Comau Creates Unique Manufacturing Solution for Lithium-Ion Battery Module Production
Comau brings Industry 4.0 manufacturing capabilities to Leclanché for lithium-ion battery module production with its newly developed manufacturing line.
Industrial automation company, Comau, creates and provides processes and automated systems for corporate manufacturing production.
Recently, the company announced its newly developed manufacturing line for the production of next-generation lithium-ion batteries. The manufacturing line is intended for use by Leclanché, a company specializing in the provision of energy storage solutions for the naval, heavy transportation, and railway industries.
Leclanché SA's INT-39 Energy HV pack. Image used courtesy of Leclanché SA
Comau’s manufacturing solution has been designed to execute each stage of the battery manufacturing process, from pouch cell stacking and welding to final assembly. With Comau’s new line, Leclanché will be able to increase module production and expand its business.
Comau’s Manufacturing Solution
Comau’s automated manufacturing line includes industrial robots, laser welding, vision systems, and the AI-driven automated in-line validation of joints.
One particular feature of Comau’s solution is its hybrid laser system, LHYTE. The system incorporates an AI-based vision system that can automatically validate the electrical and mechanical resistance of individual welded points. Comau’s line uses the in.
GRID MES interactive IoT and MES (manufacturing execution system) platform, which connects to Leclanché’s infrastructure. The platform allows for continuous data exchange between individual production cells and the rest of the manufacturing line. This data is processed in real-time and can be accessed through any device to conduct monitoring or maintenance.
Video used courtesy of Comau
Leclanché is expected to save on production costs (of up to 20%) and will have the ability to set up 50 different product configurations. Manufacturing costs are expected to be reduced by up to 20% and 50 different product configurations and save Leclanché valuable time when introducing new formats into the manufacturing line.
In a recent press release, the Segment Leader for Diversified Automation Systems and Electromobility at Comau, Andrew Lloyd, commented, “We are pleased to work with Leclanché to support their automation journey and expand their production potential.”
Lloyd added, “The success of this project is a direct result of our customer-centric approach to simultaneous engineering. It also highlights Comau’s continued investments aimed at further strengthening our ability to meet the growing market demand for high-quality batteries and energy storage solutions.”
With the latest quality and process control technologies, Comau’s automated line hopes to enable Leclanché to increase production capacity and generate an output of over 60,000 modules per year.
The LiB Manufacturing Industry
Lithium-ion batteries are continually being developed to provide power for portable electronics such as earphones, mobiles, laptops, electric vehicles (EVs), and grid storage.
One unique quality of LiBs is their high energy density. These batteries also offer up a higher voltage capacity and lower self-discharge rate compared with other rechargeable batteries.
This provides longer charge retention, and LiBs can provide high power density in a smaller package. According to a perspective paper on LiB manufacturing, even though other lithium-based technologies concerning energy storage have been and are being developed, it is thought that LiBs will dominate the battery market for at least another ten years.
At present, manufacturing LiBs involves a multi-staged process. This process includes the following:
- Slurry mixing
- Vacuum drying
- Jelly roll fabrication
- Electrolyte filling
All of these processes require a cost, consume energy, and generate a level of throughput. Electron coating, drying, cell formation, and aging contributed to almost half of the manufacturing cost for LiBs. Costly and labor-intensive processes such as these could benefit from reinvention. Automating LiB manufacturing processes and being done with more innovative methods can help boost production efficiency.