DER-IC Success in UKRI Supply Chains for Net Zero Competition

Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC) has supported its partners in successfully winning nine bids in the latest Driving the Electric Revolution funding call from UK Research and Innovation: Supply Chains for Net Zero.


The call opened on 8 March 2021 and allowed UK businesses to apply for a share of £22 million for innovation projects focused on supply chain development for power electronics, electric machines and drives (PEMD).


Details of the nine successfully funded projects involving DER-IC are as follows:


DER-IC - North East


Supply Chain Innovation Engineering for Net Zero - SCIENZE

Partners:

  • McLaren Applied

  • TT Electronics Integrated Manufacturing Service

  • Microchip Technology Caldicot

  • Newcastle University

  • TWI


Aim of Project: SCIENZE aims to create a UK-based supply chain that is capable of manufacturing the next generation of power electronic components at volumes higher than is currently feasible to do today. This will be achieved through a combination of novel assembly methods and investment in high levels of automation.


The project is the natural successor to McLaren Applied's APC12 project ESCAPE, which will take McLaren Applied's 800V Silicon Carbide inverter and will ensure that the cost of manufacture is as low as possible to ensure competitiveness in the challenging and cost-conscious automotive market. To support SCIENZE, TT Electronics will investigate and invest in advanced automation techniques that are focused on the manufacturing of power-electronics based products. Microchip will be industrialising their SiC based power modules, leveraging the significant inward investment that has already been made in this area. The Welding Institute and the Driving the Electric Revolution Centre North East (Newcastle University) will support all of these efforts with novel techniques for assembly and material joining aimed at cost reduction and increased manufacturing process efficiency.


Value: £2,473,169


COCO - Coil to Core: Supply Chain for Net Zero CO2

Partners:

  • Advanced Electric Machines

  • Tata Steel UK Ltd

  • Tata Steel Nederland Technology B.V

  • Newcastle University

  • Coventry University

  • Centre for Process Innovation

Aim of Project: COCO aims to develop a UK PEMD supply chain that will combine cost effective material supply and cold rolling of a new high strength non-magnetic steel with mass production process innovations that can deliver patented lamination designs. These laminations can then be stacked into novel rotor and stator sub-assemblies to support mass production of more efficient and more sustainable electric machines with wide-ranging application across transport, energy and industrial sectors.

DER-IC North East (Newcastle University) will support with manufacturing, assembly and coating process development and scale-up using novel non-magnetic steel with electrical steel, using their remote fibre laser cutting/welding cell and lamination coating line.


Value: £1,808,767


FASA - A Flexible, Automated Stator Assembly Platform for Lightweight Electric Motors

Partners:

  • Edge Mobility

  • I Rob International

  • Newcastle University

  • The University of Warwick

Aim of Project: FASA’s goal is to develop an advanced manufacturing platform that enables the flexible, automated production of Edge Mobility's motors. Edge Mobility is a British Tier One supplier of motor and powertrain solutions for manufacturers of lightweight electric vehicles (5 to 55 kW).

The project’s partners will cover three layers of the supply chain including a laser welding process developer (WMG), an industrial robotics supplier and systems integrator (iRob International), a vertically integrated Tier One Supplier (Edge Mobility), and a manufacturing process development/test facility (DER-IC – North-East at Newcastle University).



Value: £691,874


 

DER-IC – Midlands



UK-Alumotor 2 for LCV

Partners:

  • Ricardo

  • Warwick Manufacturing Group

  • C Brandauer and Co.

  • Aspire Engineering

  • Global Technologies Racing

  • Phoenix Scientific Industries

Aim of Project: Ricardo has spent ten years developing magnet free, sustainable, synchronous-reluctance, traction motor technology, which retains the attributes of magnet-rich motors. As part of this, Ricardo is completing the DER "UK-Alumotor 1" supply chain development project, which has delivered manufacturing learning for aluminium windings, low wastage stator manufacture, and composites in rotors with additive manufactured flux guides. This has been delivered in conjunction with Ricardo’s partners: Aspire; Brandauer; GTR; PSI; WMG and the DER-IC - Midlands Winding Centre of Excellence.


This project takes the learning and concepts from the above to significantly increase a light commercial vehicle (LCV) concept motor's Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL). We will deliver a "design for manufacturing" (DFM) project of a pre-production, highly sustainable motor removing 12kg of rare-earth magnets per machine. We will develop the manufacturing processes in the supply chain, a digital-twin of the motor including manufacturing influences, a cradle to grave Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), and a business case with target pricing versus volume data output.


The route to market will be identified by a business study of potential customers and markets, and a review of the assembly plants required for 5,000 or 100,000 units/year. This will inform investment decisions for Ricardo and partners for low and high-volume manufacturing.


Additional commercialisation will come from deploying the learning by Ricardo and partners in client motor design and development projects. This will increase the partners' competitiveness in the UK and deliver further value from the Innovate UK DER funding.


