Microelectromechanical systems or MEMS is the technology of very small devices such as sensors and microelectronics. Specialist facilities within controlled environments are essential to create these devices.

MEMS can be produced from silicon, polymers, metals and ceramics and the universities have the equipment that can process these by deposition, patterning, etching, lithography and die preparation.

The pieces of equipment which produce these delicate components are housed within controlled environments which are clean of contamination. See further details on our clean labs for more information.


Offering hand, powered and computerised looms Scotland’s HEI’s house a great amount of weaving expertise to create new fabrics and textiles.

The universities hold the biggest collection of hand-powered looms in Europe which are maintained by full-time weave technicians who can support commercial projects.

The workshops also have their own yarn stores which have twisting facilities that enable collaborators to experiment with different combinations of yarns for technical and aesthetic purposes.


Laser scanning is a quick, non-contact and precise method for digitally recording the surface of objects in 3D.

This method can be used to measure a range of objects from small individual items to large scale projects such as geographical surveys to map topography and elevation, archeological sites and civil engineering structures like buildings, bridges and roads.

The images captured provide detailed and accurate designs which can be reverse engineered to create replicas using rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing.


Laser cutting is ideal for all kinds of projects from creating prototypes like small scale detailed electronic designs to large scale furniture design.


Greenhouses, GroDomes, glass houses and plant growth chambers are designed to create specific environmental conditions all year round. These chambers can be independently programmed to maintain specific temperatures, humidity and lighting levels.

These facilities can be used to carry out biological research, commercial horticulture production, plant propagation, breeding programmes and quarantine.

The academic experts will work closely with you to create the right conditions for your project which may also involve other facilities such as temperature chambers and clean labs which provide specific test environments.


Scotland houses world class bespoke research facilities for metal forging using highly specialised equipment such as presses, furnaces and drilling machines.

From laboratory scale to industrial scale there are facilities that can heat, shape, finish, measure, test and analyse a variety of metal parts and components.

Forging is classed according to the temperature at which is it performed and there is equipment available to carry out both hot and cold forging.


Digital textile printing uses ink jet based methods to print colour and designs onto fabrics. From small garments to larger rolls of fabrics the universities can provide the equipment and trained technicians to support commercial textile and design projects.

In addition to the actual printing process the universities will provide support to ensure the best results are achieved from the materials. This can include analysis of the inks and fabrics by looking into colour chemistry, colour fastness and colour measurement.

Across the textile departments there are numerous facilities for creating different fabrics, testing fabrics, creating patterns, computer aided design (CAD), colour development and hi-tech analysis and imaging.


Digital media is fast growing and Scotland is world renowned for its animation and gaming expertise. Within the university based animation studios there is a vast range of equipment including specialised software, green screens for visual effects and 3D motion capture.

3D motion capture can be used for animation to create realistic movement of humans, objects or even animals. The highly specialised equipment is used by trained experts and can be applied across the creative industries sector to create films and computer games.


This is one of the hottest and most exciting advancements in design which offers a cost effective and efficient way to manufacture and create prototypes. 3D printing or additive manufacturing is used to make three-dimensional objects by successive printing of layers of material under computer control.

The most popular materials used are plastics including; PLA (Polyactic Acid), ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic). Other materials such as powders, resins, titanium, stainless steel, bronze and ceramics can also be used.

The academic experts can work with you to create your prototype by guiding you through the design process, generating your digital design file and producing your final product.