SEC Pre-study for Manufacturing Effects in Electrical Machines Led to FFI-project

Joachim Lindström is a Volvo Cars representative in Theme 2, Electric Machines, Drive Systems and Charging. During 2020 he has been the project leader of a SEC funded feasibility study, which has led to a large FFI-funded project that started December 2020 with a kick-off expected before the summer.  

In 2020, when SEC entered the financial phase 4, Joachim Lindström and colleagues had a workshop around project ideas for the coming phase. He had an idea about better correlating the characteristics of ferro magnetic material with the calculations made when developing electric machines.  

“Up until now it hasn’t been necessary really to have the exact calculations on magnetism in the material in a vehicle since we could rely on course empirical corrections, and most of the vehicles have had combustion engines, says Joachim Lindström. 

In electric vehicles the magnetism of the engine components plays a much bigger part and now when the vehicle industry is investing massively in electrification and electrical propulsion, the Lindström and his colleagues concluded that the need for better methods to describe ferro magnetic materials has grown.  

“We have a lot of awareness regarding the phenomenon of changes in materials’ magnetism in production, but the correlation with the scientific side is still underdeveloped, and the vehicle industry is really interested in getting more knowledge in this field”, he says.  

External Funding 

They were granted SEK 200 000 from SEC for a feasibility study during 2020 and engaged Volvo Cars, Volvo Group, CEVT, BorgWarner, Surahammars bruk and senior researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University. The study has now led to a SEK 21,4 million project funded by FFI, the Swedish strategic vehicle research and innovation programme that started spring 2021.  

“SEC has been crucial to build a consortium and conduct this feasibility study. The centre provides a perfect forum for this type of discussion and it turned out I wasn’t the only one thinking this was needed. Many of my theme colleagues had the same need and we decided that a feasibility study was what we would manage to apply for given the time limits that we had, studying a relatively unexplored field, and with multiple participants”, says Joachim Lindström.  

He thinks that what made this topic so suitable to make a feasibility study from is that it is so uncharted. It needed some oversight before the research could start.  

“If you know exactly where you want to go, perhaps a feasibility study isn’t what you need, but if you need to probe an area and map a terrain, then a feasibility study is a very efficient tool”, Lindström says.  

SEC’s Quality Stamp

Joachim Lindström thinks this way of funding feasibility studies is a very efficient way to work for SEC. 

“The centre is a hub for Swedish researchers and helps the Swedish Energy Agency guarantee high quality in the projects they fund. We don’t have all the resources that are needed to fund all Swedish electromobility research, so by delivering feasibility projects with the SEC quality stamp on we make external funders comfortable when choosing to fund our projects”, he says. 

He now hopes the FFI-project will improve the calculation methodology and that the results will lead to increased production efficiency.  

“I can promise that if we gain good results in the coming project, the results will definitely be put to use. As a plus we get very needed new competence in the young people that will work in the project and hopefully will improve our organizations also after the project”, says Joachim Lindström.