EV demands INCREASED reliance on Radan software

A company specialising in renewable energy is seeing major changes in the components it is being asked to produce for electric vehicles.

HV Wooding Ltd works at the high end of the electric vehicle (EV) market, manufacturing parts for two technologies in the powertrain, involving the battery and the motors. Customers include companies across the spectrum of electric vehicles: tier-one and tier-two suppliers of big name car marques; supercar manufacturers; supercar e-racing; electric motorbike GP racing throughout Europe; railways; aerospace; and (increasingly) electric buses, construction and agricultural vehicles.

For the battery, the Kent-based company makes a wide range of customer-specified busbars, forming part of the electrical connection, along with modular busbars that connect the battery to the rest of the vehicle’s configuration.

The other key area for HV Wooding is around the electric motor itself, producing specialist products both for the drivetrain and in-wheel. While most of the company’s parts, both for busbars and motor laminations, are cut from sheet material on a Trumpf CNC laser cutter programmed with Radan CADCAM software, HV Wooding also uses wire erosion, mainly for prototyping and developing small series production.

Sales director Paul Allen says Radan is also used as part of the process of quoting for jobs: “For example, most busbars are made from copper or aluminium, so we’d input the relevant material, such as 4 mm copper, and lay the proposed parts out in a Radan nest. This calculates accurate material usage and prices, in order for us to present the most commercial and cost-effective solution to the customer. Then, when we’re ready to go into production, we’ve got a finished nest already in a file.”

Allen says that as every busbar is different, Radan is proving vital for nesting a wide variety of shapes and sizes of the same thickness.

“If we were to do all this manually, the quotation process would take much longer and may not be accurate,” he states. “And we’d need to carry out a lot of manual work before manufacturing to get the best material usage. So Radan is essential in that it speeds up both our quotation and manufacturing processes.”

Notably, the Radbend module is used to calculate bend angles, and the order of bends for forming the busbars into a variety of configurations.

Radan also plays a major role in manufacturing motor laminations – several thin pieces or sheets of electrical steel or cobalt iron cut on the laser and bonded together to form the core pack.

“It’s vital that these parts are high precision,” states Allen. “The busbars and laminations are all required to be cut to tight dimensional tolerances, sometimes down to 50 µm for laminations.”

Higher end electric motors increasingly need thinner electrical steel, meaning the amount of adhesive applied becomes more significant, with as much metal as possible in the motor, and not so much adhesive.

HV Wooding has identified gaps in that market and is now actively seeking ways of making a breakthrough to provide a specialist solution. To this end, the company is working to develop a process for accurately applying a bonding agent to the electrical steel. Some types of material are available that come pre-coated with adhesive, but not the very thin grades in low volume and cobalt iron, which are becoming more prevalent.

“With this in mind, we’re working closely with a university and industry on a bonding process that will enable us to design motors, produce and test a prototype using Radan, and get them to market much quicker,” explains Allen.

Many of the company’s customers are working on projects involving battery technology, looking at battery life to improve the distance a vehicle can travel on a single charge.

“A lot of new designs using different grades of copper and aluminium are coming through to us, and they’re also looking closely at the insulation of the busbars,” says Allen. He goes on to says that the change is being driven by the need to gain more power from the motors, with electrical steels becoming increasingly more important for motor performance.

In conclusion, Allen says the market is extremely dynamic, which is why the company continually invests in line with current demands.
HV Wooding offers a wealth of engineering resources, skills and experience with a team of 100 people over multi-sited facilities totalling 53,000 sq ft. The company’s operation is approved to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

“HV Wooding has been established for 50 years, diversifying from traditional switchgear, through renewables and data centres, and now to electric vehicles and drivetrain,” he says. “As a result, we now need different technologies and processes to take full advantage of the new opportunities relating to our core activity, particularly around assemblies. Radan is a key part of the processes we have in place to make a one-off component, right up to
high-volume production.”

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Heller to host virtual event

German-owned machine-tool manufacturer Heller, which also operates a manufacturing facility at its UK and Ireland subsidiary’s headquarters in Redditch, will stage an international, interactive online event on 10-12 November. Anyone wishing to register for V-CON 2020 should visit https://v-con2020.com/login

Matthias Meyer, managing director of the Redditch operation, says: “This will give visitors a unique exhibition experience with the opportunity to meet our experts and partners, while exploring our virtual world of production solutions.”

The programme is already available online and, following registration, it will be possible for participants to put together a personal agenda. Several times each day, a ‘TalkPodium’ will provide an opportunity for virtual visitors to attend live discussions and play an active role with a chat function. Additionally, round tables will enable an exchange with Heller experts and machine users in order to benefit from their real-life experiences.

Included in the event will be a virtual 360° tour of Heller’s Nürtingen factory. There will also be an overview of the full range of products and services provided by the manufacturer, including its Industry 4.0 offering, which is known as Heller4Industry. Representation by a wide range of well-known, third-party supplier companies will round off the event.

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100,000th DAF CF/XF truck

Leyland Trucks has completed the build of its 100,000th DAF CF/XF truck: a CF 530 ‘FAT’ 6×4 drawbar chassis. The truck is part of a batch of four vehicles ordered by DAF Trucks Australia and is shortly to be exported after it was specified for the country’s fuel tanker market. The Leyland production facility has been producing DAF-branded commercial vehicles since the late eighties. Nowadays, Leyland Trucks builds the full range of DAF LF, CF and XF chassis in any configuration.

“This 100,000th CF and XF model produced at the Leyland assembly plant is a hugely significant milestone for Leyland Trucks,” says managing director Brennan Gourdie. “There is a proud heritage of truck building in the UK and at Leyland, culminating with the production of the current DAF line-up. Reaching 100,000 CF and XF chassis is a landmark moment representing an exceptional commitment from everyone here at Leyland and the wider DAF organisation.”

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Gear-grinding masterclass with Kapp Niles

On 16-20 November, Kapp Niles will be hosting a digital event for manufacturers to explore gear technologies and the latest gear-grinding product advancements. Exclusively available in the UK from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), the Kapp Niles brand is known for its gear-grinding production technology. The webinar series will commence on 16 November with an introduction to Industry 4.0 solutions. On 17 November, Kapp Niles Metrology Division will host a seminar on the efficiency of high-precision gear measurement, which will be followed on 18 November with a webinar on the integration of QA into the gear-finishing process.

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