Members of the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM) Hub met Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng when he visited the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) recently.
Mr Kwarteng’s visit to launch the Government’s new Innovation Strategy, coincided with the AMRC’s 20th anniversary and provided an opportunity for the Minister to tour the AMRC and see at first-hand about the contribution of the FEMM Hub in the growing electrification activities at AMRC.
Mr Kwarteng had the opportunity to see the robot development work done by FEMM Hub researcher Dr Alexei Winter to automate the placement of high strength magnets, reducing the time taken of completing this manually from 55 minutes to 55 seconds. Alexei described the impact for Magnomatics, the Sheffield based SME partner in the research, and subsequently in strengthening the UK’s position in the design and manufacture of equipment for offshore wind energy generation.
The Secretary of State then moved on to the FEMM Hub robotic coil winding cell where Dr Lloyd Tinkler, Technical Fellow at the AMRC and work-package lead for GC2.3 in the FEMM Hub. discussed how robotic coil winding offered a middle ground between the inflexible winding machines used in the mass production of electrical machines, and labour-intensive small-batch manufacture. They considered how these could readily be used to switch between tasks such as magnet placement to coil winding as needed. Dr Tinkler commented “We discussed the importance that this not only offers increased productivity, but also brings the benefits of automation such as improved reliability and quality, to low-volume high-value manufacture necessary for future net zero flight.”
Mr Kwarteng recognised the importance of SME’s in the supply chain, commenting, “Such work is also critical as the UK addresses the challenge of reaching net zero by 2050.”
Further information on the wider visit to AMRC is available here.
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