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Schaeffler to build new €80m R&D centre in Germany

Schaeffler says it is investing around €80 million in a new central laboratory complex in Herzogenaurach, Germany as part of its ‘Roadmap 2025’ strategy, which was announced last year.

The investment is aimed at securing the Schaeffler Group’s competitiveness and ability to realise future opportunities as well as strengthening the position of its Herzogenaurach campus as a centre of technological excellence. The complex, currently in the detailed planning phase, is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Schaeffler’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach will soon be home to a cross-divisional central laboratory complex that will span around 15,000 square metres of gross floor space and house 15 laboratories and more than 360 employees.

The new laboratory facility will centralise and consolidate the Schaeffler Group’s core competencies and capabilities in key areas of technology, including measurement, testing and calibration systems, materials research and design, electrochemistry, and optimisation of product lifespan, strength, and reliability.

It will also house a new electronics laboratory. The company’s aims in consolidating all these activities under one roof include improving the transfer of knowledge and technology between its divisions and enhancing performance through shared use of resources.

“The idea of the new central laboratory complex is to make key technologies available on an integrated, cross-divisional basis so that we can, for example, develop products for sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility and energy ecosystems,” explained Uwe Wagner, Schaeffler AG’s chief research & development officer.

“To develop solutions for megatrends such as carbon neutrality, next-generation mobility, and automation, we also need to boost our ability to rapidly develop our core competencies across a wide range of disciplines, from materials and surface technology to electrochemistry, electronics, and digitalisation. The new central laboratory complex will provide the ideal springboard for this.”

Schaeffler says it also intends to make the new complex accessible to external customers. Its plans therefore include a laboratory and presentation area for digitalisation and the use of artificial intelligence.

“Our excellence in manufacturing means we are also ideally positioned to offer our customers optimal solutions in key future areas of technology, such as electric mobility, robotics, and hydrogen,” explained COO Andreas Schick.

“These are growth areas where, right from the basic research stage, we have to consider the end product or application as well as commercial-scale production in order to stay ahead of our global competitors. Our digital simulation technologies, in particular, are integral to this.”

Apart from its extensive R&D capabilities, Schaeffler claims the central laboratory complex in Herzogenaurach will set new standards in laboratory climate control and vibration elimination, making it ideal for high-resolution measurement systems and other highly sensitive technologies. The building, which is scheduled for occupation at the start of 2024, will be built to the latest sustainability standards and operated as a green building in accordance with the DNGB (German Sustainability Council) Gold Standard.