Valmet expands battery production and is hiring
The Finnish contract manufacturer and battery producer Valmet Automotive is expanding its engineering activities and creating new jobs and capacities in Germany at its sites in Munich and Bad Friedrichshall.
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Valmet Automotive wants to strengthen the development areas of battery systems, cell modules, battery design and high-voltage safety at the two aforementioned locations and also hire additional specialists for testing battery systems. While the production of battery systems mainly takes place at the Finnish plants in Salo and Uusikaupunki, the internationally positioned engineering team also has a strong base in Germany.
In 2019, Valmet started construction of its new Battery Test Center in the German carmaking region of Baden-Wurttemberg which should soon be completed. Not only focused on batteries, later the same year in the same German region the company founded its Center of Competence (CoC) Fuel Cell.
Valmet Automotive describes itself as a passenger car contract manufacturer and system supplier for the development and production of battery systems. In addition to Bad Friedrichshall and Weihenbronn, Valmet Automotive conducts battery testing in Uusikaupunki. The site in the south of Finland has so far been known primarily for its vehicle plant, where Valmet builds vehicles for other companies as a contract manufacturer – including the A-Class and the GLC for Mercedes-Benz. Based on the car plant, the company has also been building battery systems there “for years”, but so far only in small series with a focus on industrial applications. That is soon to change: At the beginning of January 2021, Valmet started the construction of a battery factory at the site. Mass production of high-voltage systems is to start there as early as the second half of 2021. According to the manufacturer, it has already won two European premium manufacturers as customers for the plant.
Another battery assembly plant is located in Salo, Finland. Series production will start there in autumn 2019. Only a few weeks ago, Valmet announced that it would also increase production capacity there.
Update 01 July 2021: The expansion of the battery test centre operated by Valmet Automotive in Bad Friedrichshall is progressing rapidly, according to the company. The installation of six additional fireproof test rooms has been largely completed. Testing is scheduled to begin in September.
While the original Battery Test Centre in Bad Friedrichshall was built in containers, the expansion is currently being built in Hall 3 at the site. Currently, the final work is being done on the structure erected in the hall, in which the independent climate chambers will later be built, Valmet says.
This will further expand the company’s capacity to conduct endurance and lifetime tests at the BTC and cover the entire range of high-voltage batteries – cells, modules and packs. In addition, a new test station will be set up to ensure the required system tightness. In the second BTC in Weihenbronn, mainly abuse tests are carried out with the batteries.
The increase in test capacities for high-voltage batteries is taking place in parallel with the construction of Valmet Automotive’s first battery assembly plant in Germany. The plant, which is scheduled to start production in 2022, is being built in Kirchardt near Bad Friedrichshall, as reported.