A Plan for Manufacturing Greener Technology
Morgan Grace Milburn posted on March 08, 2019 |
(Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde Glasgow.)
(Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde.)
With climate change concerns on the rise, so is the desire for greener technologies. In October of last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on the impact of global warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report includes a section detailing how to keep global warming below the all-important 1.5 degree Celsius benchmark. In order to stay below this benchmark, greener technology that is more resource-efficient such as electric cars, planes, and wind turbines will be required. The problem with many of these technologies is that they face manufacturing challenges. This is where a group in the UK is hoping to make a difference.

Thanks to a USD $36.89-million (£28-million) investment, the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering will work together to create the Scottish arm of a hub which will combine knowledge of electrical machines with that of manufacturing. The aim behind combining these two backgrounds is that it will improve the manufacturing of many electrical machines, thereby increasing their efficiency and eliminating some of the current manufacturing challenges.

According to Professor Geraint Jewell, University of Sheffield's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Director of the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub, “This is the first activity to combine electrical machines expertise with a broad range of manufacturing research expertise in a long-term program of research at scale.” A combination of host universities and industrial partners such as Rolls Royce, Dyson, and Siemens Gamesa will support the seven-year research program that will join together with the projects of about 30 allied PhDs.

(Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde Glasgow.)
(Image courtesy of the University of Strathclyde.)
Executive Chairman of the AFRC, Professor Keith Ridgway believes, “The Hub will play a crucial role in addressing key challenges around the manufacture of electrical machines.” These key challenges don’t just affect turbines or planes; the technology could have far reaching results into many industries, such as steel, aerospace, automotive, and premium consumer sectors.

Industry Minister, Richard Harrington, stated that this combination of world-class researchers and leading manufacturing firms will create more high-skilled jobs by increasing the opportunities in the clean growth sector. He believes that the hub “[…] will help us build a smarter, greener and more efficient manufacturing sector in the UK which is a key part of our Modern Industrial Strategy.” The UK’s Industrial Strategy is an initiative to transform the UK’s economy and to prepare it for the future. This hub appears to be a step in that direction for the UK.

The hope is that this hub will not only provide more high-skilled jobs and increase the efficiency of electrification in the UK, but also help bring the UK to the forefront of the green technology movement. Whether or not the hub succeeds at these many ambitious goals is something only time will tell, but one thing that is for certain is that many countries will likely be watching to see what the future holds for electrification in UK manufacturing.  

Read more about how manufacturing is becoming more efficient at Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Announces Selection of Eleven Technology Projects and New Accelerators to Speed Up Connected Worker Platform.


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