Skip to main content Skip to navigation

WMG News

Introducing CAD to Coventry children

The WMG Outreach team, funded by the lmagineering Foundation, has delivered a special CAD and 3D printing programme to more than 200, ten and 11 year olds across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Four University of Warwick undergraduate engineering students delivered the programme, throughout 2019, in a series of workshops designed to raise awareness and knowledge of CAD and 3D printing.

Workshop oneWorkshop 1: Introduction to the programme and learning about 3D printing

In the first session the team explained the role of engineers in the design process. The children were also shown how 3D printers are used to create prototypes.

Ice lollies!

In small groups the children were tasked with designing, (using CAD), and creating, (using 3D printing), an ice-lolly drip tray. During the design process the Outreach Team explained the importance of taking accurate measurements to ensure that the designs would actually work.

The challenge

Using a hairdryer (to create the feel of a warm summer’s day!) the children were presented with the problem of dripping lollies! The challenge to design a suitable drip tray was then set.

The children used life-sized 3D printed ice lollies on sticks to take key measurements needed for their drip tray designs. The pupils discussed and sketched design ideas including adding key measurements. These measurement and design sheets were then used in the next two workshops to help develop their CAD designs.

Workshop 2: Using Tinkercad to draw lolly drip tray designs in CADWorkshop 2

A video tutorial was used to show the children how to use Tinkercad. Building on their design work from Workshop One, the children began producing CAD drawings for the drip trays.

Workshop 3: Using scaled digital lolly model to assess and improve designs

Pupils put the finishing touches to their designs and used the scaled digital lolly models to visualise and assess their designs, considering any design modifications that were needed to ensure the drip tray was effective. The children were encouraged to continue this process until they were confident the design would work.

Tinkercad designs

Towards the end of the workshop, the class shared their finished designs. The class then voted for their favourite two, these were then 3D printed and returned to the school as a momentum.Tinkercad designs 2

Diane Burton, Project Officer STEM Outreach explained: “The school pupils had fun learning key design principles, and they have successfully produced products that are both functional and creative.”

You can find out more about all of WMG’s Outreach activities here.

Thu 13 Feb 2020, 10:23 | Tags: HVM Catapult STEM Education Outreach

Charging ahead at Battery School

Energy Innovation CentreWMG is running a special three-day Battery School at its Energy Innovation Centre from 17-19 February 2020 for industry personnel.

WMG battery experts will facilitate a mix of lectures and practical hands-on-sessions, with the intention of inspiring the next generation of engineers into battery related careers, crucial for the UK’s electrification sector.

The lectures will cover areas including manufacturing Lithium batteries, module and pack design, electrical testing and ageing, battery management systems, safety and abuse testing, forensic characterisation and battery end of life.

Meanwhile the practical lab sessions will focus on microscopy; electrode mixing and coating; pouch and cylindrical cell fabrication; cell and module testing; and forensics.

Find out more and book your place here.


Car batteries can be frozen for safer transportation  

Currently transporting damaged and defective car batteries is an expensive process as they need to be placed in an explosion proof box which costs thousands of pounds, however researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover engineers have been able to freeze batteries with Liquid Nitrogen.

An explosion proof box to transport a typical Tesla sized battery costs €10,000 and a furtherCar batteries can be frozen €10,000 for the UN accreditation, however, the ability to transport them in plastic containers which cost a couple of hundred pounds has been made more accessible thanks to researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick.

In the paper, Cycle life of lithium ion batteries after flash cryogenic freezing’ published in the Journal of Energy Storage, researchers highlight that cryogenic freezing does not reduce lithium ion battery’s energy capacity or affect cycle or service life, and could be transported in a safer way.

As the sales of electric vehicles increases, there is more concern for the transportation of damaged and defective lithium ion battery packs. Currently, it is an expensive process, as they are put in an explosion proof box that costs €10,000 and a further €10,000 for the UN accreditation, which EV manufacturers are picking up the bill for.

