Members of the FEMM hub enjoyed a fantastic day in Sheffield yesterday at the Engage with…LIVE! Event. Hosted by the UKRI’s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, this event was a culmination of the 45 Engage with…events that were delivered online to over 2,500 people over the course of the pandemic. The Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge is investing in Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) to develop the UK manufacturing supply chain capabilities to enable the UK to maximise the value capture from the global push towards electrification and realising of Net Zero by 2050.

The Engage with…Live event attracted over 280 delegates from across the UK where they discussed PEMD supply chain requirements, challenges and opportunities and explore future prospects for partnerships, collaborations and projects. All with the aim for UK industry to seize the economic opportunities from the global transition to clean technologies and electrification. When delegates weren’t listening to the great lineup of speakers and panel discussions, they had the opportunity to network with over 40 ‘show and tell’ exhibitors that lined the Octagon theatre.

The event kicked off with a keynote address by Martin Wood, ZEV supply chain specialist at the Department for International Trade, chaired by Will Drury, Director of the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge where it was highlighted that, encouragingly, over 50% of the audience was from Industry.

Panel discussions throughout the day included discussions focusing on “The Electric Revolution Needs Talent: How do we create a diverse skills pipeline to enable growth of the power electronics, machines and drives supply chain?”, “Materials and End-of-Life Recycling: What are the challenges and opportunities for a secure and resilient materials supply chain for power electronics, machines and drives?” and “Compound Semiconductor Power Electronics: How does the UK supply chain meet future demand?”.

The final panel discussion of the day was chaired by our hub director Professor Geraint Jewell titled “Building supply chain capability through Innovations in Electric Machine Manufacturing: How can the UK manufacture competitively in a global market?”. The panel members included Rowan Crozier (Brandauer), Dave Latimer (Magnomatics), Jill Miscandlon (FEMM Hub Project Led), David Moule (FEMM Hub Industry Board Member and ZF Group) and Jim Winchester (Electrified Automation). It proved a lively panel kicking off with a question from the Chair on what they see as their biggest challenge and opportunity. Challenges included: the issue of scaling up for SME’s, the size of the machines they want to be involved in the manufacture of and the current lack of manufacturing infrastructure in the UK to do this and getting different experts together speaking the same ‘language’ to push things forward. Opportunities included: collaboration to break the mould on how we traditionally make electrical machines (the example of a recent project with the AMRC and Magnomatics was given); lightweighting but adding extra functionality, reducing time for prototype manufacturing to full scale, optimising the early stages of design of the EM and groups like the FEMM hub bringing different experts together. Discussions then touched on design for disassembly, sustainability which included understanding what the materials within the EM are capable of in the future, condition monitoring over the life of the machine, best practices and lamination stamping.

The event was closed by Guy Woolley, Director of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Governance & Deputy Programme Director in UK Research & Innovation who commented on the enthusiasm and energy he felt at the event and how encouraged he was by the discussions around diversity and inclusion.

If you have any questions about the event please contact FEMM Hub Manager, Laura – L.Okeefe@sheffield.ac.uk.