Karen joined Ashwoods six months ago as a Programme Manager. On International Women’s Day she talks about the challenges and opportunities she has experienced as a woman in engineering.

Tell us about your role at Ashwoods.

I am responsible for embedding new parts into our manufacturing processes to make sure our motors meet customers’ requirements and specifications. This means working with virtually every team within Ashwoods including designers, purchasing, production engineers and quality to make sure we get the job done.

What inspired you to follow a career in engineering?

I have always worked in engineering or construction companies in admin and accounts roles. After a career-break I did some temping and ended up as a Quality System Manager. Being able to influence how a company improves its processes has been really rewarding.

Do you have a role model or mentor?

One of my previous managers encouraged me to put forward new ideas, and if they delivered a benefit to the business I was given the freedom to implement them. This support early on in my career helped build my confidence and gave me the motivation to stay in engineering.

I am also inspired by our customers. The collaborative nature of how we work here at Ashwoods means we learn a lot from each other. But I would not have been able to pursue my career path without the support and guidance of my husband, who as a Senior Project Manager himself has been a great sounding board and mentor.

What are the challenges for women and girls in engineering?

Credibility is the biggest challenge, although this isn’t necessarily specific to engineering. It is probably the same for men in a new role as well, but it takes longer for women to gain people’s trust and for colleagues within the business to realise you know what you are talking about.

It can be frustrating, but I find that once you have established yourself, as a woman quite often it is me the team come to for advice and guidance.

What are the barriers to addressing gender equality in the workplace?

Companies need to be more alert to the business benefits of increasing gender equality and diversity. Men and women bring a different perspective. Women are open and they listen more. I also think they tend to be more solution focused. This is why having a good balance of men and women in the workplace, and in particular in more senior roles, is so important.

But what we really need to focus on is education and encouraging young girls into STEM subjects. Science and technology are still seen as areas more suited to boys. There is absolutely no evidence to back-up this up, so we need to break down these social stereotypes from an early age.

What message do you have for girls who want to pursue a career in engineering?

I have three messages for girls who want to follow a career in engineering!

  1. If you want to do it you can do it. Find a way and don’t stop.
  2. Seek someone out to mentor you and help you achieve your career goals.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask. There is no such thing as a silly question.

Ashwoods Head of Applications Jamie Seaton attended EV Japan last week, Asia’s leading trade show for electric and hybrid technologies including motors, inverters, batteries and charging.

More than 43,000 visitors from the automotive and engineering industries attended the event, which is held annually in Tokyo.

Talking after the show, Jamie said: “We displayed our 200 series IPM motor and 300 series hybrid solution for diesel engines on the Dana Incorporated stand, one of our global partners.

“The event was a great opportunity to showcase Ashwoods motors to customers in the APAC region.

“The electrification market is still relatively new and there is a lot to play for. EV Japan has helped build our profile in Asia, and be part of the conversation with prospective customers at the beginning of their journey as they move towards clean-energy solutions.”

Ashwoods manufactures high-performance electric motors for use in multiple off-highway applications from golf cars and e-bikes through to forklifts and telehandlers.

We caught up with our engineering intern Richard Reynolds to find out what he has been up to since joining our undergraduate scheme in September.

So Richard, what attracted to you to the internship at Ashwoods?

It was a goal of mine to do a work placement during my degree course because I thought it would stand me in good stead after I graduate. It can be difficult to get your foot in the door with companies if you don’t have any real-life experience on your CV.

I wanted to come to Ashwoods because it has a great reputation in the South West as an innovative, clean-tech motor manufacturing company, so it was a great fit with my degree course in automotive engineering.

What have you been working on since you started in September?

So far, I have done a rotation across two engineering teams and worked on loads of different things including creating technical drawings on SolidWorks, organising supplier visits, ordering parts for automation projects and working directly with customers on designing and creating prototypes.

What has been the highlight?

The highlight has been a project to design and build workstations for a semi-automated production line. I was part of the whole process, from producing CAD drawings and getting quotes from suppliers for parts right through to assembling them in the manufacturing facility. It was great to work on a project from start to finish and I’m really proud to see them up and running!

Why would you recommend a placement at Ashwoods?

I have been surprised at how much I have been able to get involved with. I have been given a fair amount of responsibility which has been pretty cool. If you’re up for the challenge you will get loads of hands-on experience at Ashwoods, so I would really recommend applying for next year’s placement!

Click here for more information on our 2020 internship programme

Electric motors come in all shapes and sizes – from induction and brushed DC motors to innovative interior permanent magnet motors, with a range of products in between.

