„Paradigm shift in e-mobility“
Economic manufacturing solutions for e-components
The automotive industry is in a state of change and e-mobility is in the fast lane. Carmakers and suppliers are searching for solutions that permit industrial, automated, economic production. Bihler provides platforms and technologies for the manufacture of precision parts for key components of the drive, battery and power supply. That is why, for example, manufacturers of bus bars for battery production are turning to Bihler’s stamping and bending technology.
The requirements imposed by the market were ambitious: The creation of production capability for 14 parts within three-quarters of a year while simultaneously fulfilling the most exacting demands in terms of material efficiency. Demanding but still achievable thanks to implementation of the tooling using the Bihler LEANTOOL system. The efficient, flexible manufacturing solution that is now used for the production of busbars for battery manufacture by a leading global automotive industry supplier as part of its shift towards e-mobility has brought about the desired result: Half of the parts are produced using the radial system, in which the raw material width is the same as the part width. In the case of busbars manufactured from pure copper of four millimeters in width, this saves approximately 30 percent in materials costs compared to the use of wide strip material. The other half of the parts are produced using a progressive linear approach, sometimes involving process lengths of over two meters. To produce the different parts, the manufacturer needs only one GRM-NC servo stamping and bending machine equipped with the new, modular, highly standardized LEANTOOL tool concept. However, it was not just the choice of a suitable manufacturing method that was decisive for this collaboration. It was also necessary to cope with the short timeframe available. Thanks to its large network of partners with experience of using LEANTOOL, Bihler was able to fulfill the tooling requirements and provide the customer with a single-source solution.
Focus on individual requirements
Commissioning of the system at the manufacturer is planned for the third quarter of 2021. Currently, the various Bihler tools are being prototyped. “And here again, Bihler is proving itself to be a strong partner,” explains Martin Lehmann, Key Account Manager responsible for e-mobility at Bihler. Because three GRM-NC systems are currently operating in parallel at the factory in Halblech in order to keep the timeframe as short as possible before one of the GRM-NC systems is finally installed on-site at the manufacturer and can be equipped with the various tool modules. According to Lehmann: “The interplay of efficient technology and comprehensive service represents an all-round package which allows our partner companies to equip themselves optimally for the tasks of the future. In this way, they are in the perfect position to supply their customers, for example in the automotive sector.
Wide range of applications
“With the GRM-NC, Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik is providing a powerful production solution for the most varied areas of e-vehicle technology,” explains Lehmann. In addition to busbars, it is also possible to manufacture smaller conductor rails or shielding sleeves in high precision, quickly and economically. Further components for the drive, power supply and battery can be manufactured on the BIMERIC servo production and assembly system. In this way, for example, the hairpins that are used in the drive can be produced in unsurpassed numbers of up to 120 parts per minute. The BIMERIC also shows off its performance capabilities in the manufacture of busbars – fully automated and with high throughput rates of up to 60 parts per minute. Beyond this, the BIMERIC also makes it possible to manufacture hybrid metal/plastic components, for example power distributors for stators, cell connectors and high-voltage connectors. The production of the metal parts, the insertion of the plastic parts, and final assembly are all performed in a single end-to-end production process. “The use of our NC units on this machine platform makes it possible to put together a manufacturing solution that is perfect for the customer from the numerous process modules in our modular system,” explains Lehmann. What is more, unlike mechanical drives, NC technology makes it possible to downcycle or operate in doublestroke mode, thus providing another way of increasing the potential production capabilities.
“At both the GRM-NC and the BIMERIC, standardized components and the innovative LEANTOOL tool concept with its high proportion of standard parts which can be positioned and fixed to the machine very rapidly by means of a zero-point clamping system ensure reduced design and tool costs,” continues Lehmann. “This vastly reduces the time to market”. In this way, companies are optimally equipped not only to react to the needs of the emerging e-mobility market but also to help shape this in decisive ways with their own innovations. Lehmann continues: “To ensure that our partners can be successful in the competition for the best market positions, we support them not only with the right production equipment but also with extensive support and services – from the initial idea right through to the start of series production.
Key Account Manager