Schaeffler sets course for the electromobile future

Schaeffler sets course for the electromobile future

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Schaeffler, the automotive technology supplier that has been in a bit of trouble lately, is looking more positively into the future again. The company is now planning to build a modern, cross-divisional central laboratory. Schaeffler CEO Klaus Rosenfeld clearly rejects considerations of splitting up the company.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

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Schaeffler plans to build a central research and development laboratory for all of its divisions at its corporate headquarters in Herzogenaurach (Germany), investing the sum of €80 million. The lab will consolidate 15 individual labs that make up the company’s key technologies into 15,000 square metres of space. The decision to build the lab is part of the “Roadmap 2025” with which the company, with its roots deeply in electromechanics, is securing its future in an automotive technology increasingly dominated by electric drives. The central R&D facility is scheduled to begin operations in 2024.

“In the new central laboratory, we will provide cross-divisional basic technologies to enable, for example, product developments for sustainable and CO2-neutral mobility and energy ecosystems,” explains Uwe Wagner, Member of the Board of Managing Directors for Research and Development at Schaeffler AG. “In order to design solutions for the major trends of the future, such as CO2 neutrality, new mobility concepts or automation, we also need to expand our overarching basic competencies in the areas of materials and surface technologies, electrochemistry, electronics or digitalisation at an ever faster pace.” Hydrogen technology is set to become another topic for Schaeffler researchers.

The central laboratory is being designed according to the latest technological findings and thus offers, for example, a particularly high level of freedom from vibrations – a prerequisite for carrying out especially demanding, high-resolution measurement techniques.

In addition, the laboratory will also be made accessible to customers. To this end, a laboratory and presentation area for digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence will also be established.

At the same time, the company is providing insight into its plans for the future. While other technology companies, such as Siemens or Continental, are splitting up into highly specialised units in order to strengthen their competitiveness, Schaeffler wants to draw its strength from the synergy of its various business units. In an interview, Klaus Rosenfeld, the CEO of the Schaeffler Group, said a split was not an issue. “Schaeffler is not a conglomerate, but an integrated technology group serving different sectors,” Rosenfeld said. “Splitting up just for the sake of splitting up is not a coherent concept, even if the stock market occasionally thinks this is great.”

In the interview, Rosenfeld made clear where the company wants to go. “For a long time we relied too much on the combustion engine. We have changed that,” said the company boss. In the future, Schaeffler wants to focus more on electric drives. Software, on the other hand, Rosenfeld still does not find interesting. “We are not a software company and do not want to become one. Sure, we need to understand as much as possible about software and electrical engineering,” said the top manager, but software is not the company’s purpose. “We do what we do best,” Rosenfeld said.

More information: https://www.schaeffler.de/content.schaeffler.de/en/index.jsp

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