WMG, at the University of Warwick, is playing a key role in the UK-ALUMOTOR consortium working to build on the UK’s electric motor supply chain by leveraging manufacturing expertise to deliver the next generation of sustainable electric motors.
The consortium, led by Ricardo, will deliver a tested and validated pre-production, highly sustainable motor, with up to 12kg reduction in rare earth magnets per machine. This will enable the UK to scale motor production and accelerate the transition to electrified transport, as well as build and secure its national capability and domestic supply chain without risk from international markets, so providing competitive advantage.
The consortium is also investigating higher performance derivatives, suitable for passenger cars, defence and motorsport applications.
WMG’s role as the project’s stator integration lead is to use the DER Winding Centre of Excellence to help build several novel synchronous reluctance e-machine prototypes, helping to develop a range of manufacturing processes to pre-production level for the pre-production design. Engineers and researchers at WMG will conduct process development and components testing, leveraging work on earlier APC funded projects, to advise the partners on design for manufacture, bill of processes, and end of line testing to provide a viable manufacture solution.
Funding for the project has been awarded by UKRI’s Driving the Electric Revolution and will allow the consortium to take the light commercial vehicle motor concept to a much higher level of manufacturing readiness.
This two-year project builds on previous successful collaboration between the consortium in 2021 as the UKRI funded feasibility study was delivered. WMG has supported the design since its inception through earlier DCR project with Ricardo in 2020.
Teri Hawksworth, President of Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA, said: “The cost of electrification is widely recognised as being the biggest barrier to wide-scale adoption of electric commercial vehicles. Manufacturers are also concerned about the supply security and volatile costs of the rare earth metals used in most zero emission vehicles. Ricardo is committed to supporting manufacturers by driving cost out of electrification, leveraging our world-renowned expertise in motor innovation, and driving sustainable technology solutions which will support the UK in achieving its net zero carbon emission targets for commercial vehicles by 2030.”
David Simkin, Head of the DER Winding Centre of Excellence (WCE), said: “The challenge of taking a novel topology of eMachine to early stage production is exactly what the DER WCE facility was designed to deliver. Taking the experience and knowledge gained in the earlier UK-ALUMOTOR program to early phase manufacturing will build on the manufacturing process and training skills already at WMG. Manufacturing of eMachines in the UK is necessary to move to a zero emissions outcome in the UK. It is the priority of the WCE to support UK manufacturers and UK supply chain companies to satisfy this market opportunity in electrification, and this project provides a perfect opportunity for us to do this.”
In addition to consortium leader, Ricardo, the project consortium partners include: Aspire Engineering, Brandauer, WMG, Phoenix Scientific Industries, and Global Technologies Racing.
Find out more about WMG’s Transport Electrification research here.
Mayor opens Ramfoam’s new headquarters as company embraces digital thanks to WMG, University of Warwick
One of the first companies to sign up to a programme to improve the digital capabilities of smaller businesses has officially opened its new company headquarters and factory in Sandwell.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) cut the ribbon at Ramfoam’s new site on Haigne Road, Tividale which will see the business increase in size by 50 per cent.
Ramfoam, which makes foam products for the military and other organisations, was one of the first businesses to sign up to the West Midlands Made Smarter programme which is aimed at increasing the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopting digital technology in manufacturing. Last year Ramfoam adapted its manufacturing practices to produce two million face visors a week at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Made Smarter, which was officially launched in June, is headed up by the WMCA and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said: “The West Midlands is a shining light for UK innovation, and that has become even more apparent throughout the pandemic.
“That’s why, in partnership with BEIS, we set up the Made Smarter programme to help SMEs really make the most of our region’s digital capabilities.
“It is therefore brilliant to see companies like Ramfoam not only taking part in the programme, but also the transformative effective it has had with their new expansion. The more companies that prosper like Ramfoam, the more jobs we’ll be able to create for local people.”
