The £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre
(UKBIC) in Coventry has moved a step closer to opening later this year with the confirmation that the facility’s Module and Pack suite of specialist battery manufacturing equipment is now operational.
The new assembly line is the first of UKBIC’s innovative battery manufacturing equipment – sourced and supplied from leading manufacturers around the globe – to have been installed and commissioned at the publicly funded ‘open access’ 18,500m2
battery development facility in Coventry.
It enables customers to test and produce low volumes of cylindrical and pouch cell battery technology. In addition, it has the capacity to produce 50 modules and 2.5 packs over every 8hr shift.
The assembly line has manual and automatic workstations as well as a cylindrical cell ‘pick and place’ capability, for cell voltage testing and impedance, as well as the ability to place cells into a module in either combination of cell orientation.
It features a ‘state of the art’ laser precision specialist welder for welding cells to busbars at industry relevant speeds and accuracy. In addition, the line has pioneering battery leak functionality, which allows leaks to be more easily discovered prior to full scale up, while the layout has space reserved to accommodate future customer requirements such as alternative joining technologies and plasma cleaning.
Although UKBIC’s cell-making equipment is identical to that of emerging Gigafactories now under construction, UKBIC’s Module and Pack equipment mimics leading cutting-edge processes more akin to high-throughput battery assembly plants.
As well as Module and Pack capability, the battery manufacturing equipment being installed at the UKBIC 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. Pioneering facility
It is a pioneering facility, which provides the missing link between battery technology, which has proved promising at laboratory or prototype scale, and successful mass production.
UKBIC’s commercial director Ian Whiting said: “We are delighted to have our Module and Pack line up and running. This is the first part of the facility which customers can now use.
“Our unique, 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 while customers build their own production lines.”
UKBIC is a key part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, a Government programme to fast-track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe, low-weight and recyclable batteries.