Hybrid vehicles at the double

Peter Luff MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support & Technology, (left) presents the NDI Innovation and Technology Award to Magnomatics managing director Chris Kirby
Peter Luff MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support & Technology, (left) presents the NDI Innovation and Technology Award to Magnomatics managing director Chris Kirby
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Revolutionary motors and magnetic transmissions, developed by a Sheffield University spin-out, could end up powering vehicles made by Ford and construction plant made by Caterpillar.

Bernard Road-based Magnomatics has won contracts with both companies to develop its technology to power hybrid vehicles.

The project with Ford is aimed at hybrid passenger vehicles. The work with Caterpillar Engines, which also involves Rotherham-based magnetic materials and assemblies supplier Arnold Magnet Technologies, will target larger hybrid vehicles.

Magnomatics’ managing director, Chris Kirby, said: “We are experiencing sustained rising demand for our products, as industries across the world seek to introduce new technologies to enhance their own solutions and to meet growing worldwide expectations for more efficient and sustainable products.”

Both projects have won backing from the Technology Strategy Board.

The work with Ford is one of sixteen collaborative research and development projects recently selected to benefit from grants totalling £10 million from the Board and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills for projects that aim to significantly cut CO2 emissions through the development of low carbon vehicles.

The work with Caterpillar will receive funding from the Board under its programme of supporting innovation and growth at businesses seeking to keep the UK at the forefront of high value manufacturing.

The programme targets companies developing ‘enabling technologies’, which can lead to the creation of other products or processes able to support development.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Through investments such as these the Technology Strategy Board is helping to deliver economic growth and create competitive advantage for the UK in the global marketplace for leading edge technologies.

“This drive by leading British companies to innovate and to overcome significant technical hurdles to develop new technologies, products and processes is inspirational. We look forward with interest and excitement to seeing the results of these important research and development projects.”

The new contracts for Magnomatics follow on from success this year, when the company won the annual Innovation and Technology Award, presented by NDI, the organisation that represents and promotes companies from the north supplying the defence, aerospace, space and security sectors.

The award was for work Magnomatics has been doing for the Ministry of Defence on developing a magnetically geared motor, based on its patented technology, which could be used to power frigates and submarines.