MDL signs distribution agreement with ANSYS Inc.


Motor Design Ltd are pleased to announce we have signed an agreement with ANSYS, Inc. to distribute our software, Motor-CAD. This agreement enables the distribution of Motor-CAD through the comprehensive ANSYS sales and support network.

“Motor-CAD is the world leading tool for fast multiphysics design and sizing of electrical machines. It allows users to efficiently calculate electromagnetic, thermal and mechanical performance of a machine over the complete operating cycle, making Motor-CAD ideally suited for iterative design space exploration and optimization of concept designs.


Through our agreement with ANSYS, the combination of Motor-CAD and ANSYS’ industry leading multiphysics simulation technology will create an unparalleled workflow for electric machines, from initial design to detailed analysis. This agreement also allows MDL to continue our focus on developing the most dedicated and cutting-edge software, on supporting Motor-CAD users and on ensuring the best possible customer experience.”


Dr James Goss – CEO of Motor Design Ltd.

View the press release here.


Motor-CAD North America User Conference — October 16-17, 2019 I Detroit

Marius Rosu, Electromechanical Lead Product Manager at ANSYS, will be presenting on Day 1 of our upcoming North America User Conference, joining electric motor design experts from Harley-Davidson, General Motors, Hitachi America Ltd and more. Visit our conference webpage to find out more!

New to Motor-CAD? We are also running a free, hands-on ‘Introduction to Motor-CAD’ workshop on October 15 in Detroit, ahead of the main conference. Register your interest in attending here.

MDL welcomes Dr Melanie Michon, Head of Engineering

We are delighted to formally announce that Dr Melanie Michon has joined Motor Design Ltd as Head of Engineering. Melanie looks after MDL’s grant-funded research projects and manages our engineering team, who work closely with customers to ensure Motor-CAD meets their motor design needs. Joining us from her previous position as Head of Electrification at Romax Technology, Melanie’s extensive industry experience, electrical engineering background and technical expertise gives her fantastic insight into the electrification industry and we welcome her to the team.

Read our interview with Melanie below.

Dr Melanie Michon

Dr Melanie Michon, Head of Engineering

Can you tell us about your background?

MM: I am from the Netherlands originally and did my bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering there before being offered a Research Associate position at the University of Sheffield, with the option to do a PhD. I have worked on a wide range of electrical engineering topics. I started off working with Philips on power electronics for lighting applications. I then moved to Sheffield where I did my PhD on electrical energy recovery from exhaust gases in a vehicle application. Following this I worked for several years on renewable energy during the wind boom. When electrification and e-mobility kicked off I was working at Romax Technology, so I got heavily involved in developing solutions for electric vehicles. Romax are a mechanical engineering company and they wanted me to help transform them into an electromechanical engineering company. During my time there I built up an electrical engineering team from scratch and established a centre of excellence for electrification.

Why did you choose to join MDL?

MM: I felt it was time for a new challenge, and MDL provides this. MDL is fast-growing, and at the forefront of developing new technology and software in the booming area of electrification in e-mobility. So this is a very exciting environment to work in, with an excellent team of people. I also fancied getting back to my roots of electrical engineering, so it is great to be surrounded by electrical machine designers again.

Can you tell us about your new role?

MM: I am Head of Engineering at MDL and I manage the engineering team. My role has a number of different aspects—I look after the grant-funded projects and the research related to that, look for new business opportunities to grow the company, and with the team will also provide technical account management for our key customer accounts.

On the research side of things, we have some good projects ongoing. The Virbius project, an Innovate UK funded collaborative project led by Jaguar Landrover, is basically about pushing the limits of 48V hybrid technology. This collaboration allows us to work on state-of-the-art motor design and do a lot of new development on Motor-CAD software, in terms of thermal modelling in particular. Then there is an EU funded project called ReFreeDrive, which is looking at alternative technologies to rare earth magnets. For that, we have designed several motors—again state-of-the-art specification—and we’re working as part of a big EU consortium with several universities and several companies, which is a really great environment to maintain and extend collaborations across Europe. Overall, we participate in the grant-funded projects because they are intended to push the current state of the art in machine design. They allow us to, first of all, to keep up with what is happening in the field and they then allows us to develop the software, because Motor-CAD will have to keep up with all these new trends as well.

The account management aspect of my role is a good new challenge that I will take on with the team. We want customers to have the best support that they can get, and our engineers are big experts in the field and can provide that support. So we want to maintain regular contact between the engineer and the customer, understanding our customers’ needs and requirements, and seeing if there is any joint development that the customer wants to do with us. It is about building that relationship: we get valuable feedback and the customer gets very well looked after.

And finally, what drew you into engineering in the first place?

MM: I was not really looking at engineering at first, but I think it was the problem-solving aspect that drew me to it. And I have always liked the physics and maths side of things. I enjoy the balance between understanding complex technical issues, fitting this to the ‘big picture’ business strategy, and successfully delivering and commercialising a solution. So, I don’t think I am your ‘typical engineer’ in that respect, but I really enjoy working with expert engineers solving challenging problems and helping our customers in doing so.




Read our latest white paper on ‘Performance Analysis of Electric Motor Technologies for an Electric Vehicle Powertrain’


Designing an electric motor requires a comprehensive understanding of the impacts that different technologies can have on motor mass, performance and cost — ideally at an early stage in the design process when design choices are still open and the cost of change is low. In our latest white paper, we discuss how different design choices, such as motor topology, winding type and cooling system, can be compared and evaluated with the overall system impact in mind.

