With almost one million e-bikes sold in Germany in 2018, sales figures rose by 36 per cent in comparison to the previous year, but what happens to e-bikes at the end of their product life is often unclear at present. For this reason, the "AddRE-Mo" project consortium of companies and research institutions set the goal of developing value retention networks for urban electromobility to enable the value retention of e-bikes, e.g. using additive manufacturing processes.
Value retention networks for urban electromobility
Due to the growing importance of electric mobility, the amount of resources used per vehicle, e.g. energy, materials, plays a main role in the sustainable market development. In "AddRE-Mo", a network of companies and research organizations is pursuing the goal of developing resource-efficient value retention networks for urban electromobility. Suitable components of electrified mobility vehicles are supposed to be transferred from the current linear product life cycle into closed cycles using additive manufacturing processes and remanufacturing - i.e. by reconditioning used products. This will increase resource efficiency over the entire product life cycle and achieve decoupling of resource consumption and growing demand. Within the project, a prototype of the value retention network for e-bikes will be developed. The acquired results are to be systematically transferable to other areas of the urban electromobility in the future for opening up further potentials of the resource efficiency.
Design for additive Remanufacturing
For a comprehensive survey of potential fields of action, the project will initially identify the interests of current and future actors as well as relevant components of electrically powered forms of transport. Based on this analysis and the identified requirements for the design of prospective value retention networks, the project consortium will assess components concerning their remanufacturing potentials and the possibility of using additive manufacturing processes. For the efficient value retention of components, suitable business models along with the supply chain between the actors of the value retention network will be analyzed and solutions for the reverse logistics of the components for remanufacturing will be developed. Furthermore, simulations and scenario analyses will be used to identify the impact of ecological, economic and social factors on the future value retention network. The integration of additive manufacturing technologies in remanufacturing is an essential part to establish a local and resource-efficient value retention network.
The findings about the components will be included in the guidance of the future design of products, i.e. in the design for additive remanufacturing. Moreover, they will provide a transfer of the project results to other areas of the urban electromobility.
In general, the consortium of the project "AddRE-Mo" combines the know-how to form future value-retention networks. The industrial partner Electric Bike Solutions GmbH contributes its expertise in the area of converting and repairing e-bikes. Besides, the project works toward identifying replaceable components of other electrically powered vehicles, which can also be additively manufactured. For this purpose, the industrial partner O.R. Lasertechnologie GmbH develops the recommendations for guidance on the topic of design for additive remanufacturing. The Wuppertal Institute and the Fraunhofer Project Group Process Innovation focus on the areas of remanufacturing and circular economy, where they contribute their expertise from numerous successful research projects. With a scientific approach, the research partners also ensure that the project findings are transferable to other areas of mobility. Therefore, they are also supported by the Cluster of Environmental Technologies Bavaria, which relies on the project results and disseminates them publicly.
Project sheet - in German (August 2019)
The project sheet provides a descriptive overview of the research project.