With almost one million electric bicycles sold in Germany in 2018, sales figures rose by 36 percent compared to the previous year, but what happens to electric bicycles at the end of their product life is often unclear at present. The “AddRE-Mo” project addresses this problem by researching the prototypical development of a value retention network for urban electromobility. The aim is to investigate the decentralized recycling of electric bicycles by combining additive manufacturing processes and remanufacturing.
Click here for the project video - How can additive manufacturing contribute to sustainable electromobility in the city?
Results (Status June 2022)
Process chain of additive remanufacturing
The complete process chain was analysed for the remanufacturing of electric bicycle motors. Starting with an optical classification of the respective motor variant with the help of a neural network, suitable disassembly paths were described in the next step. For this purpose, electric bicycle motors from established manufacturers were examined in terms of their ability to be disassembled as non-destructively as possible. In addition to the selection of suitable cleaning concepts, the reusability or reconditionability of the individual components was also evaluated. With the subsequent reassembly, the technical feasibility of the remanufacturing of electric bicycle motors could be demonstrated. By modelling and simulating different scenarios, e.g. with regard to the market environment and the degree of automation of remanufacturing, the next step will also be to forecast the economic potential.
Spare parts supply through additive manufacturing
The integration of additive manufacturing technologies into remanufacturing is an important component in establishing a local and resource-efficient value retention network for electric bicycles. Components that cannot be reused or reconditioned in the remanufacturing process must be replaced with new parts. This applies, among other things, to the gears used in the motor of electric bicycles. Due to the large variety of gearwheels and their partly limited availability, there is great potential in the use of additive manufacturing processes. To this end, suitable additive manufacturing processes and materials were investigated in the project and gear wheels of different geometries were additively manufactured. In addition to the service life, other properties such as noise emission and temperature resistance were investigated in different load cycles in a specially developed test bench. Afterwards, the suitable gears will be installed in electric bicycles and tested in field trials under real operating conditions.
The “AddRE-Mo” project consortium bundles the know-how to form future value retention networks. The industrial partner Electric Bike Solutions GmbH contributes its expertise in converting and repairing electric bicycles. The industrial partner O.R. Lasertechnologie GmbH develops recommendations for “Design for additive remanufacturing”. The Wuppertal Institute and the Project Group Process Innovation of the Fraunhofer IPA focus on the implementation of additive remanufacturing. Their findings are taken up by the Cluster of Environmental Technologies Bavaria and disseminated to the public.
J. Koller; R. Häfner; F. Döpper: Decentralized Spare Parts Production for the Aftermarket using Additive Manufacturing - A Literature Review. In Procedia CIRP, 2022, 107; S. 894–901. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2022.05.081
J. Koller: Alte E-Bike-Motoren instand setzen, Umweltmagazin (online), 2022.
L. Schlesinger; J. Koller; O. Oechsle; P. Molenda: Remanufacturing of E-mobility Components - Five-Step Implementation Strategy to increase Sustainability within Circular Economy, 11th International Electric Drives Production Conference (EDPC), 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/EDPC53547.2021.9684200
C. Koop, J. Grosse Erdmann, J. Koller; F. Döpper, Circular Business Models for Remanufacturing in the Electric Bicycle Industry,Frontiers in Sustainability, 2021, 2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/frsus.2021.785036
C. Koop; J. Koller, J. Große, V. Klein, Kreislaufwirtschaft in der Elektrofahrradbranche: Untersuchung zur Refabrikation als Lösungsansatz für eine Kreislaufführung von Elektrofahrrädern, Müll und Abfall, 2021; p. 437 – 443. DOI: https://doi.org/10.37307/j.1863-9763.2021.08.05
C. Häfner, J. Koller, C. Koop, V. Klein, Zukunftstrend nachhaltige Elektrofahrräder? Erhebung zur Kreislaufwirtschaft in der Elektrofahrradbranche, Bayreuth, 2021.
Link to the study: https://www.ipa.fraunhofer.de/de/Publikationen/studien/zukunftstrend_nachhaltige_elektrofahrraeder.html in German
Interview: „Verbraucher unterstützen Remanufacturing“ (03/23/2021) in German
Project sheets of the funding measure (German) (August 2019)
The project sheets provide a brief overview of the individual projects and their goals.
Contributions to the ReziProK Transfer Conference in June 2022
Poster (German) (June 2022)
Presentation (German) (June 2022)
Picture credits: AddRE-Mo