So far 85 companies have asked to join Made Smarter West Midlands and 58 have started the first stages of the programme. The year-long £1.9 million programme will see digital experts provide advice to businesses - like Ramfoam - on how to switch to advanced and automated technologies as well as working to improve employees’ overall digital skills.
Tim Mulqueen, Ramfoam’s sales director, said: “The Made Smarter programme is greatly assisting SMEs with their invaluable experience. Ramfoam is now actively working with Made Smarter to apply digital technologies to our business that will enable us to manufacture smarter and improve our efficiency, and in turn generate growth.
“I believe all West Midlands SME businesses could greatly benefit from support through Made Smarter; we all as SMEs need to challenge the way we do things in order to continuously improve and innovate.”
Ramfoam was helped by WMG at the University of Warwick to scale up production from 100,000 to two million face visors a week for the Government at the height of the pandemic.
By creating a digital twin (a virtual model) Ramfoam was able to make 54 million visors over the last year. The company also signed up for WMG’s help to creating digital visualisation of its new factory, and now, as one of the first participants in Made Smarter West Midlands, will benefit from further assistance in adopting digital technology further.
Dr Mark Swift, head of SME programmes at WMG, University of Warwick commented:
“The pandemic was a tough time for any business, and being able to flourish during it is certainly an achievement that Ramfoam has been able to do. We thoroughly enjoyed helping them drive up productivity and look forward to helping to transform Ramfoam further.
“It is incredibly exciting to see a West Midlands manufacturer doing so well, and we hope that more businesses will sign up to Made Smarter and continue to make the West Midlands a thriving manufacturing hub.”
The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with the region’s other Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the WMCA and BEIS. The Growth Hubs are working closely with the WMCA and their strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Ramfoam is a great example of a company best placed to take advantage of the Made Smarter scheme.
He said: “It’s fantastic that Ramfoam is one of the first firms to become part of the Made Smarter programme here in the West Midlands. It will help firms like Ramfoam develop innovative technology for the benefit of the region, as well as adopting new technology themselves to improve efficiency.
“Made Smarter will enable SMEs across the West Midlands receive the specialist support they need to embrace digital technology, and we are looking forward to more companies applying to Made Smarter and following in Ramfoam’s footsteps.”
Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio lead for economy and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “SMEs have felt the effects of the pandemic and have had to adapt to different ways of working as demonstrated by Ramfoam.
“Improved digital expertise gained through Made Smarter can help the region’s SMEs future-proof their practices, contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.”
To find out more about Made Smarter visit https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/made-smarter-west-midlands
WMG professor to lead research and network strand for £147 million Made Smarter Innovation programme
Recognised for her expertise in supply chain design and strategy, as well as process improvement and sustainability, Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, University of Warwick, has been appointed as a co-director of the research and network strand within the £147 million Made Smarter Innovation programme.
Taking on the UK Research and Innovation role with immediate effect, Professor Godsell will be working with the Economic and Social Research Council to lead the research and network strand of the programme alongside fellow newly appointed co-director Jillian MacBryde, Professor of Innovation and Operations Management at the University of Strathclyde.
Together they will look to expand the stakeholder community and research into a Made Smarter Network Plus on an initial five-month agreement working alongside the Challenge Director and programme team.
The Made Smarter Network Plus aims to bring together insights across the wider UK manufacturing sector, bolstering digital technology innovation opportunities in manufacturing through engagement and collaboration.
Commenting on her new role, Professor Godsell said:
“The scope for improving the flexibility, sustainability and productivity of the UK manufacturing sector is huge, so I was keen to take this role to partner with Jillian on introducing research and new ideas to the industry.
“Introducing these important external influences in an effective way will require a deep understanding of the specific needs and demands on the manufacturing sector, which I hope I can bring to the Network Plus model to ensure it thrives for the benefit of all involved.”
Professor Godsell provides advice on strategy and activity across government and industry as part of her existing roles on various supply chain groups, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Supply Chain Resilience Advisory Group.