Ashwoods Electric Motors is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of IPM motors. With market-leading engineering and production capabilities, Ashwoods supplies clients with motors for use in a wide variety of applications. In fact, we’ve written about electric motor applications in more detail previously – you can read that article here.

But first, we should assess exactly why electric motors are the smart choice for businesses.

Ashwoods’ unique Interior Permanent Magnet AC technology means that the motors we produce are a third of the size and weight of typical induction and brushed DC motors, whilst also providing every one of the benefits that traditional permanent magnet motors offer. These IPM motors incorporate magnets directly into prefabricated slots on the rotor.

So, what are the types of electric motor you can get from Ashwoods?

IPM 120 series

Ashwoods’ IPM 120 series are the smallest IPM motors produced at Innovation Valley, and the smallest for its performance class currently on the market.

The IPM 120 series are often fitted in hydraulic systems, traction systems, and a variety of IEC/NEMA applications.

IPM 200 series

Ashwoods’ IPM 200 series is the next size up in the IPM range and are almost 33% smaller than other IPM motors on the market and boast efficiency of up to 94%. Designed to be scalable and adaptable, with improved high-speed performance thanks to field weakening, Ashwoods motors offer an unbeatable overall package.

The IPM 200 series’ pump interfaces have been developed to enable our motors to work seamlessly with a range of pump manufacturers. Thanks to our partnerships with many transmission manufacturers, Ashwoods motors are easily integrated with OEMs.

On-engine generators

Ashwoods can provide innovative, market-leading on-engine generator technology to clients of all shapes and sizes, in all locations around the globe.

Our on-engine generator solutions offer great improvements in efficiency, vehicle installation, and ease of packaging – above and beyond any alternatives on the market.

Through extensive work with OEMs, Ashwoods has developed bespoke on-engine generator solutions. We can work with you to develop bespoke solutions from proof of concept through to production units. Our experienced team can provide on-engine generators that directly couple to the engine crankshaft (offering a permanently-coupled electric motor solution) or integrated clutch systems (allowing for decoupling of the motor to operate in an electric-only mode).

If you want to learn more about Ashwoods motors, including axial flux motors, visit the products page of our website now.

Electric motors are becoming more and more prevalent in industrial applications. As their engineering has become increasingly precise, their efficiency has skyrocketed and the proof of their efficacy is becoming greater with every new motor in use.

But what are these applications? And in which areas are electric motors – and IPMs, specifically – most frequently used?

Automotive

Elon Musk might not be sweating yet, but Ashwoods IPM motors have been making waves in the automotive industry. Predominantly found in two-wheel and three-wheel applications, Ashwoods products deliver huge benefits for automotive manufacturers – including increasing vehicle range and reducing battery pack size.

Some of the most common Ashwoods products used in automotive include on-engine generators, pump motors, and motors with gearboxes.

Materials handling

Making Class II and III lift trucks more efficient, longer-lasting, and cheaper to own has put Ashwoods at the forefront of the materials handling market. Having provided motor solutions to some of the largest OEMs across the globe, Ashwoods are market-leaders in supporting the materials handling sector.

As with automotive, three of the most frequently used products in materials handling applications are on-engine generators, pump motors, and motors with gearboxes.

Golf, utility and lawn care vehicles

The off-highway markets are perhaps where the greatest number of Ashwoods motors can be found. Offering traction, auxiliary power and generator solutions for a wide range of vehicles across many off-highway applications, electric motors increase performance and reduce costs for OEMs.

Ashwoods motors with axles or gearboxes, as well as on-engine generators, can be found in off-highway applications across the globe.

Aerial work platform

IPM motors can be utilized across various machine architectures providing traction motors, pump motors and generator systems. With a global OEM customer-base and significant experience, Ashwoods is able to meet a dedicated range of applications, as well as delivering on bespoke orders.

On-engine generators, pump motors, and motors with gearboxes are all Ashwoods products that can increase efficiency and decrease running costs.

Two-wheel

The modular and scalable Ashwoods motors offer compact and highly efficient solutions for use in various bike and scooter applications. An Ashwoods motor will offer best-in-class performance across L1 and L3 category 2-wheeled vehicles.

Two-wheel applications are the perfect fit for our innovative and pioneering 200 series and 120 series motors.

Ground support equipment

Offering traction and generator solutions for the GSE markets has changed the game for OEMs, increasing efficiency and helping customers meet packaging requirements by integrating a variety of Ashwoods products. Ashwoods partners with leading drivetrain and power electronic suppliers to provide optimised solutions.

Axle- and gearbox-fitted motors are the perfect product for GSE applications, as well as on-engine generators

Marine

Marine applications require light, highly efficient, and advanced motor technology. Guess who’s got that covered? Ashwoods motors are the perfect fit for marine applications – both inboard and outboard – due to their optimal weight and efficiency compared to traditional AC motors.

