Last year the Tufcot management and marketing teams made the decision to work with a local University on several exciting upcoming projects.
Initially, Tufcot’s MD, Greg Majchrzak, and Tufcot’s then newly appointed Technical Manager, Bob Birchley, visited the University of Sheffield’s campus to explore their specialist Composite Materials department, this meeting and tour was conducted by Dr James Meredith. The aim of the meeting and the tour was to enable Tufcot to see what capabilities the University of Sheffield had that may assist Tufcot in its current and future material development plans and research further into how a local University could assist Tufcot in collaborating on said projects.
Tufcot’s aims and goals are focused on new approvals for key market sectors for the next few years. In order for Tufcot to obtain these approvals, the company needed a new test rig. This is made to purpose and allows Tufcot to offer an extra service to customers requiring specific testing on a material and for its own technical information.
Along with this Tufcot liked the idea of involving a student to work with its Technical Manager in compiling a comprehensive document on how to use the test rig and also on the initial testing stages for Tufcot's approvals. This is where the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield allowed Tufcot to interview its current students so it could temporarily employ a student to complete the work needed. This was the first stage of Tufcot's link to the University of Sheffield.
In addition, every year the students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield conduct research and application projects in groups. Tufcot was approached about having a group of students to conduct a project designed specifically for the company. Tufcot saw this as a great opportunity to teach the students about its engineering capabilities but also for the company to learn from them to help it solve a few long-standing internal efficiency problems. Tufcot were that keen to be involved with these projects that it took on two groups from the University. The goal for them was to listen to Tufcot's problem and alleviate these by designing new pieces of equipment that Tufcot could implement.
Both groups have now completed their projects after many months and Tufcot, especially the Senior Management Teams, were extremely happy with the final reports and findings. All of the students acted professionally and their reports were thorough. Tufcot’s Purchasing department have already put these two design projects out for tender.
After only a year of working with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, Tufcot has already benefitted hugely from the input of the students, facilities and staff at the University. We hope that the students involved have also felt the same benefit by using a real life case study. Tufcot wish for this relationship to continue and grow in the future.