Explosion boxes are used to contain the battery in case it goes into thermal runway, an overheating condition which can lead to violent explosions and toxic gases being released. However being able to cryogenically flash freeze the batteries completely removes the risk of an explosion, and could therefore mean they can be transported safely in a plastic box.

Researchers who were part of the ELEVATE project funded by EPSRC, WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and Car batteries can be frozensupported by Jaguar Land Rover tested the batteries activity before they froze cells with liquid nitrogen and after, they also drove nails through the frozen cell to test the safety of them, and managed to show that their performance was not effected after freezing.

When being transported batteries will have to be kept in a lorry at -35 degrees, however the amount of packaging is significantly less than explosion proof boxes, making the process more sustainable.

Dr Thomas Grandjean from WMG, at the University of Warwick comments:

“Transporting damaged and defective batteries is an expensive and unsustainable process, however being able to freeze them with liquid nitrogen could save thousands of pounds and help electric vehicle manufacturers be more sustainable.

“We tested the batteries in the most extreme abuse conditions, such as driving nails through the cells and inducing external short circuits, proving that the freezing process is effective and safe.”

ENDS

2 DECEMBER 2019

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available credit to WMG University of Warwick at:

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/batts_3_.png
Caption: A frozen battery cell with a nail through it

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/batts_5_.png
Caption: A frozen battery cell with a nail through it

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/batts_7_.png
Caption: A room temperature cell with a nail through it exploding

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/batts_6.png
Caption: A room temperature cell with a nail through it exploding

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/batts_2_.png
Dr Thomas Grandjean from WMG, University of Warwick handling the battery cell frozen by liquid nitrogen

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/december2019/untitled.png
Dr Thomas Grandjean from WMG, University of Warwick handling the battery cell frozen by liquid nitrogen

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or + 44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk


Experience Warwick Summer School: Raising awareness of engineering in society

The WMG Outreach Team had a busy summer term concluding with the Experience Warwick Year 10 Summer School, which ran from 3-6 July and was supported by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The programme was created and led by Phil Jemmett and saw a total of 42 students, aged 14 and 15 years, work on mini-engineering projects in small teams. They were supported by University of Warwick student ambassadors, research staff and Graduate Trainee Engineers from WMG.

Professor Margaret Low, Widening Participation Officer for WMG explained: “The projects were designed to introduce the youngsters to key engineering skills and to help them to recognise the importance of resilience and team work.

“The students had some fantastic ideas, including a smart city model, radio based game and remote controlled cars, which were presented to their families and teachers at a special showcase event.”

The Summer School, organised by Warwick Outreach and Widening Participation Team, gave the students a true insight into life at university: they got to stay in University of Warwick halls of residence, attend academic sessions and experience the social and sport facilities on campus.

Based on the success of the project, next summer it will be expanded into a full work experience programme in July 2020.

To find out more contact wmgoutreach@warwick.ac.uk

Tue 08 Oct 2019, 10:01 | Tags: HVM Catapult Education Outreach

Researchers convert car batteries into units that could power farms in the developing world

James Marco, WMG

As part of a Circular Economy for electric vehicle battery systems, as the number of such vehicles increases rapidly, the need to find the best way to reuse and recycle vehicle batteries becomes just as intense.

In partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, Connected Energy and Videre Global, researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, have found a way not just to recycle those used batteries, but repurpose them as small energy storage systems (ESS) for off grid locations in developing countries or isolated communities.

The repurposed units, each containing approximately 2kWh of energy capacity, will be able to power a small shop, a farm holding, or multiple residential homes.

WMG’s Professor James Marco who was lead researcher on the project said:

“When an electric vehicle’s battery reaches the end of its useful life it is by no means massively depleted. It has simply reached the end of its useful life in a vehicle.

"It is generally accepted that an EV battery has reached end of life when its capacity drops to 80% of a fresh battery. While this is no longer enough to satisfy drivers, it remains immensely useful for anyone who seeks to use the battery in a static situation.”

