Ford is leading a new consortium that’ll focus on developing sustainable production processes for the next generation of electric motors. The consortium includes Ford, Thyssenkrupp System Engineering, RWTH Aachen University’s 3D-printing and product engineering departments, and electric motor experts Engiro.
The €5.3 million public-funded project will run for 36 months; the partners will create a research test cell at Ford’s Niehl plant in Cologne, Germany. The name of the initiative, HaPiPro, refers to the hairpin technology used in the wire‑winding inside the e-motor assemblies. The HaPiPro research will investigate how to enable the efficient production of multiple e-motor variations on a single production line.
We are proud to host and contribute to this landmark research centre that will be a unique, advanced engineering platform for all companies to research and evaluate the future of electric motor production processes. – Gunnar Herrmann, Executive Chairman, Ford Germany
In addition to hosting the research centre on its site, Ford will lead the development of new laser-based methods for joining the copper hairpin contacts, and research the use of Artificial Intelligence tools for process control. The university folks will lend their 3D printing expertise to develop tooling for the production line while exploring further opportunities for additive manufacturing in the production process.
One of the key goals for the consortium is a closed-loop approach in the manufacturing process, ensuring the recycling of e-motor components.
The main objective of the HaPiPro project is not just the efficient design of the e‑motor itself, but about developing variant flexibility when producing it. RWTH Aachen University will contribute its expertise in application-oriented research to the overall hairpin process chain, as well as the analysis of cause-effect relationships and the testing of digital methods within production planning. – Prof. Achim Kampker, Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM), RWTH Aachen University