Everything from pump and gearbox motors to on-engine generators can be found improving performance in the marine sector.

Automated guided vehicles

Compact and efficient motors can be utilised to provide OEMs with increased vehicle runtime and system cost reductions. IPM motors can be fitted in various machine type applications, providing traction and pump motors. The results are transformative, reducing packaging constraints, cost of ownership and battery pack size, whilst simultaneously increasing vehicle range and performance.

Ashwoods pump and gearbox motors are used across the AGV sector, placing the company at the forefront of this revolution.

Construction equipment

Offering traction, pump and generator solutions, lighter, more efficient electric motors can provide significant improvements in performance for dumpers, excavators, telehandlers and more. On top of this, industry-leaders such as Ashwoods work in collaboration with leading power electronics and drivetrain suppliers to increase run-time, machine efficiency and eliminate packaging limitations. Electric motors, coupled with products and expertise from other market-pioneers, can provide a holistic solution to construction equipment OEMs.

Ashwoods’ AW series motor with gearbox, pump motor, and on-engine generator solutions all prevalent construction equipment solutions.

For more information on the many applications of electric motors, visit our applications page.

Josh Roles, Engineering Technician Team Leader at Ashwoods Electric Motors, joined the ranks of the Advanced Engineering Team at Innovation Valley from McLaren. Having been with the business for over half a year and already got hands on with visits to the Netherlands and Spain, it is fair to say Josh displays all of the core values we hold so dear at Ashwoods.

Josh started his journey at 17 in the Royal Navy. A helicopter engineer for six years, Josh continues to operate in a very ‘hands on’ role today as he runs the workshop at Innovation Valley, ensuring all projects are delivered on time and resources are appropriately allocated.

At McLaren, Josh was initially an engine builder for McLaren GT before moving into Formula 1, where he worked for three years.

“I don’t think you can imagine the fast-paced nature of the working environment and the pressure until you’ve experienced it yourself – and that is from someone who’s been in the military!”

As a mechanic in Fernando Alonso’s garage, Josh worked directly with motor racing royalty in the highest-octane environment, travelling all over the world thanks to the expansive global nature of the racing calendar.

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and to be part of the team was fantastic with the camaraderie involved, through the good times and the bad. Those are memories I will have forever”.

Sitting at our award-winning office space in the Devonian countryside, in some ways Ashwoods couldn’t be further from motor racing. In other respects, it is not a million miles away.

“The innovation and knowledge base at Ashwoods is incredible. Everyone trusts each other and there is great scope for anyone in the business to drive ideas forward and make a real difference.”

Now actually able to enjoy weekends and Bank Holidays, Josh is finally enjoying catching up on some friends and family time – as he points out, it’s been non-stop travelling since he was 17!

Living in Exeter, in his spare time Josh is a keen road cyclist as well as enjoying any and all forms of sport.

Another ex-Formula 1 employee in the team at Innovation Valley… The pipedream of an Ashwoods-powered racing car edges ever closer.

 

Over the course of a glorious May Bank Holiday, members of the Ashwoods Electric Motors team (as well as some members of fellow Innovation Valley outfit, Lightfoot) took to the water as a boat trip was very kindly organised by the Senior Management team.

The brainchild of Managing Director, Lloyd Ash, and Engineering Sales Manager, Louis Coker, the excursion involved charting a vessel out of Port Hamble Marina for the team’s private use throughout the day.

After a fairly early start for most to get the coach from Innovation Valley to Hampshire, the team met up on the River Hamble at 09:30 and did not return to terra firma until 17:00. This being the Sunday, and therefore ‘middle day’ of the first May Bank Holiday, some of the party had partaken in festivities the previous day to the fullest extent. Therefore, the bacon sandwiches, pastries, hot drinks and orange juice available on arrival were a particularly welcome surprise!

With both a complimentary Pimms on the top deck and a safety briefing quickly dispatched, we were soon underway and enjoyed the views of the adjacent marinas, ports and countryside before reaching a designated jet ski area.

All members of the party were afforded the chance to use the jet skis which was one of the highlights of the day for many. Following this, lunch was served before a stop off to a public house near Beaulieu to rest the weary sea legs for an hour!

Back onboard after the pitstop, the boat meandered its way back towards Port Hamble, with dessert and more drinks on offer.

The weather held out on the Solent and it remained dry throughout, but there were enough rays of sunshine to punish those members of the party with fair skin and who were not as well versed in the ritual of sun protection as others. Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable day and thanks go to Lloyd and Louis for making this possible.