Chris Courtney, Challenge Director for Made Smarter Innovation, said:
“Digital technologies have the power to radically transform how we manufacture and deliver the products and services of the future and deliver a more resilient, prosperous economy with fundamental changes to the nature of work.
“A key part of delivering an optimal future in manufacturing will be enabled by harnessing the insights from the broader economic, social, regulatory and political sciences.
“I’m delighted to welcome Jan and Jill to the overall effort as co-directors, combining two of our leading academics in this space bringing leadership, insight of with a passion for manufacturing.
“I’m excited to get this work underway and to support Jill and Jan as they reach out to the broad network of capability to engage and shape a vital and exciting programme of work.”
Register for the upcoming Made Smarter Network Plus Townhall Event on 13th May here to find out more about the programme and how to get involved.
Manufacturers must unlock supply chain visibility to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, WMG and Blue Yonder are warning.
The pandemic has disrupted supply and demand in many ways, from factory and border closures to swings in consumer needs, and those without supply chain visibility have been struggling to adapt and keep up. Digital supply chain technologies perform a vital role across all stages of manufacturing, from sourcing materials and quality control to warehouses and shipping. Now the industry is being warned any talk of ‘building back stronger’ won’t come to fruition if manufacturers don’t have the visibility over demand and supply that digital supply chains can bring.
The warning comes as a result of WMG research conducted in with almost 250 manufacturing companies revealing that lack of visibility and workforce issues are creating the biggest supply chain bottlenecks:
- 47% cited lack of visibility of capacity at suppliers and 37% cited lack of visibility of demand from customers as major supply chain constraints.
- More than half (55%) used inventory as the major buffer against disruption. This ties up cash and can leave organisations exposed if demand falls.
- Less than a third (32%) used visibility in their supply network to react to disruption. This is potentially a more effective strategy in the longer term.
To help manufacturers assess their supply chain needs, WMG at the University of Warwick and Blue Yonder worked together to design a freely accessible digital readiness tool. The digital readiness tool gives manufacturers the ability to assess their current supply chain to see where they are now and where they need to be. Manufacturers can also enquire about a further consultation to understand what they need to do to get to their goal and survive in the post COVID-19 world.Professor Jan Godsell, WMG, University of Warwick
Professor Jan Godsell, from WMG, University of Warwick, comments: “As we continue to deal with the disruptions of COVID-19, demand and supply visibility has never been more critical. It enables manufacturers to better plan their manufacturing operations, to minimise costly inventory buffers. We hope that the supply chain digital readiness tool can assist manufacturers with identifying opportunities to use digitisation to help their businesses to survive and thrive amidst the challenges of COVID-19. We are also offering manufacturers further advice.”
Alan Duncan, Senior Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Blue Yonder, adds: “They say ‘the wise man built his house on the rock,’ and when they’re rebuilding after COVID-19, manufacturers must put resilient digital supply chains at the centre of operations. Manufacturers have been investing more in the move to digital supply chains in recent years, but it’s crucial that their plans are pushed through to fruition. A digital supply chain will give them the end-to-end visibility, resilience and agility required to emerge from pandemic disruption in the strongest manner possible.”
4 MARCH 2021
NOTES TO EDITORS
The data comes from a WMG survey of 248 manufacturers in September 2020.
High-res images available at:
Caption: Professor Jan Godsell, WMG, University of Warwick
Credit: WMG, University of Warwick
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
While the Summer months are used for relaxing and revision for most students, a group of students who form Warwick Racing stayed behind to continue their work on the single-seater electric race car, ready for the Formula Student events later in the academic year.
The Warwick Racing team consists of students from the School of Engineering, Warwick Business School and the Department of Computer Science, with support and facilities courtesy of WMG. The team comprises members of different gender, race, nationality and degree, with an expansion to the business team in term one adding 12 additional new members to the fold, overseeing the website, marketing and social media.
