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Lancaster Product Development Unit

About LPDU

about us

Lancaster Product Development Unit (LPDU) is the Outreach Team of Lancaster University’s Engineering Department and prides itself on being a business support service with strong links on a regional, national and international scale with key stakeholders.

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

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
  • For eligible companies, the part-subsidisation of Computer Aided Design (CAD) upgrades and hardware upgrades as required
  • Tap into expert knowledge from academics who specialise and conduct research in relevant fields
  • Facilitation of student placement projects, allowing high calibre adults to look at a particular design problem over an intensive two-week period
  • Signposting and advice for the next stage in the manufacturing process
  • Use the experience of working with industry to relay real-life problems back into the University and generate further experience allowing the Department to better fulfil its aims

The Unit has traditionally been involved with business support but relatively recently it has broadened its remit to include a research arm which has seen the publication of papers in various Conference Papers by members of LPDU, often collaborating with academics.

LPDU has a diverse range of additive manufacturing equipment all of which utilise different processes and materials to create parts and other assemblages.

The Unit also regularly provides expertise to the Formula Racing Car, a student team Project involving designing and building a car to be raced at the annual Formula student event. The competition, organised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers regularly attracts around 60 entries from universities across the world. Financial support has also been provided in the past to this worthwhile Project, where students can consolidate their learning into one team-engaging practical application. More details from the Lancaster Formula Student website, including details of sponsors and stakeholders.

Members of the Unit are involved with the SETPOINT scheme, which is part of the Science, Engineering and Technology Network that aims for every young person to have the opportunity to participate in an appropriate Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths activity linking schools to business and the ‘world of work’. This strengthens the links between the Department and local schools, allowing school children to benefit by applying what is learnt in the classroom to real-life problem solving. LPDU also accepts work experience pupils from local schools and incubates them in an environment where they can develop their CAD and engineering experience, once again with real-life challenges.