The growing demand for electric-powered vehicles means a bonanza for battery production and a quest for more efficient battery production to which Festo is contributing. In each of the last two years, Festo's revenues in electromobility have doubled. The battery accounts for between roughly 30 and 40 per cent of the value added in all-electric (EV) vehicles. The production of lithium-ion batteries presents technology providers with special challenges throughout the production chain, from making electrodes to manufacturing cells and assembling battery modules.
In 2017, actual or announced investments in automobile battery production increased tenfold, notably in Asia and especially China where the government is actively supporting, even subsidizing, battery production. Festo is advising and supplying major global customers such as South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem with a large product range – including copper-free products – along with its services and engineering. LG Chem, Korea’s leading manufacturer of advanced batteries, is constructing an EV battery plant in Wrocław, Poland. This is the first large-scale lithium-ion battery plant for automotive application in Europe. Festo is the handling equipment supplier.
“We have worked with LG Chem for over two years,” says Johannes Strasser, Global Key Account Management and Industry Segment Management Electronics at Festo. “We are delighted to have been chosen over strong international competitors to contribute our solution competence and know-how for automating battery module assembly. For LG Chem's new factory, we supplied all the electrical axes and valves. All products were designed to be copper-free."
Festo offers battery makers one-stop shopping, with standard handling products, special solutions and copper-free components that do not damage or contaminate the sensitive lithium-ion cells during handling. Roughly 95 per cent of Festo's standard product portfolio is made of polymer and copper-free. Festo also offers special copper-free products for battery production. The guide standard products often meet ISO6 clean-room conditions and more. The products are tested in the company's own cleanroom "Competence Centre for Cleanroom Technology" in Singapore in cooperation with a local university. Thanks to the engineering tools from Festo, solutions and systems can be measured and designed using virtual prototyping, thus saving time and costs in project planning and design. This development phase typically represents around 25-30% of the overall service life costs in machine and plant construction. Designing energy-efficient products and service help to reduce power consumption in production
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