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Markus Zacherl
Sales Manager International 
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Battery testing technology in the field of electric mobility

Why does Berghof from Mühlhausen play a key-role in the field of e-mobility?

Most people think that the topic of electric mobility really has picked up pace only for a short time. For Berghof Process Management from Mühlhausen, a branch of the Berghof group, located near Stuttgart, however, this feels fully different: Here, a whole team has been engaging intensively in the topic of quality assurance for the charging technology for years. Therefore it is no wonder that the tradition-rich company (also see the box „Intelligent and creative“), which has its roots in the development of test and control systems for railway applications, has become a contact partner for the automotive industry due to its seldom and also demanded competency within a few years.

No other topic has ever electrified the automotive industry so much than e-mobility. So, for instance, Volkswagen announced that they are going to invest about 30 billion euros in this topic in the next five years. And they are not alone with this goal: Until 2020, the offer of e-cars made by German manufacturers will jump up – then, to about 100 different models. That means, the e-offensive of the established car brands comes late but it is all the more powerful.
Happy is the one who engages oneself in this topic and has already built up the know-how in the last years which is now urgently needed - as the Berghof Process Management from Mühlhausen did it. „Berghof already dealt intensively with high-voltage drive batteries for e-vehicles when this topic was not on everyone's lips. Actually it started during my time as graduand at Berghof about six years ago. This was also my first step in the company“, Philipp Miska looks back. He is now the department manager of Charging Technology and has built up a powerful team in the house, which is engaged in this topic.

Certainly, this success is no accident. It is the youngest chapter of the nearly 30 years of a spanning success story of Berghof Process Management, in which the company – always at the level of the latest developments and technologies in the field of automation – on the basis of its own philosophy, among others, developed to become a market leader for railway test technologies. „In our fields of activity, trust is playing an important role. Our customers from all parts of the world mainly appreciate Berghof as: An experienced team with extraordinary understanding for complex processes which is working with much passion as well as high readiness for action, flexibility and innovation to develop always the optimum solution for the customer", Anett Lange explains, who is leading the company together with her colleague Thomas Wallstein.

These are important factors of success that were also taken to heart by Philipp Miska and his team from the beginning. That is why Berghof always very closely worked together with the clients, the big automobile manufacturers in the still young field of charging technology. „This is the reason why we have developed highly performant systems and optimised them continuously“, Miska explains, „and Berghof has established its outstanding reputation with its high-voltage battery test system (HVSP) also in the field of automotive industry." This will now prove advantageous for Berghof – now, when e-mobility is picking up pace and the factor time becomes a more and more decisive factor. Since Berghof can score in terms of time saving in several aspects in the same way.

  • Item 1: Short development times. For safety reasons, drive batteries of e-cars are designed in a way that they immediately switch over to the standby mode if the smallest irregularity occurs. To test the battery, the test station has to set it exactly in the condition in which the vehicle is in normal operation – the technical term is called Restbus simulation. And the parameters for this simulation partially distinguish very much from manufacturer to manufacturer and from vehicle to vehicle. „Our already great treasure of experience also in this area and the modular design of our systems enables us to keep the development times of the test systems adapted to the specific requirements of our partners very short“, so Miska continues, who currently is writing his doctoral dissertation at the Technical University (TU) Dresden – certainly in the area of charging technology.

  • Item 2: Efficient test sequences. Due to the very efficient processing of the test steps the Berghof system clearly reduces the whole test sequence.

  • Item 3: High availability. To make the downtimes as short as possible, it is decisive to find and localise failures fast. Therefore the Berghof software is programmed in a way that the customers receive a very detailed diagnosis management. „Three different items, one common effect: Our HVSP saves time – and with this, also money“.
    However, the company does not rest on these laurels and currently they are creating strategies under high pressure, to successfully face the increasing time pressure in the automobile industry not only with its products but also with its services. With this, among others, it has to do with the further optimisation of the times required for assembly and commissioning.

So, the omens are favourable that the pioneers from Mühlhausen further play their key role in the field of e-mobility and benefit strongly from the e-offensive.

Wirtschaftsspiegel Thuringia, issue 01/2019

→ read the whole article (PDF, German)