Due to the pandemic the students worked remotely to design the second race car, WRe2. But as labs reopened over the summer it was time to start putting the real-world production of components into action.
Following social distancing guidelines, wearing protective equipment and ensuring that workstations are properly sanitized, Warwick Racing has been able to successfully ensure that component production was able to continue safely.
They were able to focus on two critical components of the car, the front upright and the wiring harness.
Watch videos documenting the creation of these two components at https://youtu.be/IF2RFvn5pYE and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSQqVBKCD5Y
Angel Marco Ansenjo, Chief Chassis Engineer at Warwick Racing comments:
“The front uprights are the real workhorses of the vehicle: holding the front wheels in place and resisting the various dynamic loads that affect the car whilst cornering, braking and moving over bumps. As such the uprights must be one of the sturdiest and most resilient parts of the whole car.
“The process of creating an upright begins in the telemetry of last year’s car. By understanding what loads are going through the car at various points in the drive, we can better design the updated component in line with the needs of the new car. From there, the entire suspension system is digitally recreated on Autodesk Fusion 360 and simulated against a variety of stresses and load combinations to test how the suspension holds up against them. These include a hard braking scenario where the steering is put on full lock and the car hits a bump at the most loaded corner of the vehicle. This is to ensure that even in the most extreme of circumstances the part remains intact and the driver is safe.”
From here, the engineers decide on many of the intricate specifics of the upright, such as deciding on the component volume, the wheel bearings and the seals. Then, the exact material for the upright is chosen in order to allow the component to perform its job in the optimal manner. In this case, the team chose to use an aluminium-silicon alloy.
Once the volume and material are chosen, the design is run through a second phase of CAD tests to optimize the efficiency of the component and to ensure that any additional weight is shed. The engineers will then re-subject the part to digital testing and produce the toolpath which is sent to the computer-controlled manufacturing machines (CNC).
Once the part has been machined, it will be cut and measured to exact specifications and the additional bracketry will be manufactured. The wheel bearings are pressed in, followed by all the mounting hardware and the wheel hub, before the component is eventually mounted onto the chassis.
The wiring harness of a race car connects and controls various electronic components of the vehicle and ensures that wires are connected in the shortest, safest and most efficient ways possible.
Rens Bossers, Chief Powertrain Engineer at Warwick Racing comments:
“The first stage of designing a wiring harness is identifying what sensors, control units and actuators need to be connected to the circuit. On the WRe2 this contains over 50 components including, but not limited to: Battery Monitoring Systems (BMS), Inverter Data, Coolant monitors, speed sensors, steering wheel position sensors, brake pressure sensors and GPS.
“Once the components are decided on, we used smart wiring software to add all the connectors in and all the shielding and seals to protect the wiring from water and dust. The system must also be designed to ensure that it can survive the vibrations and stresses of racing without braking or compromising the safety of the car. Once the design is decided upon it is refined to ensure maximum efficiency (both in terms of cost and performance) by reducing the length of wires where possible and saving weight. “
Once the digital section of the design stage is complete, the team map out the building process using a Nailboard Wiring Diagram and begin cutting and crimping the wires to motorsport grade standards. In total there are over 5 meters of wires cut for the harness and over 200 separate connections which must be individually tested and validated. Once the tests are certified, the loom is sealed to make it both waterproof and fireproof, ensuring the elements can’t get into the circuit even in the event of a crash. Once the loom is completed, it is carefully installed and secured within the chassis.
20 JANUARY 2021
NOTES TO EDITORS
High-res images available at:
Caption: A render of WRe2 spaceframe.
Credit: Warwick Racing, University of Warwick
Video available to view at:
Credit: Warwick Racing
For further information please contact:
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
WMG Centre HVM Catapult was pleased to contribute a chapter to the recent Midlands Manufacturing Resilience Commission (M2R) report: Manufacturing Confidence.
