New markets for decommissioned machinery: which industries benefit as transmissions in electric vehicles become redundant

New markets for decommissioned machinery: which industries benefit as transmissions in electric vehicles become redundant

In 2023, electric vehicle sales in Europe increased by 37% compared to the previous year. The shift in mobility is clearly underway, leading to a comprehensive transformation of automotive manufacturers' production facilities. For example, electric vehicles have less complex transmissions installed. Other industries can also benefit from the modernisation of automotive manufacturing.

Shift in automotive engineering: Change in automotive engineering: Interested parties can bid for over 50 high-quality machines from the partial closure of a German car manufacturer's engine plant in an unusual auction. The auction at industrial auction house Surplex will run until 22 May. Highlights include:

  • REISHAUER RZ 150 CNC Gear Grinding Machine with Robot-Assisted Loading System
  • BURRI BZ 362 CNC Gear Grinding Machine
  • REISHAUER RZ 400 Gear Hobbing Machine
  • KARL KLINK RISH 12.1000.500.H Broaching Machine
  • GLEASON HURTH 130H Gear Grinding Machine

Additionally, CNC lathes, honing and grinding machines, sandblasting machines, cleaning machines, and other accessories are available. The machines are located in Martin, Slovakia, and can be viewed on 21 May by prior appointment. Interested parties can also take a virtual 3D tour of the production halls. These special machines were used for manufacturing precision components such as gears and casings in transmissions.

Transmission comparison: internal combustion engine vs electric drive

Anyone who has recently purchased a vehicle with an internal combustion engine might think that more gears are fundamentally better. Indeed, the development of transmissions has made impressive progress in recent years. Automatic and dual-clutch transmissions have been continually improved to achieve optimal performance. Some of the latest models even feature up to twelve gears. However, as the switch to electric vehicles increases, the requirements for vehicle production are fundamentally changing. In electric vehicles, traditional engines and transmissions, as we know them, are becoming increasingly obsolete. A modern internal combustion engine with a transmission consists of around 1,400 individual parts. In comparison, the drive system of an electric vehicle consists of only about 200 components.

The transmissions of electric vehicles are far less complex than those in internal combustion engines. Many electric vehicles use a so-called single-speed reduction gearbox, which does not require gear shifting. This fixed gear ratio reduces the high rotational speed of the electric motor to a lower speed suitable for the wheels, enabling driveable speeds. However, there are also electric vehicles, particularly those with higher performance, that feature a two-stage gearbox.

Growing demand for electric vehicles

Many of the machines and tools traditionally used in automotive manufacturing are no longer needed. Manufacturers and suppliers are therefore in a phase of reorientation, where they are retrofitting or even partially closing their production facilities to meet new market demands. How far the conversion of production facilities has progressed is difficult to say. A recognised indicator is the proportion of electric vehicles sold. In 2023, the Chinese market for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) experienced a strong upturn: Sales of around 6.3 vehicles represent an increase of 24% over the previous year.

New markets for decommissioned machines from the automotive industry

Despite growing interest in more environmentally friendly options, petrol and hybrid vehicles remain the popular choice, closely followed by. This indicates that the transformation of production is in full swing. “We also notice this at Surplex,” says Dejan Dučić, Project Manager at Surplex. “In recent months, we have been conducting more and more auctions for and from the automotive industry. And this affects a variety of areas: from robots from a Czech automotive plant to insolvent suppliers and the current partial closure of the engine and transmission works of the German car manufacturer.”

And who should buy these used machines when most car manufacturers no longer have a use for them? “Even though car manufacturers no longer have a need for these specialist machines, there are numerous other industries that can greatly benefit from the transformation of production,” explains Dučić. “Especially in aerospace and engineering, precise manufacturing technologies are in demand. The transmissions for wind turbines also need to be manufactured with extreme accuracy to function reliably. And it is precisely this precision that the machines being auctioned offer.”

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The REISHAUER gear grinding machine was used in the production of precise gears, which are essential for modern gearboxes in combustion cars. (© Surplex).

Pavita Jones