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UK facility installs equipment to give battery manufactures real world testing capability

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 09:27 -- Paul Crompton

A battery module and pack assembly line has been commissioned at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to give customers access to cutting edge technology used in the making of commercially ready lithium-ion batteries.

Customers can use the £130 million ($180 million) battery manufacturing equipment to test and produce low volumes of cylindrical and pouch cells using technology identical to that found in emerging gigafactories.

UKBIC’s equipment also mimics cutting-edge processes found in high throughput battery assembly plants, allowing firms a link from the laboratory to commercialisation.

The equipment, which has the capacity to produce 50 modules and 2.5 packs every eight-hours, was commissioned at the publicly funded ‘open access’ 18,500 square metre facility in Coventry.

Ian Whiting, UKBIC’s commercial director, said: “Our open-access facility allows organisations in the UK to prove whether their promising technologies can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful. 

“Clients can bring their own employees in to work and be trained with us on the line. Customers can also integrate processes unique to their own products temporarily to our facility. And we can help them build ‘runner lines’ at UKBIC to enable them to prove higher throughput production in early stages whilst customers build their own production lines.”

The equipment was sourced and supplied from manufacturers across the globe.

The line has manual and automatic workstations and cylindrical cell ‘pick and place’ capability, for cell voltage testing and impedance. It can also place cells into a module in either combination of cell orientation.

The machinery features a state-of-the-art laser precision specialist welder for welding cells to busbars at industry relevant speeds and accuracy, and a battery leak functionality to identify leaks prior to full scale up.

UKBIC is part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, a UK Government programme to fast track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries.

Battery manufacturing equipment being installed at the facility covers the whole production process from electrode manufacturing, cylindrical and pouch cell assembly, to formation aging and testing, as well as a prototyping competence centre for specialist ultra-low volume builds. 

Maximum dimensions and testing features of the line are set at: 

Module Assembly:

  • Pouch (Max mm) 400x400x250
  • Cylindrical (Max mm) 800x250x100
  • Max weight 30kg
  • Max Voltage 60V
  • Max Capacity
  • Pouch 200Ah
  • Cylindrical 250Ah

Pouch Assembly: 

  • Max (mm) 2500x1750x500
  • Max weight 1000Kg
  • Max Voltage 0-1200 Vdc
  • Max Capacity 500KWh
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