Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Abstract

We are witnessing huge global shifts towards cleaner growth and more resource efficient economies. The drive to lower carbon emissions is resulting in dramatic changes in how we travel and the ways we generate and use energy worldwide. Electrical machines are at the heart of the accelerating trends in the electrification of transport and the increased use of renewable energy such as offshore wind. To address the pressing drivers for clean growth and meet the increasing demands of new applications, new electrical machines with improved performance - higher power density, lower weight, improved reliability - are being designed by researchers and industry. However, there are significant manufacturing challenges to be overcome if UK industry is going to be able to manufacture these new machines with the appropriate cost, flexibility and quality.

The Hub's vision is to put UK manufacturing at the forefront of the electrification revolution. The Hub will address key manufacturing challenges in the production of high integrity and high value electrical machines for the aerospace, energy, high value automotive and premium consumer sectors.

The Hub will work in partnership with industry to address some common and fundamental barriers limiting manufacturing capability and capacity: the need for in-process support to manual operations in electrical machine manufacture - e.g. coil winding, insertions, electrical connections and wiring - to improve productivity and provide quality assurance; the sensitivity of high value and high integrity machines to small changes in tolerance and the requirement for high precision in manufacturing for safety critical applications; the increasing drive to low batch size, flexibility and customisation; and the need to train the next generation of manufacturing scientists and engineers.

The Hub's research programme will explore new and emerging manufacturing processes, new materials for enhanced functionality and/or light-weighting, new approaches for process modelling and simulation, and the application of digital approaches with new sensors and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Planned Impact

Technological Impacts. The Hub will be instrumental in establishing and maintaining a leading and differentiated technology needed to ensure the UK's future success in strategically important sectors. The dividends from the true integration of electrical machine and advanced manufacturing research will enable the higher performance needed for increasingly demanding applications - higher power density, lower weight, embedded health monitoring - while reducing manufacturing cost and improving quality. It will help UK industry develop the smart industrial systems needed for the electrical machine factories of the future, with flexible manufacturing capability and support for manual processes and workers.

Economic Impacts. The Hub will deliver significant economic impacts through increasing UK productivity and competitiveness in a number of strategically important UK sectors - aerospace, energy (offshore wind), high value automotive / motorsport, premium consumer goods as well as future spillover benefits to wider sectors (mass market automotive). The Hub will help sustain and support future growth in these sectors, helping position UK industry to win future work, including: ensuring a UK presence in manufacturing the next generation of aircraft wings and hybrid propulsion (a strategic objective for the HVMC) and supporting the target to increase UK content in UK offshore wind installations from 32% to 65% by 2030.

Societal, People and Policy Impacts. The Hub will support the UK Gov. shift to cleaner growth via low carbon energy generation and energy use in transportation. It will help improve the health (reduced pollution) and wealth (jobs, economic growth) of the nation. The Hub will shape the national debate and strategy around manufacturing and manufacturing research with the academic, industry and innovation communities, sponsors, policy makers and the public. It will train and nurture a new generation of manufacturing and engineering leaders. The Hub will deliver a programme of public engagement activities to contribute to the important narrative to increase the profile and prestige of manufacturing and engineering within the UK, which is critical to help address the nation's skills gap.
 
Description EPSRC ICASE 2021 - Novel rotor design for cost optimised, high temperature, high speed aerospace applications with Rolls-Royce
Amount £88,885 (GBP)
Funding ID 210009 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2021 
End 10/2025
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account - 'Ideas to Innovation'
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2020 
End 11/2021
 
Description EPSRC Manufacturing Rapid Funding Opportunity 2020
Amount £149,528 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S018034/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2020 
End 10/2022
 
Description Collaboration with the Exeter Centre for Circular Economy (ECCE) 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Exeter Centre for Circular Economy (ECCE)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The vision of this collaboration between the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub and the Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy is to accelerate a new activity on circular economy in electrical machine manufacture by means of a structured discovery phase including linking with the UKRI National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub hosted at Exeter. The EPSRC Hub team is contributing to this collaboration by conducting a systematic literature study and consultation with industrial partners to define current practices.
Collaborator Contribution The Exeter Centre for the Circular Economy is contributing to this collaboration by seconding staff from its EPSRC Circular 4.0 Programme (EP/R032041) to the EPSRC Hub with an aim to jointly develop data-driven techniques to select the most appropriate CE strategies for electrical machines.
Impact A questionnaire is being used to consult with industrial partners to define current practices and a draft of the literature review to define the state-of-the-art in this field. The Universities of Sheffield and Exeter have a collaboration agreement as part of the EPSRC Circular 4.0 Programme (EP/R032041).
Start Year 2020
 
