If you’ve ever ridden a few e-bikes, you’ve probably found yourself using Bafang’s e-bike parts without even realizing it. Bafang is one of, if not the biggest, e-bike motor and component manufacturers, and we were lucky enough to be invited into their factory to see how they build e-motors.
Getting the chance to see how e-bikes and their parts are made is always an interesting opportunity.
We have already visited the FREY e-bike factory in China, where we got an insight into the process of designing and manufacturing complete e-bikes.
Now we’re back with a more in-depth factory tour of the parts that end up in e-bikes.
How Bafang electric motors are made
Our journey began at the Bafang factory in Suzhou, China.
The sprawling Bafang campus is home to everything from R&D to production lines and end-product testing.
We started the same way as Bafang’s mid-drive electric motors, at the beginning of the production line.
The engines we’ve tracked start out as bare shells. Workers assemble the motors’ basic components by hand placing magnets and winding copper wire around the stators – the stationary part of the motor.
You can see these steps in our factory tour video below:
The shells with just the engine components are placed on a slowly moving conveyor belt where they are picked up by a worker at the next station.
There, the controller, which is assembled in a clean room upstairs, is bolted into place using overhead pneumatic tools.
The motor and controller combo returns on the conveyor belt to a test station, where the next employee performs an electrical test on the controller. Once he has checked, the partially completed motor is passed further down the line to the gear section. Here, nylon gears are inserted into the motor housing. These help reduce the output speed of the fast rotating motor and also increase the torque of the motor.
The final stage of the mid-drive motor assembly process sees the motors being transported by belt to the side cover station. At this station, employees bolt the covers that seal the motors, resulting in a fully assembled Bafang mid-drive motor.
But even though the engine is fully assembled, it is not yet finished. It goes further along the treadmill into the next room for stress testing. Here, the motor is loaded into a machine that simulates driving an e-bike under load. A dynamometer measures its power output and ensures that it is operating within specification.
If he passes the test, he gets the most important “QC-Passed” sticker, then returns to the belt.
There it is transported to the serialization station, which is the penultimate station for the engines.
Here the motor is laser engraved with its unique serial code and registered in Bafang’s system.
It then makes its final journey along the conveyor belt to the packing room, where it is packed in a box with other motors and ready to be shipped to one of Bafang’s many customers. These companies build hundreds of different e-bike models using Bafang e-bike motors and parts.
But that’s not the end of the journey for every engine. While most are packaged and shipped, a few are pulled from the line and installed on test bikes at the factory.
Bafang maintains a team of testers of varying sizes and weights to ride e-bikes with Bafang parts, stressing components and looking for areas or weaknesses or failures under real-world riding conditions.
As Bafang continues to grow, its global footprint is growing. The company is preparing to move to a larger campus in China and has already built a second factory in Poland. The European factory should help it compete even more with big European manufacturers like Bosch and Brose, and could also help it circumvent European anti-dumping import laws targeting Chinese e-bike makers.
If this tour has you interested in Bafang motors, then check out some of the Bafang-powered e-bikes we’ve reviewed so far.
And you can also see a recent e-bike factory tour we did in China, where these types of motors are built into complete e-bikes.
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