Advanced Engineering is back with a bang in 2021
What innovation can you find at this year’s show?
The organisers of Advanced Engineering UK, the country’s largest annual gathering of engineering professionals, have named five groundbreaking products that will fill special feature spots at the exhibition. The show, which will take place on November 3 and 4, 2021 at the NEC, Birmingham, will unite aerospace, automotive, medical, composites, performance metals and connected manufacturing specialists for the first time in 18 months.
The first exciting feature, which has already been announced, is an original prototype of the ExoMars rover, created by Airbus Defence and Space. The rover, commonly known as Bruno, is semi-autonomous and equipped with the same technology as the final rover, including the sensors, actuators and cameras that allow it to see in 3D while navigating Mars. Advanced Engineering UK’s new show zone dedicated entirely to space and satellite innovation will be Bruno’s landing site for the show, and can be found in the existing Aero Engineering floor.
Also on display will be RS Electric Boat’s Pulse 63. The boat’s power source is a battery pack derived from the automotive industry, which harnesses a RIM drive unit rather than a traditional propeller, increasing the boat’s efficiency and offering a lightweight power solution. The boat produces zero emissions and the most sustainable laminate of any RIB in the industry.
Next up is the IGAN, which has been designed and built by former nuclear engineer, John Ross. Standing for I Go Anywhere Now, the IGAN is an electric wheelchair mounted onto tank-style tracks. The chair is narrow enough to fit through household doors and small enough to load into cars. However, its tracks make it capable of climbing and descending stairs or traversing hilly terrain.
Other innovative features include a hinged plate on the underside of the chassis, which is lowered at the top of stairs to support the vehicle and prevent it from tipping forwards. The seat is also pivoted as close to the ground as possible to maintain the centre of gravity of the device, while linear actuators keep the seat horizontal.
In the composites zone, Ford will be bringing a transit van, which showcases the results of a recent weight reduction project for the front suspension crossmember, front lower control arm and rear dead beam axle. Along with Geestamp, the National Composites Centre and the University of Nottingham, Ford achieved a 40 per cent weight reduction across the components, which led to the project winning an award for innovation in design at the Composites UK 2020 awards.
Finally, on the Auto floor, the University of Warwick will showcase its TT capable electric racing motorcycle, Frontier, which has been manufactured following a donation of a sports bike frame by Norton Motorcycles. The bike has been adapted by a student team to be fitted with an electric powertrain, and batteries and control systems that were designed in-house.
The electric power train is rated with a power output of 160kW or 201bhp and delivers 400Nm of torque from a standing start. The acceleration and speed characteristics of the electric bike in motion roughly translate into a combustion-engine equivalent of around 900cc to 1,000cc, which is only slightly less than Norton’s own petrol powertrain.
The electric motor draws power from an immersion-cooled battery pack that has been designed and tested by the students and is the first of its kind for application in an electric motorcycle. With a capacity of 16kWh, the battery is designed to last longer with the application of robust thermal management strategies, while also allowing for larger short term power peaks required by a racing motorbike.
“We were delighted to be invited to display some of the light weighting projects and components at this year’s Advanced Engineering,” commented Alan Banks, Innovation & Industrial Engagement Supervisor at Ford Innovation. “In a world of electrification and advanced propulsion, weight reduction, especially for commercial vehicles, will become increasingly important and the work done by Ford will be a springboard to further work and innovation that we are looking forward to discussing with industry. Advanced Engineering UK is the first step in realising the collaboration potential that exists in the supply chain and I am very much looking forward to meeting everyone face to face again.”
Advanced Engineering UK is still accepting proposals for show features. Do submit an application, or register to attend Advanced Engineering 2021 on November 3–4, visit the exhibition’s website, www.advancedengineeringuk.com/.
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