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Innovation Centre

The Design and Engineering Innovation Centre is a series of workshops and laboratories fitted with a wide range of equipment and tools that are for the dedicated use of design and engineering students, researchers and related industries. By using this equipment to create and develop your prototypes, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of engineering products and the production process itself, which will be invaluable once you’re working in the engineering or product design industry.

In addition, the Innovation Centre incorporates experimental labs to support the research being undertaken in the department. Find further information and pictures highlighting the facilities via the drop down arrows and area below.

"Technicians Peter Vivian and Paul Smart built a Dalek from off-cuts to demonstrate hand skills, techniques and materials on the Product Design course. No 3D printing, laser cutting or CNC machining was used in the process."

Robert Gardiner, Design Centre Manager .

Relevant courses:

MDes/BSc/BA (Hons) Product Design

MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

BSc (Hons) Design Engineering

Using industry-standard equipment throughout your course really prepares you for the world of work. You’ll see the benefit of this in a professional environment during your placement year, where you will gain additional experience and understand your strengths and competencies. 

Electronics Manufacturing, Demo and Design Labs

There are a wide range of support facilities available to students to support their learning and help them create fully functional electronic prototypes. 

Hardware and Software facilities include:

PCB routing machine
Function Generator
Power Supply
Bench Multimeter
Handheld Multimeter
Soldering Station

We have software which includes:

Proteus- An Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tool which includes:

Schematic Capture
PCB Layout

MPLAB- integrated development environment for the development of embedded applications on PIC microcontrollers. It is developed by Microchip Technology.

ARDUINO- an open-source Arduino Software (IDE) makes it easy to write codes and upload it to the board (it runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux).

Engineering Workshop

Contains a wide range of machines and equipment suitable for the manufacture of engineering components, including the following:

8 high-specification Emco lathes
Colchester lathes
4 milling machines with digital readouts
Radial drill
CNC lathe
CNC plasma cutter
Haas CNC Tool Room Mill with 4th axis
Welding equipment including MIG, TIG and spot welding

Heat and Thermofluids Lab

Bernoulli’s Principle
Frictional Flow Characterisation
Fluid Property
Free/Forced Convection
Heat Conduction
Heat Exchanger
Solar Thermal Energy (Flat Plat)

Materials, Stress and Dynamics Lab

A modern laboratory environment for developing the understanding of the mechanics of materials:

A full set of TecQuipment’s Engineering Science kits                  
Bending moments in a beam                                          
Shear force in a beam                                                    
Unsymmetrical bending and shear centre
Thin cylinder
Thick cylinder
Continuous and indeterminate beam
Unsymmetrical cantilever
Strain gauge trainer
Whirling of shafts
Static and dynamic balancing
Free and forced vibrations
Simple and compound pendulums
Free torsional vibrations
Data acquisition kit for dynamic analysis
Instron Hydraulic Testing Machine
Strain guage experimental analysis equipment
Photoelastic Analysis equipment

Prototyping Workshops

Two large workshop spaces plus a separate machine shop with intelligent dust extraction system, and a dedicated finishing room. They are equipped with hand tools and benches to allow design and engineering students to prototype in a wide range of materials, including wood, plastics and metals, and also house the following equipment:

Vacuum formers
Milling machines
Belt, spindle and disc sanders
Power tools including routers, Dremels and jigsaws
Line bender and sheet metal folder
Wood lathe
Fly press
Ventilated spray booth and spray guns
Powder coating oven

Postgraduate Design Lab

As well as having access to the rest of the Innovation Centre facilities, postgraduate students have their own dedicated Design Lab. This features prototyping bench space alongside 20 PC workstations and virtual reality equipment. There is also a Casting and Composites Lab, equipped with a Vacuum Casting machine and ovens, for specialist RTV silicone, resin and composite manufacture.

Rapid Prototyping Facility

Primarily aimed at supporting the SciTech Design and Engineering courses, 3D printing has been progressively integrated into our taught units over the past three years. The lab is also available for personal/consultancy projects from students, staff and industry.

Our fleet of 3d printers include MakerBot 5th Generation and MakerBot Z18 FDM printers which are fantastic for producing early prototypes at low cost as well as providing our students with a hands-on introduction to 3d printing. For more specialist applications we use our collection of Formlabs, Form2 Stereolithography printers which provide access to a wide variety of engineering resins to print with and can produce models with exceptionally fine details. For larger prints we turn to our industrial grade Fortus 360mc fusion deposition modeller, printing in ABS plastic it produces models with exceptional accuracy and reliability with the added advantage of using a dissolvable support material which can significantly reduce post processing time.   

Located in a new purpose-built facility that brings together all of the department’s 3D printing and laser cutting capabilities it has allowed us to streamline workflows and improve efficiency. Split into two clearly defined areas the pre-processing area (clean side) houses the; 3D printers, CAD workstations, laser cutter and a meeting/discussion area. The post-processing area is used for cleaning and finishing of printed models; this ranges from the initial removal of support material to the preparation of surfaces ready for painting.