YASA Knowledge Transfer Partnership
HELPING TO POWER A 'GREENER' FUTURE
'Everyone here has been really blown away by the results of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership' (Tim Woolmer, Founder and CTO, YASA Motors).
Key players talk about the project to reduce production times using Oxford Brookes University's knowledge of materials and joining technology.
Ever since its appearance in the Morgan LIFECar, the revolutionary electric motor from YASA Motors has created a stir. Now a partnership with Oxford Brookes University is helping to prepare the motor for a mass production future, gearing up to address a market which will be worth £15bn by 2020.
The Yokeless And Segmented Armature (YASA) motor delivers four times the performance of current models, in a package that's much lighter and half the size. Oxfordshire company YASA Motors has already secured contracts with automotive manufacturers, and the longer term goal is to supply motors across the automotive, industrial, aerospace and marine markets.
The Joining Technology Research Centre has led the development of new materials such as composites and polymers, and the sophisticated adhesives required to make the best of them. Using the latest materials and adhesives will dramatically reduce manufacturing time and cost, enabling the company to realise the potential of its radical design.
The project is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. KTPs enable companies like YASA Motors to get knowledge and expertise out of universities and put them to use in business. A key component is the KTP Associate, a recent graduate recruited by the university to lead the project in the company, under supervision from academic experts.
James Broughton, Head of the Joining Technology Research Centre at Oxford Brookes, says the project is challenging both the company and the university. "No off-the-shelf solution exists for joining the new materials like this. We're developing and testing in our labs as we go, and learning important lessons in the process. It's an exciting time". Meanwhile YASA Motors has relocated to larger premises to prepare to meet rising demand.
In 2011 SEI entered into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with YASA motors. YASA are the creators of a revolutionary electric motor which first made an appearance in the Morgan LIFECar. SEI have helped to prepare it for mass production, to a market predicted to be worth £15bn by 2020. By the end of the KTP production time had been reduced from seven days to two. Material use had been reduced, the defect rate was down ten-fold and the cost of a key component was reduced from £95 to £10.
SEI are currently engaging in a second KTP with YASA to address the challenge of motor cooling. Previously an oil coolant was used but in the high-speed applications the amount of generated heat was still limiting the output power. SEI are currently working with YASA to find a solutuon which will cool the motor more efficiently as well as reducing the amount of material and the cost of ownership.