An Automotive Council report identified the need to link research carried out within UK Universities to Tier 1 suppliers in the Automotive Industry. In addition to collaborative R&D between universities and automotive OEMs, a shortage of highly skilled engineers with knowledge and expertise in boosting systems was highlighted. In response, BorgWarner Turbo Systems sought a university partner to provide both collaborative R&D capability and
bespoke postgraduate training in turbochargers and turbocharger systems.
The University of Huddersfield and Borg Warner had an existing collaboration through an on-going KTP in advanced materials development. Through discussions, Borg Warner representatives recognised the R&D capability offered by the University’s extensive research expertise in a wide range of diesel and petrol engine technologies. This includes, increased efficiency, reduced emissions, higher operating temperatures, higher acidity of exhaust gas recirculation, increased boost pressures, aggressive coolants, multi-fuel types, advanced materials development and component reliability and wear.
“By the end of the decade it is forecast that 80% of all automotive powerplants will be turbocharged. The main driver is the trend for downsizing internal combustion engines to improve efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.”
The University invested >£3.5M in equipment and facilities to underpin automotive research and a willingness to develop a bespoke industry facing Masters course in turbocharger engineering. A further addition to the training programme was the development of specialist short courses for those unable to take the full Masters course.
The 5 year project to fully establish a bespoke turbocharger research and test facilities, alongside the Masters course for the next generation of turbocharger engineers is valued at £7.6M with £2.3M from RGF 3 and the majority from Borg Warner US committing to the inward investment funding and creation of new and safeguarding of jobs at the Bradford site.
The impact of the investment was seen by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) as a commitment by BorgWarner and the University in the long term future of Borg Warner Turbo Systems Bradford. Jaguar Land Rover are keen to see key supply chain companies like BorgWarner up-skilling their workforce and developing their local R&D capability. Indeed, the collaboration was highlighted in JLR’s decision to award the project to develop turbocharging technologies for JLR’s new family of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines to be made in the UK.
This example of the Turbocharger Research Institute with BorgWarner demonstrates the University of Huddersfield’s approach to long term strategic collaboration with key industrial partners, and also its commitment to exploit research for the development of the UK economy.