The engineering company Manz has been awarded the contract to set up a battery production line at BMW’s Parsdorf site near Munich. The Bavarian carmaker is known to want to set up a pilot battery cell production line on-site.
According to a company statement, the order placed with Manz includes equipment for coating the electrode material and assembling battery cells. While Manz will realise the machines for electrode coating within its partner network, the equipment for cell assembly will be developed and constructed at the company’s own locations in Germany and Slovakia. The Reutlingen-based engineering company states the total volume of the order to be “well into the double-digit million euro range”.
According to official BMW information from the summer of 2020, the plant in Parsdorf is scheduled to start operations at the end of 2022. The investment is expected to amount to 110 million euros. With the pilot plant for the production of lithium-ion battery cells, “the company is taking the next consistent step to penetrate the entire value creation process for battery cells in its depth”, it said on this occasion.
BMW’s main aim is to deepen its competences in the area of battery cell production, which has so far primarily been the responsibility of its manufacturing partners in Asia. It will be able to test new plant technology and try out innovative production processes. The aim is to optimise the near-series production of battery cells in terms of quality, performance and costs, the carmaker announced in the summer. In addition; “With this new pilot plant, we are closing the last gap along the value chain from the development of the battery cell to the production of modules and drive components to the installation of fully assembled high-voltage storage units in our vehicle plants.”
The Munich-based carmaker is supported in this by the Free State of Bavaria and the federal government, which pledged funding of 60 million euros for battery research in July. The background to this is that the BMW project is part of the “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI), on the basis of which battery cell funding is provided in the European Union. In the case of BMW, the Free State of Bavaria is assuming 30 per cent of the funding sum, while the Federal Government is contributing 70 per cent.
Through the contract for the construction of the battery production line in Parsdorf, Manz is now also benefiting indirectly from the subsidy policy (apart from the fact that Manz is also being subsidised directly as an IPCEI player with 71.3 million euros for its own project). According to the Reutlingen-based company, around one third of the BMW order is expected to have an impact on revenues and earnings before the end of this year.
Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG, is proud that his company will be able to realise the pilot line for the industrial production of battery cells for the BMW Group. “The production equipment we use is scalable and therefore also designed for possible capacity expansions,” he explains. The start of the project underlines the fact that the market is now clearly picking up speed, after investment decisions had been postponed in some cases in the recent past.
“We have registered quite a number of announcements and requests from customers for investments in new production capacities in recent weeks and months,” Drasch emphasises. “These are also imperative in order to achieve the political goal of meeting around 30 percent of global demand for battery cells from German and European production by 2030.”
According to its own information, Manz has a technology portfolio along the entire value chain through its partner network – from electrode coating to module assembly. Cooperations exist, for example, with the Chinese Yinghe, a specialist in equipment for electrode production, and since the beginning of 2021 with the equipment manufacturer Grob-Werke, which is primarily active in the construction of production and automation systems for the automotive industry.
“We want to set standards for battery production systems from Europe,” says Drasch. “At the same time, we continue to drive innovation in the industry, enabling the transition towards globally competitive production solutions also for upcoming technologies, such as solid-state batteries. Our goal is clear, we want to develop Manz AG into Europe’s leading integrator of machinery and equipment for battery production. And the conditions on the e-mobility market are currently excellent for this.”
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