Award success for Virtual Engineering Centre

The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and Heap and Partners, a traditional valve manufacturer based in Birkenhead, were recognised for their innovative collaboration at an awards ceremony to celebrate the region’s manufacturing sector.

The VEC and Heap and Partners teamed up via the LCR 4.0 Project, an ERDF funded initiative which helps local manufacturing SMEs adopt new and emerging digital technologies.

The Virtual Engineering Centre, which is based on the University campus and at the STFC Hartree Centre in Daresbury, used their expertise and specialist skills to help Heap and Partners to explore using Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) to build valve components and develop an Augmented Reality (AR) app.

Campus Technology Hub, a facility within STFC, worked closely with Heap and Partner’s to create a scaled down 3D printed prototype, which was still one of the largest 3D prints produced by the Hub.

The Virtual Engineering Centre produced an iOS based AR program using industry standard tools which acts as a companion technology to the 3D printed valve. The technology allows Heap and Partners to easily showcase and demonstrate their valve products to customers and investors.

Andrew Borland, Commercialisation Manager for the VEC was thrilled to accept the award: This collaboration led to a very exciting project. Heap and Partners are such an innovative company, they were a pleasure to work with, eager to explore digital opportunities for their business to remain competitive within industry whilst enhancing their customer experience.”