of areas and use both real and simulated environments.  Increasingly higher level study depends on digital skills whether it is to publish work, search for information or re-use other people's work. There is no other subject that would not benefit from the learning that this qualification provides and the generic knowledge and understanding needed for it is essential for further study in any digital technologies and manufacturing subjects.  It will also equip students for the rapid technological changes occurring in these industries and more widely in society.

Which subjects will complement this course?

This course is an engineering course, but also involves some aspects of science so will be complemented by an understanding of the sciences and mathematics.  The course also has some social and political dimensions, so students can explore ideas from a humanities viewpoint.  It touches on most people's modern lives so there are aspects of PSRE and tutorial time could be used to discuss some of the implications.  There is always a certain amount of science fiction involved in these topics, so students can read and explore some of the fiction on these topics and also investigate the claims and hyperbole of manufacturers in their English subjects.  Many of the companies making devices are international, so MFL subjects could be used for investigating company websites and promotional materials.

L1 and L3 versions, or similar, will follow shortly to enable progression in this qualification.  The L3 Smart Product Design and Manufacture can be used for progression.


The following organisations have endorsed this qualification.

Trade Body

OpenUK-Logo-V1-WhiteBG-500x200OpenUK Endorsement

nmi-parent-logo-complete-lo NMI Support letter




AxelspaceAxelspace Endorsement (translation to follow)

embecosm-logo Letter of support

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