News

  • 18 Jan

    Bournemouth University student takes top prize for Productiv placement

    21-year-old David was an integral part of the Productiv manufacturing team and has since been offered a graduate role.

    After a year in industry supporting Productiv’s manufacturing team, Bournemouth University student David Clucas has taken home the University’s Science and Technology Faculty placement prize for his time here.

    The 21-year-old was particularly commended for becoming an ‘integral part of the manufacturing team’ and has since been offered a graduate role upon completion of his design engineering degree next June.

    “Talk of a ‘skills gap’ has been in the news a lot recently, so it’s great to see students like David breaking through the negativity and demonstrating the true value they can bring to UK engineering when they are given the support and the opportunities they need,” said Productiv managing director Anand Lakhani.

    “From day one, David was an integral part of the team, introducing new processes, contributing to meetings and overseeing the development of new, clean technologies. We were so impressed with his performance that we’ve offered him a position as one of Productiv’s graduate engineers as soon as he completes his degree.”

    Bournemouth University’s placement competition is held each year, with six prizes per department and an overall faculty winner.

    “From day one, David introduced new processes, contributed to meetings and oversaw the development of new, clean technologies.”

    Anand Lakhani, managing director, Productiv

    “Placements are a critical part of a student’s course,” explained Andy Blackburn, placement development adviser for the Faculty of Science & Technology at Bournemouth University. “They allow students to put theory into practice, try new roles, and develop ‘soft skills’ and other life skills that they will need after graduation.”

    “David was able to demonstrate how he’d applied his course, but also how he’d added value to Productiv during his time there.

    “In addition to working on numerous new products for Productiv, he also created his own project office, demonstrating the advanced engineering skills, leadership, maturity and tenacity needed to get the most out of his placement.”

    Here’s what David had to say:

    “A placement at Productiv ticked all the boxes. Being a smaller company, it had more opportunities for graduates and students to get involved and feel like a part of the team.

    “These opportunities will become even more important as the older generation retires. I’d advise aspiring engineers to network and take advantage of as many placement opportunities as they can, regardless of whether they choose to do a degree or an apprenticeship.”

    If you’re looking to developing your skills in engineering, or gain some valuable work experience, take a look at Productiv’s latest opportunities for students and graduates here.

    Want to hear more about David’s time at Productiv? Check out his blog here.

    By Prova PR Uncategorized
  • 09 Jan

    Hydrogen multi-rotor UAV with 5kg payload achieves FIRST EVER hour-long test flight

    UAV featuring an Intelligent Energy class-leading lightweight hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Module

    A project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell powered multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), has beaten its original test flight target of 60 minutes with a 5 kg payload, setting an exciting new benchmark for flight time and payload in the commercial UAV industry.

    Project RACHEL, supported by Innovate UK, is led by venture engineering company Productiv on behalf of the UK’s leading UAV filming specialists BATCAM. The UAV is powered by fuel cells from Intelligent Energy, whose team has significant expertise and a proven track record in producing some of the world’s lightest and most power-dense fuel cell stacks for commercial UAVs.

    The initial target of the project was to achieve 60 minutes of continuous flight while carrying a 5 kg payload. The Lithium Polymer battery powered UAVs flown by BATCAM allow around 12 minutes of useable flight. The recent test of the purpose-built fuel cell powered UAV saw it fly for an uninterrupted 70 minutes carrying a 5 kg payload. This was achieved on a UAV with below 20 kg maximum take-off mass, using a 6-litre cylinder containing hydrogen gas compressed to 300 bar.

    “This innovation opens up new opportunities for commercial UAV operators.”

    Jonathan Reed, Productiv

    The project will complete early in 2019 with BATCAM carrying out real-world end-user trials. Successful completion of the project will bring major benefits for those involved in commercial UAV usage, in sectors such as mining, agriculture, surveying and monitoring, security, and emergency services.

    Intelligent Energy has completed the integration work and BATCAM has advised on design requirements, project targets and has piloted the test flights. In addition, Intelligent Energy is commissioning and trialling a user-friendly, cost-effective, portable refuelling solution from NanoSUN, a specialist supplier of hydrogen fuel systems.

    Productiv’s role includes programme management, business model planning, design for manufacture and supply chain optimisation, with the aim of having all components sourced within the UK.

    Jonathan Reed of Productiv commented: “The effectiveness of UAVs is limited by their flight time and payload capacity. This innovation opens up new opportunities for commercial UAV operators.

    “Operators need longer flight times than can be delivered with batteries and are therefore seeking alternative power sources with higher power density. Hydrogen power has huge potential here, and we anticipate a significant growth in the market for hydrogen-powered UAVs in the next few years.”

