A leading metal pressings specialist has secured more than £500,000 of funding to help it develop new thin gauge laminates for use in an exciting electrification project.
Brandauer, which employs 60 people at its factory in Birmingham, is proving out a manufacturing process for creating special stacks used in a new highly sustainable motor for the light commercial vehicle/off-highway sectors.
The firm is part of the UK-ALUMOTOR consortium that is being led by Ricardo and includes partners Aspire Engineering, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Phoenix Scientific Industries and Global Technologies Racing.
£4m of consortium funding has come from the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge at UK Research and Innovation, with the consortium tasked with delivering, testing and validating pre-production of a highly sustainable motor with up to a 12kg reduction in rare earth magnets per machine.
Mark Parsons, innovation project manager at Brandauer, said: “This is another exciting ‘win’ for us and reinforces our growing expertise in paper thin laminations for electric motor stators and rotors.
“If the UK is going to lead the world in electrification, we need to build supply chain capacity and new technology, which is why the UK-ALUMOTOR project is another important step forward in this aim.
“The market opportunity is huge. At present, there are 63,000 electric light commercial vehicles made annually, but this is forecast to grow to 282,000 vehicles by 2026, continuing to rise to 345,000 vehicles two years later.”
Brandauer, a proven collaborator through its membership of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), had previously worked with the consortium on a feasibility study for production and this has provided crucial information on geometry, tolerances, material usage and refined production processes.
The new funding will help it take this knowledge and put it towards the development of tooling that will create the paper-thin laminates that engineers will then assemble into varying stack sizes for use in the stator and rotor part of the electric motor.
15 staff at the Birmingham firm are expected to be involved in the project, with the new Yamada 80 tonne press due to be used once production of the samples start. Bosses are estimating that this could be worth more than £1m per year if the component is fully realised.
Rowan Crozier, CEO of Brandauer, said: “It is so important that SMEs can access funding to develop new technologies; it minimises the risk we take in undertaking R&D and can sometimes be the difference between us committing to a project or not.
“We are involved in three different consortiums all linked to electrification and it would be great to see a similar focus on other sectors like aerospace and medical that UK manufacturing can exploit.”
Andrew Lane, principal engineer and project lead for UK-ALUMOTOR at Ricardo, said: “Ricardo is looking forward to working with Brandauer once again. Its ability and expertise in thin laminations for electrical machines will provide a vital part of the jigsaw in realising the UK-ALUMOTOR concept.”