The School of Engineering provides the perfect setting for practical work with modern day teaching and learning facilities. We pride ourselves on equipping our students with the skill set that they need not only working on industry standard equipment, but having industrial links, which set them up perfectly for a career in engineering.
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We are currently undertaking a £340 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. As part of this, our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5 million investment to include a new maker area, engineering labs and equipment.
We have invested in industry-standard facilities to support the practice-based elements of our Engineering courses and give students as much practical learning as possible, to prepare for industry placements and job opportunities after graduation. Students have access to our facilities during classes, and can book out of class sessions with our specialist technicians.
We are a partner of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT) and have secured £1.1 million of government funding for investment in brand-new equipment and facilities. Funding of £808,000 from the Department for Education has supported our development of an Electric Vehicle (EV) Test Rig, an Additive Manufacturing Machine (3D printer) and a material testing-split zone furnace.
The IoT has enabled procurement of new technologies for material testing, electronics prototyping and production and 3D scanning to compliment computer aided design for manufacture including:
- Live streaming video cameras and auxiliary equipment
- CAD workstation
- Metallurgical Microscope
- Split zone furnace
- PCB machine
- Heat shrink tooling system
- 3D scanner
- Pick and place machine (circuit board component configuration)
- Reflow oven
- Raspberry PI and auxiliary
Engineering is a fast paced and continuously evolving profession to go into. We like to make sure that we maintain that pace and students can rest assured knowing they'll be studying and utilising equipment that is relevant for their future career.
MATLAB and Simulink
We offer a campus-wide license for MATLAB, Simulink, and add-on products, on and off campus, on any device. The license includes access to MathWorks learning resources and self-paced online trainings to quickly develop your MATLAB and Simulink skills.
Test Cell Facilities
The University Test Cell Facilities are used to enable:
- Development and delivery of related CPD, Apprenticeships, Undergraduate and Postgraduate provision. This may include understanding and application of: machine equipment digital control systems, system/component testing and identifying/analysing applicable test specifications/regulations for automotive component verification (including performance data).
- Development and delivery of research projects to reduce mass, weight, costs, lead times and enhance safety critical products and components.
- Provision of a service to start-ups and businesses for system/component prototype and end product testing. Example: Pre-testing data analysis for automotive component verification. This may include digital twinning to assist such areas as automotive components/systems testing could give a business the ability to stimulate testing scenarios and uncover data driven options for optimisation of its counterpart in real-time, in-order to introduce improvements in build, efficiency, sustainability or safety.
XYZ Machine Tools
We have invested £420,000 in seven new machines from specialist manufacturer XYZ Machine Tools, including:
- Three lathes
- Two mills
- Vertical Machining Centre
- Turning Centre
These machines are used by our students, workshop technicians and engineering staff to develop real-world manufacturing skills. They replicate real-world machinery, so by learning how to operate these machines on our courses, our students can develop skills to use that are needed from employers.
The lathes and the mills have a shared control system, which allow operators to switch from machine to machine very easily. This feature makes working on them more efficient for students who need to produce a large number of parts in a short space of time.
The environmental lab is part of the Centre for Low Carbon Research (CLCR) and is home of the bioenergy and bioprocessing research group at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. The suite is divided into three main areas a wet lab/pilot facility a fully equipped analytical suite and a microbiological lab. This newly refurbished facility offers state of the art analysis and testing of environmental samples as well as scientific evaluation of lab scale and pilot scale technologies and processes.
The analytical suite includes a broad range of instruments capable of testing the organic, inorganic and physical composition of samples. We also have instruments to test the composition and energy content of various fuel types.
The pilot facility is industry led and contains a 600 litre photobioreactor provided by our lead industrial sponsor Varicon Aqua Solutions Ltd. This is used to evaluate the cultivation of algae and the opportunities for bioremediation and carbon sequestration. A fully automated dosing system and harvesting and extraction system are also included in this facility
Our microbiological lab is currently used for the evaluation of biogas production from various feedstocks. We have state of the automated biomethane potential testing and we are working closely with major utilities and technology providers assessing feedstock pre-treatments for anaerobic digestion.
The Level 4 Makers Space is a bright communal space in Millennium Point in which students can find support in building their projects.
The Makers Space is equipped with a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a variety of electronic components like motion, proximity, humidity sensors, and many more.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Test Rig
The EV test rig enables the latest industry technologies to provide advancements in skills, research, design, development and production including understanding and application of:
- Machine equipment digital control systems
- System and component testing
- Identifying and analysing performance data for verification against automotive industry specifications and regulations.
Hands-on use of the EV test rig and LabVIEW (systems engineering software for applications that require test, measurement, and control with rapid access to hardware and data insights) will enable students to understand and manipulate EV motors, gearboxes, connectors and invertors in order to reduce: mass, weight, costs, lead times and enhance critical safety – achieving automotive industry standards.
Additive Manufacturing Machine (3D Printer)
The additive manufacturing machine (AMM metal 3D printer) will enable students to experience transformation of computer aided design (CAD) from packages such as Autodesk to reality. Pre-processing software Materialise magic will be used to create a support structure to convert CAD files for layer manufacture. The software Eplus 3D EP Hatch is then used for process planning to optimise printing path settings based on data that has been sliced using epi to achieve the best printing results.
