Lancaster Product Development Unit

The Engineering department at Lancaster is a broad-based engineering centre, with a record of innovative teaching, world-class research and integration with industry. The department has a wide range of research interests with an average annual research income in excess of £2.25m, nearly two thirds of which is in collaboration with industry.

As the business partnerships team for the Department, the Lancaster Product Development Unit (LPDU) is constantly engaged with industry and facilitates the effective use of knowledge exchange; allowing expertise to flow between the university and industry, helping to inspire technological innovation and functional product development.

The Unit - established in May 2002 - has a proven track record in delivering business support Projects to further the regional economic growth of the Northwest. Historically, this has been around the sectors of manufacturing, automotive and general engineering, however the range of companies and their diversity continues to grow.

Our partners

Our collaborators range from Northwest small and medium enterprises and global organisations such as QinetiQ, National Nuclear Laboratory, The Linde Group (formerly BOC Plc), Sellafield Nuclear Power Station, Bloodhound Supersonic Car Programme, BAE Systems, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and the Department for Transport

Our projects

We have successfully secured and delivered several multi-million pound projects. Between 2009-2013 we provided bespoke design and additive manufacturing technology expertise for 156 companies, creating over 45 new jobs and safeguarding over 100 new jobs.

We are currently delivering the following project:

Innovation in Manufacturing and Engineering

Leadership and innovation skills for small and medium-sized businesses

A seven month programme starting November 2015 run by Lancaster University’s Engineering Department, Lancaster University Management School, in partnership with BAE Systems.

IME focuses on three interlinked themes to help you and your business: Innovation, Technology and Leadership.

More information

Our expertise

We have a team of specialist engineers that can offer expertise in the following areas:

  • In-depth product development
  • Conceptual design to generation of manufacturing drawings
  • Generation of 3D animations for marketing and attracting investment
  • Testing of the structural integrity of products in a virtual prototyping environment
  • Facilitation of collaboration with relevant academics who specialise and conduct research in relevant fields
  • For eligible companies, the part-subsidisation of design software upgrades and hardware upgrades as required
  • Facilitation of student placement projects, allowing high calibre adults to look at a particular design problem for your business
  • Signposting and advice for the next stage in the manufacturing process

Our research

Members of the Engineering Department have experience in a wide range of research, with particular strengths in Micro-Nano Systems, E-MIT, Energy, and Structures and Manufacturing.

The Product Development Unit also conducts its own research and the research diversity of the Unit continues to grow, vibrantly and successfully.

See our Research section for more details.

Access our facilities

See our Facilities section for more details.

Funding for business support

Core funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with some additional funding coming from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Historic funding has been secured from the North West regional Development Agency (NWDA), the EU Interreg IIIC imitative, the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

Previous projects

Previous funded projects include a European Regional Development project Funded Virtual Prototyping Project, a European Social Fund project- the Construction and Design Innovation Project in collaboration with Preston College, CAS:CADE (Consultancy and Support: Computer Aided Design and Engineering) Project, Rapid Manufacturing (supply chain, part optimisation and customisation) and Sustainable Product Development- a carbon footprinting project targeted at SMEs aimed at helping them to understand and reduce their impacts related to climate change.

Our last project was The Sustainable Design for Rapid/Additive Manufacturing: Engineering Design Academy - SusDRaM:EDA.

Download a one-page summary of the SusDRaM:EDA Project.