Comprehensive GROB expertise – from the initial idea through to series production
Four years ago, in response to the increasingly progressive pace of technological change with vehicle powertrains, GROB established a Research and Development Team that focuses solely on electro mobility. Close consultation with renowned representatives from the automotive industry soon revealed a high demand for mass production equipment in this sector, the focus being on two core areas, the electric motor and the battery.
To accelerate the set-up and development phase, GROB consolidated its knowledge of winding and inserting technology and, in early 2017, acquired a renowned mechanical engineering partner for the production of electric motors – DMG meccanica. The company was renamed in 2018 to GROB Italy S.r.l. In addition, a dedicated, ultra-modern development and application center for electro mobility was constructed at the Mindelheim site. In close collaboration with the automotive industry, engineering processes and methods for the series production of high-efficiency electric motors and extremely compact battery modules with a high power density are being developed and trialed here on over 2,500 m² of space.
"GROB is currently working on several projects for electric drives in the international automotive industry," says German Wankmiller, Chairman of the Board & CEO. He goes on to explain: "Thanks to a team of specialists and development engineers, GROB can realize each and every one of these projects. As a general contractor, we are already able to handle large orders and offer machines and systems for electric motors, battery modules and fuel cells."
For stator production in particular, there are various manufacturing methods for inserting copper wires into the stator slots. GROB offers the wave winding technology, the hairpin method and the fan coil technology. In addition, GROB Italy S.r.l. covers the inserting technology and needle winding. The new GROB machine portfolio, then, comprises the entire manufacturing process for an electric motor, including the various methods of wire winding and forming, assembly and contacting. GROB supports its customers, from the initial idea to the system concept for prototypes through to large-scale series production.
The entry into electro mobility – a challenge for both GROB and its partners
When GROB introduced universal machining centers to establish a new, third business sector some ten years ago, the market familiarity with the existing G-modules provided the ideal basis for success. Not least because GROB, as a turnkey supplier in the system business, enjoyed an excellent reputation in the market. Unlike in the electro mobility sector, where technology calls for new working methods and hence different approaches. Although established processes in existing sectors are considered the standard and basic model, it must be remembered that e-mobility is a relatively new area for the automotive industry too. So, to successfully master the challenges of the transformation from combustion to electric drive technologies, all market competitors are having to reposition themselves in this sector.
At the present time, projects are being set up and implemented only in close contact with the automotive industry and selected subsuppliers. The Sales Team has also been expanded by specialists with experience of electro mobility. Customer inquiries are coordinated in an internal sales meeting and allocated according to the technology involved. On that basis, a project team – comprising planning, innovation and sales management – is being established to create the best possible solutions for the customers.
Identifying and seizing opportunities at an early stage
Electro mobility is gaining importance at an increasingly fast pace, and transformations in vehicle drive technology have already begun. The markets have responded to these changes in various ways. GROB though, with its inherent strength and experience of making highly productive manufacturing and assembly lines, has already squared up to this new challenge. The GROB Group champions a uniform procedure and sales structure, and this is closely coordinated with the headquarters in Mindelheim. Since Europe and China are among the electro mobility forerunners and the proportion of e-drives in China for the next few years has been laid down by legislation, investments in this sector are high.
With its expertise as a turn-key supplier, recognized by the automotive industry on many occasions, GROB has already mastered all the processes and technologies required to offer system concepts for reliable and cost-efficient series production (investment and follow-up costs). No surprise, then, that GROB-WERKE is already considered the first point of contact in the electro mobility sector – the testimony being the first extensive orders from the automotive industry.