On 13th September 2021 the FEMM Hub held it’s first in-person conference at the Austin Court venue of the IET. Following several date and format changes over the past year, it was great to be able to share updates of progress made against the Grand Challenge themes ‘in real life’ as the interaction of questions and comments from delegates never seems quite the same in a virtual setting.
Following the welcome address from Professor Geraint Jewell, Hub Director, Professor Duc Pham from the University of Birmingham, delivered the first plenary session with a talk on Research into using collaborative robots to disassemble products for remanufacturing. The session provided opportunity for discussion on collaborative remanufacturing techniques between human and robot interactions.
During the following sessions we heard from Grand Challenge leaders on the research and results to date. Delegates drawn from both industry and academia, across the hub partners and beyond were able to share knowledge across all key work packages – and this continued into the lunch break and beyond.
For the Hub’s PhD students who were largely recruited during the pandemic, it was their first opportunity to experience a ‘live’ conference and they all contributed with an ‘elevator pitch’ to accompany their poster. Although a little nerve-racking for some, it was a good chance to practice skills in a conference environment and they all coped well.
The afternoon plenary was delivered by Mark Boden, Electrical Machines Engineer from Rolls Royce, on Challenges and Opportunities of Electrical Machines in Aerospace. His talk discussed the issues which need to be addressed as the aerospace industry works towards the contribution of electrical machines in the drive to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
The final Grand Challenge themes presentations’ followed the last networking session of the day, with Prof. Jewell closing the conference at the end of a successful meeting.
Feedback from attendees has been unanimously positive. Despite a few initial concerns that people naturally had about attending an event with lots of people after so long, everyone agreed it had been a great success and so good to discuss work face to face again. The venue helped in this matter with covid – safe precautions taken, through social distancing, catering, mask wearing and sanitising stations.
For me, it was the first opportunity to meet the teams across the programme as I joined the Hub on secondment a couple of months ago and have been working remotely. It was so nice to be part of an event showcasing advances in research that is set to have a potential impact in the journey to greater uptake of electrical machines manufacture across a wide spectrum of industry.
Karen Wood – FEMM Hub Manager
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