The Advanced Engineering team at Innovation Valley is an integral part of Ashwoods Electric Motors. Two key strands of the business revolve around the production of our innovative IPM motors and the engineering projects undertaken by our Advanced Engineering team. This has always been true since the formation of Ashwoods in 2006 through to the present day. The nature of the projects may have evolved (from hybrid powertrains for vans to electric motors) but what remains a constant is the passion, innovation and responsiveness the team at Ashwoods Electric Motors possesses.

Working with customers that want to incorporate an electric drive into their application, the team at Innovation Valley are best placed in the industry due to the in-house experience gained in everything from Formula One, defence, marine and oil and gas. This accumulated expertise is utilised in a range of off-highway electrification projects across industries such as construction, materials handling, golf, marine, aerial work platforms, lift trucks, excavators, automated guided vehicles and two- and three-wheelers. This diversity and plethora of experience is unrivalled in our industry and gives numerous benefits to OEMs that use Ashwoods as a partner.

Acting as an onsite engineering team, our engineers have the benefit of utilising the facilities at Innovation Valley – such as our ‘dyno’ room. Projects undertaken range from basic mechanical integration of Ashwoods’ IPM motors to much larger scale full electrification programmes. The dynamism and flexibility of the team means that, whatever the size of the project, it will be completed swiftly, efficiently and with cutting edge innovation and quality.

Throughout the entire process, the Advanced Engineering team at Innovation Valley draw on various systems and programmes to ensure that, from design to production, the highest standards are retained. From the basic ‘CAD’ systems to highly specialist electromagnetic simulation and in-house prototyping, Innovation Valley is capable of fulfilling any engineering project.

As demonstrated with our various historic and on-going projects with global and established OEMs, our Advanced Engineering team is best placed to take on the challenge of electrification in the off-highway sector. For more information about this dynamic team, as well as Ashwoods’ other products and services, please get in touch via info@ashwoodselectricmotors.com.

 

Our Engineering Sales Manager, Louis Coker, has been with the business for over two years having previously held the title Product Manager. As Engineering Sales Manager, Louis is integral to customer liaison and support, as he guides any new customer through the process of completing their project.

“With our innovative technology, we provide an avenue to reinvent a customer’s product. I create a proposal, incorporating both commercial and technical skills, and ensure customer care before, during and in-application is at the highest standard.”

As Product Manager, starting in January 2017, Louis used his in-depth knowledge of the entire Ashwoods range and how they can be incorporated into every application, and this helps with the large engineering projects he currently oversees.
At the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, Louis achieved a Masters in Mechanical Engineering.

“I was always interested in engineering as a child, particularly aerospace. However, Mechanical Engineering gave me the best grounding in a wide range of disciplines such as electrical, mechanical and manufacturing. This does help greatly with my current role.”

When discussing Ashwoods Electric Motors, and the rapid growth seen in the business over Louis’ couple of years, he was quick to point out that while there has been exponential growth and a move to high volume manufacturing, what makes Ashwoods so unique are the things that have remained a constant.

“We’ve retained our dynamism, innovation and reactionary engineering. I think that is why we have been so appealing to our investors – such as Dana Incorporated and Curtis Instruments.”

Looking to the future, Louis still wants to very much continue his progression, both professionally and personally. Having grown into his role, encompassing commercial and technical expertise, Louis wants to keep learning from the experienced and global sales team at Innovation Valley. Outside of work, Louis can often be found in the centre circle of the region’s football pitches as a Devon F.A referee. Louis previously officiated in the Scottish FA Amateur fixtures and now is part of the semi-professional game in the South West of England.

“I’m up for promotion this year and I just want to keep that up. In 5 years, I hope to be in the Football League.”

We’ll keep a look out on Saturday afternoons, Louis!

Such is the fast-paced nature of Ashwoods Electric Motors that, just a few months after releasing an article all about our history, we already have some fantastic news and developments to add to our illustrious, yet still somewhat embryonic, history. If you missed our first edition of Ashwoods’ history then do please read up – it won’t disappoint.

Despite this being only May, 2019 has brought about some fantastic news for Ashwoods with new investment, new product releases, and new artwork in our award-winning headquarters: Innovation Valley!

First, we must start with our new majority investor, Dana Incorporated. As has been widely publicised, Dana acquired one of Ashwoods Electric Motors’ investors, the Drive Systems segment of the Oerlikon Group, making Dana a majority investor in Ashwoods. This represents a brilliant opportunity for both businesses to grow, especially as it relates to electrification in the off-highway market segment.

