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A spotlight on Reliance Precision

Published: Sep 5, 2016 4 min read

Gemma Taylor

Technology CPD Lead

National STEM Learning Centre

ESA Rosetta spacecraft

(Photo take from ESA)

Reliance Precision is one of the latest engineering employers to sign up to the STEM Insight programme. From autumn 2016, they will be offering staff in schools and colleges the chance to experience STEM-related work at their site in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Here’s a look at some of the projects Reliance precision are involved with.


Have you heard about the Rosetta spacecraft?

Rosetta was the spacecraft that travelled alongside comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and despatched the robotic lander (Philae) on the comets surface. Take a look at these videos to find out about the Rosetta mission. Reliance Precision manufactured the gears that were used on Rosetta. The gears played a vital role in rotating the two 15 metre solar panels so they always faced the sun: a crucial function given that Rosetta has no internal batteries and relies entirely on solar energy for electricity. To see more about this project, take a look at this news article showing an image of the gears.

Another project that Reliance Precision have been involved in is the Bebionic prosthetic hand. This video from BBC2 has a good explanation of how the hand is being used to transform the lives of its users. From their Huddersfield site, Reliance Precision supply the finger actuation for the hand, and work with the design team to support the development of bringing new designs to market.


So, what will a placement with Reliance Precision involve?

Jon Plascott, the lead contact for STEM Insight within Reliance Precision explains that the placement will give teachers a very detailed view of what working in an engineering company is like.

“Reliance Precision is a mechanical engineering company specialising in exceptionally precise components and assemblies for the scientific, medical, aerospace, defence and space industries. Many of our customers produce exciting, innovative products which are often designed for performance-critical environments. Our engineers have to work to micron levels (0.001 mm – less than 1/40 of the width of a human hair) to ensure parts meet the accuracy required.

A placement at our Huddersfield facility will allow teachers to see how different STEM subjects are applied in an industry setting across each department covering design, development, manufacturing, assembly and test. Over the five days you will gain insight into the various roles and career paths at Reliance and the STEM-related skills required. Anyone who chooses to do a placement at Reliance will receive hands-on training, providing an opportunity to learn about machine tools and to experience the setting in which our apprentices begin their Reliance career.”

Some of the areas covered during the placement are:

Design Engineering

A visit to Reliance’s Engineering Department to discover what goes into designing a complex mechanical component.

Production Engineering  

In the Production Engineering Department you will learn how the design is subsequently manufactured in the most economical and efficient way whilst maintaining exacting tolerances and also being able to prove to the customer that their design requirements have be achieved.

Manufacturing and Assembly  

In Manufacturing and Assembly, you will be able to see how parts are made and how sub-systems are assembled. You will have the opportunity to learn about each department on the shop floor including Turning, Milling, Gear Cutting and the Tool Room as well as seeing how products are assembled in a cleanroom environment.

Inspection and Test  

This department will allow you to observe how we test components and assemblies to ensure they are suitable for their application. You will see the specialist equipment required to measure to the strict tolerances of the drawings and to test the products to ensure they meet the required functional performance.

Business overview 

We will also provide some training on how a business such as ours operates in terms of marketing, sales and account management in a context of compliance with regulations and stringent customer requirements.