Meeting growing busbar demand

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Following a number of highly successful projects last year, leading spring and wire form designer and fabricator, William Hughes Group, is investing in and expanding its busbar research, design, test and CNC fabrication operations.

With an engineering heritage that stretches back to before the Industrial Revolution, the company will leverage its significant wire-forming expertise and deploy it in the creation of complex bus bar geometries, fabricated from ready-insulated, reel-fed stock.

Graham Burgon, sales executive at William Hughes explained: “With battery-based systems gaining a significant foothold in a variety of markets all over the world, there is growing demand from OEMs and their tier-one suppliers for precision engineered electrical components that can be fabricated to cater for complex real-estate limitations. These applications are not just for electric vehicle drivetrains, we are also seeing wider potential in marine, rail and static electrical installation, such as mining and other heavy industries.”

Traditionally, bus bars are stamped, bent and then insulated, but stamping can be cost prohibitive due to expensive stamping tools/dies, and is less flexible if the geometries need to be changed or altered. These limitations make bending and forming from reel-stock a more efficient and viable process.

William Hughes’ technique uses advanced CNC technology to precisely form pre-coated copper stock in such a way that the existing insulation remains completely viable along the length of the bar. The technique has been researched and developed to exploit the fact that straight copper bar stock can be more easily coated than bar that has already been shaped.

“Bus bars are a natural progression from our wire and spring capabilities,” Burgon explained. “Indeed, the fabrication techniques and processes are similar, albeit with stock materials with a different cross-section. We are also able to leverage our extensive R&D capabilities. In addition to our existing successes in the electric vehicle market, the growing economies of scale in the global mobile battery market will expand battery and low-voltage applications, which in turn will drive demand for ancillaries such as bus bars - but only if they match the strict quality and complexity criteria.”

www.wmhughes.co.uk

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