Automation solutions for battery manufacturing
The fast-growing e-mobility market places high demands on battery cell production in terms of speed and efficiency. This is why intelligent, high-performance automation solutions are so essential. Our control technology enables end-to-end automation of all processes in battery manufacturing: from electrode production to module and pack assembly. PC-based control offers advantages for all machine types, no matter whether you produce round, pouch, or prismatic battery cells.
Your head start in battery manufacturing with Beckhoff:
- high speed thanks to fast cycle times
- optimal synchronization of control functions on a single platform
- execution of sophisticated motion tasks with up to 255 axes
- flexible scalability of hardware and software
Control technology for all battery production processes
High-precision battery cell winding
The rolling process used in round cell production involves winding a jelly roll from an anode strip, a cathode strip, and two separator strips. This calls for exceptional precision and speed.
Our control technology involves the use of a central PC-based automation platform to achieve maximum process efficiency in battery cell winding, as this allows vision systems, motion tasks, and communication to I/OS to all be controlled with a high level of synchronicity. It also enables not only precise winding accuracy, but also high output at the same time.
Our product highlights for the winding process:
- Vision portfolio : Image processing synchronizable with all control processes
- TwinCAT Motion Control : Modular software solution for sophisticated motion profiles – e.g Rapid and accurate synchronization of continuous to clocked processes
- decentralized drive technology : Servomotors with integrated servo drive
- EtherCAT high-speed fieldbus with exact timestamp function
Quick and accurate stacking of battery cells
Pouch cells are produced in a stacking process: Electrode sheets of cathode or anode material are placed between separator layers, for example with a Z-fold. Similar to the winding process for round cells, a high level of accuracy and speed are crucial in Z-folding.
With our modular TwinCAT automation software, even highly sophisticated motion tasks in the stacking process of battery cells can be executed with real precision. This makes it possible to control up to 255 axes synchronously. On the hardware side, a large portfolio of drive technology is available in various performance classes.
Our product highlights for the stacking process:
- TwinCAT Motion Control : Synchronous control of up to 255 axes, along with the integration of robot kinematics with NCI and robot libraries
- Compact drive technology : Motion solutions for operation in even the smallest of installation spaces
- XPlanar : Floating planar motor system for the transport or stacking process
Ensure safe electrolyte filling with components for explosion protection
Once the wound or stacked battery cells have been placed in their packaging, they are filled with the electrolyte. In addition to precise metering of the electrolyte liquid, adequate safety measures with regard to explosion protection play a major role in this process step.
We also offer integrated automation solutions for hazardous areas: Process technology requirements can be implemented directly via the central control platform and integrated into real-time applications. An extended product range is available for use in potentially hazardous areas.
Our product highlights for electrolyte filling:
- ELX terminals : Direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices from zone 0/20
- CPX series : Elegant control panels and panel PCs for use in zone 2/22
- Embedded PCs and bus couplers : System control and communication in zone 2/22
Flexible solutions for battery cell transport
For the initial charging and discharging processes and further cell aging, the battery cells are transported to various shelf storage systems after the electrolyte filling process. This primarily relies on roller conveyors and AGVs.
When it comes to controlling motor-driven roller conveyor systems, we offer a compact and seamlessly integrated solution in the form of the EP7402 EtherCAT Box. What’s more, our XTS and XPlanar intelligent transport systems allow you to completely rethink existing transport processes and design them with total flexibility.
Our product highlights for battery cell transport:
Implemented worldwide: Beckhoff in battery manufacturing and e-mobility
The rapidly growing electromobility market calls for particularly efficient manufacturing processes when it comes to the production of lithium-ion battery systems. This is where the BLS 500 laser welding system from Manz makes for an ideal solution, as it allows individual battery cells to be precisely contacted and connected to form battery modules. A high level of efficiency is ensured by means of a graphical programming tool and a virtual commissioning tool from Manz, as well as Rapid PC-based control technology from Beckhoff and the continuous OPC UA communication this facilitates.
Linear transport system eliminates slow pick-and-place process
Low-cost lithium-ion battery cells (LIB) are the key to mass electromobility, although the manufacturing process has always been a cost driver – until now. Researchers at TU Berlin are using continuous Z-folding to replace the traditional pick-and-place movements that have been used so far, thereby accelerating battery cell production. The XTS linear transport system from Beckhoff has played a crucial role here.
Get the Kit
Explore our Battery Manufacturing Kit and to see how a Smart factory can optimize your manufacturing processes.
