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FEMM Hub Virtual Conference 2020

Despite a turbulent 2020, FEMM Hub researchers and PhD students have been progressing well with their research. 

Although the global pandemic prevented the FEMM Hub Conference going ahead in-person, our work-packages and PhD students have pre-recorded short presentations for you to view at your leisure. If you have any questions, get in touch with the researcher directly or by email via femmhub@sheffield.ac.uk.

Professor Geraint Jewell

An introduction to the FEMM Hub Online Conference

Hub Director Professor Geraint Jewell introduces the FEMM Hub Online Conference. We look forward to meeting everyone in person at our first in-person conference taking place on 13 September 2021. If you would like to register for the event, visit our Events page.

Work-package updates from researchers

Dr Rafal Wrobel

Thermal management of electrical machines using heat pipes

Dr Rafal Wrobel from Newcastle University presents an update on work-package 1.1. This work-package focuses on harnessing emerging and innovative manufacturing methods to enable alternative machine topologies and demonstrate how performance, efficiency and material utilisation can all be improved. 

A core part of this work is on using modularity to gain higher torque density and thermal capability. This modular approach does however introduce a series of issues, which this work package will investigate.

Dr Dave Hewitt

Manufacturing of features for in-service monitoring

Dr Dave Hewitt from the University of Sheffield presents an update on work-package 1.2 - Manufacturing features for in-service monitoring. This work-package aims to develop and evaluate manufacturing methods for embedding high-reliability sensor system into electrical machines leading to the realisation of a step-change in the functionality and robustness of in-service monitoring systems.

Dr Jill Miscandlon

Manufacturing of lightweight and multi-functional structural components

Dr Jill Miscandlon, Senior Manufacturing Engineer at the Advanced Forming Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde updates on work-package 1.3 - Manufacturing of lightweight and multi-functional structural components. Led by AFRC, this work-package also involves the Institute of Energy and Environment (InstEE) from the University of Strathclyde’s Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) department. 

The main focus of Grand Challenge 1.3 is to lightweight the non-active components of an electrical machine, which typically account for 45-55% of the total weight of the machine. The design optimisation for electrical machines has, to date, been focused primarily on the active components, with arguably less attention on the optimisation of the non-active components.

Professor Geraint Jewell

From nominal core properties to in-service performance

Hub Director Professor Geraint Jewell presents an update on work-package 2.1 - From nominal core properties to in-service performance. This work-package is concerned with developing an underpinning understanding of the relationship between manufacturing processes and the resulting in-service properties of soft magnetic cores in electrical machines. 

The research is focused, albeit not exclusively, on cobalt-iron alloys since this is an important class of materials for high performance machines but has received considerably less attention in terms of manufacturing related behaviour than mainstream electrical steels based on silicon iron.

Dr Steve Forrest

Manufacturing high performance coils and ultimate control

Dr Steve Forrest from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield presents an update on work-package 2.2 - Manufacturing high-performance coils and ultimate control.

This work-package is focused on advanced coil manufacturing techniques, in particular those which have the potential to realise high performance coils though a combination of innovation in conductor configurations and their manufacture with precision and repeatability. This work-package links closely with Grand Challenges 2.3 and 2.4 which are concerned with flexible automation and in-process monitoring respectively. 

Dr Lloyd Tinkler

Manufacturing technologies for flexibility and customisation

Dr Lloyd Tinkler from the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre presents an update on his work-package 2.3 - Manufacturing technologies for flexibility and customisation. The central aim of this work-package is to develop a fundamental understanding of the technology requirements associated with flexible production of electrical machines, as a result of the process characteristics and capabilities required, and identify the ‘absolute’ flexibility enablers. 

A fundamental understanding of the process characteristics and requirements will be established, and a range of potential future manufacturing technologies investigated which provide the potential to unlock the future customisation and flexibility demanded by several industry sectors.

This work-package will also develop new discrete event simulation based methods for predicting the effect custom design features have on downstream processes and operations in the manufacture of electrical machines.