    The UAV achieved 70 minutes of continuous flight with a 5kg payload

    Jon Hurndall, CEO of BATCAM, commented “I congratulate all partners on this fantastic achievement. It is great to see product innovation and continued development with hydrogen fuel cells for UAVs – these represent a viable alternative to Lithium Polymer batteries which are not only difficult and costly to transport internationally but largely inefficient in comparison to hydrogen. A 60-minute-plus flight time with a large payload creates many opportunities, not only with our existing broadcast clients but in other commercial markets and sectors. We are eager to explore these opportunities in 2019.”

    David Woolhouse, CEO at Intelligent Energy, said: “Here at Intelligent Energy we are committed to helping our UAV customers solve the problem of flight time. We welcome this Innovate UK funded project as it further embeds the integration of fuel cell technology for the benefit of the industry.

    “The advantages of fuel cells over batteries for our customers are clear; fast refuel, no vibration, quiet operation, zero emission at point of use and three times more flight time than batteries. Fuel cells are a game-changer for the commercial UAV market.

    Watch the test flight here or find out more information at www.thehydrogendrone.com.

    By Prova PR Uncategorized
  • 04 Jan

    Green transport programme for Productiv and Dearman reaches key milestone

    An environmental transport programme led by Dearman Engine Company and venture engineering specialists Productiv has successfully delivered a prototype of a liquid nitrogen (LiN) pump – a key milestone for the project.

    The £15 million CEMZEP programme – standing for ‘Cryogenic Engines for Mobile Zero Emission Power’ – is developing zero-emission technology to replace the inefficient diesel engines used for refrigeration in commercial food transport vehicles.

    Unlike a transport vehicle’s main engines, systems used for refrigeration are not subject to stringent regulation and offer great scope for improvement.

    This technology will play a major role in reducing the environmental impact of these vehicles on the world’s roads, particularly in cities. The project is supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

    Productiv supported Dearman’s initial design for the engine’s LiN pump by applying its Production Oriented Prototyping™ process to optimise the design for cost, manufacture and assembly.

    The prototype pumps were manufactured at The Proving Factory®, Productiv’s Coventry-based facility, less than three months after they were initially designed.

    Productiv is now also producing extensive quality documentation and reporting to enable series production of the final pump, once testing and validation are complete.

    The Proving Factory, Coventry

    The pump will now be connected to the LiN cryogenic tank for validation and testing. The tank was manufactured by Wessington Cryogenics, another project partner.

    Productiv project leader Matt Hardwick commented: “This is a significant project, not just in reducing vehicle emissions, but in reducing the cost and energy needed to cool large vehicles.

    “It’s a superb example of how our expertise is making a positive difference to cleantech developments – not just in transportation, but across sectors such as energy production and storage as well.”

    Additional partners in the CEMZEP project include: Loughborough University, Air Products plc, and Hubbard Products Ltd. It is scheduled for completion in July 2019.

    By Prova PR Uncategorized
  • 04 Jan

    Productiv appoints Warwick PR agency to further business success

    Left: Richard Bruges, CEO of Productiv. Right: Luke Bull, senior associate director at Prova PR.

    Productiv has awarded transport, technology and cleantech communications consultancy Prova PR a full-service contract to further its business success.

    The communications programme, which will driven by Prova, will support Productiv’s ambitious plans to double its turnover within three years by attracting the next wave of technology developers, investors, team members and OEM partners.

    Productiv chief executive Richard Bruges commented: “As a business, we’ve undergone enormous change over the past few years. This has allowed us to continue to support the evolving needs of small and large companies that want to bring clean-tech products to market, rapidly and cost-effectively.

    “We believe in British manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s why we’re committed to helping fledgling businesses to fly. Our offering in the field of venture engineering is unique and the time is right to start telling our story to the wider world.

    “Prova, with its focus on the sectors we serve, is the right partner to deliver that.”

    Richard Postins, managing director at Prova added: “Productiv has impressive capabilities, supporting a range of significant clean tech innovations across a broad spectrum of sectors.

    “The company’s story will interest numerous audiences and it’s one we look forward to telling across online and traditional media, as well as social and digital channels, and key industry and stakeholder events.

    “As with all our campaigns, our focus is on delivering a measurable commercial benefit for our clients. We are setting ambitious targets in terms of return on investment for Productiv.”

    Prova serves key clients across the transport, technology and cleantech sectors, including the AA, MG, Honda, Euro Car Parts, Lorax, Duvas and CooperOstlund – as well as fast-growing university spin-out businesses. The company’s unique experience adds commercial value well beyond the field of marketing communications.

    By Prova PR Uncategorized
  • 26 Jul
    Productiv comment: Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

    Productiv comment: Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

    The UK government has announced today that Britain will ban the sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.

    With Productiv’s focus being on the development of low carbon technologies and electric vehicles, this announcement is of particular interest to us and our partners.

