School of Engineering Accessible Tour

Engineering atrium

A tall and spacious atrium with a large set of wooden stairs in the centre of the room leading to the upper floors. On either side of the atrium are doors to access the Additive and Mechanical Engineering Labs, as well as the Main Lab which houses the Strong Floor. There are glass cases displaying various projects created within the School. The stairs lead to the other labs, as well as a breakout space designed for our students to work together and socialise.

Designed by architects John McAslan and Partners and opened in 2015, the Engineering Building has won three RIBA awards, including the British Construction Industry Award.

Advanced Manufacturing Lab 01

In the first half of the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, there is a row of robotic arms on one side, and a row of 3D printers on the other. A large 3D-printed statue of a Greek goddess stands to one side, next to a large 3D printer.

The Advanced Manufacturing Lab is focused around Industry 4.0 Technologies, the growing trend of automation and data exchange in technology and processes within the manufacturing industry. Teaching, undergraduate project work, and postgraduate research are all completed within this space.

Robotic Arms

There are two types of Robotic Arms on display: the UR5 and the UR10.

The UR5 is a lightweight, adaptable collaborative industrial robot that tackles medium-duty applications with ultimate flexibility.

The UR10 us an extraordinarily versatile collaborative industrial robot, delivering both high payload (12.5kg) lift and long reach (1300mm) which makes it well-suited for a wide range of applications.

3D Printers

An Extreme Pro 2000 3D printer, with a statue of a Greek goddess stood next to it.

Additive manufacturing uses data computer-aided design (CAD) software or 3D object scanners, to direct hardware to deposit material layer upon layer, in precise geometric shapes. 3D printing I most often used for prototyping, and its ability to quickly manufacture a single part enables the validation of ideas in a cost-effective manner. The statues you see were printed in the Extreme Pro 2000 in three parts, and used as part of a display for Burberry in Harrods, London.

Advanced Manufacturing Lab 02

In the second half of this lab, a number of advanced manufacturing machines (including a CNC Lathe and a Manufacturing cell) are located along the back wall, alongside a computer.

Manufacturing Cell

A large cuboid Manufacturing cell, located in the back corner of the lab.

Traditional manufacturing relies on specialised plants and production lines that offer little or no flexibility. Advanced manufacturing entails a wide range of production processes that make full use of capital equipment, while also being more efficient, effective, and responsive. Our manufacturing cell has a fully-automatic assembly line and the Active Mover linear motor transfer system.

Additive Manufacturing Lab

A small lab, with a variety of laser-based manufacturing machines. There is sPro 60 SLS laser printer in the centre of the room.

The Additive Manufacturing Lab makes use of laser-based processes for polymers and metals to create free-form, geometrical objects that can have complex internal features. Such objects would not be possible using traditional subtractive engineering methods.


The sPro 60 SLS laser printer, a large cuboid printer.

The lasers in the Additive Manufacturing Lab use either Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) or Selective Laser Melting (SLM) to manufacture items within the lab. SLS uses a laser to sinter (or heat treat) powdered material before a laser transcribes the 2D solid to be formed. A new layer of powder is rolled over the top of each layer, and the process is repeated to create the final 3D object. SLM users a variety of alloys atomise fine powders into a solid mass.

Mechanical Project Lab

A large mechanical engineering workshop. In the centre is a Formula One-style car, made by the Formula Student team.

The Mechanical Engineering Lab is the home of the Formula Student team here at Lancaster. Formula Student is an international racing competition of a single-seater racing car covering a number of static judging (design, marketing and cost) and different dynamic (acceleration, sprint, endurance) events.

Formula Student Car

A white, blue, and red Formula One-style car with the number 56 written on the side and the Lancaster logo on the spoiler.

Lancaster students designed, built, and tested this Formula Student vehicle as an integrated MEng projects with a small team of 15-20 students. The car is electrically powered and has a detailed set of regulations that it must adhere to in order to compete.

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Breakout Space

An airy room with large windows and rows of long wooden benches and tables. On some of the walls are large blackboards and shelves of books, on others, windows looking into Chemical Engineering Labs.

The breakout space is an informal area to get together with friends and colleagues to discuss group work, have a social catch-up, or spend some time in private study. A research presentation event hosts an informal “20 minutes of engineering” here on a regular basis and is an opportunity to find out some of the latest goings on.

Computer Teaching Lab

A large lab with several rows of computers and Smart Boards at either end.

Modern engineering involves the use of specialised software and the Computer Teaching Lab is used to teach the various software tools that allow the creation of virtual prototypes. The room is also used for digital electronics and programming for embedded systems. Some packages allow download of a student licence and the School also has a virtual server allowing all the software to be accessed remotely.

Engineering Projects Lab

A fairly large lab with lots of electronic and electrical engineering equipment and several benches to work at. At one end is a glass room contain the wave tube. In the centre of the room is an electrical grid.

Engineering projects form an important part of learning and all programmes undertake a major dissertation project lasting a full academic year. These projects are typically associated to one of our research groups or have industrial links and this space is used for projects where experimental work or physical prototyping and construction is necessary.

Electrical Grid

A large, flat grid with a number of different switches and buttons.