Description Manufacturing the Future utilising the UK's Large Facilities - Town Hall Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The EPSRC sponsored event's goal is to help define and lead the National Agenda on Utilising x-rays, photons and neutrons to Manufacture the Future. It will involve industry, academics and Large Facilities' representatives. The meeting will focused on how best to increase the engagement between the EPSRC's Hubs (both Future Manufacturing Hubs and the UK Catalysis Hub) with the Large Facilities (Diamond Light Source, ISIS Neutron Source, and the Central Laser Facilities) on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

The agenda for the meeting will included:

• The current state of the art

• An international perspective

• An industrial perspective
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://mapp.ac.uk/events/town-hall-meeting-manufacturing-the-future-utilising-the-uks-large-facilit...
 
Description 9th - 10th December 2019- Short course for KTN/APC/UKRI personnel 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact As part of a two-day course on Electrical Machines and Drives, the Hub Director (G.W Jewell) delivered two half-day sessions using the course material developed for the Hub one-day short course. This particular course was attended by 13 staff from the KTN, Innovate UK, URKI and APC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FEMM Hub Presentation at Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) event "Electrical Machine Design For Manufacture" on 10th of July 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Hub Director Professor Geraint Jewell presented at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) event "Electrical Machine Design For Manufacture" on the 10th of July at the IET Austin Court in Birmingham and bring together leading speakers from Industry and Academia to discuss the methods and processes involved in manufacturing electric motors. Professor Jewell gave delegates an overview of the hub before discussing power density and in-process inspection for electrical machines. He joined other presenters from ZF group, Advanced Propulsion centre, Warwick Manufacturing, HV Wooding Ltc, Nidec Control Techniques Dynamics, University of Cardiff and Vacuumschmelze.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://events.theiet.org/electric-machine-design-for-manufacture
 
Description FEMM Hub Training Session: The Impact of Modern Power Electronic Converters on Machine Insulation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Professor Jiabin Wang from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Sheffield kicked off the first of the Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub training sessions of 2021, presenting "The Impact of Modern Power Electronic Converters on Machine Insulation" to 96 delegates.

This training session was available exclusively to academic and industry partners of the FEMM Hub. By hosting this training virtually, it facilitated attendance from different parts of the world from companies including Rolls-Royce, ZF Group, Siemens Gamesa, Protean Electric, Aerospace Technology Institute, University of Strathclyde Advanced Forming Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, The University of Sheffield, Newcastle University, Carpenter Technology Corporation, Dyson, Collins Aerospace and Höganäs AB.

The training course covered insulation structures and designs of typical electrical machines over a wide range of power, speed and torque ratings. The effects of impulse and high frequency PWM voltage produced by power electronic converters on voltage distributions in machine winding and insulation systems were analysed and characterised, and measures to mitigate these effects were discussed. The potentials for advanced manufacturing processes that may improve insulation systems were also highlighted.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://electricalmachineshub.ac.uk/the-impact-of-modern-power-electronic-converters-on-machine-insu...
 
Description FEMM Hub Virtual Conference 2020 - 16th November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Given the current global pandemic, a decision was made to move the 1st FEMM Hub (in person) conference from November 2020 to June 2021. Despite lockdown, FEMM hub researchers and PhD's have been progressing well with their research and we wanted to share their progress through a series of short presentations for participants to view at their leisure. Interest in these presentations has increased the number of attendees at our monthly update meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://electricalmachineshub.ac.uk/femm-hub-virtual-conference/
 
