Driving South Yorkshire’s green economic recovery

29 June 2020

A £74m investment in green automotive technology could bring more than 200 high value added jobs to the Sheffield City Region thanks to a partnership between an innovative electric automotive drives manufacturer and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

“Fears over a climate emergency are driving change across the global transport industry and Magtec is at the forefront of the technology needed to make it happen,” said Andrew Gilligan, Managing Director at Sheffield-based electric vehicle manufacturer Magtec, who are leading part of the nationwide project announced by the government last week.

“We are delighted to be working with our OEM and research partners to industrialise our manufacturing operations and satisfy demand for our class-leading electric vehicle drive systems. We are creating high-quality engineering jobs across our company and regional supply chain and strengthening the UK’s standing in this emerging global sector.”

Ten projects across the UK will receive a share of a £73.5m government investment to develop cutting-edge technology for the next generation of electric taxis, cars and vans – including recyclable batteries, advanced electrical systems and ultra-lightweight components.

£3m has been awarded to Magtec to allow them to scale up the UK-production of their world-leading electric motors using the latest automation technologies. It is expected to create 65 jobs at Magtec and a further 165 across South Yorkshire and the wider region as the company strengthens its UK supply chain.

A Magtec engineer. Copyright: Magtec.

Magtec will work with the AMRC and fellow High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centre the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in the £6m project, as well as four leading transport sector OEMs – Dennis Eagle, Paneltex, Volta Trucks and strategic partner Angel Trains.

Dr Lloyd Tinkler, Senior Project Engineer and lead for the AMRC’s research on electrical machines manufacture, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be part of this project which will help Magtec upscale production volumes of their electric motors for hybrid and electric commercial vehicles.

“The AMRC’s role will focus on factory planning and simulation, composite overwrapping of rotors, coil inspection and lamination core manufacture. The latter two are closely aligned to our ongoing research being undertaken as part of our Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM) Hub.”

The £28m FEMM Hub, underpinned by a £10m award from the EPSRC and led by the University of Sheffield, aims to develop new manufacturing techniques and technologies to improve the reliability and performance of high value electrical machines.

The cash boost announced last week by the government will aid the development of highly efficient and ultra-lightweight components and help drive the automotive industry further away from its reliance on fossil fuel technologies. The move towards electric transport will be vital in helping the UK meet its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while growing the economy and creating jobs in greener industries.

It’s an exciting time for the UK automotive industry – we are on the precipice of an innovation landslide. The technology we invest in now is set to make an impact on the next generation of vehicles.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Whether it’s researching future battery design or creating a lightweight version of the Ford Transit, companies in every part of the United Kingdom are leading the world in advanced automotive technology.

“Not only will this funding ensure automotive companies can play their part in keeping us on the path to net zero emissions by 2050, it will also support thousands of jobs and be a welcome step towards the industry’s economic recovery.”

The successful projects were chosen by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which seeks to maintain the UK’s position as a centre of excellence for the research and development of low carbon vehicle technology.

Jon Beasley, Director of Technology & Projects at the APC, said: “It’s an exciting time for the UK automotive industry – we are on the precipice of an innovation landslide. The technology we invest in now is set to make an impact on the next generation of vehicles.”

Announcing the funding, the government said the investment will contribute to the automotive sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by safeguarding more than 14,000 UK research and manufacturing jobs.

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