The design services at the 3M BIC are intended for businesses looking to create or modify products, processes or services.

Design can begin with a blank sheet of paper, initial designs or an existing object, and using modern tools such as CAD, optical and X-Ray 3D imaging or tactile measurement, can help create a new, improved or modified product that enhances a process or service.

If you are starting from scratch, our experienced design engineering team can create a concept from a discussion, notes, hand sketches or photographs. They will listen, ask the right questions and work alongside the client to realise the vision.

For those that already have the CAD files or technical drawings but lack the expertise within your team, our design engineers can work with you to implement changes and improvements. Using optical, X-Ray and tactile scanning technologies, we can characterise and develop designs from existing objects to recreate legacy parts or apply innovation to objects whose function can be optimised for increased performance.

Design files can also be used to create on-screen presentations, animation or video – or a combination of all three – through visualisation in 2D or 3D – without the need to create a tangible product. Our digital capabilities also extend to virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

Working with partners such as the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and regional further education providers, we can also provide direct support to businesses to upskill existing staff in design and ensure a sustainable pipeline of skilled employees for the future.

To speak to a member of our design and tech team, fill out the form below, call 01484 505601 or e-mail

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We are pleased to offer a ‘Design Diversification’ service for companies seeking to pivot into new product ideas or to refresh and update an older product.

Benefit from support from our experienced product design team resulting in a 2D product realisation, with scope to extend this to include prototype production and CAD files suitable for manufacture. Learn More

Sector: All

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Modelling

Computer aided design (CAD) is the baseline technology that underpins all our design activities.

Whether it is taking the conclusions of a design brainstorming session with a client from a notebook, working with existing CAD files or the outputs from a Co-ordinate Measurement Machine (CMM), X-Ray CT or scanning device, CAD can produce and manipulate designs to meet new or changed requirements.

Sector: All


Technology: Photogrammetry or optical scanning

Use: Captures multiple images of an object taken from different angles to create an accurate, full colour 3D image of the item that can be imported into design software. Scanning can be carried out at the 3M BIC or using portable, handheld and self-contained equipment, performed at a client’s premises or in the field.

Sector: Can be applied to engineering objects, heritage artefacts and even individuals.

Generative Design, Simulation

Technology: Photogrammetry or optical scanning

Use: Once designs have been created or imported from scans, algorithmic design is able to analyse the stresses and strains of simulated use and coupled with Failure Model Equipment Analysis (FEA) data, predict the optimum form that preserves functionality, robustness and fits with the desired manufacturing method.

Sector: All

Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

Technology: ALTAIR inspire

Use: The process of assessing linear forces and pressures applied to an object to ascertain the deformation, deviation and factor of safety, thereby informing the best physical design choices for the flexural or elastic modulus of a given material.

Sector: All

Virtual Reality

Technology: VR on Oculus, Sony (VR) and Microsoft systems (MR)

Use: Can be used for computer game software, creating tools for exploring hazardous environments such as where fire or radiation is suspected and for training materials and simulations or overlaying a simulation or visualisation in the real world.

Sector: Manufacturing, gaming, architecture, construction, heritage 

Augmented Reality

Technology: Microsoft Hololens

Use: Used to transpose virtual 3D models into the real world via a headset. Beneficial for looking at a 1:1 representation of a product in the real world before going to manufacture.

Sector: Automotive, engineering, aerospace, medical, dental, product design, architecture.

2D & 3D Visualisations

Technology: A full range of product visualisation facilities from static to animated formats and full 4K videography.

Use: Used to promote products and explain functions, visualisation can be applied as part of a customer acceptance exercise, for investment and marketing campaigns or as an effective educational tool. 

Sector: All

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