Flekkefjord Elektro has signed a contract with Mechatronics Innovation Lab (MIL) at UiA in Grimstad for a delivery of an innovative and compact electric winch that will be used for testing at MIL. The contract is worth of 3,9 million NOK.

Flekkefjord Elektro has in recent years focused greatly on Research and Development (R&D). It all started in 2015 with an idea to develop an innovative, compact and dynamic electric winch. Working with Semcon Devotek in Kongsberg, Flekkefjord Elektro first did a feasibility study with funding from VRI-Agder.

With 3 million NOK in funding from Regionalt Forskningsfond Agder (Regional Research fund Agder), Flekkefjord Elektro has from 2016 focused on how new technology can be utilized to create dynamic and compact solutions for electric winches. Application of silicon carbide semiconductors for power electronics has been a central part of the research, and Flekkefjord Elektro has in collaboration with The University of Agder (UiA) and Semcon Devotek gained new knowledge in this and other fields. Flekkefjord Elektro has in collaboration with Semcon Devotek developed a compact electric motor with a converter based on silicon carbide semiconductors, and the Norwegian Industrial Property Office has recently approved Flekkefjord Elektro’s patent application. Two motors are now being built at Combimac BV in the Netherlands, and the electronics will be built into the motors when they arrive in Flekkefjord.

The new environment in research and development work has been named FE create. With 2,4 million NOK in funding from Sørlandets Kompetansefond, Flekkefjord Elektro has acquired significant competence in mechatronics and renewable energy. One of the employees is currently finishing a doctorate in collaboration with UiA and funding from The Research council’s Industry Phd-program.

Flekkefjord Elektro also has three employees with masters in mechatronics and renewable energy, and two employees currently studying their masters in systems engineering. Coupled with Flekkefjord Elektro’s well established competence in electronics and automation, and Simek’s solid mechanical competence, this gives an excellent foundation for development of new high-tech products. This close collaboration with the academic environment at UiA and the innovative environment at Semcon Devotek in Kongsberg are of paramount importance to the competence that is now being acquired at Flekkefjord Elektro.

With a loan from Innovation Norway, Flekkefjord Elektro has financed the building of a 125kW electric prototype winch and piloting of this. Production is well on its way, both at Flekkefjord Elektro and at many other sub-suppliers domestically and abroad. Electric motors are built in the Netherlands, compact gear boxes at Katsa Oy in Finland, electronics at Semcon Devotek in Kongsberg and at Norautron in Horten, while mechanical work and assemblage will be done locally in Lister. Einar Øgrey Farsund has already delivered machine components for the innovative electric motors. More mechanical components are being ordered and produced in the course of the coming weeks, and in a short while the winches will begin to take shape in the Simek building halls at Sveiga in Flekkefjord.

Illustration of winch to be delivered to Mechatronics Innovation Lab (MIL).

Illustration of the innovative electric motor integrated into the winchdrum.

Flekkefjord Elektro has received 100.000 NOK in funding from Listerfondet for establishment and marketing of a new tech-corporation. Coverks in Kvinesdal has supplied, Frode Aagedal in concept-development and representative for Lister Nyskapning, Frode Skaren for graphic design, and Einar Rafoss Dunsæd for animation work. With over 70 employees, Flekkefjord Elektro is one of the largest target corporations in Lister Nyskapning. The corporation has received help to connect with corporations and individuals locally who have the knowledge and skills needed. With help from Lister Nyskapning, Flekkefjord Elektro’s winch technology has been linked to Airborne Wind Energy technology that Kitemill develops and tests at Lista Airport.
Lista AWE Center AS was founded in 2017 as an international test-center for Airborne Wind Energy. Since winch-solutions play a key role in AWE technology, winch-testing is a service that the center has to be able to offer. AWE needs winches with a slow outbound spooling with high pulling force and a high-speed inbound spooling. This is why Flekkefjord Elektro’s dynamic winch is excellent for this use.

MIL is a central element in UiA’s vision of becoming a global high-competence center for mechatronics and new materials.
MIL is founded by UiA and will offer a series of test services that either are not available today, or that are only available abroad. The center is not connected to any particular industry, but is addressing a wide variety of industries and tech-corporations – both regionally, nationally and internationally.

The purpose of MIL is first and foremost to contribute to strengthening innovational ability in Norwegian tech-corporations. New and better services in pilot testing will reduce the time for market introduction of new products and will thereby strengthen the corporation’s competitive abilities. Additionally MIL will be an important tool in an adjustment process focusing on re-industrialization and technology change.

MIL will utilize tech competence from UiA, other science institutions and local industry, and therefore tie industry and academia closer together. MIL will have the compact and dynamic winch in their “High Force Lab”. The winch drum contains a high-tech new drive line containing a very compact variable gear-system with an electric gearshift actuator and a compact electric motor with integrated silicon carbide converter with an integrated control system. The environmentally friendly winch has a very high efficiency level and is with its dynamic abilities especially suitable for use in Airborne Wind Energy Technology that Kitemill is testing at Lista Airport. The delivery for MIL also contains 1000V DC-grid with newly developed converters and a Li-ion battery rack from Delta that Flekkefjord Elektro delivers and builds at MIL. MIL will then get what is probably the world’s most compact, dynamic and energy-efficient winch solution in its “High Force lab” in Grimstad.
Flekkefjord Elektro has made a deal with MIL to rent an area for el-winch testing in the “High Force Lab” at MIL and will use the winch MIL is buying with its own identical prototype winch to test and verify the new winch technology. The compact electric motor included in the winch solution can also be used for other purposes like propulsion motors for electric and hybrid boats. The MIL facilities will be ideal for testing out many different aplications of this new technology. Flekkefjord Elektro will include customers and collaboration partners with different needs to work on different kinds of testing at MIL.

Illustration of the innovative electric motor integrated into the winchdrum.

Press release from Flekkefjord Elektro AS, april 3. 2018.