Mahle has created a new global development centre for mechatronics in Kornwestheim, near Stuttgart, Germany.
Around 100 engineers work at the location to develop complex product solutions for electric drive systems, actuators and electric auxiliaries for vehicles with hybrid, hydrogen, or battery electric drives.
Mahle has invested mid-double-digit millions to set up the centre. At the start of the year, the supplier founded a dedicated business unit for electronics and mechatronics. The technology group expects sales growth in this business segment to be well into double digits in the next ten years.
“Our new mechatronics development centre is another important step in Mahle’s technological transformation,” said member of the Mahle Management Board and responsible for the Electronics and Mechatronics business unit, Wilhelm Emperhoff.
“It’s now particularly important we develop the right know-how and portfolio so we can emerge from the current crisis in a stronger position as an established technology and development partner in the automotive industry.”
The new development centre in Kornwestheim joins the ranks of Mahle’s most important electronics and mechatronics development locations worldwide. At centres in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia, Valencia, Spain and Changshu, China, its engineers are working to drive forward the company’s research and development activities in the field.
The priority areas for the new development centre are mechatronics, electrics/electronics and the programming and software needed for complex product solutions and systems. “Our work here will particularly focus on the development of complete systems,” added global Mechatronics business segment head, Armin Messerer.
“This is an area in which we have a lot of experience—experience that we can combine with our expertise in electric actuators and electronic controls to achieve optimum results.”
One example of a product solution in this field, which has recently been developed at the location is the electric expansion valve (EXV). The EXV is used in refrigerant circuits to ensure the air conditioning system and the cooling of the traction batteries is optimally controlled.
These components will go into series production starting in 2022 and can be used in vehicles with conventional combustion engines as well as in battery electric or hybrid applications.
Products such as this expansion valve can be tested and validated in test facilities, such as those now also located in Kornwestheim.