Value: £2,532,242


PE2M - Power Electronics Modules by Rapid Moulding

Partners:

  • Ultrawise Innovation

  • Tribus-D

  • The University of Warwick

  • DZP Technologies

  • Custom Interconnect

  • HPM

  • Bioniqs

Aim of Project: Project PE2M is about restructuring the supply chain for power electronics modules for aerospace (and other) industries, in response to the increased need for power system integration to support the electrification of aircraft. This change will be facilitated by the introduction of power electronics modules containing silicon carbide (and gallium nitride) semiconductors by packaging using thermoplastic encapsulants.

In project PE2M, a new UK focused supply chain will be assembled to demonstrate the benefits of the thermoplastic encapsulation technology and the opportunities which this approach creates for suppliers, and users in aerospace.


One key advantage is that end users will be able to integrate their power electronic systems more easily through the use of specific modules, and this will support the electrification of the aerospace sector from More Electric aircraft, to hybrid, hydrogen and All Electric aircraft.


The partnership includes high volume supply chain companies specialising in interconnect and moulding, SME technology providers who have developed the innovative technologies in previous projects, recycling companies, and DER-IC – Midlands at Warwick University.


Value: £524,056


Differentiating UK capability: reducing footprint and weight of high power, integrated PEMD

Partners:

  • GE Power Conversion

  • Dynex Semiconductor University of Nottingham

  • Warwick Manufacturing Group

Aim of Project: The project, "Reducing Footprint and Weight of High Power, Integrated PEMD”, focuses on transformative design and novel manufacturing techniques to significantly increase power density of high-power electrification systems.


Value: £1,990,098


 

DER-IC – South West and Wales



ASSIST - Advanced sic based solid state transformer

Partners:

  • Turbo Power Systems

  • Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

  • Clas-SiC Wafer Fab

  • Alter Technology Tüv Nord UK

Aim of Project: ASSIST aims to establish a sovereign supply chain to empower the UK with a capability for higher voltage Silicon Carbide (SiC) devices at voltage and current ratings that are significantly differentiated from devices currently available on the market. The project will establish manufacturing readiness across three levels of the supply chain to create end to end capability that covers wafer fabrication, device packaging and power electronic converter manufacture.


Building on the success of a previous DER project SiC-MAP, Clas-SiC will refine a Process Design Kit to establish capability for 3300V SiC MOSFET manufacture. Alter UK will augment their established plastic encapsulation process capability to establish a packaging process for the SiC devices that delivers low to medium level device volumes at costs synonymous with high volume offshore assembly. Both processes will enable capability across the wider UK PEMD community.


Camutronics will design SiC, Clas-SiC will manufacture samples, CSAC will characterise and test, and TPS will integrate into SST converter prototype.


Value: £1,093,472


ELIPS - Enhanced Liquid Immersion Power Systems

Partners:

  • Supply Design

  • Custom Interconnect

  • GSPK Circuits

  • Iceotope Technologies

  • Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

Aim of Project: ELIPS (Enhanced Liquid Immersion Power Systems) is a design-for-manufacture project aiming to build a UK supply-chain to deliver immersion and GaN-based technology across PEMD sectors. Our aim is to create a collaborative value-chain capable of delivering power modules(components), bespoke immersion components & sub-assemblies (sub-components), services (scaled manufacturing and system integration) and IP, for years to come.


The partners aim to deliver high-efficiency PEMD products and services across multiple sectors, including Automotive, Aerospace and Renewable Energy, outlined in the ISCF strategy for the 'Future of Mobility' and 'Clean Growth'. ELIPS will contribute to energy-saving systems for datacentre infrastructure that will support sustainable growth in IoT, SMART cities, data economies and industrial-automation (4.0). All of which are critical elements for the global Net-Zero challenge.


ELIPS will create a collaborative OEM to develop capability and capture the immersion-cooling power market share. Each partner will develop knowledge, products and/or services to capitalise on these emerging markets. Immersion-cooling offers horizontal and vertical supply-chain and market growth potential.


Value: £2,528,865


P3EP - Pre-packaged Power Devices for PCB Embedded Power Electronics

Partners:

  • Pulse Power and Measurement

  • The Thinking Pod Innovations

  • Cambridge Gan Devices

  • RAM Innovations

  • Cambridge Microelectronics

  • Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult

Aim of Project: The project "Pre-packaged Power Devices for PCB Embedded Power Electronics" (P3EP) develops a UK supply chain for PCB-embedded power systems with Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices. The P3EP supply chain will allow PEMD manufacturers to build converters with the highest power densities and it will allow UK power semiconductor companies to enter these markets.


Wide bandgap power devices such as GaN offer extremely high switching speeds and the possibility to significantly reduce system size. But this can only be exploited with new packaging and module construction methods which increase thermal transfer and reduced parasitic effects. The emerging technology of embedding power devices into the PCB has proven to be the most advanced way to achieve this goal. P3EP develops the complete supply chain in the UK.


The P3EP manufacturing chain is based on GaN pre-packages. Pre-packages have major advantages over bare dies because they allow production testing, characterisation, and reliability qualification. This improves yield, cost, and time-to-market for the PEMD system. Further, pre-packages use materials with optimised compatibility with the chip and enable much-simplified embedding into the system-PCB.


Value: £2,537,842

 

Read the press release from UK Research and Innovation here.


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