Schaeffler taps IBM’s expertise for the connected car

October 04, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Mechatronic system supplier to the automotive industry, Schaeffler AG, has entered a strategic collaboration with IT giant IBM to establish a cloud infrastructure for vehicles equipped with Schaeffler systems. The move has also goals that go beyond the car.

Schaeffler plans to integrate its automotive components into the Internet of Things: Motors, driver assistance systems and other mechatronic components such as active roll control systems, bearings and clutches, will be enabled to generate data regarding their performance and wear status and send them through to the cloud where they are collected, processed and stored. This concept makes it possible that real-time analysis and cognitive systems will turn data from components and systems into valuable insight which can be used by manufacturers to increase the reliability of cars and offer new value-added services to customers. Such data-active systems will not only increase the lifespan of car components, it also will enable new innovative functions, the company said.


The cooperation with IBM however has a wider scope than just cars and their parts. Schaeffler intends to integrate also other products like functional units of wind turbines and trains into its real-time cloud, pursuing similar goals as with cars. By the same token, the company will integrate its entire production landscape into the Internet of Things (IoT) with the goal of increasing its Overall Equipment Efficiency. This strategy aligns with the concepts of Industry 4.0 and will optimize production processes, enable real-time performance and availability analysis as well as context-sensitive maintenance and allows multiple machines to collaborate automatically. The concept will also enable company-spanning automation concepts along the entire value chain.

Schaeffler’s digitization concept will be based widely on IBM technology, in particular the “Big Bluemix” application platform and the Watson Artificial Intelligence technology.

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