25 May 2018

Let’s get technical! We meet the Department's Technical Team

From intricate small parts to large rigs, the Technical Team are a go-to resource for students and academics alike with a collective experience of over 110 years. They tell us more about the support and expertise on offer.

Members of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical Engineering Team
Left to right: Gareth Barker, David Webster, Joe Milner, Geo Hibberd and Matt Kirkland.

Highly trained and experienced machinists, our Technical Engineering Team provide support for the Department’s teaching and research activities as well as a sounding board for students working on projects - sharing the benefit of their experience and best working practice.

“We have a wealth of experience here within the team,” says Gareth Barker, Team Leader.


It’s a great way to learn more about practical manufacturing processes and considerations such as labour time and costs – all things that come into play once you’re in industry.”

Gareth Barker

Team Leader


“Many of the technicians have years of practical experience and skills that students can access throughout their course and we really encourage any opportunity for them to work and liaise with us.

“Even though the majority work more closely with us as part of their final year projects, we are here to support and advise students throughout their time at the University.

The team’s top priority is to provide technical engineering services for students and the various research and development projects the University is involved with. These vary, ranging from entire rigs designed by undergraduates to small, individual testing samples.

Alongside project work, they also support student-led activities and recurring co-curricular projects including Formula Racing, Railway Challenge and Shell Eco-Marathon. They were also involved in the SunbYte high altitude telescope project last year.


Their accommodating attitude has helped us out of numerous tight spots over the years, making them invaluable to the team

Ben Seers

Sheffield Formula Student team


“The Technical Team provides Sheffield Formula Racing with high-quality machining services. They help us with everything from welding to CNC machining and without their continued support we would simply not be able to hit our manufacturing targets.

“Their accommodating attitude has helped us out of numerous tight spots over the years, making them invaluable to the team,” says Ben Seers, a member of the Sheffield Formula Student team.

With their main workshop currently based in the Hicks building, the Technical Team are looking forward to moving into the new Engineering Heartspace when it opens in 2019 too.

“It is an interesting time for the team as we focus on how we can help students and continually improve our own approaches, such as project planning, precision capability and turnaround times.

“We’ve also had the opportunity to work on some really interesting and innovative projects over recent months, marrying our experience and expertise with forward-thinking design.

“For example, during quieter months we’ve been able to collaborate with other parts of the University - from designing and producing task-specific machines to manufacturing components for a multi-million-pound telescope!

“We’re excited for the future of the team and continuing to provide that sounding board for students, their ideas and projects.”

To arrange a visit to the team or to discuss a project, please contact Technical Engineering Team Leader, Gareth Barker on 01142 227868 or email G.T.Barker@sheffield.ac.uk

This article originally featured in our newsletter MechEng News. To read more from this issue, click here.

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