Sandvik additively manufactures titanium motor nodes for e-bike

June 17, 2020

The motor node was additively manufactured using Laser Bed Powder Bed Fusion from Sandvik Osprey® Ti-6Al-4V (Courtesy Sandvik AB)

Sandvik AB, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, was recently selected by GSD Global, an engineering and design consultancy, to additively manufacture titanium motor nodes for electric bikes. The company states that it was able to reduce its costs by up to 75% and provide substantial quality and sustainability improvements.

GSD Global specialises in creating premium e-bikes and works with various bicycle OEMs, with a majority of its design work focusing on e-bikes. It has  been partnering with Bosch e-bike systems for almost a decade, and together, the companies have participated at several North American bike shows. Until recently, both companies note that there have been very few e-bikes present on the scene. 

One explanation for this is is that the titanium parts that constitute, for example, the motor node holding the electric motor onto the bike frame, are very difficult and costly to machine using processes such as CNC. When GSD Global approached Sandvik to investigate the possibility of additively manufacturing its titanium components, the organisation found that, by developing the design of the motor nodes and adapting them to be additively manufactured, they could reduce costs significantly.

Zach Krapf, who heads the organisation and is an electric vehicle engineer based in Paonia, Colorado, USA, stated, “This is when we realised that we were on to something that wouldn’t just prove to be financially feasible – but enable substantial improvement in terms of quality and energy efficiency as well.”

The use of additively manufactured titanium motor nodes helped to reduce the cost and sustainability of e-bikes significantly (Courtesy Sandvik AB)

By providing its OEMs with titanium motor nodes additively manufactured by Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, GSD Global explains that it can enable the creation of e-bikes that are not only cheaper and thus more marketable, but also significantly more durable. Apart from the financial feasibility of the parts, combining titanium powder with Additive Manufacturing offers several other advantages in terms of sustainability, such as making the bikes lighter and thus more energy efficient.

“We really wanted to add the material advantages of titanium to our high-end electrical propulsion systems for e-bikes,” added Krapf. “We’re so excited to share this with lots of brands, and to start adding more and more additive parts in the future. And I can’t wait to see all of the new Osprey metal powders from Sandvik Additive Manufacturing in the future – especially from their new titanium powder plant in Sweden.”

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