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Innovation facilities

Your business can benefit from our specialist facilities, equipment and expertise with a host of services on offer.

As a response to the needs of employers, we have invested in dedicated facilities to help your business grow. Our Enterprise Zone has specialist laboratories in advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, as well as digital suites and scientific laboratories - some of which can be accessed remotely.

Our dedicated innovation labs and workshops include equipment such as 3D metal printers, robotic arms, laser cutter, Virtual Reality suites and more, all to benefit your business needs.

If you would like to enquire about any of our facilities and equipment, contact Employer Partnerships.

Analytical Centre

If you need expert support in the analysis of objects and substances, we can offer expertise in a wide range of materials, using the latest equipment:

  • Gas (GC) and liquid (HPLC) chromatography

  • Mass spectrometry (GC/MS)

  • X-ray diffraction (XRD

  • Atomic absorption, both flame (FAAS) and graphite furnace (GFAAS)

  • Scanning electron microscope (SEM) with qualitative X-ray analysis (EDX)

We work with government departments, small businesses and health and safety consultants. For example, we've analysed COSHH monitoring samples for the construction industry.

Crime Scene House

If you’re an organisation involved in forensics, we can offer a unique opportunity for your staff to practice their skills and develop knowledge in crime scene investigations.

Our Crime Scene House provides a true-to-life setting for forensic investigation. It has seven rooms that resemble a typical domestic home. There’s also an observation room to monitor CCTV throughout the house. The recorded footage can be used to discuss and develop good practice.

The Crime Scene House can also be hired exclusively for team building exercises as part of corporate training days.

Environment Chamber

If you need to test and analyse the effects of the weather on new materials or products, our Environment Chamber can simulate a range of environmental conditions in controlled-settings. You’ll be able to replicate dramatic temperature fluctuations, rainfall, acid rain and humidity or accelerate the weathering process – producing five years’ worth of weather in only five days.

This can be used to test the quality of a new building material, to see how a new type of sign might stand up to the elements, or even test how long a new paint finish may last.

Film Theatre

You can visit the Film Theatre for arthouse and mainstream movies. It's run entirely run by volunteers. The Film Theatre is run independently of the University but is situated on Staffordshire University’s College Road site. Films are screened using high quality digital projection and audio equipment.

Our accessible theatre is equipped with an audio loop system for use with appropriately fitted hearing aids. We regularly show films with audio description (when available) and there are three wheelchair spaces at the front of the theatre.

For tickets, programmes and enquiries, visit the Stoke Film Theatre website.

Green screen

For your special effects in film we have a green screen (chroma key compositing). This is a technique used in TV and film to separate actors and presenters from a background and adding a different background electronically. Our green screen facility has an infinity curve and is coloured to support green screen photography and filmmaking.

You can hire this facility with the option to include dedicated technical support.

Laser cutter

Our laser cutter can be used to cut or etch a variety of materials including MDF, acrylics, paper, card, fabrics, leather and rubber.

The thickness of material the laser can cut varies from material to material, for instance, MDF is 6mm and acrylic is 12mm up to maximum measurements of 640mm x 460mm x 160mm high.

Media Centre

Our professionally equipped Media Centre includes the latest industry standard technology for TV and radio production and is available for hire.

Production and post production facilities

We’ve 40 dedicated HD edit suites with audio, video and compositing software. Our shoot studio can host medium-scale set build and lighting set-ups, whilst our sound studio has a control room and soundproofed voice over booth with talkback system. We use Digidesign audio hardware for voice and music recording.

Newsroom, broadcast newsroom and radio studios

The broadcast newsroom has a multi-purpose iMac production area and high definition television news set. Our iMacs run both Windows and Mac OS and offer dedicated television and radio production software (Burli, Autocue Newsroom, Premier Pro, Audition). Our three-camera television news set has a Newtek TriCaster 460 integrated production switcher.

Radio studios

Our three professionally equipped radio studios have dedicated studio monitoring areas. They’re equipped with specialist news production and music scheduling software (Burli, Myriad) and professional hardware (Sonifex S2 mixing desks, ISDN units).

Photo studio

If you want a professional photo shoot, we’ve all the equipment you’ll need. Our white infinity curve has a High Glide lighting rig equipped with professional Bowens lighting equipment. Images can be shot straight into the computer or downloaded via a USB cable with our 24″ iMac computer with Adobe CS5.5, Leaf capture and Aperture 3. A private dressing room can be accessed from the studio space, perfect for costume changes and make-up.

Our hire rates include use of the lighting rig with five flash heads and modifiers. You can add additional lighting, modifiers and 12 ft Colorama backgrounds.

The minimum booking time is two hours. This will include a brief health & safety and studio introduction. Please allow set-up and breakdown time when planning your shoot. Please note these studios are for photographic work only and not appropriate for film.

Advanced materials

Quantum Efficiency Measurement System

The system which will be purchased has the capability of IPCE, EQE, IQE, and I-V characteristic measurements.

Targeted use will be by Semiconductor/Electronic industries, testing semiconductor devices such as LED or solar cells, but application can be quite wide.

Quantum Efficiency Measurement system is a flexible solution for measuring Quantum Efficiency (QE), also known as Incident Photo to Charge Carrier Efficiency (IPCE).

