In an invitation-only event hosted at the University of Central Lancashire’s Preston campus, a new, state-of-the-art piece of manufacturing equipment was unveiled and demonstrated for the first time in the UK to a panel of professionals from a range of industrial sectors.

At the centre of the event, a device called VPS (Vision Positioning System) from the noted Canadian laser technology company Virtek Vision International, who have, in the past, teamed up with UCLan for the UK presentation of their high-precision laser-based manufacturing solutions. In 2012, Virtek introduced its targetless IRIS SPS (Spatial Positioning System) to British industry, on the UCLan stage in Preston.

The new device is a vision-enhanced laser projection unit which is smaller and more easily portable which will not only help further speed up aerospace assembly processes by eliminating templates, reducing human errors and ensuring quality, but will also allow the use of laser projection, or templating, in applications where it was previously not possible or impractical.

Industry professionals from the areas of aerospace, ship building and automotive manufacturing were in attendance, including Burnley-based Safran Nacelles (formally Aircelle) a world-leading supplier of nacelle systems to aircraft engine manufacturers.

Following presentations from Professor Frank Hayden, Director of UCLan’s Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) and Carlos Pinto from Virtek, the innovative device was demonstrated for the audience.

UCLan has established a successful partnership with Virtek, having previously worked together on projects to promote developments in skills and technology used in engineering and manufacturing.

We are excited to have launched the new vision system with UCLan. This is another mile marker in our long-standing relationship with the team at the University, a team who it can be said embodies our (Virtek’s) ‘Engineered Simplicity’ approach.
Billy Beggs, Engineering Innovation Manager at UCLan, said: “It was fantastic for the University to be involved in such a high-profile event, helping to launch the very latest in engineering technology, the likes of which our students will go on to be utilising in years to come.

“We have a history of working with leading companies, combining our experience and expertise to support developments in engineering. With our new Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) in the pipeline, we’ll have a fantastic hub to continue this work through.”

Carlos Pinto, Sales at Virtek, said: “We are excited to have launched the new vision system with UCLan. This is another mile marker in our long-standing relationship with the team at the University, a team who it can be said embodies our ‘Engineered Simplicity’ approach to overcoming complex challenges.

“Following the presentation, it was interesting to see the interaction between attendees from across the different industries whose paths may not ordinarily cross, with the University the ideal environment for hosting such a range of perspectives.”

UCLan’s £30million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) is the first major milestone in the University’s £200million Campus Masterplan.

The state-of-the-art facility will be an integrated hub for teaching, research and knowledge exchange, bringing together the region’s expertise from within academia and industry.

Virtek was founded in 1986 and is part of Gerber Technology, based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, with sales and service coverage in the NA, Europe and Asia.