JFE Shoji Power Canada Inc.

Enedym + JFE: Strategic partners in innovation.

December 1, 2022

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” 

Henry Ford

Overcoming modern society’s biggest challenges will take a high level of collaboration between businesses, governments and NGOs. It will require business leaders to apply all their creative energy and courage to come together and build key partnerships built on trust.  To move forward, these organizations need to share a common mission and purpose — and a vision that shares resources in a uniquely interdependent way. Winning will take an open approach and a focus on shared value, without which, success won’t be possible. 

Based in the heart of McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Ontario, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrains at McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (CERC@MARC) was looking for a local partner to collaborate with on electrical steel technology and material development. Led by Dr. Ali Emadi, CERC@MARC works to develop advanced motor design technologies for:

  • Automotive and commercial vehicles ;
  • Micro-mobility and Light Electric Vehicles (e-bikes, scooters, motorcycles); 
  • Industrial applications; and
  • Renewable energy generation.  

The sticking point at the time – and still today – is that most motor technologies used globally rely heavily on scarce, geographically at-risk resources which are rapidly increasing in price. With that in mind, the key objectives for CERC@MARC were to develop Switched Reluctance Motors (SRM) that do not require the use of rare earth magnets, and to build a global best digital design platform.

Neodymium, a material used with iron and boron to create magnets, has seen a price increase of 292% between 2020 and 2022 alone.  

In 2016-2017, MARC was looking for an industry partner to collaborate on electrical steel material development and supply, and to help in the development, prototyping and production of critical motor core materials and components. Funnily enough, they found one about a 15-minute drive away in Burlington, Ontario.

A shared vision for shared objectives.

JFE Shoji Power Canada (JFE), at the time known as Cogent Power Inc., a part of Tata Steel Europe, was looking for some standout applications that could take advantage of the unique non-oriented electrical steels (NOES) that were being produced within the Cogent Group of companies. In 2017, a relationship was born – JFE and MARC would take their first steps together as partners in prototype motor design and production. As the relationship grew, it became clearer that the two organization’s thinking and goals for the future were perfectly aligned. This helped build trust, stronger collaboration, and a shared vision for the future. 

In 2018, the MARC leadership team began to shift this work to their private startup company Enedym — the commercial business planned to take this newly-developed technology to market. Enedym’s role is to develop and manufacture high-performance motors and to collaborate with manufacturers to expand SRM technology around the world. Together, MARC and Enedym are a powerful force in creating value for the design and development of advanced motors. 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” 

Helen Keller

Energy + Paradigm = Enedym

The Cogent team continued their work with MARC and Enedym on motor prototypes and materials engineering  – primarily the process of scaling a new motor design to mass production.  However, in late 2018, parent company Tata Steel made the decision to sell the electrical steel division. Subsequently, Tata Steel  also decided that, albeit exciting, the work with Enedym and MARC did not fall under its strategic direction.  Cogent’s work with MARC and Enedym was somewhat stalled. Until the Cogent Power Canadian strategy with Enedym was fundamentally supported by shareholders, a full commitment with Enedym could not be made. While this was a massive disappointment to the Canadian team, the shared vision between the two company’s leadership teams remained strong.

In mid-2019, Tata Steel agreed to sell Cogent Power in Canada. The collaboration between Enedym and Cogent was shared with potential buyers with great enthusiasm. At the end of 2019, Cogent Power Inc. was purchased by JFE Shoji Corporation and the collaboration with Enedym was able to resume with reinvigorated energy and dedication. 

Having expanded out of the MARC business model, Enedym was ready to start scaling its business which required a new group of investors. In 2021, the Canadian JFE team convinced JFE Shoji Corporation executives to sign a strategic agreement and become official shareholders in Enedym.

Building tremendous results together.

To date, this partnership has advanced planning and development for the motor prototyping and production systems, and produced several key motor designs using SRM technologies. The first product to come out of this novel platform will be the Ventium motor which is used for pitch control of wind turbine blades. This new motor design fits perfectly with the company tagline as it challenges how motor technology is used in wind turbines to provide a more reliable — and renewable — energy source.  With plans for full production expansion over the next two years, Ventium is expected to be a huge success — and a strong kick start for Enedym. 

“As we look at the automotive and industrial landscape, we see a need for transformational leadership that is intent on fostering future growth and societal change. We look forward to continuing our work with Enedym to build capacity and develop broad manufacturing support where workforces can adapt in a way that retains and fulfills them in the future.”

Ron Harper
CEO, JFE Shoji Power Canada

Enedym’s SRM motor technology is simple and low cost yet very robust. More significantly, this technology doesn’t use permanent magnets in its design. As mentioned earlier, permanent magnets require rare earth materials which can cause challenges for global supply chains and will increase costs. Using JFE steel technology for the motor core means this motor is highly efficient and extremely reliable for increasing our society’s renewable energy investments.  

Not to mention, JFE and Enedym are working jointly to build a secure, global supply chain to ensure that the renewable energy market is able to take advantage of this cutting-edge technology. 

What does the future hold for this partnership?

As Enedym gears up for high-volume applications from a shift in transportation towards electrification and sustainable industrial applications requiring more efficient motors with faster time to market, lower cost and greater reliability, our relationship with JFE Shoji Power Canada will be critical in providing our customers the secure and stable material supply chain they need to deliver results to their customers and stakeholders.”

Dr. Ali Emadi
Founder, President and CEO, Enedym

The future collaboration between JFE and Enedym is extremely bright. Together, they are working to build the infrastructure for advanced motor design and prototype manufacturing in Canada to improve motors around the world and aid in the journey toward electrification. The two companies are now finalizing Enedym’s prototyping and phase 1 motor production Facility for Advanced Rapid Manufacturing (FARM).  The primary strategic focus will remain on automotive applications, e-mobility and renewable energy systems. Moving forward, the partnership will continue to grow stronger through deeper collaboration and strategic work on materials engineering, motor parts design and advanced production methods.  

To summarize, Enedym’s tagline really says it all: “Changing how the world moves, together.” They are certainly words to live by.