Panasonic orders more battery can production lines from H&T

Panasonic Energy has signed a new contract with the German company H&T Recharge for the supply of battery can production lines for cylindrical battery cells. Both companies have been cooperating since 2017.

Image: Panasonic

H&T already supplies Panasonic with production lines for battery cans to make battery cells with an annual volume of around 40 GWh to Panasonic and Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The two companies say they are working together in a factory-in-factory approach.

Under the new contract, H&T will also supply and install four new, fully automated production lines for battery cans at the new Panasonic factory in Kansas at the De Soto site that is scheduled to go into operation in March 2025 with an annual capacity of 30 GWh. Initially, 2170 round cells are to be produced there (as is the case in Nevada).

The German company says De Soto is the ideal location for the new joint facility. This represents “an important milestone for H&T’s growth in the electric vehicle battery market,” according to the company. At the same time, product and process development will remain based in Marsberg, Germany.

Panasonic attributes the expansion of the production of electric car batteries to the growing global demand for electric vehicles. This has prompted the Japanese batter maker to improve battery performance and durability in order to increase their range. The company says its lithium-ion batteries are therefore designed and manufactured using components that are optimized for the entire cell, including battery containers, or cans as they are called. This is meant to reduce the occurrence of problems such as cell rupture and thermal runaway.

Panasonic says that the German company H&T has a unique deep drawing press and the capabilities to develop tooling for it. The battery maker notes that all key processes in H&T’s production line concepts in North America are fully automated, noting that this ensures stable and efficient mass production and consistent quality.

In the current environment of focus on domestic production, the expansion of the cooperation of the two companies is part of Panasonic’s strategy to strengthen its supply chains in North America by increasing the level of local procurement of battery components, made possible by the German company’s US sites.

Since the German company can hope for further orders from Panasonic in the future, more factories will be needed to achieve the medium-term goal of quadrupling production capacity by 2030. Panasonic continues to have its sights set primarily on North America to produce 2170, 4680 and apparently also a new round cell format.

Tobias Ott, President of H&T Recharge, confirmed, “Panasonic Energy is a great partner for H&T, who has over 40 years of experience in the mass production of cylindrical battery cans.” He noted that his company’s mass production resources and experience, combined with its research and development at our centre of excellence in Germany, will ensure the success of the two companies’ plans together. (PDF),


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