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Cost-effective automated process for producing innovative high-performance electric motors

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SPARK (Cost-effective automated process for producing innovative high-performance electric motors)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2015-08-31

SPARK aims to develop an industrial and fully automated manufacturing process for electric motors, with particular focus on the Electric Vehicles (EVs) market. The innovation of the proposed production method, having the main aim in the waste material reduction compared to traditional procedures, lies in the segmented stator concept.
Scope of this project was to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the proposed approach for segmented motors manufacturing and investigate the related IP regime.
Since the manufacturing techniques are feasible, the IP regime allows the exploitation of the production flow, and the business plans are of interest for the company, DEMA plans to apply for a Phase II of this project, in order to take the idea to the technology readiness level 8 and then start the commercialization phase.
During the Phase I project, a literature overview was performed in order to analyze the research state of the art in the field of segmented electric motors. Also the industrial state of art was investigated, through an IP regime analysis, whose conclusion is that at present no competing patent is jeopardizing the project.
The analysis of the technical feasibility brought to a robotic, fully automatized production flow, highlighting some working steps, such as: laminations punching, stacking and welding (furnace treatment), installation of insulation and windings on each pole, assembly and joining the parts through press-fitting and/or resin filling. In particular, a lack of suitable technology was found in the winding of copper wires on the independent stator segments: this step will be completely developed in the intended Phase II project. All the production steps are designed taking care of spare of waste material reducing, motor performance optimization and working time and costs reduction.
The market analysis proved industrial interest for the technology and highlighted the possibility to penetrate the market with the technology studied within SPARK. From the business plan made performed by DEMA, it was demonstrated that the production costs for an electric motor can be decreased by 30% on average, waste material can be reduced by 40% and performances increased by 15%.
The segmented motors solution is a way to drastically reduce this raw material wasting, by punching the single poles of the stator and by assembling them together later. This approach reduces the lamination cost by 40%. Moreover, the segmented poles will be individually wound with the copper wire, allowing higher slot fill ratio, reducing the copper use and simplifying the winding process.
By the market point of view, at steady-state an annual turnover of about 13.7 M€ is expected in the fifth commercialization year, to be obtained by three different exploitation routes: the production machines sold to large manufacturers of motors for EVs, the production machines sold to manufacturers of motors for other sectors, and the sales of winding cell to manufacturers of traditional electric motors.