Automating electron-beam welding, partnership between Ford and Cambridge Vacuum Engineering
Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE), a UK supplier of laser and electron-beam welding systems, and Ford, today announced that they have won a £430,000 research grant from Ukri’s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, offered by Innovate UK.
The aim is to explore the automation and expansion of electron beam welding for joining copper and aluminium components used to power electric motors for the automotive industry. As part of the EB-eDrive project, CVE and Ford are trying to reduce the time needed to produce hairpin stators, the electromagnetic system that is crucial for the smooth running of electric vehicle motors. Speeding up this process could help to increase the production of electric vehicles in the UK, supporting government targets. It would also help strengthen the country’s position in the research and development of advanced manufacturing technologies.
Zooming in on technology, electron beam welding is significantly faster than traditional laser welding techniques. The technology is already making a big difference in other clean energy applications, significantly accelerating the rate at which wind turbines and nuclear reactors can be produced, while reducing the amount of energy used and the carbon footprint of the associated processes.