Collaboration Between Schaeffler and the German Aerospace Center DLR in the Field of Robotics

The automotive supplier Schaeffler and the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics officially announced their collaboration, which will focus on intensive, strategic cooperation in the field of robotics and on applications in industrial production environments.

“Innovative robotics solutions play a central role in Schaeffler's corporate strategy, Roadmap 2025,” says Uwe Wagner, Chief Technology Officer, Schaeffler AG. “Intelligent technologies based on artificial intelligence and higher degrees of automation permit unprecedented development and production concepts for even better products. By entering into this partnership, Schaeffler is demonstrating its successful commitment within the field of robotics and, together with the DLR, will shape the progress that moves the world,” says Uwe Wagner.

Ralf Moseberg, Senior Vice President Industrial Automation at Schaeffler, emphasizes the potential behind this collaboration: “With its institute, the DLR is a global leader in the field of robotics. Schaeffler brings a strong product range to the table, not only for industrial robots but also for lightweight robots and cobots. The expertise demonstrated by both companies is perfectly matched and will lead to accelerated development of application-oriented solutions in robotics.”

The fact that Schaeffler also uses robotics applications in global internal production, across 76 production locations, with well over 1,000 industrial robots and cobots along the entire value chain, is also a key aspect here. At Schaeffler, robots are used in both modular, flexible production environments and highly automated production facilities. This versatile use in volume production allows findings obtained during operation to be incorporated directly into the product development of robot components.

DLR development activities include its current project SARA, Safe Autonomous Robotic Assistant, which is the latest generation of a lightweight robot, combining state-of-the-art mechatronics with innovative control methods. The aim is to further develop robots into a networked sensor-actuator system in a factory that is predominantly characterized by digital monitoring and control processes.

SARA is part of the industrial robotics project “Factory of the Future – Extended” (FoF-X), a continuation of the DLR initiative to promote the use of intelligent robot systems in the digitized production of the future. The developed solution, consisting of reconfigurable robot systems, human/robot collaboration, autonomous execution of production processes, and digital images of systems and products, is now being pursued jointly by seven DLR institutes. In addition, new areas of emphasis are being forged by research into methods in artificial intelligence.