What’s inside the Kit:
- Diverse / mixed manufacturing (process and discrete) guidance
- Case study: Major lithium-ion battery manufacturer meets strict traceability requirements
- Case study: Global battery manufacturer increases efficiency in mixed manufacturing (batch and discrete)
- Lean manufacturing white papers
- Proficy Smart Factory brochure
Enhancing EV Battery Production
Learn methods to efficiently and safely increase production to meet the demand for EV.
- Reduce process variation and optimize performance
- Manage production complexity for end-to-end traceability
- Achieve faster time to market, on-time delivery, compliance and consistency
- Support sustainability. recirculate resources to eliminate the concept of “waste”
The Battery Manufacturing Process Solve
Proficy Smart Factory software suite can help reduce process variation and optimize performance – Throughput, Yield, Recovery, Quality, Waste, Energy (W.A.G.E.S), Emissions, and Downtime. You can digitize your operations and apply analytics to real-time and historical data to optimize process settings.
Proficy Smart Factory MES can enable you to:
- Mine new insights from data
- Understand and reduce process variation
- Discover root causes of process performance variations
- Monitor process performance to detect deviations early
- Predict faults KPIs
- Optimize overall process
- Recommend optimal settings or close the loop for optimal control of process setpoints
Get end-to-end visibility with Proficy Smart Factory
Battery Manufacturing Factory Solve
Achieve faster time to market on time deliveries while increasing compliance and improving quality consistency (First Time Right) and increasing production throughput.
Track downtime and waste while managing OEE and root causes. Get standard and ad-hoc reports dashboards.
Track trace genealogy of products and production schedule execution tracking. Take advantage of order dispatch from schedules and monitor consumption of resources.
Get real-time product process quality analysis control along with alarms to conformance limits. Lower your waste, scrap recall costs and deliver Right First Time consistency.
Batch analysis reporting according to ISA-88 through electronic batch records while adding to both new and existing systems. Gain analysis of scheduled and completed batches.
Battery Manufacturing Enterprise Solve
Solve complex problems that require enterprise-wide data aggregation while connecting workers processes. Connect enterprise visibility across factories through contextualized and normalized data to achieve best practice sharing and optimization.
Interested in seeing Proficy Smart Factory software in action?
GE Digital transforms how our customers solve their toughest challenges by putting industrial data to work.
Joining Technologies: Laser Welding Ultrasonic Bonding
Battery packs include up to thousands of electrical connections between cells and busbars. These connections are typically done using one of two technologies: ultrasonic bonding or laser welding.
Many manufacturers are looking to replace ultrasonic wire bonding with laser welding to simplify their joining process and reduce the number of machines on the shop floor. A single laser welding machine is more efficient than a dozen ultrasonic wire bonding machines.
Ultrasonic bonding is an older technology that uses a metallic tool that vibrates at the joined area to generate heat and join surfaces without melting the surface.
Laser welding, a faster alternative, uses a concentrated beam of light to create a melting pool that joins metallic surfaces.
Surface Preparation with Laser Cleaning Laser Texturing
Laser technology for batteries is used to prepare surfaces for subsequent production processes, mostly bonding and welding. It is precise, consistent, and fast.
Laser cleaning removes contaminants such as electrolytes, dust, oxides, and hydrocarbons (oil, grease, etc.) It is an essential step to ensure high-quality welds and bonds.
Laser texturing etches the surface to modify its roughness. The resulting texture improves the heat transfer between surfaces and thermal interface materials. It also improves the bonding performance of structural adhesives.
Traceability and Quality Control Technologies for Battery Cells
Because battery packs are expensive to produce and critical to safety, there are frequent quality control steps before assembly to validate the identity and state of each cell. To allow controlling quality, battery packs and their components need to be fully traceable.
Laser marking is used to identify each part with a data matrix code. This is used to identify which batteries could be defective when a problem is detected.
Vision systems are also needed to read the DMCs and perform surface measurements.
Modular design for flexibility in the module variants
The special feature of the system is its modular design, which ensures flexibility in production. The modular design was particularly important to us in order to be able to react fast and easily to our customer requirements., says Mark Laderer. Battery modules of various sizes can be produced in PHEV2 format with twelve to twenty-four battery cells per unit. In addition, the way in which the individual battery cells are inter-connected within the battery module can be varied.
Our aim is to be able to serve both smaller customers with a finished product and established companies with an individual solution. the KUKA line enables us to do both.
