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23 March, 2018

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UK motor-maker has won more than £50m of orders in 2018

02 March, 2018

A Northumberland manufacturer of axial-flux electric motors has won more than £50m of new business for its motors since the start of this year, with export orders to Germany, Poland, Spain, the US and Asia already in the pipeline for 2018. The company, Avid Technology, is currently focussing on the EV (electric vehicle) market and claims that its motors have one of the highest power and torque densities of any EV drive motor, making them suitable for high-performance drivetrains. The motors are also attracting interest from the robotics and aerospace sectors.

Avid took over the design, manufacture and distribution of the Evo motors from GKN Hybrid Power last year, and has now transferred production to its plant in Cramlington. Under its agreement with GKN, Avid is also developing the technology to create new variants of the motors for other applications.

“It’s been a fantastic start to the year for the business and extremely rewarding to complete our first Evo shipment,” says the company’s managing director, Ryan Maughan. “The last 12 months have been tremendously exciting in terms of sales growth through a variety of new opportunities. We are proud to be working with some of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world to design and deliver their electric and hybrid vehicles of the future.

“After securing the licence with GKN in 2017, we invested over £4m to expand our production and testing facilities,” he adds. “This investment has increased our manufacturing capabilities to enable us to meet the rising demand we’re seeing in our primary commercial and passenger vehicle markets. It also means we can continue to diversify and exploit new opportunities in emerging sectors.

“Most recently we’re experiencing an increase in demand for our technology from the robotics and aerospace industries globally,”  Maughan reports. “This has been possible due to our market-leading high-power density motors and electronics solutions which can bring tremendous improvements in functionality and efficiency in robotic systems and aerospace applications.”

Avid can trace its history back to 2004, when Maughan set up a business called Comesys Europe to design and manufacture control and measurement systems for heavy-duty vehicles. In 2008, Avid Vehicles was established as a spinout from the company’s r&d activities to develop electric and hybrid vehicle powertrains. In 2009, the two businesses were combined to create the Avid Group. After a period of strong growth, Avid decided to focus on electrified powertrain systems and to divest its unrelated activities.

Avid Technology's managing director, Ryan Maughan, with his axial-flux motors

In 2016, Avid raised financing from three private equity houses, and last year it took over the development and production of GKN’s axial-flux motors.

Also in 2017, Avid was also chosen to work on a £20m government-funded clean-tech environmental project aimed at increasing the number of hybrid vans and lorries on UK roads, and reducing vehicle emissions.

In February, the company was named a potential technology “unicorn” by the GP Bullhound investment group, which thinks that Avid has the potential to follow companies such as Uber, Airbnb and Spotify to massive growth, and could one day be worth more than $1bn.

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