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€33.7M AgiloDrive2 project for electric motor production launches

Consortium leader Schaeffler, along with with 17 partners (automotive and industrial supplier) has launched the AgiloDrive2 research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The aim of the three-year project is to develop an agile and digitalized production system complete with modular product concept for innovative electric motors.

The AgiloDrive2 project will also focus on ways of making electric motor production more flexible, sustainable, and financially compelling on the basis of data-based production technologies, agile process chains, and intelligent control architectures.

As consortium leader, we bring our long-standing expertise as a pioneer in e-mobility to the table and are driving the project forward decisively with strong partners. Digitalization and automation are key to the sustainable factory of the future and generate opportunities for us and our customers along the entire value chain.

—Dr. Jochen Schröder, Head of the E-Mobility Division at Schaeffler AG

The aim, on completion of the project, is a seamless and fast transfer of the findings from AgiloDrive2 to electric motor production at Schaeffler’s Bühl location—the headquarters of the Automotive Technologies Division—where a state-of-the-art, world-leading primary plant is currently under construction for electric motor production.

The phase two project was preceded by an 18-month collaborative project—AgiloDrive—with the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), which was funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics, Labor, and Tourism. (Earlier post.)

2021_107_Forschung fuer die agile E-Motoren-Produktion

Stator with hairpin winding from the pilot phase of the AgiloDrive research project at KIT. (Photo: Markus Breig, KIT)

In terms of technical features and depending on the type of electrified powertrain used, electric motors can vary considerably in their topology, for example with regard to winding type, installation space, torque, continuous output, and operating behavior. Schaeffler offers electric motors across all degrees of electrification for hybrid modules, hybrid transmissions, and all-electric axle drives with a wide output range extending from 20 to more than 300 kW.

We are responding to the variety of versions and inconstancy in quantities with an agile production method, which we intend to develop and validate mutually in the AgiloDrive2 project.

—Thomas Pfund, President of the E-Motors Business Unit at Schaeffler

The aim is thus to develop a versatile production system, which follows a product/production co-design principle and will promote a close cooperation between product system and production system development.

Standardized machine connections, hardware and software interfaces, and cross-manufacturer communication standards should assist in accommodating the rising complexity and permit the rapid integration of systems in accordance with the “plug and produce” approach. A modular machine structure permits the reuse of production equipment in an efficient and sustainable way. Digital twins will permit efficient production planning and accelerated commissioning, while AI solutions further increase product quality, and digital qualification methods facilitate and expedite employee instruction.

The AgiloDrive2 research project, with a three-year duration and total finance package of €33.7 million, is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), within the framework of the funding guideline “Digitalization of vehicle manufacturers and supplier industry,” and is supported by the project sponsor VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH.

Schaeffler is guiding the project as consortium leader and has overall responsibility for the research activities. 17 other partners operating in industry and research are participating alongside Schaeffler: 4D GmbH, Braun Sondermaschinen GmbH, Carl Zeiss Industrielle Messtechnik GmbH, e-mobil BW GmbH, FormiKa GmbH, Gehring Technologies GmbH + Co. KG, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Koob Testsystems GmbH, KUKA AG, LTB Bachofer GmbH, Magnet-Physik Dr. Steingroever GmbH, pro-beam systems GmbH, SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG, Siemens AG, STAHL GmbH & Co. KG, TRUMPF Laser GmbH, WAFIOS AG.



It is a well-known fact that an axial flux motor (AFM) tops a radial flux (RFM) in almost every aspect. Apart from the fact that an AFM is cheaper to produce, it also has a better power to volume / mass ratio and higher torque. Why in the world is industry so hell-bent with its preference for the RFM?


Using two Radial flux hub motors and torque vectoring in the back of an automobile could completely eliminate the need for gearing and the associated losses. So far nothing has been developed for production autos; however, hub motors are becoming quite common in bicycles.

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