Description FEMM hub presentation at the "Winning the Weight Race: Opportunities and Challenges in Lightweighting" conference, May 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact On the 15th and 16th of May, Professor Jewell presented to policy makers, industry leaders and manufacturing researchers at the Lightweighting Conference at AMRC. The lightweighting conference provided deep insights into the future of mobility through powerful presentations and real-world technology demonstrators: from machining thin wall aerostructures and additive manufacture of satellite components, through to innovative castings of complex airframes, the design of joints containing dissimilar materials, and one-way-assembly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://amrc.co.uk/files/document/287/1557763462_AMRC_LightWeighting_AGENDA.pdf
 
Description Launch of the Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact On Wednesday the 12th of June, The University of Sheffield hosted leading figures from academia and industry at the official launch of the Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM) Hub. Held at Factory 2050, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the launch event was attended by 120 people from academia and industry. This included Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Sheffield together with leading academics and industry figures from Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens-Gamesa, GKN Aerospace and funding partners.

The attendees at the hub launch heard presentations from the FEMM Hub industrial and academic partners on the opportunities and challenges in electrical machine manufacturing and the research activities proposed to address and overcome these challenges. They also participated in networking sessions and attended demonstrations of new industrial digital technologies within the advanced manufacturing facilities of the AMRC's Factory 2050.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://electricalmachineshub.ac.uk/hub-launch/
 
Description One day short course titled "An Introduction to Electrical Machines" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The one-day course was intended to provide an introduction to electrical machines for Hub academic / research staff, Hub PGRs and individuals from Hub partner companies. It was attended by 32 delegates including several RAs from the hub and engineers from companies such as Romax, Dyson, NPL, Rolls-Royce, Siemens Gamesa and Protean Electric.

Although starting from an introductory level, there was sufficient content at an intermediate level to be of value to participants with some background in electrical machines.
Course description: Starting from the basics of electrical machines, including aspects such as the anatomy, construction and fundamental operating principles, the course will develop and understanding of the operation of different types of machines (induction, DC, permanent magnet, wound-field synchronous and reluctance machines). The course will cover loss mechanisms and thermal behaviour in machines. Although the course will not cover design methodologies per se, the various electrical / thermal / techanical / manufacturing trade-offs will be discussed and illustrated via case studies. The course will touch on the role of power converters in terms of their basic functionality as viewed from a machine perspective.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Participated in BEIS/UKRI visit ro AMRC 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The AMRC and NAMRC at Sheffield hosted a large (~20) delegation from BEIS and UKRI. The visit included two round-table discussion (concerned with Productivity and Sustainability) at which the Hub perspective were represented by the G.W Jewell This was followed by a facility tour in which researchers from the Hub (Lloyd Tinkler and Alexei Winter) presented their research on automated coil winding and remote laser cutting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Presentation at the Advanced Propulsion Centre Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Spoke Event on the 13th of November in Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact APC Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Spokes Symposium 2019

Power Electronics Machines and Drives technologies underpin the electrification of our energy and transport systems but to make them more effective it is essential to realise improvements in power density, costs of manufacturing, reliability and techniques for integration. The Advanced Propulsion Centres Power Electronic & Electric Machines Spokes symposium, looked at a holistic approach to developing these key technologies in tandem.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.apcuk.co.uk/event/apc-power-electronics-and-electrical-machines-spokes-symposium-2019/
 
Description Virtual presentation at ICEM 2020 - Opportunities and challenges of employing heat-pipes in thermal management of electrical machines 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Rafal Wrobel presented at ICEM 2020 (Gotenberg Sweden). The conference was moved to an online platform due to Covid-19. Dr Wrobel presented the following paper "Opportunities and challenges of employing heat pipes in thermal management of electrical machines"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Virtual presentation at IEEE ECCE 2020 - A feasibility study of heat pipes for thermal management of electrical machines. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Rafal Wrobel presented at IEEE ECCE 2020. This conference was moved to a virtual platform due to Covid-19. The paper presented was titled "A feasibility study of heat pipes for thermal management of electrical machines".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Virtual presentations at UK Magnetics Society Online Conference - 25th/26th of August 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Three of our PhD students - Charlie Scott, Leigh Paterson and John McKay - each presented at the UK Magnetics Society Virtual Conference 2020.

As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, this conference was moved online. The conference offered a platform to students working in magnetics related subjects to talk about their research and work. The students also engaged in several talks from academics and industrialists which included FEMM Hub investigator Professor Barrie Mecrow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://ukmagsoc.org/events/magnetics-students-online-conference/