The head of one of the world’s oldest and most respected engineering organisations came to the University of Huddersfield as part of a fact-finding visit to West Yorkshire to see how the region’s manufacturers are meeting current economic and technological challenges.
Jon Hilton is the 131st President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a former F1 chief. Every year, the president of the IMechE visits regions to see the work of firms and universities in the engineering field.
This year, the president visited Huddersfield’s Kirklees College, the Head Office of Cummins Turbo Technologies Limited and finished the day at the University of Huddersfield.
He was accompanied by IMechE Yorkshire Region’s Chairman Peter Martin Ingham, the Chairman of the Yorkshire Region – Western Area, Kenneth Ball, and the Region’s Business Development Manager, Denis Healy.
The IMechE visitors toured around the University’s new £4.5 million, 150-ton railway test rig accompanied by the University’s Director of the Institute of Railway Research (IRR) Professor Simon Iwnicki, who is a former chair of the IMechE’s Railway Division.
Mr Hilton said it was remarkable the amount of work undertaken by the team at the University. “I know how much test-rigs cost if you have to bring an outside team in to construct them. The fact that everything has been done in-house and in budget is really impressive.”
At the Institute, Professor Iwnicki introduced Mr Hilton to four Huddersfield students who are taking part in this year’s IMechE Railway Challenge. The annual competition brings together teams of students, apprentices and graduates from industry and universities to design and build miniature railway locomotives.
The final stop of the evening was a meet and greet with engineering students, who are all taking part in IMechE competitions throughout 2017. Teams from the Design Challenge, Drone Challenge and the Formula Student Challenge met with the guests and spoke about their competition entries.
Jon Hilton said it was really good to see the amount of IMechE activities being undertaken by the students and how the experience gained from completing them are a valuable commodity when it comes to the students finding work after graduation.
The day concluded with the President presenting two plaques, made of Yorkshire steel, to Professor Iwnicki and Professor Allport to mark the visit. Professor Allport also accepted an official accreditation for the University’s MSc in Turbocharger Engineering.