Q: How long have you worked at AEM?
CS: I have worked here for two-and-a-half years.
Q: And what does your role involve?
CS: My role is to head up the technical development of our SSRD project, which is a really all-encompassing job. I am responsible for setting the direction of the project’s design, delegating tasks throughout the team, liaising with various suppliers to determine what we can achieve with manufacturing, and collaborating with our customers to ensure that we can deliver everything that they require from the performance characteristics of our products.
Q: So, you came here straight from university – what degree did you do at and how did you make the jump?
CS: I studied mechanical engineering at Newcastle University, and I came straight here as a graduate. The jump coming straight from university with not much practical real-world experience to where I am now, leading a project, has been really exciting. I don’t think I would have that opportunity in any other company, and so I am hugely grateful.
Q: Can you give us an example of some of the projects that you’ve been working on lately?
CS: An example of my work has been on a project that we undertook with Bentley. We collaborated with the luxury vehicle manufacturer to develop a motor into an A-sample concept prototype for further testing. The plan going forward is for Advanced Electric Machines to provide Bentley with an ultra-high-performance option for its electric vehicles. It will be incredible to see our cutting-edge technology be used in such cutting-edge vehicles. Working alongside a company as prestigious as Bentley has been fantastic – they are such a huge name in the automotive industry and beyond! They have such heritage and expertise, so the fact that they have chosen to work with us is a real boost.
We have also worked with Bath University from a simulation point of view. This has involved looking at the force response characteristics of our motor and establishing some thermal safety attributes of our products. Projects such as these are crucial in further developing the world’s most sustainable electric motors.
Q: What is your proudest professional achievement at Advanced Electric Machines so far?
CS: Well, on one of our other motor development projects, which was in collaboration with SAF Holland, we worked on the HTS 7150. We were tasked with developing an air-cooled motor using our HDSRM technology for SAF’s next-generation TRAKr e-axle to power the refrigeration units on trucks more sustainably.
We went from the concept stage to have a full prototype ready in just nine months. It was a really exciting project – even though the timescale was really challenging to meet, we all pulled together and we did it. We also learnt a lot throughout, particularly when we tested the motor, and this helped us to make it easier to manufacture.
Q: Why is the work that you do so important?
CS: I think from a sustainability point of view – with the whole world going electric – the fact that our motors are cutting-edge technology, they are more recyclable and use no rare earth materials, it’s a real bonus. It’s a privilege to be a part of something that will hopefully have a real lasting impact on society going forward.
Q: What excites you about working at Advanced Electric Machines?
CS: Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the variety of the projects that we work on. I also get to be heavily involved in these projects, which is tremendously satisfying from a professional perspective. In my role, I really am on the front line; I get to talk with customers and suppliers, and get stuck in in every aspect of the project that I’m working on. I’ve already touched on how incredible it is to work with Bentley, for example, but to get to work with such huge names really is amazing.
Since I started at Advanced Electric Machines, I’ve worked on three different motors and on different test rigs, so the variety within the work environment is really enjoyable for me.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing PEMD at the moment?
CS: I think sustainability. Of course, with the whole world going electric, it’s going to put more strain on rare earth elements and all of the copper that goes into most other motors, so we at Advanced Electric Machines are trying to address both of these issues by cutting them out.
Q: And why do you think people should choose to work for AEM?
CS: I think the variety of what they’ll be involved in is such a huge part of working life. They’ll never have a dull day, that’s for sure! We’re currently still a relatively small company, so anyone who joins can really be a large part of our development.
Q: What’s it like working at AEM? What’s the culture like?
CS: Well, we have quite a young team, which is really exciting to be a part of. There’s plenty of energy going around, and everybody is so friendly!
It is certainly a hugely dynamic and exciting place to work – there’s lots of work to do, but it’s better to be busy than having to twiddle your thumbs. The dynamism of the work environment really means that you can set your own direction and make a career as whatever you want to be. Oh, and there are always cake and biscuits around, too!