Manz has acquired a 40 per cent stake in Customcells Tübingen GmbH. One focus of the cooperation between the engineering company and the battery cell manufacturer is the development of production capacities for lithium-ion battery cells for customers in the aviation sector.
In addition to battery-powered aviation, existing relationships with Customcells’ customers in the automotive and electronics industries are also to be further expanded, according to both companies. The two companies have agreed not to disclose financial details of the investment.
It is important to note, that Manz has joined the subsidiary Customcells Tübingen, not the Customcells group of companies itself. Customcells has locations in Tübingen and Itzehoe. The group owns the shares in the battery cell joint venture Cellforce with Porsche. Cellforce is known to be building its battery production in the inter-municipal economic area of Reutlingen-Nord/Kirchentellinsfurt, where Manz AG’s headquarters are also located.
However, the focus of the cooperation is on battery cells for use in aviation. According to the Customcells press release, the cooperation with Manz will help the company to further expand its production capacities for the aviation sector in the future. This includes the construction of a pilot production facility. Initially, Manz is setting up its own development environment for new cell production concepts in neighbouring premises of Customcells Tübingen.
Manz’s equipment is among the most sought-after production machines in the field of cell production, especially for cell contacting systems. For example, the company not only supplies young battery start-ups such as Britishvolt and InoBat, Manz also builds the equipment for BMW’s pilot battery cell production in Parsdorf. A week ago, Manz also entered into a partnership with Daimler Truck, under which the truck and bus manufacturer acquired ten per cent of Manz’s shares.
“One focus of the cooperation with CUSTOMCELLS is the development of production capacities for lithium-ion battery cells for customers from the aviation sector, who have particularly high demands on the power density and safety of the battery cells,” says Manz CEO Martin Drasch. “With the pilot production facility being built at CUSTOMCELLS in Tübingen, we are creating an environment in which we will develop new cell and equipment concepts for such growth industries.”
The stated goal is to support Customcells’ customers in further scaling their production capacities with the processes that will initially be developed jointly on a smaller scale. “We combine the best of two worlds. This step will help us to make our production even more efficient, minimize service times and significantly reduce scrap rates by continuously monitoring process stability,” says Leopold König, co-founder of Customcells and CEO of Customcells Tübingen GmbH. “We can test new processes and equipment in direct operation and have the technical expertise on site. This alliance is unique in the industry and will serve as a role model.”
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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