    Here are a few initial thoughts on what we think this announcement could mean:

    This statement sends a message that the government’s firm intention is to reduce the use of fossil fuel over time – and eventually to eliminate it. The effect will be to reduce speculation and help to focus the efforts of vehicle manufacturers to produce less polluting vehicles.

    In practice, it is likely that the target of zero petrol and diesel engine cars sold will be reached before 2040, as electric vehicles improve and the case for traditional engines is impacted.

    Even without that effect the deadline set might result in a change in powertrain technology long before that date; which vehicle maker would start a new engine programme in say, 2035, knowing that by the time the engine reaches the market it would have a very short production life before being outlawed in major markets such as the UK, France and Germany etc. It will surely make better sense to go straight to a full electric powertrain.

    It will be interesting to see how much support the government will be prepared to offer to assist the industry to achieve this goal. There is a significant amount of work to be done to improve infrastructure for battery electric vehicles and/or hydrogen fuel cell power for example, and we will wait with interest to see what incentives will be offered to encourage stakeholders to switch technologies.

    By Productiv News Uncategorized
  • 21 Jun
    Queen’s Speech 2017: Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

    Queen’s Speech 2017: Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

    With a keen focus on both autonomous and electric vehicles, we watched today’s Queen Speech with interest as Her Majesty announced an Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.

    Here are a few initial thoughts from Productiv on the potential impact of the bill:

    Autonomous Vehicles:

    It’s likely that the biggest hurdles to the adoption of autonomous vehicles will be legislative rather than technical, so it is useful that the situation regarding insurance has been clarified.

    This should help to reduce uncertainty among investors and developers of self-driving technology.

    Electric Vehicles:

    Vehicle charging infrastructure is recognised as a key driver of electric vehicle adoption, and this move will encourage those who are concerned about the availability of charge points at key locations on their journey.

    Business models will need to deliver ease of use for drivers, and incentives for providers, to ensure charging points are correctly maintained.

    What the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill covers:

    • Extends compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, to ensure compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice
    • Allows the government to require the installation of charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers, and to require a set of common technical and operational standards. This will ensure charge points are convenient to access and work seamlessly right across the UK
    • These provisions would apply to England, Wales and Scotland
    By Productiv News Uncategorized
  • 08 Jun
    Insight: our top 5 takeaways from the SMMT Open Forum at Automechanika

    Insight: our top 5 takeaways from the SMMT Open Forum at Automechanika

     

    This week, joining over 300 automotive supply chain delegates from OEMs and tier ones, as well as small and medium sized suppliers, Productiv’s product strategy manager Tom Donnelly and head of sales & marketing Peter Needham headed to the SMMT Open Forum at Automechanika Birmingham.

    After a number of keynote presentations from senior industry figures, hearing about investment in new automotive technologies in the UK’s automotive supply chain, here are some interesting facts that Tom brought away with him:

    1. Nissan is now using second life batteries for domestic energy storage
    2. Each direct Nissan employee in the UK results in four employees in the supply chain
    3. Alan Draper, Ford Europe’s director of purchasing, told us that in London in 1903 the average speed of traffic was 8mph which is the same as it is today.
    4. Judith Richardson, Nissan Europe’s vice president of purchasing, explained how the company will use an app based on dating software to match drivers to suitable cars in their car sharing scheme in Paris – automotive can learn a great deal from other industries.
    5. This is echoed by the fact that the forum is sponsored by Ricoh; demonstrating how changes in the automotive industry are encouraging non-traditional suppliers to enter the sector.
    By Productiv News Uncategorized
  • 31 May
    World’s first liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials

    World’s first liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials

    A revolutionary hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen has completed a rigorous series of trials to bring it one step closer to the road.

    Productiv is proud to be part of the Innovate UK consortium that built and developed the game-changing vehicle.

    The hybrid bus – CE Power – is the first in the world to be powered by liquid nitrogen and was built by engineers at HORIBA MIRA.

    The bus uses alternative propulsion to address urban air pollution challenges and features a high-efficiency, zero emission Dearman engine powered by liquid nitrogen, alongside a conventional diesel engine. The hybrid system enables the bus to reduce noxious tail-pipe emissions, improving local air quality.

    Led by Dearman, the Innovate UK consortium also comprised Air Products, Cenex, Coventry University, HORIBA MIRA, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Productiv, and TRL (Transport Research Laboratory).

    Productiv’s part in the project included the design for the manufacture and assembly of the Dearman engine, and estimating costs for both the engine’s manufacture and for Make vs Buy. In addition, Productiv was also responsible for researching state-of-the-art facilities and volume facility design for the Dearman engine, and identifying the best supply chain.

    The bus uses a hybrid propulsion system to reduce emissions during acceleration after stopping. This portion of the bus’s drive cycle traditionally has a heavy impact on the diesel engine and can produce vast amounts of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. As the Dearman engine produces none of these harmful emissions, it will enable the bus to continue to frequently stop to unload and pull away from a bus stop without expelling the same level of damaging pollutants.

