In the UK, the upcoming Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry has revealed that the facility’s Module and Pack suite of specialist battery manufacturing equipment is now operational.
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With this step, the £130 million UKBIC has moved a step closer to opening its doors for those looking to develop batteries to the mass production stage. The planned battery facility aims to provide testing facilities for new battery technologies and training for experts in a publicly funded ‘open access’ 18,500 square metre battery development facility. The Module and Pack assembly line is the first of UKBIC’s battery manufacturing equipment installed and commissioned.
UKBIC’s highly flexible Module and Pack assembly line enable customers to test and produce low volumes of cylindrical and pouch cell battery technology. The line has the capacity to produce 50 modules and 2.5 packs over every 8-hour shift with both manual and automatic workstations. This includes cylindrical cell ‘pick and place’ capability, cell voltage testing and impedance, and the ability to place cells into a module in either combination of cell orientation.
Ian Whiting, UKBIC’s Commercial Director, said: “We’re delighted to have our Module and Pack line up and running. This is the first part of the facility which customers can now use.
Besides its Module and Pack capability, the centre is working on other battery manufacturing equipment currently being installed that covers the whole production process from electrode manufacturing, cylindrical and pouch cell assembly, formation ageing and testing prototyping competence centre for specialist ultra-low volume builds. The Centre says it aims to provide the missing link for battery technology that has proven promising at laboratory or prototype scale to bring up mass production successfully.
“Our unique, open-access facility allows organisations in the UK to prove whether their promising technologies can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful,” Whiting says. He explains that: “Clients can bring their own employees into work and be trained with us on the line. Customers can also integrate processes unique to their own products temporarily to our facility. And we can help them build ‘runner lines’ at UKBIC to enable them to prove higher throughput production in early stages whilst customers build their own production lines.”
Physically surrounding this project, Coventry itself appears to be flourishing with developement intitiatives for electric transport industries. In 2019, development service provider FEV and Coventry University opened the Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS), a state-of-the-art development centre for clean propulsion technologies. Polestar has established a new R&D centre for future electric vehicles in Coventry, and Coventry University is also involved in the wireless charging of electric cabs.
Update 15 April 2021: The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) updates information on its semi-automated battery module and battery pack assembly line opened in February. Apparently, Stellantis company Comau signed responsible for developing and deploying the “open-access” battery factory.
Comau, with headquarters in Italy, provided all the technology and know-how to manage the entire battery manufacturing process, from cylindrical cell preparation and pouch cell stacking to the battery pack assembly, the partners inform. Integrated technologies include robot assembly modules, smart cameras and thermal imaging, pick and place grippers, and End-of-Line leak testing, to name a few.
UKBIC stresses that the Module and Pack assembly line is the first of its battery manufacturing equipment installed, commissioned and available for its customers to use. The facility allows British companies to determine whether their prototype technology can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful.
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