Design Unit


Self-funding research, development and design group in the field of mechanical power transmission, working for industry and government. FOUNDED: 1970 Staffing: 24 full time staff , 12 Engineers, 3 Research Associates, 7 Technicians, 2 Secretaries.


The National Gear Metrology Laboratory (NGML) was established within Design Unit in 1987. NGML is accredited by UKAS for the measurement and calibration of gears and the calibration of gear measuring instruments.

The Design Unit has experience of design, analysis and trouble shooting in mechanical transmission systems for:

  • marine propulsion, including naval gearboxes.

  • industrial drives including mining, quarrying, steel plant and chemical plant applications.

  • rail traction drives, AC and DC, EMU locomotives and light rail.

  • engine valve train, PTO and pump drives.

  • automotive gearboxes for cars, off-road vehicles, buses, HGVs, and heavy quarry equipment.

  • control and servo drives for machine tools, printing machinery and materials handling.


The Design Unit is engaged in fundamental research in:

  • pitting, micro-pitting and scuffing.

  • gear chain and belt stress analysis.

  • fatigue strength enhancement by shot peening, surface treatments and coatings.

  • drive system dynamic modelling and analysis.

  • gear noise and vibration analysis and optimisation.

  • gear grinding.

  • gear metrology.


Design Unit engineers have considerable expertise in failure analysis and trouble shooting on mechanical power transmission systems. This work is facilitated by a range of minature instrumentation, sub-miniature data-loggers and miniature radio and infra-red telemetry systems that have been developed for measuring and analysing load, pressure, acceleration, temperature etc on rotating machinery.

Design Unit has very successfully carried out such measurements under hostile conditions in mining machinery, rail traction drives, submarine and destroyer gearboxes, wind turbines, earth moving equipment etc in the UK and overseas.





0191 222 6192


Design Unit, Newcastle University Gear Technology Centre Stephenson Building Claremont Road Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU

Design Unit