Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation in Germany have used additive manufacturing (AM) to ‘remanufacture’ electric bike motor parts.

An increasing number of people are riding electric bikes, and the popularity of electric bikes continues to grow — according to the German Bicycle Industry Association (ZIV), electric bikes accounted for 48% of sales across the entire bicycle market in 2022 — and this figure is set to increase in future. The choice of models is also becoming more diverse. Alongside well-known brands, small manufacturers, too, are bringing new products to the market.

Compared to cars, electric bikes are cheaper, more environmentally friendly, healthier for every-one and free up space in urban areas. However, they have some drawbacks: there are often no spare parts for defective components such as motors or batteries, meaning that they have to be completely replaced with expensive new components. Moreover, especially in the case of batteries and motors, it is often technically and economically unfeasible to repair them in the workshop. Thus, the failure of a component of an electric bike may result in a total loss.

Why not industrially remanufacture the used electric bike motors? Researchers at Fraunhofer asked themselves that very question as part of the AddRE-Mo project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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