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Brandauer’s story of electrification: Part one

June 21, 2021

Whilst a hot topic in manufacturing today, electrification is by no means a new trend. Much like Brandauer, its story starts in the 1800s.

In the late 1800s, forward-thinking factories in Britain and the United States began their journey of electrification. It was the build-out of the electricity generation, and the technique of transforming other forms of energy into electricity. In manufacturing, that transition would include the use of steam engines and waterpower giving way for electric motors.

Electrification was called “the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th Century” by the National Academy of Engineering and the term was coined for particular sectors of the economy: factory electrification a major one and railway electrification another.

Brandauer’s electric history

By 1907, Brandauer had installed electricity at its New John Street West factory which stands just a stones-throw away from its current location. At a cost of £604, the factory set Brandauer on its story of electrification.

By 1938, it is reported that there were eight electrically powered, roll feed presses that combined the first three stages of blanking, marking, and piercing (the pen nibs Brandauer manufactured at the time) in one operation, anticipating today’s multi-stage progression press tools and high-speed power presses.

Fast-forward to 1962 and Brandauer is celebrating 100 years. By now it is an advanced presswork specialist, supplying electronic components to everything from Concord to computers. Its position on the electrical industry was quite clear, with the Chairman of the time releasing a letter to customers and suppliers which accompanied a book to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It described the company’s policy as simple –

“To supply to the electronic and electrical industries components in the greatest quantities, of the greatest accuracy and the best possible finish, so that our customers may have to spend the minimum of inspection and assembly time.”

Not a dissimilar mission statement to that of today for Brandauer, although its ambitions since has seen it supply much more than a couple of sectors – The automotive industry for one.

In its more recent history, Brandauer has supplied components to the automotive industry in almost every nook and cranny of the modern car, from those used in automatic dimming rear view mirrors, airbag sensors, motor vehicle instruments and hydraulic braking systems to clips for retaining interior trim panels. In addition, there are many different types of connectors including those used in battery chargers, satellite navigation systems and wiring connector blocks. Other electrical parts can be found in engine management systems, as well as printed circuit boards.

This history has held Brandauer in good stead through the electrification of one thing after another. Today, that thing is the electrification of transport, and it has an important role to play in ensuring a sustainable future for the world.

Brandauer and the electrification of transport – a story of three projects in three months

The next challenge is a switch to renewable energy or nuclear power and these energy sources will need end uses such as transport to be electrified for the world’s energy systems to be sustainable.

One clear advantage Brandauer holds in the field of the electrification of transport is its ability to deliver electrical steel motor laminations thinner than a piece of paper, which is proven to help deliver cleaner mobility solutions.

In October 2020, Brandauer pressed the button on a £1m project to develop a new process to support the UK’s acceleration into electrification. Brandauer used project funding to set-up a high-volume e-machine stack line to produce thin laminates required by the automotive and aerospace sector.

Working in partnership with WMG and supported by Jaguar Land Rover, Brandauer is at the epicentre of a game-changing project for the UK power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) supply chain and its ability to supply an increasing demand for e-components from tier 1s and car makers.

This is about creating a process and technology that will deliver the UK a vitally important technology, which will not only drive the sector’s growth in electrification but will also support the net carbon 2050 target.

In November 2020, Brandauer was selected to be part of a new consortium led by tech company Saietta, which won an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) grant to fast-track production on new electric propulsion motors for use in all vehicles from scooters through to buses.

The unique Axial Flux Traction technology delivers class-leading performance at the price points required for mass market adoption and marks a step-change in how the sector can make electric vehicles go faster for longer.

Brandauer has been heavily involved in providing specialist busbars and laminates to a number of customers in the electrification field, benefiting from Brandauer’s manufacturing to microns expertise and making a major difference in the development of greener vehicles.

In December 2020 and furthering its role in the field of electrification, Brandauer took its place in the UK-ALUMOTOR consortium, led by multi-industry engineering consultancy Ricardo and partners Aspire Engineering, Global Technologies Racing, Phoenix Scientific Industries, and the University of Warwick.

Backed by the Driving Electric Revolution Challenge Fund through UK Research and Innovation, Brandauer is part of an exciting project designed to prove the feasibility of a new electric machine.

Brandauer and its fellow consortium members have long been known for industry-leading innovation, R&D, and manufacturing excellence, which is helping global transport manufacturers drive cost out of electrification. It will enable the continued support for mass adoption of electrification by contributing to the green bounce back with an environmentally sustainable design.

The story goes on

These are three exciting instances of how Brandauer is helping to establish a position for UK manufacturing at the forefront of the global electric revolution. But the story doesn’t end there.

With its history of electrification and how its electrical steel lamination capability is sought after in some of the country’s most exciting electrification projects, Brandauer will continue to use this blog to explore all of the other areas by which it serves the exciting advances of the topic.

Keep an eye on the blog and social media for the next instalments of Brandauer’s story of electrification.

June 21, 2021

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