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Lancaster Product Development Unit

SusDRaM Support for design and rapid manufacture


The SusDRaM Project is aimed at Northwest-based SMEs that have an interest in bespoke design and additive manufacturing (AM) technologies and would benefit from a deeper understanding of this area of technological advancement. Specifically, this includes developing an understanding of how rapid manufacturing (RM) and advanced design can impact on a particular business.

This project seeks to develop an understanding amongst regional SMEs about the opportunities available from using AM technologies for the direct creation of end-use parts and assemblies (known as RM). SusDRaM aims to introduce the concepts of design and RM to the Region’s manufacturing base by using a dedicated RM facility, accessible as a technology demonstrator, learning resource and operational design and manufacturing facility, as well as enabling access to other suitable technology platforms on a national basis.

The SusDRaM Project is delivered by Lancaster Product Development Unit (LPDU) at Lancaster University and will:

  • Deliver tailored workshops educating companies in the use of design, RM technologies and techniques;
  • Create opportunities to access design and RM equipment and services at Lancaster University and/or through an already developed (UK and European) network of OEM system manufacturers, developers and commercial service providers; by demonstrating the benefits of AM/RM through SME specific projects.

This project focuses on a number of areas in the context of RM including:

  • Suitability for implementation in SMEs (particularly in the supply chains of NW industry sectors such as aerospace, automotive, biomedical, nuclear, and energy and environmental technologies);
  • Design functionality for bespoke part manufacture, and part consolidation and optimisation in the RM process.

Although identified as a key technology platform within the European manufacturing arena (European Union Rapid Manufacturing Platform – ), RM as a production solution remains in its infancy, with up-take restricted almost exclusively to large scale global OEMs and technology focused research firms.

The project will work with companies within all priority sectors, particularly:

  • Advanced Engineering (including automotive and aerospace);
  • Biotechnology (including medical and healthcare);
  • Creative and Digital industries;
  • Environmental Technologies;
  • Energy, Nuclear, and Textiles / consumer products.


  • AM processes take Three-Dimensional (3D) computer aided design (CAD) data and directly print or grow parts in a variety of polymeric, metallic, organic and ceramic materials;
  • Historically, AM processes were used to manufacture prototypes and casting patterns. However, recent advances in AM technologies and materials now allow the manufacture of parts for a variety of production applications;
  • Examples of RM applications include aerospace and automotive components, packaging, medical implants, hearing aid shells and surgical guides, and consumer products.

Who this is for

      Target audience:

  • The Project is aimed at Northwest-based SMEs that have an interest in or could benefit from trialling AM technologies and would benefit from a deeper understanding of this area. Specifically, this includes developing an understanding of how RM and advanced design can impact on their particular business.

      Type of organisation:

  • Limited company, Partnership, Sole trader,

      Aimed at the following industries:

  • Aerospace, Automotive, Biotechnology, Chemicals, Design and branding, Health and care, ICT and telecoms, Manufacturing (food and drink), Manufacturing and engineering (excluding food and drink), Materials and textiles, Medical devices, Science, engineering and technology

      Where is the support available?

  • Northwest


  • Typically free, excluding cost of any materials (if appropriate)

      Support available until:

  • 31/08/2012

Find out more

      Support provided by:

  • Lancaster Product Development Unit, Lancaster University
  • Lancaster Product Development Unit (LPDU), is the business support and knowledge exchange team for the Engineering Department at Lancaster University, offering SMEs in England's NW a range of design and product development services.


  • Dr Allan Rennie - 01524 594 298

      Website address:


  • Lancaster Product Development Unit
    Engineering Department
    Lancaster University
    LA1 4YR