German Tier 1 major Schaeffler is the latest industry player to set up a global technology centre in India, which is perceived as a technology development base, with an investment of EUR 10 million (INR 85 crore).
Named as Schaeffler Technology Solutions India, this centre in Pune will focus on software development, electronics, and systems development. It will also work on a steer-by-wire technology, to facilitate autonomous driving. Production is expected to start early next year, Uwe Wagner, Chief Technology Officer, Schaeffler AG, said..
It is the 11th technical centre in the German Group’s global network of R&D centres. The centre is expected to play ‘a strategic part’ for electronics and software for the company’s automotive components and systems, especially for e-mobility and chassis applications, he said.
“Strengthening competencies in mechatronics, electronics, and software plays a decisive role in Schaeffler’s company strategy Roadmap 2025. In this way, we will actively shape the transformation toward sustainable and electrified mobility,” Wagner said.
The newly-formed entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Schaeffler Group. As part of Schaeffler’s E-Mobility business division, the centre is expected to have a team of 200 engineers by the end of next month. Schaeffler would ramp up the development team in India during the next few years.
At the global level, Schaeffler expects the automotive industry to see 40% of sales each from the electric and hybrid vehicle segments, and the rest 20% from ICE vehicles, by 2030. For India, Wagner says, the share of electrics could be around 15% in the same period. During the first nine months in 2022, Schaeffler’s e-mobility business division saw an order intake of EUR 4.7 billion. Electrified powertrains became a part of Schaeffler’s ‘core business’ in 2018.
“To further strengthen and expand this position, we will rely on a global R&D network for software and electronics development in the future. Our newly-formed entity in Pune will become a main location in this network,” Jochen Schröder, head, E-Mobility business division of Schaeffler, said.
Focus on software for e-mobility projects
Schaeffler says it is aiming for major growth in the e-mobility area. The company develops solutions ranging from individual electromobility components to highly complex systems such as a 4in1 electric which integrates electric motor, power electronics, transmission, and thermal management into one comprehensive system.
The engineers at the new technology centre in Pune will be contributing to this business in the areas of software development, electronics, mechatronics, and validation which are key to seamlessly blend electrical and mechanical components for overall system reliability and efficiency.
Yogesh Patwardhan, Director, Schaeffler Technology Solutions India, said, “Schaeffler has a strong base in India and this centre is a natural extension of our commitment to expanding our local footprint.“
Collaboration for new solutions
As the automotive/mobility industry gets increasingly technology- intensive, there is also a growing competition among industry players to attract/retain talent, while also working on ways to develop innovative solutions.
Schaeffler globally has an R&D team of 7,000 engineers. The challenge for the company, like many of its peers, is to attract/retain talent. Patwardhan says the approach taken by the company is to slowly and stability ramp up the engineering team by also offering mentorship for teams both at the leadership positions as well as in other tiers of the organisation.
With collaboration now becoming the pivot of the game in the automotive industry, Schaeffler is looking at engaging with the academia in India with its SHARE (Schaeffler Hub for Advanced Research) programme. Under this it intends to set up research labs in alliance with institutes like Indian Institute of Science (IISc).