    While driving at 20mph or below, the liquid nitrogen – stored in a low pressure insulated cylinder – is warmed up to the point of boiling, at which time it creates enough pressure to drive the multi-cylinder Dearman engine. The diesel engine kicks in once the bus reaches 20mph, as the bus requires less effort from the engine to operate at this speed.

    The bus trials were completed at HORIBA MIRA’s engineering facilities and proving ground in Nuneaton and included components and full system testing, along with an engineered drive cycle to simulate a standard bus route with a variety of stops.

    David Sanders, Dearman’s commercial director, commented: “As the UK wrestles with dangerous levels of urban air pollution, a bus that runs on ‘thin air’ represent a significant breakthrough. The Dearman engine has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of both buses and HGVs, reducing fuel consumption and cutting pollution.

    “Crucially, it can provide a cost effective alternative to other emerging zero emission technologies, whose environmental performance is often offset by complexity and cost. This successful trial could be the first step towards rolling out a British innovation to the streets of the UK and around the world.”

    The benefits of using liquid nitrogen over an electric hybrid bus include a much longer life, local production and easy refuelling. Batteries, which power many of the UK’s electric hybrids, require changing several times over the course of a bus’ lifetime, whereas the liquid nitrogen system will last the lifetime of the bus.

    Liquid nitrogen can be produced locally without the need for neodymium or lithium, which are both used by motors and batteries and sourced from overseas. Furthermore, refuelling liquid nitrogen can take a matter of minutes, enabling the bus to return to the road in a short timeframe.

    By Productiv News Uncategorized
  • 17 May
    Insight: our top 3 takeaways from the Vehicle2Grid conference in Amsterdam

    Insight: our top 3 takeaways from the Vehicle2Grid conference in Amsterdam

    Productiv is at the forefront of technology for the electrification of the automotive powertrain.

    That’s why our product strategy manager, Tom Donnelly, attended a conference in Amsterdam last week on ‘vehicle to grid’; a potential solution to the additional load that will be placed on the national grid when we all start charging our electric cars.

    These are the top three lessons Tom brought away with him:

    1. Chief technology officer for the City of Amsterdam, Ger Baron, explained to delegates that the Netherlands missed the first industrial revolution in the 17th century, which was driven by the steam engine, because the Dutch government was subject to powerful lobbying from the dominant wind power industry at the time. Now, however, it seems the situation has been completely reversed. A Dutch technology investor said that current opposition to wind turbines in the Netherlands means that the growth of wind power is now far behind other European countries such as Sweden, Spain and France.
    2. Vehicle to grid technology is already available in the shape of the Nissan Leaf. Following the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, the Japanese government asked Nissan to develop a vehicle to grid capability that could help power local facilities in an emergency. The result is that the original Leaf, with a battery capacity of 24kWh, can power a house for up to two days.
    3. The electric vehicle industry is giving rise to some unexpected new entrants. When the German post office, Deutsche Post, needed a small delivery van, they couldn’t find one that suited their particular needs. So they decided to build the van themselves! And it’s been so successful that they now sell electric delivery vans to other companies, and are even working on a larger van and an e-bike for mail delivery.

    Read more about the Vehicle2Grid conference here

    By Productiv News Uncategorized
  • 10 May
    Productiv set to attend Vehicle 2 Grid Conference in Amsterdam

    Productiv set to attend Vehicle 2 Grid Conference in Amsterdam

    We’re looking forward to attending the Interreg North Sea Region (European Development Fund) and Innovate UK Vehicle 2 Grid Conference tomorrow and Friday.

    Our product strategy manager Tom Donnelly will deliver a pitch to the assembly to explain how Productiv works with technology developers to maximise their chance of commercial success.

    Productiv is at the forefront of technology for the electrification of the automotive powertrain. One of the issues associated with electric powertrains is the additional load that will be placed on the electricity grid network when we all charge our electric cars.

    However, cars themselves can be part of the solution to this problem.

    With many cars plugged in overnight – and throughout the day – to recharge their batteries, they can be used as an energy store to supplement the grid during periods of peak demand. This is one solution being proposed to minimise the investment in infrastructure required for the expected growth of adoption of electric vehicles.

    The procedure has become known as ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’, and is being looked at by several industries, including the electricity generators and distributors.

    This will benefit some of the technology developers that we are working with; for example Zapinamo, which provides mobile and remote charging services.

    Potentially any technology developer working with batteries, power electronics or range extenders, could conceivably become part of this system.

    The solution to this issue will be multi-industry and the Productiv team will keep ahead of the issues facing all stakeholders to ensure that our technology developer partners are well placed to take advantage of this emerging market.

    By Productiv News Uncategorized
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