Brandauer’s story of electrification is showing no signs of entering its final chapter, in fact the story feels like its picking up steam now more than ever, but this series of blogs does conclude here.
This final instalment looks at the lessons Brandauer has learnt after embarking on game-changing projects in the field of electrification and how those teachings have started to inform its approach in new markets. The rail sector being one of the most exciting.
The electrification of rail
The development levels of electrification in European countries is slower compared to regions such as China and the sharp increases seen in India. But with net zero and climate goals pushing the agenda, the electrification of railway lines can be a part of the path to emission free mobility. Although railway electrification is a niche market within rail infrastructure, it is a growth market with positive long-term prospects.
There is momentum in the electrification of rail – the recent UK100 Net Zero Pledge signed by regional leaders committing to reaching Net Zero at least five years earlier than central government is proof that the UK is taking its commitment seriously. But the need to accelerate our green reform proposals to ensure the UK reaches its full potential in unlocking low carbon transport is an ongoing challenge.
Rolling stock and infrastructure are two focus areas, and areas where Brandauer can use its expertise in the electrification of vehicles and specialist component and tooling offerings to find solutions for challenges such as weight-saving, future-proofing component designs and tooling, and ways to recover energy.
This year, Brandauer launched a presswork process and component development consultancy service with some of these challenges in mind. The service became the perfect antidote to an industry that needs innovative partners willing to collaborate from the earliest stages of development.
The Brandauer rail electrification consultancy
Brandauer’s 15-strong engineering team has been set-up to provide a full design and manufacturing service, collaborating with the client from early-stage development, giving them access to a multitude of services. From deep-dive feasibility studies and rapid-prototyping to prove-out the component, to the manufacture of precision tooling and high-volume production.
This all-round consultation approach is already a popular option and one notable case resulted in a small carbon steel pierced cup that acts as an energy recovery device for use in rolling stock.
It is the knowledge acquired through game-changing projects in the electrification of vehicles that is informing Brandauer’s approach to rail electrification. Precision stamping and tooling capabilities are proving to be very transferable into rail, with common needs for electric motor laminations and high power copper connectors to name just a couple.
The consultancy service allows Brandauer to look at how it can make a big difference by engaging with customers in the rail sector from the very start and staying involved throughout the production journey.
Brandauer is also using its membership with Rail Forum Midlands to help it increase its presence in the sector, taking part in networking events and offering its electrification know-how in knowledge transfer partnerships, harnessing academic partnerships, and identifying the potential for collaboration.
Brandauer also played host recently to a delegation from Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, a function within the University of Birmingham created to train engineers and develop world-leading technologies to drive UK and global rail innovation. They too share the belief that collaboration is the key to innovative solutions. A return visit is planned in the new year where R&D for rail will be one of the core items on the agenda.
Brandauer has made a concerted effort to find every which way it can to share its experience in electrification and guide the supply chain in the development of new connectors, laminations, generators and motors. Furthermore, with the impact of Brexit and the Covid pandemic brining the issue of supply chain consolidation into consideration for many key players in the rail sector, there is real opportunity for collaboration and Brandauer’s consultancy service is fast becoming the bedrock for solution driven innovation.
Tiered support levels can be applied to three areas of consultancy, all three of which are designed to have impressive added value benefits. They are business improvement, process development and product development.
Thanks for keeping up with the series
Brandauer’s story of electrification has covered how the company were early adopters during the electrification of the factory in the early 1900’s, and how today, its electrical steel lamination, EloPin®, and copper component capabilities are all steering the industry towards overcoming the challenges of cleaner mobility in their own unique ways. And with this instalment, how experience in those areas is informing an industry keen to accelerate its electric mandate.
This isn’t the end of Brandauer’s story and the blog will still be a sure way to keep track (no pun intended) on the latest developments in electrification.
Did you know that Brandauer is a founding member of the MAN Group? If you’re interested in understanding how a single-source design and manufacturing collaboration can help you embrace the benefits of electrification, why not check out the MAN Group Electrification Brochure here.
Copper has been a crucial material in the automotive industry for some time, but the electrification of vehicles is putting more emphasis on the material’s use for critical stamped components and other parts.