Scania has signed a contract with ABB to supply comprehensive robotics solutions for its new battery assembly plant in Sweden. VW’s commercial vehicle manufacturer is investing more than one billion Swedish kronor (over €93Mn) in the new facility, scheduled for completion in 2023.
The new 18,000 square metre battery assembly plant will be built next to the chassis assembly plant in Södertälje. Scania first reported on the project in November 2020, with construction scheduled to start in early 2021. The plant will assemble battery modules and packs from cells supplied by Northvolt’s battery factory in Skellefteå. The finished products will then go to the vehicle assembly line.
ABB says the plant will be “highly automated from delivery to production to delivery”. A large number of ABB robots will be involved. The plant is equipped with the robots IRB 390, IRB 4600 and IRB 6700, and the production processes will be supported by “other ABB solutions”, the company says.
ABB revealed that the IRB 390 model is being used for the first time in a battery plant. The company originally developed the robot for the packaging industry. The machine can work around the clock to assemble contact plates in batteries, with one plate installed per second. Before commissioning, the entire production line is checked using the ABB RobotStudio simulation and programming software. This allows for shorter commissioning times and an improvement in the quality process.
The shift to electrification poses entirely new challenges for the industry in terms of manufacturing processes, says Jörg Reger, head of the Automotive business line at ABB Robotics. He pointed out that his company has the expertise to develop and implement flexible manufacturing solutions that companies like Scania require to manage the transition off fossil fuels.
Scania and ABB have been working together for more than four decades. The two companies recently jointly developed charging solutions for heavy commercial vehicles that will also be powered by Northvolt batteries. The Northvolt plant was also developed together with ABB.
Scania has had a supply agreement with Northvolt since May 2019. The agreed delivery volume was not mentioned.
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