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Engineering Facilities

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.

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.

As an anchor partner of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT), BCU Engineering has also obtained £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 the University’s 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
  • Laptops
  • 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

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. 

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.

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.

Environmental Lab

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.

Learn more about the Centre for Low-Carbon Research

Makers Space

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
  • Simulation
  • 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.

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Welcome to the faculty of computing engineering in the built environment. I'm Andy Aftelak I'm head of School of Computing and Digital Technology.

The Faculty of Computing Engineering and the Built Environment is an innovative faculty covering a diverse range of courses from mechanical engineering to digital film production. This video will give a brief insight into some of the cutting edge facilities our students can access throughout their studies. We have invested 340 million pounds in our facilities, including a major expansion of our city centre campus, our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a six and a half million pound investment with a new maker space, engineering labs, equipment and I.T. equipment.

Here Students can utilise flexible open spaces to study, such as the Millennium Point Project Space, which hosts one of the largest collections of lab space in Europe.

This collaborative space also hosts a range of events, including hackathons and employability workshops, as well as our faculty's exclusive careers desk offering quality careers and employability advice for our students. Our makerspace on Level four is an informal area where you can do your project, you get lots of help from our technicians and there's loads of tools, laser cutters, 3-D printers, development tools.

There's also examples of past projects on display to inspire you in your own project.

Overall, we've got about 21 computer labs throughout the building crammed with state of the art computers that you can run almost any piece of software on. If you like networks and telecoms like me, then you'll love our four network labs. We've got state of the art equipment, switchers and routers that you can play with, real industry standard stuff. We've also got a system net lab where you can play with networks from anywhere you've got an Internet connection. If you really like audio and visual, you'll love all the equipment we've got in our digital technology labs.

On our campus we have TV studios that are used by the professionals. In Studio A we have a vast space, 14 by 17 metres wide with the double height studio and a 20 foot floor to grid. The space has been acoustically treated and equipped with a full lighting grid.

Studio A is perfect for students wanting to shoot productions requiring a large space.

Students have access to our Studio B with its green screen. This studio boasts the largest fixed green screen and MILO studio in the UK with a three wall Infinity Code, a perfect studio for Chroma key video production.

Studio C hosts an integrated TV set for interviews, media training, webcasts and set based productions.

You'll love our conservatoire. It really is a relaxed space, full of performance studios, full of equipment and stages. It's got some of the best recording studios in the country and you're going to have access to all of that.

My name is Nicki Schiessel Harvey, I'm a senior lecturer here at Birmingham City University in the School of the Built Environment. What's exciting about studying built environment at BCU is that you have these world class facilities as classrooms and the software packages we use, as well as the staff and their industry knowledge, combined with looking out the window at projects as they're happening around us and being right in the heart of the city, which is changing all the time. So just from walking from the station to campus, you're walking past half a dozen fascinating case studies.

Studio space that we've created in Millennium Point is an open workspace where students can be working on their design projects. We have all student work and examples that will change every week or month depending on what stage of a project we're at. And it's an open space for working on projects. And this is where our architectural technology students in our building, surveying students in particular, spend a lot of their time.

The swollen concrete lab and hydraulics lab are the heart of our civil engineering course, where we have a range of test equipment, where our students can carry out experimental work as part of their course, either as part modules or using those labs to work on their final year project.

Hi, my name's Chris Evans. I'm a senior technician in the School of Engineering in the built environment. So we pride ourselves on having industry standard facilities in all of our spaces, mechanical workshop facilities being one of them. We've invested heavily in industry, standard machinery, CNC machines, Firaxis milling machines, laser cutters, to name a few. And we've got industry standard kit in our electronics labs and in our advanced project labs. We have lots of brand new 3D printers for advanced manufacture.

One of the really interesting things that students can get involved in at the university is the formal student project, which encompasses the use of just about every bit of kit that we own in order for them to achieve their end goal, which is to race all weekend at Silverstone in the final showdown.

Because engineering is such 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 that they'll be studying and utilising equipment that is relevant for their future career. We pride ourselves on equipping every student that studies engineering at BCU with the skill set that they need not only working on industry standard equipment, but having those industrial links as well, which set them up perfectly for a career in engineering.

Whatever you are hoping to study, facilities in the faculty of computing, engineering and the built environment, provide a quality learning experience, preparing students for work in industry and shaping their future.

We hope to see you soon.