While such partially depleted batteries remain potentially very useful to other users there are still challenges to overcome, particularly to ensure that they can be used reliably, sustainably, and cheaply in remote locations. These challenges include:

· How to protect the lithium-ion cells from over-charge and discharge

· Can the ESS be made compatible with a variety of other used battery cells and modules from other manufacturers

· How to keep it low cost and easy maintenance, while providing an interface that is easy to use and understand

The WMG team, at the University of Warwick, set about overcoming these challenges with the help of the WMG HVM Catapult and Jaguar Land Rover who supplied batteries and components from the Jaguar I-PACE, their first all-electric performance SUV. The team designed a new Battery Management System (BMS) and packaging that allowed them to create a working and easily portable prototype ESS which included:

• The use of standard low cost components for control, communication and safety functions. All parts were either sourced from the JLR service department or were low cost components purchased from any electrical retailer.

• The ability to use different modules that could be interchanged within the 2nd-life system without having to recalibrate the whole BMS

• Enough energy for a small shop, farm holding or multiple residential homes

• Multiple 12V DC sockets and 5V USB charge ports

• The ability to have the 2nd –life module charged via reclaimed laptop chargers

• Simplified control system for easy integration and deployment

Professor James Marco continues:

“This is a great result that not only provides a highly efficient repurposing solution for automotive batteries but which could also change lives in remote communities. We are now looking for support to allow these new units to be further developed and tested in remote or off grid locations.”

The research project was part of the Innovate UK funded Project: 2nd hEVen (2nd-Life Energy Storage Systems) and is supported by the WMG High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.

Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:04 | Tags: HVM Catapult Research Battery Systems Engineering

Charging ahead!

Battery SchoolWMG is pleased to announce that its Battery School is now officially supported by the Faraday Institution.

In its role as the Electrical Energy Storage APC Spoke, WMG’s battery experts together with guest lecturers facilitate a mix of presentations and practical hands-on lab sessions covering electrochemistry, applications, future technologies, manufacturing, safety, testing, forensics and battery end of life.

The new collaborative Battery School was officially opened by Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution, with the first session held for 25 PhD students and future battery engineers, in June.

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. It brings together scientists and industry partners on research projects to reduce battery cost, weight, and volume; to improve performance and reliability; and to develop whole-life strategies from mining to recycling to second use.

The Battery School is situated at WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre – the largest facility of its kind in the UK. Find out more about the Energy Innovation Centre here.

Thu 18 Jul 2019, 13:23 | Tags: HVM Catapult Partnerships Battery Systems Engineering

WMG brings together key experts to discuss the future of transport

ACES dinnerLast week, WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult hosted an Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) networking dinner in partnership with NatWest and Lombard.

The event brought together CEOs, CTOs and senior executives from UK leaders in the sector, speakers included Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, GiffGaff, WMG, You.Smart.Thing and FiveAI, to discuss how ACES technologies will radically change the way we travel.

There is a global call to both reduce emissions and also to ease congestion and increase the simplicity, safety and speed at which passengers are able to get from point A to B. There is no doubt that the future of transport will be ACES.

The UK has always been at the forefront of transport innovation and manufacturing, and needs to continue to bring manufacturers and governing bodies together to push forward the ACES transport agenda and ensure the UK remains competitive in a global market.

WMG, NatWest and Lombard will be releasing thought leadership pieces from expert industry leaders, sharing the challenges and opportunities for the UK transport sector.

Click here to read the Natwest article

For more information or to get involved please contact: wmgbusiness@warwick.ac.uk

Thu 04 Jul 2019, 10:06 | Tags: HVM Catapult NAIC Partnerships

Archie MacPherson presents at key ERC conference

Archie MacPherson, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult at WMG is part of the expert panel at the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC)’s State of Small Business Britain Conference 2019, taking place at The Shard in London today.