In April, we also unveiled the fourth generation of our innovative 200 series IPM motor, with the 200-100 released at LogiMAT. Much interest was generated in Stuttgart and afterwards, with the largest motor in the 200 series range boasting a peak power of 42kW and a peak efficiency of 96 percent. With a distinctive ‘fin’ design (which also aids motor cooling), the 200-100 can run continuously at 18kW at a maximum speed of 7000RPM. The enhanced performance 200-100 will be focused on applications such as lift trucks, ground support equipment, aerial work platforms, golf cars, two and three wheelers, lawncare products and excavators. For more information about this best-in-class IPM motor from Ashwoods, email info@ashwoodselectricmotors.com and a member of our global sales team will be in touch.

As if Innovation Valley wasn’t already quirky enough, our already-recognised unique workspace has gained another piece of stunning artwork, as a company timeline has been added to the walkway into the main office. A picture paints a thousand words and this eye-catching timeline succinctly tells the story of our history, as well as displaying our company values. The timeline is large and striking – you really need to see it in person when you next visit our office – but for the time being, enjoy some snapshots of the design below.

Ashwoods Electric Motors’ Principal Engineer, Richard Strong, has a long history with the business, going back further than almost everyone outside of our founding directors.

Heading up the Advanced Engineering Team at Innovation Valley, Richard is in his second spell with Ashwoods, having re-joined the company in 2017. However, the first traces of Rich in Ashwoods green date back to 2009 – when the business was under the name of Ashwoods Automotive. Then, Richard was the Lead Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager for the development of a permanent magnet electric motor which was used in the transit hybrid van system. Out of this series of innovative advancements would spring, amongst others, Ashwoods Electric Motors and sister company, Lightfoot.

Born to a farming family in rural Somerset, Richard headed down the M5 to Devon and graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Exeter.

“It was my agricultural upbringing that first developed my interest in engineering.”

Richard re-joined Ashwoods two years ago, drawn back to the business due to its interesting and cutting-edge technological developments. From being the third employee to now Principal Engineer in charge of a team of ten, part of a wider business of over 70 (and growing!), it is fair to say that Rich has seen more than most at Ashwoods Electric Motors. What has remained constant, however, is the business’ innovation and development of technology and customer projects – as well as investing in engineering and manufacturing in the South West.

“We are always on the look-out for talented individuals to join us – so please do get in touch!”

Richard adds, pointing out that any prospective applicant can email work@ashwoods.org with a CV and brief summary of why they’d be a great fit for Ashwoods, and will be considered.

Away from work Richard is a keen mountain biker and lives in a barn conversion in his native Somerset which he designed and built himself. Here he lives with his wife, two daughters aged six and one, and Willow, a Collie cross black Labrador – who benefits from walks in the sublime nearby Quantocks Hills. Richard also snowboards in his spare time, going on two such holidays recently which he enthusiastically described as “awesome!”. We get the impression that our Principal Engineer will be returning to the slopes soon…

Sarah Preston is Ashwoods Electric Motors’ Customer Support Manager, joining the business to oversee all things customer-facing. The main point of contact for our customers, Sarah manages the sales order processes, liaising with all departments of the business to ensure exemplary customer service.

Previously a Senior National Accountant manager at a Devon business, Sarah is used to looking after a large account base. Developing (and subsequently implementing) processes from the ground up is a skill of Sarah’s and a vital skill she has brought to Innovation Valley.

Organisation is something Sarah prides herself on and is an integral part of her role, as she liaises with all departments of the business at various points of each motor’s journey to the customer. This ensures the very best customer service for each and every Ashwoods Electric Motors customer.

Having lived just five miles from Ashwoods’ HQ for 20 years, Sarah knew a lot about the business before applying for the role.

“I had heard lots of good things about Ashwoods from living and working locally, and driving past Innovation Valley everyday when it was being built, I thought, ‘I want to work there!’”.

It is more than fair to say that Sarah hit the ground running when she joined, winning employee of the month in her first month and having her role adapted from Sales Administrator to Customer Support Manager. Looking to the future, Sarah states that her main focus is to continually improve the processes within the business and to facilitate impeccable customer service. Outside of work, Sarah is kept busy by her two teenagers aged 20 and 15 in her South Devon home – a county in which she has lived all her life, much like Ashwoods Electric Motors and sister company Lightfoot.

Welcome to Ashwoods, Sarah!

Ashwoods Electric Motors, the world’s leading manufacturer of the innovative IPM motor, are pleased to announce the unveiling of another member of the 200 series IPM family.

The 200-100 IPM motor is the fourth generation of the 200 series and is larger than the 200-33, 200-50 and 200-66 range. A PMAC synchronous motor, the cutting-edge technology from Innovation Valley in Devon builds on previous expertise at Ashwoods, with magnets buried inside the rotor of the motor. This allows the motor to operate radially and benefit from a lower magnet content than a surface permanent magnet motor. What this means for customers is that Ashwoods IPM motors are smaller, lighter and more efficient than traditional motor technologies as well as other IPMs in the market currently.

