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Chinese drives-maker funds r&d centre at UK university

07 May, 2014

A Chinese manufacturer of drives and power converters is funding the creation of a new technology centre at the University of Nottingham in the UK, which will develop a new generation of industrial drives. The Chinese company, Shen Zhen Nowforever Technology (SNF), has pledged initial funding of around £1.2m over the next five years.

The Nowforever University Technology Centre (NUTC) will carry out research on the next generation of electrical machines and drive systems for industrial applications. It will focus on novel machines, drive technologies, thermal management systems and advanced materials.

The NUTC will be hosted by the University’s Power Electronics, Machines and Control (PEMC) research group, which has more than 120 active researchers and also hosts the hub of the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) National Centre for Power Electronics.

The NUTC will bring together expertise from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, including experts in electrical machine design, drive technologies, power electronics and heat transfer. It will also support professional training and postgraduate student programmes.

The Centre will be led by Dr He Zhang, a research fellow at the University, who will coordinate and oversee the research activities and explore potential future opportunities.

The agreement between SNF and the University of Nottingham was signed at a ceremony in Beijing in April. Speaking at the ceremony, SNF’s general manager, Tony Xu, said: “We are deeply impressed with the world-leading technology capabilities, collaborative spirit and professional efficiency of the University.

The University of Nottingham's Power Electronics, Machines and Control group now hosts several technology centres

“As a private company with a vision and mission located in South China, the most advanced market economic area in China, Nowforever understands China’s electric motor market and believes the partnership with Nottingham will enhance its competitiveness,” he continued. “We hope our collaboration is long term with the University, providing us with technical and talent development support to us.”

SNF, based in the city of Shen Zhen, has been manufacturing AC frequency converters since 1999. Its main products include high-, medium- and low-voltage converters, servodrives, and other types of speed regulator. It supplies motor controls for appliances, air-conditioning systems, machine tools, and textile machinery. It also produces flameproof frequency converters.

The University of Nottingham’s Power Electronics, Machines and Control research group is one of the largest of its type in the world. Its aim is to sustain a world-leading research portfolio spanning all key power electronic disciplines from power device and component technology to complete power conversion systems. In addition to the NUTC and the UK National Centre for Power Electronics, it also hosts the Cummins Innovation Centre for high-performance electrical machine systems, and the Alstom Grid Centre of Excellence, which is developing new power converter topologies for future voltage source converter HVDC systems.

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