University of Sheffield launches new research hub for the electrical revolution

Education | Energy & Low Carbon Industry | Manufacturing | North East | Technology | Transport & Distribution | Yorkshire

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The University of Sheffield has launched a new research hub which aims to put UK manufacturing at the forefront of the electrification revolution in aerospace, energy, high value automotive and premium consumer sectors.

The £28m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub will bring together leading research expertise in electrical machines and manufacturing. Researchers will work closely with industry to address key manufacturing challenges in the production of high integrity and high-value electrical machines.

The initial research plans within the hub cover a number of topics, including: the use of the latest manufacturing processes to enable the lightweighting of electrical machines, understanding and demonstrating how digital tools can support skill intensive manual manufacturing tasks, and exploring how robotic systems can be applied to tasks such as the winding of coils in electrical machines.

Professor Geraint Jewell, Director of the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub, said: “The University of Sheffield has recently been named the number one university in the UK for income and investment in engineering research which positions us as a global leader. This new hub exemplifies this in action – we are bringing together world-leading researchers with industry to deliver real impact in the manufacture of electrical machines.”

Dr Arwyn Thomas, Head of Generator Design at Siemens-Gamesa, said: “The new hub is an exciting development in the partnership between Siemens-Gamesa and the University of Sheffield. Our partnership with Sheffield supports the development of new technologies including the latest generation of generators for offshore wind turbines. As the generators grow in size they present new manufacturing challenges and working with the hub will be essential to addressing these.”

Simon Taylor, Chief Engineer for Hybrid and Electric Aircraft at GKN Aerospace, said: “For future hybrid and electric aircraft, GKN are exploring the potential for electrical propulsion systems in order to solve the environmental challenges due to the growth in air travel. This work expands upon our capabilities on electrical drivetrains, systems integration, propulsion and structures to invest in the future of sustainable aviation.”

The £28m investment is underpinned by a £10m award from the EPSRC and funding from industrial partners including Rolls Royce, Airbus, Siemens Gamesa, GKN Aerospace, McLaren and Dyson and the University partners. The team, led by the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering and AMRC, will work with academics at Newcastle University and the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

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