Quantum efficiency (QE) – also referred to as Incident Photon to Charge Carrier Efficiency (IPCE) - indicates the ratio of the number of photons incident on a solar cell to the number of generated charge carriers. In order to understand the conversion efficiency as a function of the wavelength of light impingent on the cell, the QE/IPCE measurement is critical for materials research and cell design. With this data, the composition and topography can be modified to optimize conversion over the broadest possible range of wavelengths.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)

Elemental analysis of a sample. Targeting the following users - forensics, archaeology, engineering and ceramic industry.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a versatile analytical technique which offers significant advantages in speed, sensitivity and cost effectiveness over other processes such as XRF, SEM, and mass spectrometry. LIBS elemental analysis is fast, simple to operate, requires minimal sample preparation, gives immediate results of the elements and is sensitive to low parts per million.

Particle Size Analyser

Particle size and size distribution directly influences the material properties, such as rate of dissolution, reaction rate, how it looks and texture.

For example, in paint manufacture may be wanting a certain hue which is defined by the way certain size particles scatter light.

Targeted use will be by paint, coatings, and ceramics industries for quality control testing.

Ability to measure wet and dry samples.

Micro indentation and micro scratch testing

Aimed at the ceramics and engineering industries

Micro Scratch Tester (MST) is widely used to characterize the practical adhesion failure of thin films and coatings with a typical thickness below 5μm. The Micro Scratch Tester is also used in the analysis of organic and inorganic coatings as well as soft and hard coatings. Applications include thin and multilayer CVD, PVD, PECVD, photoresist, lacquers, paints, and several other types of films. Research areas and industries utilize this instrument for microelectronics, optical coatings, protective and decorative surface coatings. Substrates may be soft or hard, including glass, semiconductors, refractive and organic materials.

Other equipment

Contact angle goniometer (easy method to measure contact angles and surface tensions of liquid droplets), fume cupboard, and general lab equipment such as balances, gravity convention oven, ultrasonic cleaning bath, microscopes, and glassware.

Advanced manufacturing

This project has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020. The equipment is free of charge to Staffordshire businesses participating the SAMPID programme.

3D metal printer/Metal printer for simulating manufacturing principles in aero/motor sport

3D metal printing facility will be split into two parts:

Part 1 will be a complete system including printing, washing/debinding and furnace/sintering. 3D metal printing will be based on extrusion technology and will be able to print from a minimum of two varying materials.

Part 2 will be an additional printer unit only, based on fused filament fabrication or a similar process (i.e. not a laser-based system). Will be able to print from a minimum of two varying materials.

The 3D metal printing facility will be used by students, staff and companies to demonstrate the capabilities of 3D metal printing technology and to explore the manufacture of novel engineering components.  

Robotic Arm

Robot arm facility will consist of two parts:

Part 1 will be a smaller complete educational/training robot cell to include robot arm, controller and associated software.

Part 2 will be a full scale (human-sized), wall mounted industrial robot cell, to include robot arm, controller and associated software.

The robot arm facility will be used by students, staff and companies to demonstrate the capabilities of advanced robot arm technology for the manufacture of novel engineering components.

Plastic electronics spin coating system

Spin coating is the procedure used to deposit uniform thin films onto a flat base (e.g. made of plastic). Usually a small amount of coating is applied to the centre of the base, which will either be spinning at low speed or stationary. The base will then be rotated at high speed in order to spread the coating material by centrifugal force. Rotation continues until the desired thickness of the film is achieved as the liquid spins off the edge. The coating material is usually of a volatile nature and so simultaneously evaporates while spinning. The higher the angular speed of the spinning the thinner the film. Thickness also depends on viscosity and concentration of the coating. The process is widely used in microfabrication (the process of fabricating miniature structures).

Probe station

Probe stations are often used in academic research on electronics and materials science.

They are used to physically acquire signals from the internal nodes of a semi-conductor device. They utilise manipulators which allow precise positioning of thin needles on the surface of a semi-conductor device. If the device is being electronically stimulated, the signal is acquired by the mechanical probe and displayed on an oscilloscope or SMU (source measure unit).

There are both passive and active probes – passive usually consist of a thin tungsten needle, while active utilise a FET (field-effect transistor) device on the probe tip in order to reduce loading on the circuit.

Inspection camera system with stand

Functions like a camera, microscope or telescope, allowing you to observe areas that are too cramped, too far away or completely out of reach. They usually attach to a flexible shaft and have LED lights to illuminate the work area. They will then transmit a video feed that allows you to see a close-up, real-time view of the area you are wishing to inspect. This is particularly useful for exploring the intricate workings of a machine without having to dismantle it.

Automation 5PLC and HMI systems with software development tools

PLCs (programmable logic controllers) are industrial digital computers, specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh usage environments (e.g. strong vibrations, wet or dusty conditions). They are adapted for the control of manufacturing processes such as assembly lines or robotic devices, or any activity that requires high reliability, ease of programming and process fault diagnosis.

HMI (human-machine interface) systems provide the controls by which a user operates a machine, system or instrument. They encompass all the elements a person will touch, see, hear or use to perform control functions and receive feedback on those actions.

3D Factory

 3D metal printer/Metal printer for simulating manufacturing principles in aero/motor sport

3D metal printing facility will be split into two parts:

Part 1 will be a complete system including printing, washing/debinding and furnace/sintering. 3D metal printing will be based on extrusion technology and will be able to print from a minimum of two varying materials.

Part 2 will be an additional printer unit only, based on fused filament fabrication or a similar process (i.e. not a laser-based system). Will be able to print from a minimum of two varying materials.

The 3D metal printing facility will be used by students, staff and companies to demonstrate the capabilities of 3D metal printing technology and to explore the manufacture of novel engineering components.  

The 3D metal printer has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020. The equipment is free of charge to Staffordshire businesses participating the SAMPID programme.

Hire our facilities and equipment