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News article15 May 20231 min read

Study shows that re-manufacturing e-bike components can lower costs

Research undertaken by the ‘AddRE-Mo’ project, with researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing, Engineering and Automation, Cirp and Electric Bike Solutions, has demonstrated the potential for re-manufacturing e-bike components. Once re-manufactured the components are effectively as good as new. The project was supported by the association Umwelttechnologie-Cluster Bayern and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy to test the feasibility of re-manufacturing e-bike components.

Re-manufacturing means the non-destructive dismantling, cleaning, repairing or replacing of parts, and then testing and reassembling the e-bike with the same level of performance guarantee. In addition to the environmental benefits from re-manufacturing, the actual re-manufacturing process needs to be economically viable for the process to be successful. As project manager, Jan Koller, explains “At the end of the process chain, re-manufacturing delivers a bike motor that is on par with a newly manufactured motor in terms of quality, and also comes with the same guarantee”.

The results of the research found that only around 30 to 40 units would need to be re-manufactured for the re-manufacturing process to be economically viable and save costs compared to buying a new electric motor, thus proving the economic potential of re-manufacturing e-motors.

Koller and his team first researched the probability of failure of parts in e-motors that have a lot of wear, which are produced by a traditional manufacturing process. They then researched the conditions under which these spare parts with a high wear rate, such as gears and torque supports, could be manufactured additively, i.e. creating them one layer at a time. The data for 3D printing was obtained, either through 3D modelling or 3D digitisation, depending on the geometry of the components.

The Fraunhofer team selected the materials and additive processes best suited for remanufacturing the parts, and with help from Cirp and Electric Bike Solutions, finally re-manufactured the components. These were tested for their service life, noise development and temperature resistance in specially developed tests under real load conditions. More than 120 components were subsequently produced from 3D printing, comprising of 20 different materials.

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Publication date
15 May 2023
  • Walking and cycling
  • Germany