Now officially released to the market, the 200-100 has a distinctive ‘fin’ design and boasts best-in-class technical capability. Running between 48V and 96V, depending on requirements, the 200-100 has peak efficiency of 96% and a peak power of 42kW. It can run continuously as high as 18kW, with a maximum speed of 7000RPM. At 650Arms, the peak torque of the innovative Ashwoods 200-100 electric motor is an impressive 145Nm.

The industry got a first look at the brand new 200-100 at the 17th annual LogiMAT show for intralogistics solutions and process management in Stuttgart. A record 60,000 visitors were in attendance at the Stuttgart Messe – which will come as no surprise to our busy sales team, who did a fantastic job of meeting customers both prospective and established for the entirety of the three-day show. Much interest centred around the new 200-100 motor, and it is not hard to see why!

Typical applications for the 200-100 will be just as diverse as all the Ashwoods range, with a particular focus on the off-highway market with applications such as lift trucks, ground support equipment, excavators, aerial work platforms, lawncare, two and three wheelers and golf carts. Due to its technical prowess, the 200-100 will compliment the rest of the 120 series and 200 series range but can be used in applications that need more power or torque – without compromising on efficiency and a reduction in size and weight.

 

Having attended successful trade shows over the past 12 months in Europe and North America, Ashwoods Electric Motors proudly exhibited at LogiMAT 2019. Across three days, members of the Ashwoods team met with a diverse variety of customers, current and prospective, and dealers and partners alike. Utilising the semi-private meeting area on the stand, the Ashwoods sales team generated some great leads to follow up in the coming weeks as well as continuing close relationships with our partners.

LogiMAT is the world’s largest intralogisitcs trade show, offering everything from procurement to production to shipping. The 17th edition of LogiMAT saw well over 60,000 industry professionals from around the world descend on Stuttgart. A record attendance saw LogiMAT enjoy over 10% year on year growth in exhibitors and visitors for the third year in a row.

Stand F28 in Hall 7 proudly showcased a variety of innovative IPM motors and engineering solutions. Underneath a television displaying rolling Ashwoods’ presentations was a 120 series motor with Oerlikon Fairfield gearbox, a 200-66 motor with pump drive, a 200-33 motor and the first unveiling to the world of the brand new 200-100 motor.

There was also a 200-33 motor with a brake on the table in our meeting room on the stand, and in the corner was an entire engine with Ashwoods 300 series motor to showcase a full on-engine generator – just one example of the engineering solutions offered by Ashwoods Electric Motors’ advanced engineering team.

Six members of the Ashwoods team left Innovation Valley to do overlapping stints in Stuttgart, proving not only how busy the stand was but also the importance of trade shows to the business. Managing Director, Lloyd Ash; Commercial Director, Jim Winchester; European Sales Director, Daniele Vescovini; Head of Applications, Jamie Seaton; Engineering Sales Manager, Louis Coker and Marketing Executive, Harry Elliott were all in attendance at Stuttgart Messe.

As the dust settles on LogiMAT 2019, plans are already in place for future trade shows so watch this space!

 

 

With a truly global remit, the Ashwoods Electric Motors sales team visits a variety of customers all over the world. Taking the weeks immediately before and after the Christmas break as a snapshot, we can take a look at precisely where Ashwoods had ‘boots on the ground’.

Starting on the continent of Europe, our Head of Applications joined our European Sales Director to visit customers across Italy, France and Spain. These included a variety of prospective and established partners, dealers and customers. Some of these customers and dealers recently returned the favour and visited Innovation Valley. Focus now shifts to Germany as Ashwoods will exhibit at LogiMAT in Stuttgart, have a presence at Bauma in Munich, as well as the day to day customer meetings our European Sales Director will conduct in the country.

Across the pond, in the run up to Christmas, our Commercial Director and Business Development Director spent a full two weeks zigzagging across North America meeting a variety of prospective and current customers, OEMs and dealers. Not spending any longer than two nights in one location, the Ashwoods delegates did not waste any time at all in spreading the Ashwoods Electric Motors message and raising awareness of what we do in Canada and the US.

Prior to this trip, Jon, our Business Development Director, spent some time in Asia and Turkey particularly, utilising his Turkish fluency and previous business dealings in the area. With some fantastic opportunities for our IPM motors in an area where we have not had coverage before, the whole team are excited to see what comes of this!

Back slightly closer to home in the United Kingdom and Ireland, our Engineering Sales Manager has recently met with established businesses in the off-highway sector. These varied from initial introductions to follow up discussions on both sides of the Irish Sea.

We also managed to catch up with Veitis at Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham. One of our two wheeled customers also featured in The Telegraph at the end of last year.

An unquestionably global series of meetings and customer visits for our sales team in a short period of time, demonstrating the interest that is being generated in our innovative range of electric motors and advanced engineering services.

