Magtec, based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was founded in 1992 and develops, designs, manufactures, installs, repowers electric drive systems and components for a wide range of vehicle types. As a major force in the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, Magtec saw its new facility and the increasing requirements for its products as the ideal opportunity to take on the global market and become a tier one supplier.
Magtec identified that its current operation, including manual assembly and manufacturing processes, was not viable for international expansion. A £2.6 million grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre enabled Magtec to work with the MTC, utilising experts in automation, power electronics and business transformation to advise on how the business could accelerate production to meet the growing demand for electric commercial vehicles.
Working in collaboration with Angel Trains, Dennis Eagle and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the MTC conducted the majority of the partner engagements using virtual conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, utilising digital platforms to tour facilities, and conduct product and process workshops. This enabled up to 30 engineers at any one time to participate and advise, demonstrating the flexibility and cost effectiveness of digital solutions.
An important phase of the project was the discovery process with the MTC initially conducting a Technology and Manufacturing Readiness Level (TRL/MRL) assessment to gain an all-encompassing understanding of Magtec’s current operation and to be able to identify what needed to be addressed to level up in the short and long term.
After identifying what could be done to automate current processes, the MTC also analysed the current motor and its assembly to advise on how to produce better quality and higher performing motors in a more automated fashion. This included upskilling stakeholders on more appropriate material choices and the assembly of the power electronics. This helped Magtec to recognise short term fixes as well as starting the business on its journey to a fully automated assembly and manufacturing solution that could produce more motors in an efficient manner.
To support with this and utilising its vendor agnostic approach, the MTC worked with Magtec on a thorough supply chain analysis to assess suitable, UK based suppliers of new materials and systems. This included vendor trials to analyse product effectiveness for each part of the new processes being implemented at the facility.
Aware that Magtec were in the process of moving to an all-new facility, the MTC also worked with partners to optimise process flows and drive design for manufacture to streamline the design and production solution.
The MTC created a digital factory environment which mapped the assembly process flows and visualised the full production line prior to transition from a manual to a fully automated facility. The digital factory environment also enabled the team to better maximise the floor space in Magtec’s new facility and prepare for future production goals.