Archie MacPhersonArchie joins automotive experts as well as representatives of the FSB and officials from the Department of Business, Innovation and Industrial Strategy, to discuss how to strengthen key sectors of the economy.

He explains: “Support is needed now, more than ever, from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to ensure that UK businesses maintain competitiveness during this period of uncertainty in UK Manufacturing.”

The ERC’s State of Small Business Britain report, which was launched at the Conference, presents a new analysis of the fortunes of the manufacturing and services sectors since the Great Recession of a decade ago.

The report provides a broader snapshot of the health of UK manufacturers in light of recent announcements about factory closures and job losses by the carmakers Ford at Bridgend and Honda at Swindon which the Society of Motor ­Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has estimated could lead to the loss of 60,000 jobs directly and in supply chains. In May, British Steel collapsed into administration after a last-ditch appeal to the Government, putting a further 25,000 jobs at risk.

Following the Conference, Archie will be making his way back to WMG for “The Future will be Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES)” networking dinner bringing together global leaders in the transport and communications sector. Guests will discuss the opportunities and challenges that ACES technology can bring.

ENDS

About High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult at WMG

WMG is one of the founding members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC), and the lead centre for Vehicle Electrification and Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) within the HVMC network. The centre is also active in showing how Digital Manufacturing technologies can help improve company and supply chain competitiveness.

As part of the £640m Government funding package for HVM Catapult, WMG was allocated £100m in 2018 to continue strengthening UK industry through collaborative R&D, innovation and technology transfer from automotive into other transport sectors over the next five years.

 

About the Enterprise Research Centre

ERC is the UK’s leading independent research institute on the drivers behind the growth and productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Innovate UK, The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the British Business Bank (BBB).

ERC is producing the new knowledge around SMEs that will allow us to create a business-friendly environment nationwide, grounded in hard evidence. We want to understand what makes entrepreneurs and firms thrive so we can spread the lessons from best practice and make the UK a more successful economy.

The Centre is led by Professors Stephen Roper of Warwick Business School and Mark Hart of Aston University, Birmingham. Our senior researchers are world-class academics from both Aston and Warwick Universities as well as from our partner institutions which include Imperial College, Queens University Belfast and the University of Strathclyde.

 

 

Thu 27 Jun 2019, 11:56 | Tags: HVM Catapult Manufacturing

MIA Motorsport Conference and Business Excellence Awards 2019

The WMG centre HVM Catapult team attended the esteemed MIA Energy Efficient Motorsport Conference, earlier this month.

The event showcases leading figures from motorsport, automotive and beyond to discuss current and future technology development, and explores the many opportunities for business growth and success.

AProfessor David Greenwoodt the conference, our Professor Dave Greenwood joined other experts for a lively panel discussion entitled 'What's in it for me? Electric Power in Motorsport and Automotive'.

In the evening, the MIA held its prestigious Business Excellence Awards. WMG sponsored the ‘Export Achievement Award,’ with AP Racing crowned much-deserved winners. The AP Racing team were presented with their award by the CEO of our WMG centre HVM Catapult, Archie MacPherson.

You can read more about MIA events here.


WMG part of a £37m project to develop lightweight vehicles

A new research project, Tucana, will focus on lighweighting technology, delivering stiffer and lighter vehicle structures with the help of experts from WMG, at the UniversityLightweighting technology of Warwick.

The research will develop world-leading cost effective, scalable carbon fibre composite solutions, with the view to boosting the performance of electric vehicles. The CO2 benefit of the project between 2023-2032, will be 4.5 million tonnes.

WMG will receive £4m, of the £18.7m government funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), to drive the development of innovative lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures, building on the UK’s leading-edge capability in this area.

Project Tucana will allow the true environmental credentials of electric vehicles to be realised by enabling wider adoption. Tucana will deliver this step-change by addressing structural performance at a design, material and volume manufacturing-level which is currently unmet across the industry.


Older news