The University of Sheffield is a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of their research-led learning and teaching. Sheffield’s research activities in PEMD cover the spectrum from research, design and development through the Electrical Machines and Drives Group, to manufacture at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC).
The Electrical Machines and Drives (EMD) group is known for its pioneering research on permanent magnet machines and drives across all sectors. EMD hosts six industrially funded research centres including the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Advanced Electrical Machines and the Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Research Centre, and two government-funded research hubs including the £28m EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM) Hub.
The AMRC and Nuclear AMRC are both part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a network of world-leading research and innovation centres working with advanced manufacturing companies of all sizes. These centres transform industrial and economic performance by improving productivity, increasing competitiveness, developing new products and processes, and training new talent and skills.
Key strengths and unique capabilities
Leading team of academics and researchers with expertise in the design and development of electrical machines linked with manufacturing capability at the AMRC and Nuclear AMRC.
- Composite manufacture of lightweight components including high-tension rotor binding
- Additive manufacture, eg. multifunctional casing and end-plate structures.
- Gear manufacture, eg. ring gears for geared fan reduction drive for hybrid aero propulsion
- Machining of high-strength, low weight components, eg. thin-walled structures and titanium components
- Remote laser cutting, stacking and full-face bonding of laminations
- Laser welding.
- Heavy wire bonding
- Laser welding
- Diffusion bonding
- Keyhole welding
- Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP).
Robotic placement of high-strength permanent magnets.
Robotic coil winding and in-process inspection of wire placement, miniature preformed windings.
The Electrical Machines and Drives (EMD) group at the University of Sheffield has helped to achieve many synergies in terms of the demand for higher power densities, increased energy efficiency, improved reliability and reduced maintenance, and greater functionality.
The expertise and design strengths of the EMD Group are demonstrated by the research awards the Group have won which have been in excess of £42m between 2009-2019, from a mix of government funded research and industry.
Electrical machine dynamometers:
- 15kW up to 51,000 rpm
- 120kW up to 18,000 rpm
- 250kW up to 14,000 rpm
Custom setup for the remote laser processing of electrical steel laminations developed through the EPSRC FEMM Hub. 2 kW laser at 1075 nm, capable of processing laminations up around 0.4 mm thick at scan speeds up to 8 m/s with opportunity to minimise increases in core loss.
Custom twin KUKA KR60-HA robot cell developed through the EPSRC FEMM Hub, currently set up as a flexible needle winding system to accommodate a range of machine sizes.
Range of test equipment including:
- Cropico DO5000 high-accuracy microhmmeter
- Schleich MTC2 surge tester up to 6 kV
- Wayne Kerr Electronics 6500B series 50 MHz impedance analyser suited to impedance spectroscopy.
- WT500 coil winding machine capable of coils up to 500 mm in diameter, 850 mm long with automated guide head laying in a range of winding schemes
- 13 tonne heated platen press for consolidation of coils.
Heavy wire bonding (0.5 mm wire) for battery cell to busbar connection.
Continuous wave (8 kW) and pulsed (0.3/13 kW) laser welding of dissimilar metals, eg. busbars.
High-speed single-pass full-penetration, single-pass keyhole welding, with welding speeds up to 100 times faster than conventional gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW).
Range of electrical and thermal test equipment and environmental test chambers with 10 kW load capability down to -55°C.
- Various metrology equipment including CMM, optical microscopy, optical surface roughness and form measurement, and X-ray computed tomography
- AMRC Castings – development of new casting technologies and rapid prototyping
- UKAS accredited Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC)
- Seismic shaker table for qualification of electrical and mechanical systems up to 100 kg, for compliance with RCC-E and IEEE 344 standards
- Electrodynamic shaker for vibration and shock testing of electrical systems up to 40 kg, for compliance testing to international standards
- Relay tester for performance and compliance testing
- Large-volume metrology for gantry CMMs up to 6x3x2 metres, plus large-scale non-contact technologies
- Surface integrity for measurement of properties including residual stress, micro-structure, hardness and roughness
- Manufacturing process verification