  • The first section of the paper looks at a comparison between an interior permanent magnet, induction and wound field synchronous motor design in an EV application.
  • The second part of the paper takes the permanent magnet machine design and considers the trade-off between hairpin and stranded winding technologies.
  • Finally, three different cooling types are compared: water jacket cooling, oil spray cooling, and combined water jacket and air cooling.

What will you learn? How different motor types compare in terms of mass, cost, continuous performance, efficiency and energy usage over typical drive cycles, and how simulation tools can be used to quickly and easily explore trade-offs in design decisions.


To download the white paper as a PDF (6 MB), please click here.


If you have a question about this white paper or our software, Motor-CAD, don’t hesitate to get in touch – email us at or fill out our contact form. A member of our team can also arrange for you to evaluate Motor-CAD for free.


Celebrating 20 years of Motor Design Ltd and Motor-CAD

Motor Design Ltd is proud to celebrate twenty years of developing Motor-CAD software and supporting design engineers worldwide to push the boundaries of electric motor design.

Dr David Staton founded MDL in 1999 with an ambition to develop a design tool that would enable engineers to meet growing demand for high power density electric machines which operate close to the physical limits. Twenty years later and MDL’s software, Motor-CAD, has become the market-leading dedicated electric motor design tool and is used by design engineers in nearly 500 organisations worldwide.

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations, we interviewed MDL founder Dr David Staton to find out what inspired him to develop Motor-CAD software and how the software has changed over the past two decades:

What inspired you to set up Motor Design Ltd?

DS: I had always been interested in setting up a company. Having worked at SPEED Laboratory, where we developed software to make it easy for people to do electromagnetics, I could see there was an opportunity to develop software to make the thermal analysis of electrical machines easier. So, I set up Motor Design Ltd and began to develop Motor-CAD software.

How has Motor-CAD evolved over the past twenty years?

DS: At first Motor-CAD was just thermal (Therm), then we started to develop the Lab and EMag modules in parallel. We released the new mechanical (Mech) module this year, as part of Motor-CAD version 12.

The multi-physics aspect of the software is important because the thermal depends on the electromagnetics and the electromagnetics depends on the thermal, so you need the ability to do both at the same time ideally. Now with the complex structures that people are using, especially the rotor, the electromagnetics also depends on the mechanical. Then the Lab module comes in because you are not wanting to operate at one particular point, you have lots of torques and speeds you are wanting to work at. So everything depends on everything else in some respects, because when you are doing fast initial sizing and quick design, you can’t just ignore something and hope it is going to be all right later — your design might be completely wrong and then you have to redo it. You might as well do as much as you can, all at the same time.

The problem becomes that people usually only have expertise in one of those aspects, so you need to make the software intuitive enough that they can go into a physics that they haven’t studied in the past. The physics can be difficult to understand in the terminology of the expert, but can usually be simplified down. For example, in electromagnetics there are Maxwell’s equations which you can simplify to much more understandable notation, but in thermal you have got Navier-Stokes equations and you have got correlations based on dimensionless numbers and interface gaps based upon some expert numbers, which are in units that are very difficult to visualise. All these different physics can be simplified down into something more understandable. Even though Motor-CAD uses the complicated physics and equations in the background a typical user is not required to have a deep understanding of these. The software enables them to work at a higher level and they can use it to make good decisions.

What changes have you seen in the motor design industry over the last two decades?

DS: With electrification we have a vast number of customers in the automotive industry and we are starting to see a lot of new users in aerospace too. A lot of aerospace companies already use Motor-CAD because there have always been electric motors on planes that needed to be modelled thermally, but now they are going into electrification of aircraft, which is exciting to see. In aerospace especially there is a requirement for a very efficient motor with high torque or power density. Development cycles are also reducing and you need to be able to do designs quickly and with certainty that you are not going to have a problem further down the line. So simulation and design is even more important than it was in the past.

What’s next for Motor-CAD?

DS: We are working on E-Mobility in a big way and developing more integration of the different physics as they become more important for motors. We will continue to work with customers to put in features that they require and improve our links to other software, like our links to ANSYS tools. We are always talking to our customers, doing training with customers and working on designs for customers. That really pushes the software forwards and if we can help users do anything more efficiently by putting new features in Motor-CAD then that is what we are interested in doing.


Members of the MDL team at the 2019 Motor-CAD European User Conference



Dr. David Staton received his PhD in the development of computer aided design tools for electric machines from the University of Sheffield in 1988. Between 1988-1998, Dave continued his work in CAD tools for electric machine design with Thorn EMI, the SPEED laboratory at Glasgow University and Control Techniques. In 1999, Dave founded Motor Design Ltd (MDL) with an ambition to develop Motor-CAD, an advanced design tool for the thermal analysis of electric machines. Since then Motor-CAD has been expanded to include electromagnetic and mechanical analysis and it has become the market-leading dedicated electric motor design tool.

Motor Design Ltd has grown into a successful company with over 30 employees which works at the cutting edge of research into the design, analysis and optimisation of electric machines. MDL’s software, Motor-CAD, is used worldwide in a wide range of sectors including automotive, aerospace, rail, renewables and industrial. A significant proportion of the electric machines used worldwide have been developed using Motor-CAD. Dave has continued to support research throughout his career and has published over 100 academic papers.




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