 

We are now officially in the season of Spring, so now seems an opportune time to review which blogposts and articles on our website were the most popular over the winter period. Ranked by number of views gained, here are the articles that made the prestigious top 5 for Winter:

 

  1. Noah – the world’s most circular car

Ashwoods are proudly the power behind a very special and sustainable car – Noah. A real success story for the business! If you missed out on learning about this fascinating project from our friends at the Eindhoven University of Technology the first time around, read more here!

 

  1. My Ashwoods Life: Iain Gillam

We sat down with our Project Manager, Iain Gillam, to talk about his Ashwoods experience so far as well as his hobbies and previous employment. We weren’t disappointed! A graduate of Imperial College London with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Iain worked on a championship-winning Formula One car with Mercedes, as well as competing in high level triathlons!

 

  1. Continued growth at Ashwoods Electric Motors

This is a piece we are particularly proud of. With all the fast-paced developments and growth of the business, it can be hard to appreciate just how far we’ve come in a short space of time. In this blogpost, we attempt to take a step back and truly reflect on just how impressive the rapid – and sustained – growth of Ashwoods Electric Motors has been over the past twelve or so months.

 

  1. Ashwoods Electric Motors’ global sales team

Our sales team get everywhere. Over the past few months, we have established presence, as well as ‘boots on the ground’, across the globe. In this piece, we profile each of our sales and support team, what they do and where they do it. From Europe to North America and Asia and with in-house linguistic skills, if there’s a country that doesn’t yet have an Ashwoods motor, they will do soon enough! If this article is of interest to you, why not also read this piece about a snapshot of the sales team’s customer visits?

 

  1. Ashwoods Electric Motors unveils the 200-100 IPM motor

Our first motor reveal of 2019 proved to be a popular one! The fourth generation of the IPM 200 series, the 200-100 is the largest motor in this series. With a distinctive ‘fin’ design and best-in-class technical capability, the newest motor out of Innovation Valley has a peak efficiency of 96% and a maximum speed of 7000RPM. The 200-100 can run continuously at 18kW and with a peak power of 42kW, will be focused on applications such as lift trucks, ground support equipment, excavators, aerial work platforms, lawncare products, two and three wheelers and golf cars.

Colyton Grammar School’s VEX robotics team, sponsored by Ashwoods Electric Motors, have made it to the national finals for the second consecutive year. The AimBot 622D Team again linked up with Innovation Valley-based Ashwoods Electric Motors to build on the successes of 2018.

The VEX Robotics Competition enables students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects to enhance their skills and develops future engineers. The students are tasked with designing, building and operating a robot to compete in various challenges; testing teamwork, leadership and communication skills as well as the intricate engineering element.

After winning the Devon regional tournament without taking a single loss (as well as bagging the design award to boot), the team secured their place in the national final. Prior to the national championships, the team made some modifications to their robot to enable the placing of caps on tall posts. Unfortunately, this change rendered the robot less reliable than previously, so the team reverted to the original design and system for the first day of the competition. After day one, the students made one more minor alteration and added a middle set of wheels – thus allowing the robot to more easily climb onto platforms and, subsequently, bank points. They also worked iteratively to improve their autonomous code.

The team reaped the reward of these tweaks and had a very successful second day of the championship with a number of victories, before eventually bowing out at the quarter final stage in a hard fought 19-15 loss. From everyone at Ashwoods Electric Motors, we pass on our congratulations for progressing so far for the second year running. We now look forward to welcoming the students to Innovation Valley this Spring – the engineers of tomorrow meeting our engineers of today!

Ashwoods Electric Motors are pleased to announce that it is an IPM 200-33 that is the driving force behind Noah – the world’s most circular and sustainable car. Noah, built by a team of students at the Eindhoven University of Technology, features an Ashwoods motor and fully optimised drivetrain to provide ultimate performance and maximise efficiency.

Noah is an electric city car with two comfortable seats and spacious boot, possessing a top speed of 110 kilometres per hour and a total range of 240 kilometres. Built from bioplastic made from sugar and flax fibre, the chassis and interior are made of particularly strong sandwich panels. The body is made of flax mats that are injected with a bio-based resin. These biological and particularly light materials use up to six times less energy than usual lightweight car materials when produced. At the end of its life, Noah can be recycled with the bio-composite being ground and used as a raw material and the non-organic parts being included in the existing recycling chain.

In other words, Noah is completely sustainable and part of the world’s circular economy. According to a survey by the TU Eindhoven team, there is no other car on the road that has just as low an environmental impact over its entire life cycle, not even a prototype.

Noah is a wonderful piece of innovative, cleantech engineering, and we at Ashwoods Electric Motors are very proud that it is an interior permanent magnet motor produced at our high-volume manufacturing facility in the UK that is power behind it.