Tell us a bit about your business? When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Magnomatics was founded in 2006 as a spin-out company from the University of Sheffield. The original founders were members of the Electrical Machines group and Chris Kirby who established Magnomatics in 2005 as a university spin-out.
The company was initially based in incubation facilities at the university and finally moved to its current offices, Park House, in 2011. We also have a second site, Clarence Works in Sheffield, where we build and test our larger motors and generators.
What does the business do?
Our products are based upon our patented magnetic gear technology. A magnetic gear has similar functionality to a traditional planetary gear but with no touching parts. This means no wear and no friction so improved efficiency and no maintenance. We can also integrate magnetic gear with conventional electric machine stators to make the Pseudo Direct Drive (PDD) and the MAGSPLIT.
The PDD is a high torque low-speed motor or generator. We have applications in several markets including offshore wind, tidal renewables, marine propulsion, rail traction, industrial drives and aerospace.
The MAGSPLIT is a continuously variable gearbox combined with a power split. By applying the MAGSPLIT one can operate the internal combustion engine of a vehicle much closer to its peak efficient operating region for more of the time. Typically, this means an improvement of 30% in fuel consumption and emissions over a conventional vehicle on real-drive cycles. Our work with the Chinese car company Changan is in the public domain and was co-funded by Innovate UK.
How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
Despite the impact of COVID-19 the business is in a strong position. We have a record orderbook and strong cash reserves. Most of this orderbook is from blue chip sources, or from grants, so we do not face problems with customer-driven delays. Moreover, most of it involves design work that can be completed with most of our staff working from home.
We have also just secured a strategic investor who has strengthened our balance sheet and provides access to three market sectors.
What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
The advantages of our technology are all about efficiency and reducing emissions. This means that we are at the heart of the electrification revolution, from hybrid vehicles to renewable energy. We are currently also engaged on project for all electric aircraft and more efficient motors for industrial applications. As well as powertrain hybrid gearboxes we are also working on drive for car and truck ancillaries such as air conditional compressors.
David Latimer, CEO at Magnomatics