Award recognises university collaboration with specialist vehicle manufacturer

from left: Chris Lambert, Programme Manager, School of Engineering; Tom Pagen Design Engineer, Atkinson Vos Ltd; Dr Stephen Quayle School of Engineering; Ed Dale Design Engineer, Atkinson Vos Ltd and Tom Abram, School of Engineering.
from left: Chris Lambert, Programme Manager, School of Engineering; Tom Pagen Design Engineer, Atkinson Vos Ltd; Dr Stephen Quayle School of Engineering; Ed Dale Design Engineer, Atkinson Vos Ltd and Tom Abram, School of Engineering.

Lancaster University has been recognised for its collaboration with Atkinson Vos Ltd, a specialist tractor and trailer company based in North Yorkshire.

Atkinson Vos Ltd worked with the School of Engineering alongside The Boro’ Foundry, ADI Treatments and Partline Group to produce a new component for their three-point linkage and pick-up hitch.

The award for Cast Component of the Year was presented to Atkinson Vos Ltd by Cast Metals Federation, the UK’s representative body for foundries and casting.

The concept started with two student projects which were completed in the first half of 2021 as part of integrated Master’s programmes where students work in teams on industry defined and supported projects.

These student groups were part supervised by Laurie Kent who was undertaking a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Lancaster University and Atkinson Vos.

Dr Stephen Quayle, Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of Engineering, said: “Working with Atkinson Vos has enriched the educational experience that our MEng students receive. The short industry projects have allowed them to expand their horizons and apply their learning to a real industrial problem, I’m really pleased that this has been recognised externally with the award.”

Atkinson Vos Ltd Managing Director, Simon Ward said: “Working with Lancaster University has been enormously beneficial on our design and engineering journey. The student projects have provided us with excellent data to verify our methods and have helped to accelerate progress on our ideas. They have also provided the means for us to recruit two of our most talented graduate engineers.”

Two of the students that contributed to these projects have since started working for the company. Ed Dale and Tom Pagen are both now Design Engineers after completing MEng degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

Ed Dale said: “This really highlights the benefit to all parties involved with industry linked projects. We at Atkinson Vos have ended up with a great result and I know it has helped a number of students gain valuable experience, myself included. I am delighted that everyone’s efforts on this have been recognised.”

Tom Pagen said “What a fantastic result for everyone’s hard work and collaboration. I am very grateful to have worked with Atkinson Vos for my industry linked group project as it led to an offer of a summer internship with the company and my eventual graduate position. This highlights how invaluable industry experience is for young engineers and their future careers.”

Judges for the awards recognised the collaborative way in which a number of partners worked together to solve the problem. They were particularly impressed with how something that started as a student project has since been manufactured into a final product, generating revenue for the business.

The part is a component in the Atkinson Vos pick up hitch and three-point linkage which they design and retrofit to Unimogs to allow them to pull trailers and mount a number of different implements. This previously fabricated part was completely redesigned for casting, and after a few iterations and lots of analysis they had a much stronger part which improved the geometry of the linkage and looks neater too.

Atkinson Vos Ltd and Lancaster University’s School of Engineering have worked together over several years on a number of student projects, graduate talent pipeline and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership funded by Innovate UK.

The award beat off stiff competition from companies such as Bentley, who entered their new cast stainless steel Illuminated Flying B bonnet ornament.

Student projects can offer external organisations the opportunity to work with a group of talented people in helping to solve a problem, developing a product or improving a process.

Lancaster University is currently recruiting for the next round of projects which will take place in March and June 2023.

Atkinson Vos Ltd Managing Director Simon Ward said: “I’d recommend any businesses with engineering challenges get in touch with Chris Lambert at Lancaster University to discuss their ideas”.

Expressions of interest (EoI) can be submitted using the form at the link below; the deadline for EoIs, for March is 6th February 2023, 12:00hrs.

For companies that would like to get involved with Engineering student projects, more information is available here:

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