Dr Michael Farnsworth
Dr Divya Tiwari

In-process tracking and tractability for zero-defect manufacture of electrical machines

Dr Michael Farnsworth and Dr Divya Tiwari from the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield present an update on their work-package 2.4 - In-process tracking and tractability for zero-defect manufacture of electrical machines. This project is centred on the numerous manual processes that underpin electrical machine manufacture, and how non-destructive testing and manufacturing digitisation methods can be integrated to provide added value to the manufacturing life cycle.

Through such technologies and methods, our aim is a zero-defect manufacturing approach in the production environment for electrical machines where we can move away from end-of-line test and towards in-process inspection, verification and digital certification of parts and processes.

Dr Jill Miscandlon

Sustainable manufacturing of electrical machine components for the circular economy

Dr Jill Miscandlon updates on our newest work-package 2.5 - Sustainable manufacturing of electrical machine components for the circular economy. Electrical machines are manufactured using mostly metals and their alloys, some of which are complex in their composition or manufacturing routes. Through the design, manufacture, and maintenance of these machines, very little consideration is given to an end of life processing method to ensure a sustainable product. 

Unfortunately, many electrical machines are currently not reused or remanufactured, but end their life in landfill. As the drive for electric transport and clean energy increases, a more sustainable life cycle for electrical machines will need to be developed. 

This grand challenge aims to discover, assess and implement alternative, more sustainable routes for the entire life cycle of the electrical machine components, and aim to loop the materials back into manufacture at the end of the component life - ie develop a circular economy approach.

Our PhD student presentations

Optimisation of coil winding

The purpose of John McKay’s (AFRC, Strathclyde) PhD is concerned with the research and development of electromagnetic coils capable of producing greater flux densities whilst remaining lightweight, compact, easy to manufacture and, most importantly, efficient and cost effective. He has completed preliminary CAD designs for a lightweight multi-functional rotor for our hub demonstrator.

The rotor designs will be simulated for stress and magnetic circuit interactions. Going forward, he will begin simulating different coil structures, magnetic circuit interactions and manufacturing strategies with the aid of machine learning to incorporate the entire design(s) into a 3D CAD digital twin for analysis. 

PhD student Ji Qi

Modular high-performance permanent magnet hub machine for electric vehicles

Ji Qi’s (University of Sheffield) PhD is concerned with the design of high-performance hub machines for electrical vehicles. Currently, the project is focusing on the design of consequent pole permanent magnet machines.

For a consequent pole rotor, alternate magnetic poles are replaced by iron poles. Therefore, only unipolar magnetised permanent magnets are mounted in the rotor, which means that for p pole pairs in a consequent pole machine, only p magnets are used.

Compared to conventional surface mounted magnet machines, the consequent pole topology can improve the utilisation of magnets and reduce cost. However, CP machines have some drawbacks such as even order harmonics in the back EMF and potential for large torque ripple.

PhD Leigh Paterson

Circular design and sustainable manufacture of permanent magnet machine components

Leigh Paterson’s PhD will assess the current life cycle of some of the components within a PMEM, including the design, manufacture and production as well as their end of life potential. From this, she will look to develop a supply chain route in the UK which fits the circular economy ethos as closely as possible, including the potential for an entirely closed loop to allow the materials to feed back into production. 

PhD student Charlie Scott

Lightweight design and manufacture of electrical machine components

Most of the work currently put into evolving electric motors has been out into the active components (the magnets, coils, and back irons), and comparatively little has been done regarding the non-magnetically active components. Charlie Scott’s (AFRC, Strathclyde) PhD focuses on these components.

PhD student Ze Zhang

IoT and sensor communication for inprocess inspection of complex manufacturing tasks

Ze Zhang, PhD student (ACSE, University of Sheffield) will develop a multi-sensor inspection framework to improve the traceability of EM production. By sensorising the key production process and analysing in-process data, the product can be inspected whilst being manufactured thus eliminating the need for the end-of-line tests to some extent. 

Current work focuses on the winding process inspection. This process is difficult to control as many uncertain factors exist due to its highly nondeterministic nature, and the resulting faults are often not discovered until the end-of-line tests. 

To address this, a deep learning based multi-sensor fusion framework for capturing spatial-temporal failures will be developed and this framework will be extended to multiple fault types and real-time inspection.