The AMM produces complex, intricate shapes and geometries for one-offs, prototypes and short runs to industry standard. The machine opens up new design possibilities to students across a multitude of applications, including: aerospace, biomedical, automotive, tooling and research.
The addition of the 3D scanner will enable students to bridge the gap between 3D scanning and CAD for applications:
- Reverse Engineering
- Convergent modelling
- Synchronous modelling
- Generative design
- Additive manufacturing
Students will use the EXscan Pro software package to run scans to provide real-time feedback for scanning data capture to generate a point cloud. EXscan Pro is then used to convert data to a preferred CAD file.
Material Testing - Split Zone Furnace
The testing System provides up to 100 kN (22,500 lbf) Force Capacity and 1200°C with variable temperature control on products and materials: Tensile, Compression, Bend tests.
Simulating working conditions pre-production to advance materials and component properties verification reducing product failure and recall. Students will experience use of Bluehill software for the purpose of machine control, data analysis and reporting of tests performed on metal for measurement to key international standards.
GREATER BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Students across our Engineering and Computing courses automatically become Institute of Technology Learners and can take advantage of the facilities and opportunities provided by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT).
Our Virtual Open Day is the perfect opportunity to ask us your questions and hear from our staff and students.Book now
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[00:00:01] Hello, my name is Olga. [00:00:02][0.8]
[00:00:02] And I'm Carlos. [00:00:02][0.3]
[00:00:03] And we are both Engineering students here at BCU. And today we're going to take you on a tour in Millennium Point to all the engineering facilities. [00:00:10][7.0]
[00:00:11] Follow us. [00:00:11][0.3]
[00:00:20] Now we're on ground floor in the electronics lab, and this is where you can build circuits such as this one using these machines, you can control them and power them. So in your first year, you might end up doing a circuit like this, which is just the power on LED. And then you can go on using an oscilloscope to test sequences. [00:00:38][17.9]
[00:00:39] So now we're going to take you to the souldering lab. Anytime we need to do some soldiering on any type of projects, here is where we do them. Like Olga is doing right now, she is working on the micro mouse and with all the soldering for all the components. [00:00:57][17.8]
[00:01:00] So this is where all the programming happens, such as coding and schematics and diagrams. All of this you'll be doing in this room. [00:01:08][7.5]
[00:01:12] Welcome to our mechanical lab. This is where we test different materials on different bays for different applications, for things like their strength, versitility, and depending on which application, we have different machinery for it. [00:01:26][14.2]
[00:01:26] So we use microscopes to see the internal structures of materials, as you can see here. We do this to find how different structures behave under different conditions. So this is the workshop where we actually have real industrial machines here that are used from some of the parts for the projects we build. [00:01:44][17.7]
[00:01:45] We do have industrial type machines capable of building engine parts like this one here. We are building a cylinder. [00:01:51][6.1]
[00:01:52] Like this one here as well. This is a crank used in engines as well. It's really cool that we can use all of this machines just right here in our workshop. [00:02:00][8.0]
[00:02:01] So this is another project that we built, and it's to test your knowledge on everything you've learned. And this is for the ball to stay on track at all times, even in this loop, as you can see here. [00:02:09][8.5]
[00:02:09] This is the common area where you can come to either relax or catch up on your work as there's loads of seats and comfortable sofas. [00:02:19][9.7]
[00:02:26] So this is a hydraulics lab where you can do very interesting things like 3D printing, earthquake simulator and wind turbines. So these smaller 3D printers I used for reverse engineering and rapid prototyping. We can also use them to repair small things where we would ask students to design whatever parts broke and then we can 3D print it here so they can replace it on their project. In this room we actually have industrial level machines such as a metal 3D printer which can do something like this. [00:02:55][28.6]
[00:02:56] We also do various simulations here from a hydro station and also as you can see right next to me here, we do have a earthquake simulation running at the minute. [00:03:06][10.3]
[00:03:09] So coming from our hydraulics lab, we are now in our civil lab. We test different types of soil, play around with it and try them out and develop new concrete as for example, here. [00:03:22][12.3]
[00:03:23] So this is a biomedical lab where we test soils from different areas for pollution and soil health so we know if it's good for farming. [00:03:30][6.6]
[00:03:31] So we are actually working with big names, big companies like Rivers Trust, and we are trying to develop new solutions for soil health. [00:03:38][7.3]
[00:03:40] So this is the Formula student lab where we actually built a car that's going to go to Silverstone. [00:03:44][3.3]
[00:03:58] This is our engine test lab where we have an Audi, R8, E-TRON engine. [00:04:02][4.6]
[00:04:03] We also have a battery simulator in this room. We can actually do real life simulations of our engine, for example, in Silverstone, and see if we can actually complete the track and the times. [00:04:15][11.5]
[00:04:15] Thank you for watching our engineering facilities - I hope you enjoyed. [00:04:18][2.5]
[00:04:18] To find out more, you can come to one of our Open Days or you can visit the link below. [00:04:18][0.0]