The Electrical Grid is used to simulate electrical systems and multi-phase power systems with connection of motors and other electrical hardware.

Wave Tube

A glass room in the corner of the Projects Lab, containing several pieces of equipment including a Wave Tube.

Research within the Electronic Engineering Research Group includes microwave, millimetre waves and THz research. The Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology design and build particle accelerators, specialising in high-frequency electromagnetic systems, from the large machines like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to the small radiotherapy machines in every hospital.

Electronic Lab

A large room organised into rows of benches, with soldering irons, oscilloscopes, signal generators and power supplies situated on shelves above.

Electronics and sensors are ubiquitous in modern devices and all students are therefore required to understand the fundamentals of such systems. The Electronics Teaching Lab is equipped with equipment such as oscilloscopes, signal generators, and power supplies to allow prototyping and practical work in electronics to take place. In second year, most undergraduates will complete an interdisciplinary project to design, build, and test a small mobile guided vehicle applying their project management and team working skills.

Chemical Engineering Lab

A small lab containing a variety of equipment used in chemical engineering. In one corner is a distillation column, whilst the other side of the room houses a gas analyser, UV spectrometer, and a cooling tower.

The Chemical Engineering Teaching Lab is where students work in small groups to rotate around an assortment of experimental apparatus to engage and learn about industrial processes along with the associated health and safety, COSHH assessment, and substance controls.

Distillation column

A tall piece of equipment enclosed in a blue metal frame. It is made up of a long vertical shell, a reboiler, condenser, and a reflux drum.

The Distillation column is used in the investigation of pressure drops across a column, column efficiency, and temperature monitoring within a system. Samples can be taken to measure different components such as refractive index.

Gas analyser

The Thermo Scientific Trace 1300 gas analyser next to a large gas canister, used for gas chromatography.

Gas chromatography (GC) is a common type of chromatography used in analytical chemistry for separating and analysing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Typical uses of GC include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture. The Thermo Scientific Trace 1300 has incredibly adaptability in which detectors can be switched in and out dependant on the test.

UV Spectrometer

A UV Spectrometer, made up of a plastic base and a control pad.

The UV Spectrometer performs the analysis of samples via absorption or transmittance in the ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy region. It is used for quantitate analysis of different analytes within a solution.

Cooling Tower

The computer-controlled water-cooling tower comprises a cooling tower mounted on top of a heated water reservoir.

As the water descends through the packing materials, it is fan cooled by air blowing upwards through the tower. Energy and mass balances are obtained where the air flow, water flow, temperature, packing density and operation can be investigated.

Team Project Centre

A brightly-lit room comprising of rows of desks and computers, with a number of whiteboards located around the room.

A significant element of engineering is around teamwork and this space is dedicated to the large integrated projects that undergraduates complete during year four of their studies. It is a space for project planning, collaboration, research, systems design and modelling as well as small-scale assembly and test. It is reserved for this purpose and is not timetabled for teaching and forms very much a technical base for the fourth year of undergraduate study.

Workshop Mezzanine

A small, raised area overlooking the Main Lab and Strong Floor, with a wind tunnel at one side, used to test undergraduate engineering projects, and desks housing a variety of electronic equipment on the other.

Wind tunnel

A large, metal wind tunnel, with a control panel situated in front of it.

Wind tunnels form an essential piece of experimental test equipment in the domain of fluids. Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) codes have come a long way, but virtual model simulation still requires validation, and this is typically achieved by taking measurements around real physical scale models. One of the projects completed by first-year undergraduates is the design of a small wind turbine which is manufactured using additive techniques and tested in the wind tunnel.

Main Lab

A large, double-height lab space used for a variety of project spaces. In one corner is a cage housing the robotics area. In the centre is a large platform housing more mechanical engineering equipment. At the far end, the Strong Floor can be seen.

Not everything in engineering fits nicely onto a desktop and this flexible space provides the opportunity to create our own large structures, typically around composite and recycled materials testing as well as numerous working spaces for projects in robotics and renewable energy.

Robotics area

A caged-off area in the Main Lab containing a large yellow robot and a number of robotics arms.

The School has active research in a number of areas of robotics from laser welding and collaborative manufacturing through to nuclear decommissioning activities and novel control systems. Undergraduate projects often link with this and other areas of research.

Main Lab – Strong Floor

A large section of the Main Lab with a reinforced floor containing a forklift truck and various testing machines.

The Strong Floor is a flexible area to create large structures and apply significant forces and loads. This can be used to test recycled materials for flood defence walls, safety equipment, or even large vehicles.

Test Machines

The Test Machines are designed to put a material (or structure) under load and monitor how the material behaves. Undergraduates begin using such equipment in first year and may do a significant project using it.

Mechanical Engineering Teaching Lab

A large lab split into two halves. One half is comprised of rows of benches with vices attached to them; the other half contains a variety of equipment used in mechanical engineering including drills and guillotines.

The Mechanical Engineering Teaching Lab is a space utilised for design and fabrication work of many mechanical teaching lab activities and student project work, complemented by specialist facilities. First year activities include the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechEng) engineering design challenge, structures box beam, thermodynamics gas lab, and the design and build of a small wind turbine.