The major element of Vaionic’s innovative strength is the team. Startup innovation means ramping up the team in a healthy manner, while balancing time, costs and progress. In order to have the opportunity to create a new and advanced technology in today’s fast-moving world, it requires us to work efficiently and to advance constantly but quickly. To us, the solution lies in short paths of communication, where everyone on the team of development works hand in hand with one another.
Founded in 2017, with the idea of developing an electric drivetrain system that will accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility and transportation (Concept of modularity), we have grown into a powerful team of over 60 people as of today. Even though the team ramp up has been accelerated further during the past 9 months, we still build a fairly small team compared to what expertise we unite. At Vaionic we are not simply developing a drive unit virtually. We simulate, design, produce and test the Vaionic ironless axial flux motor and the corresponding high frequency high voltage power electronic. Due to the high density of expertise and a large amount of highly crosslinked processes within the company, we can keep technological development highly efficient and progress far in a short amount of time. Today, beginning of 2023, we are busy testing the 6th generation of our drive system of which we have built up as well as tested every single one.
Explaining the cycle of development
Simplifying Vaionic’s development process we speak of 4 phases, which are simulation, design, production and testing. In the broadest sense, we stride through these phases one after another before restarting the cycle by entering a new generation of drive systems. Close inspection of the cycle reveals that process steps in adjacent phases work closely together, are constantly exchanging information, and are performed simultaneously within Vaionic’s team. This is the key aspect, that enables us to develop holistically from scratch to finish.
The development cycle begins with simulating and designing the electric drivetrain system. The information gathered from simulation forms the basis of the design process. While designing the drive system, new ideas, risks, and chances get uncovered, which in return are fed back into the simulation process. The shorter the iterations are, the greater the overall development speed and the better the innovative progress become. At the same time, the design team is in constant exchange of information with the production team in order to incorporate the production process at the earliest stage possible. Only designed models that can afterwards be produced will contribute to keeping up the efficiency of the cycle. Looking at production, following the main process direction, produced components will be delivered to testing. Besides that, the production process feedbacks any collected information, experiences and measurements towards the designing process. This allows for quick reactions and adjustments during production process, already. Once the product is produced, it undergoes thorough testing to ensure that it meets all specifications and requirements. First of all, this testing provides the foundation for the start of the next development cycle. Analogue to the previous iterations in between simulation and design as well as in production and design, valuable feedback is passed back from testing to production. All these process steps and iterations are performed by dedicated but highly crosslinked teams of experts that work inhouse. And this is what makes us effective.
Design for Manufacturing - a naturally grown expertise
Worth a closer look is the tight connection between the production process and its neighbors. Especially the manufacturing of the motor’s hardware as well as its related tools and machines is time- and money-consuming. For Vaionic’s cutting edge technology, manufacturing processes have to be invented and then be realized. A change in design most likely leads to a change in production processes. Vice versa, limits in producibility again cause changes in the design. Therefore, the right design for manufacturing is essential. This means, process, design, materials, environment, and compliance are all taken into account at the early stage of designing the product. Design for manufacturing considers all five principles during the design of our electric drivetrain system in order to find a solution, that can also be realized. It speeds up the prototype development in a high manner and therefore reduces financial expenses. Besides that, the development efforts are reduced due to a higher quality and a low error rate in production. Taking all of this into consideration, design for manufacturing leads to rapid prototyping and saves us time as well as money. This procedure has accompanied us since the very beginning, making both design for manufacturing and rapid prototyping a natural habit within the Vaionic development cycle.
As valuable as the Vaionic development cycle is by now, it was not fully realizable from day one. It all began with a core team of only a handful of people with a fairly high but homogeneous level of knowledge. Over the last years, know-how and expertise has been built up, making it impossible for one person to cover it all. Ramping up the personnel with caution, we were able to set up a well-balanced team of technical experts and managing generalists, which make simultaneous development in the form of the Vaionic cycle possible. Nevertheless, the mindset of the initial core team is, what established the intense interconnection in between the process steps. Without this evolution within Vaionic, we would not have been able to grow into such a powerful team.