Led by M2R Chairman, Dr Clive Hickman, the Commission gathered evidence from a series of roundtables, surveys and contributions from some 200 participants from industry, academia and Government, including WMG’s Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, Jan Godsell.
The various discussions centred around key issues impacting Midlands’ manufacturing including skills, productivity, supply chains, leadership, innovation and finance, plus the region’s identity and reputation now and in the future.
This work culminated in “Manufacturing Confidence,” which shares the findings of those discussions, supported by a series of independently authored chapters focusing on key themes.
CEO WMG centre HVM Catapult and Director of Industrial Engagement, Professor David Greenwood authored the Manufacturing Business Support section of the report. This chapter considered the specific needs of Midlands Manufacturers, with one of the recommendations being the provision of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for business support focusing on sustainability, innovation and skills development.
An official launch event took place, virtually, on 2nd December, with presentations from Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Nadhim Zahawi MP and Hannah Boardman, Director, Advanced Manufacturing, BEIS.
Download the report here.
WMG is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor David Greenwood, as the new CEO of the WMG centre High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.
Professor Greenwood will replace Archie MacPherson, who has successfully led the WMG Catapult team since 2016.
WMG Executive Chair, Margot James, said: “We thank Archie for all that he has achieved in this period and wish him all the very best as he returns to a role in industry.”
The CEO role is part of Professor Greenwood’s remit as Director for Industrial Engagement at WMG.
He currently leads WMG’s Energy Research, and also holds advisory and board positions for the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Innovate UK (Faraday Challenge and IDP and the Faraday Institution, and is Head of the Advanced Propulsion Centre's Electrical Energy Storage Spoke. Professor Greenwood also provides academic leadership for the development of R&D activities within the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick.
Margot added: “Dave’s passion and unrivalled experience make him the ideal candidate to lead the HVM Catapult drive to de-risk innovation in UK manufacturing, enabling its productivity, growth and sustainability.”
Professor Greenwood added : “The focus of my career has been around bringing science and technology into industry, and I am delighted that these new roles will bring together the academic strengths of WMG with the transformative capability of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to benefit Industry and the UK. I look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships and welcoming new ones.”
Professor Greenwood will officially start as CEO from 26th October 2020.
WMG an academic department at the University of Warwick was on this day, the 1st of October, 1980 started by the late Professor Lord Bhattacharyya.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya sadly passed away on the 1st March 2019. His long and highly accomplished career in engineering and manufacturing began with his studies in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, before he moved to the UK to further his studies. After working at the University of Birmingham he was persuaded by the then Vice Chancellor at Warwick, Lord Butterworth, to move to the University of Warwick where he started WMG.
Over the years he went on to become a Government adviser to Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Industry Ministers and Prime Ministers.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, Professor Stuart Croft comments:
“I’m sure I speak for the whole Warwick community when I say how fantastic it is to see how Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s vision for WMG has flourished to become not only an exceptional part of our University but also our whole region, by connecting engineering and manufacturing industries with academia. I look forward to seeing what is in store for WMG in the years ahead, as it continues to go from strength to strength.”
The new Executive Chair for WMG is Margot James, who was appointed in April 2020, comments on the achievements so far and plans for the future of WMG.
“We operate on a huge scale today but our mission and vision is the same it was on that first autumn morning. The challenges we are addressing now are different to those of 40 years ago; the need for a zero carbon industry is at the forefront of so much of our work. Our experience and expertise have never been more relevant and vital.
“Whether educating the next generation of engineers or developing the technologies that will change our world, the challenges we embrace today will shape the next chapter of the WMG story. We have the creativity, the insight, and most of all, the people to make the next 40 years of WMG even more exciting and impactful as we build a smarter, greener, cleaner and healthier world.”
WMG at the University of Warwick is helping a body of British citizen scientists, medical clinicians, academics, manufacturers and engineers who have developed an alternative model of ventilator to support the Government’s drive to equip the NHS.
Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group, the UK’s leading privately owned Aerospace and Defence business, is exploring the technical aspects of the scheme ahead of rapid production and roll-out of the Negative Pressure Ventilator (NPV). The exovent concept is also supported by WMG at the University of Warwick and representatives from Imperial NHS Trust and The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear hospital. Two leading intensive care units have agreed to trial the prototype ventilator support devices.
exovent is non-invasive, which means that patients do not need to have their windpipes intubated, so they don’t need to be sedated or paralysed. Instead, they can remain conscious, take medication and nutrition by mouth, and talk to loved ones on the phone. It can be used on a normal ward, keeping patients out of intensive care.
Margot James, Executive Chair, WMG, University of Warwick comments: “We are delighted to be working with exovent to help scale up their non-invasive ventilator from prototype to volume manufacturing. Our engineers and researchers are collaborating with the exovent team on the design, engineering, component sourcing and assembly of the ventilator. I am extremely proud of the unstinting and dedicated efforts of our research team, led by Archie MacPherson at WMG, and glad that we are able to apply our expertise to this important project.”
*Please credit images to John Hunter Steer Energy
• A replica of Percy Riley’s 1898 Voiturette has been built by members of the Riley Motor Club and Riley Register with the encouragement of William Riley’s grandson Victor Riley
• WMG, at the University of Warwick, are sponsoring £2,000 to help with the construction of a replica engine.
• The car featured was the first to have a mechanically operated inlet valve and led the way for the British motor industry and prevented royalty claims.
• There was a launch event at the Coventry Transport Museum on the 6th November to showcase the replica prior to the engine being made.
In a bid to get the first Riley car recreated and back on the roads of Coventry for City of Culture 2021, WMG, at the University of Warwick, are helping with sponsorship to construct a replica engine which will complete a working replica of Percy's Riley 1898 Voiturette.
The launch of the replica, in its near finished state, was revealed at the Coventry Transport Museum, on 6th November by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Linda Bigham, alongside Victor Riley, WMG and invited guests.
The Riley car company started in 1890 as the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry before William Riley Jr incorporated the Riley Cycle Company in 1896.
His son, Percy Riley started his first car secretly, aged 16, in 1896 and completed its build in 1898 then drove it to Stratford upon Avon to test the car. By 1903 the Riley Engine Company was established, and in 1919 the company changed its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited.
Driven by Percy and his three brothers, the company’s focus shifted to manufacturing entire cars in early 1906.
Professor Dave Mullins, Interim Head of Department WMG comments:
“The Riley brand has played a leading role in the City’s automotive manufacturing industry and we are delighted to be able to support such a significant project for the Riley Motor Club. The family owned company has always focused on being innovative and entrepreneurial, and these characteristics align with those of WMG. We look forward to showcasing the Voiturette during the Coventry City of Culture 2021. ”
Victor Riley, the grandson of William Riley, comments on the difficulty of constructing a replica especially in light of the fact the original car no longer exists:
“Much experimentation has been carried out particularly in some detail of the steering geometry. With help from the Souck Bucks Riley Register members were able to put some of the components together to give an idea of the car taking shape. We are now at the stage where we need to complete the engine to get a fully working replica, and we’re grateful for the sponsorship from WMG, University of Warwick, which will enable this to happen.”
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Linda Bigham, said: “Coventry is the birthplace of the British Motor Industry. It’s important that we celebrate this and are proud of the innovation, which is still very much alive today especially in the green revolution.
“That’s why I was so pleased to be able to unveil the Voiturette today. With our year as UK City of Culture fast approaching, having a working replica of this iconic car will help us showcase our past and celebrate our future.”
The 1898 Voiturette will be on the Rily Motor Club stand at the Classic Car Show at the NEC from 8th to 10th November. It will share the stand with the 3rd car of the 1906 first production car, 1919 side valve car and a 1967 Elf.