Mark Laderer, Director of Production Battery Technology e-Mobility at ElringKlinger
Traceability for complete retraceability
The automation expert also paid special attention to the traceability: every component installed in the module is assigned to the final product together with process parameters. This means that even years later the customer can see which components have been installed in each individual battery module and trace all steps of the production process. In addition, errors in the production process can be identified faster and processes can be optimized. Battery module production is more than just the mechanical assembly of individual parts., explains Max Fluhrer, Project Manager in the Battery Solutions division of KUKA.
The production line must be able to react individually to batch quality, enable flexible product configurations and ensure the 100% traceability mentioned above. We are proud to have been chosen by ElringKlinger as a partner for this demanding task.
Max Fluhrer, Project Manager in the Battery Solutions division of KUKA
Find KUKA system partners in your area
Find the right partner for your industry or specific challenge here.
Electromobility will permanently change mobility. Find out how the electromobility trend came about and what solutions KUKA offers for it.
We are the world’s leading supplier of production systems in the automotive industry. With our solutions you are ideally equipped for industry 4.0.
KUKA Systems USA Assembly und Test
KUKA Assembly and Test Corporation, 5675 Dixie Highway, Saginaw, Mi 48601. USA
⑦ Han’s Laser
Han’s Laser was established in November 1996. As one of the top 10 battery production equipment suppliers in China, the main business of Han’s Laser is the RD, production and sales of industrial laser processing equipment, automation and other supporting equipment and key components. It is a platform-based laser processing equipment manufacturer with the largest variety and largest performance in China. In the field of power batteries, Han’s Laser’s main products include batteries, modules, laser welding equipment for PACK, laser tab cutting equipment, battery baking equipment and related automation equipment.
In the process segment, it already has the ability to deliver the whole line. Han’s Laser and CATL, CALB, EVE, SVOLT and other mainstream customers in the industry to maintain good cooperative relations. At present, the company’s market share and technical level in the battery cell, module and PACK segment equipment are at the forefront of the industry, and the market share of the whole line equipment products such as laser tab cutting equipment and battery cell baking equipment continues to increase.
Total market value: 29.964 billion RMB
Company website: www.hanslaser.com
Colibri was established in 2001. Colibri’s main products include automated testing equipment, automated assembly equipment, automation equipment accessories, and precision parts, which are used in mobile terminals, new energy, automobiles, hard disks, and medical and health industries.
In the field of new energy business, Colibri is in battery production equipment suppliers in China positioned as a solution provider in the middle and back end of the new energy lithium battery manufacturing equipment industry, and is a leading supplier of bare cell production and cell assembly equipment. The main products include production equipment such as lamination, glue winding, vacuum packaging, pressure forming, size inspection, blue film coating, chemical composition and so on.
Total market value: 6.634 billion RMB
Company website: http://www.colibri.com.cn
FOET was created in 1997. With the help of high-quality state-owned resources and good development opportunities, FOET actively carries out industrial extension and expansion, realizes the interoperability of state-owned assets platforms with industry and finance, and effectively improves its competitive advantages and comprehensive development strength. FOET is one of the top 10 battery production equipment suppliers in China, mainly producing middle and back-end equipment for lithium battery production. The products are mainly suitable for the production of digital lithium batteries and power lithium batteries.
The main products include stamping and stacking machines, welding machines, packaging machines, vacuum tunnel furnaces, liquid injection machines and logistics lines suitable for the middle stage of lithium battery production. The product is suitable for the degassing and final sealing machine in the later stage of lithium battery manufacturing, as well as mold fixtures and accessories matching lithium battery production automation equipment, and can provide integrated combined equipment suitable for the middle stage of lithium battery production. Among them, the liquid injection machine, as a stand-alone fist product of Chaoye Precision, has a market share of about 30%.
Total market value: 3.211 billion
Company website: https://www.fnorient.com/
KOTA was established in April 2012. KOTA in top 10 battery production equipment suppliers in China focuses on providing one-stop planning and design solutions, electromechanical intelligent equipment, software and hardware systems and automation equipment customization services for lithium battery copper foil companies.
The annual production capacity of core products such as electrolytic copper foil cathode rolls, foil raw machines, anode plates, high-efficiency copper melting tanks, and surface treatment machines exceeds 1,000 sets. KOTA currently produces cathode rolls with a diameter of 1.5m-2.7m, and has successfully developed a super-large electrolytic copper foil cathode roll with a diameter of 3m and a width of 1.82m, a foil machine and supporting equipment.
Registered capital: 100 million RMB