 

 

For those of you who have been following Ashwoods Electric Motors from afar over the past few months, you will have noticed the rapid and sustained growth of the business. This is best highlighted with the move into Innovation Valley, but is also demonstrated with the rise in head count on site, more customers on the books and, perhaps most importantly, numerous internal promotions within our team.

Let’s start with the big one: Innovation Valley. In what was potentially the most seismic moment in the company’s history, the business relocated to Innovation Valley in June of 2018. Boasting a state-of-the-art production line and machinery, Innovation Valley is a world-class manufacturing facility and enables Ashwoods to produce our innovative IPM motors in high volumes.

Our offices aren’t bad either! A finalist in the 2018 Space Awards across two categories, our quirky working environment comes with numerous break out areas for staff, meeting rooms, and tasteful mock brickwork and mock library wallpapers. Along with the bold graffiti on the boardroom doors, it really does have to be seen to be believed!

 

In terms of head count, January 2019 saw nearly double the number of employees in comparison to January of last year – and this growth shows no signs of letting up. Our core departments such as production, engineering and sales have grown while new areas of the business have been born and are now expanding themselves – finance, administration, HR and marketing to name a few!

One of the central themes of Ashwoods Electric Motors (as outlined in our mission statement here) is investing within the business. This is proudly demonstrated in the rise through the ranks of many of the longer term Ashwoods employees, gaining experience, developing and progressing within the business. Acknowledging the success of our staff with promotions and rewards is a big part of what makes the senior management team tick at Innovation Valley, and a quick scan around the office reveals many personnel who have succeeded thanks to this approach.

In terms of sales and engineering projects, as you’d expect, Ashwoods is carrying out more work than ever. The advanced engineering team are working on a variety of projects for major OEMs around the globe. POs for our motors are increasing in frequency and quantity week on week thanks to our internationally-reaching sales team. Showcased in trade shows across the world (most recently the US and Germany), our innovative electric motors and engineering solutions will be proudly displayed at various shows across Europe in the coming months.

Looking back on where we were just a matter of months ago is staggering, and the best is yet to come!

 

Project Manager Iain Gillam has been with Ashwoods Electric Motors since 2016. His role involves overseeing the Advanced Engineering team at Innovation Valley, as well as managing a number of collaborative R&D projects currently receiving funding from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Currently, Iain manages the £3.4M APC program DIET in conjunction with a number of industry partners. DIET focuses on the next generation of innovative electric propulsion solutions and will ensure Ashwoods remains at the forefront of innovation in electric propulsion – electric motors and electric drives.

Initially joining as a Project Engineer, Iain spent much of his early time both developing Ashwoods’ in-house climatic vibration testing standards and using them to test our 200 series Interior Permanent Magnet electric motors to their limits to ensure the integrity and durability of Ashwoods products. The evolution of his role into Project Manager reflects the considerable growth in the team at Ashwoods Electric Motors. By Iain’s own estimates, the business is around three times larger in terms of headcount compared to when he started in early 2016.

Prior to life at Ashwoods, Iain worked for Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains on the engine and ERS system that would win the 2014 World Championships. While at Mercedes, Iain worked in a range of roles including mechanical design of several aspects of the powertrain, durability testing of the electric motors within the ERS system and strategy simulations during the Championship winning 2014 season. It was when working on both mechanical design aspects of the ERS system and, latterly, the durability testing of electric motors that Iain galvanised his interest in electric motors and electric propulsion.

Iain’s interest was initially spawned while working towards a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, during which he worked on an electric race car that competed in Formula Student UK.

 

After working for Mercedes for three years, Iain took a self-funded year off in 2015 to shift his focus to achieving a long-term goal of becoming an elite triathlete. Iain had competed in triathlon for a number of years alongside work, achieving success in Age Group competitions, including a British Championship. However, to make the step up to, and meet, the Elite qualification criteria, Iain moved to Spain to be near his coach and focused on training and racing full time. During 2015 he competed in two World Championships, a European Championship and two British Championships, collecting three podium finishes along the way. He also achieved his aim by surpassing the elite qualification criteria and racing in the British Elite Championships.

While claiming any racing he does now is “just for fun” Iain is competing in the ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ this June in San Francisco.

“You start by getting a ferry out to Alcatraz, jump off the back and swim back to the Bay. Then you cycle and run around San Francisco itself.”

That is a daunting swim, 18-mile mountainous ride and 8 miles of running with two steep peaks of 250 feet. Rather you than us, Iain!

Looking to the future back at Innovation Valley, Iain says the key goals are progressing volumes in production, and also alluded to some new research and development projects…

“There is some game-changing technology on the horizon that will be coming out of the Advanced Engineering team at Ashwoods.”

The ‘next-gen’ technology will be unveiled later this year.