Investment in academic engineering excellence is helping to drive new product development at a North East electrical test and measurement company.
Peterlee-based Seaward has linked up with Durham University’s Engineering Department in a partnership that sees undergraduate students as part of a project team to develop new processing technology, which could eventually be incorporated in future designs of the firm’s electronic test and measurement instruments.
The initiative, designed to enhance the high-performance electrical testers provided to national and international customers, comes as part of Seaward’s ongoing commitment to boosting engineering skills and new product development to drive growth and expansion.
With an office also in Tampa, Florida, Seaward currently employs around 170 people and is a market leading manufacturer of electronic test and measurement instruments used in a wide variety of electrical, medical, industrial and energy sector applications.
The move has seen Durham University final year Mechanical and Electronics (Meng) students Haydn Lisk and Sam Sutcliffe working in the engineering department on a project that has led to the development of a new proof-of-concept platform that is currently being assessed by Seaward for its commercial and manufacturing viability.
This is all part of an innovation-led strategy linked to a partnership with the university that sees a number of student internships at the company annually, where they play a key role in product development and gain experience in industrial processes and engineering management.
Equally, Seaward is able to tap into the fresh insight and academic prowess that Sam and Haydn among others bring as part of its commitment to supporting skills development and learning.
Sam Sutcliffe said: “My time at Seaward has been extremely beneficial. It’s been good to be involved in a real-world project that’s provided an understanding and insight of the important industrial processes and applications manufacturers are involved with and the whole product development cycle.”
Haydn Lisk added: “Being able to see from start to finish how our theoretical designs are transformed in workable solutions has been the biggest value of my time at Seaward. I’m considering electronic design as a career, so it’s been an invaluable time that I can now build on and take forward in any future job.”
Nick Maltby, Seaward’s engineering manager, said the partnership with Durham University is a key part of securing the company’s current and future workforce needs.
“We have a strategy to grow and increasing our engineering capabilities through strong academic links has become a beneficial part of our plans,” he said. “Cooperation with Durham University helps our recruitment and continues to pay dividends in terms of harnessing bright, enthusiastic academic talent across key parts of the business. This helps us to innovate, improve our core engineering skills and bring forward new products for the benefit of our worldwide customers.”