Comau UK provides automated battery manufacturing line for pioneering UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

08 April 2021


State-of-the-art ‘open access’ UKBIC battery production development facility aims to enable scale-up of UK battery manufacturing.

Industrial automation specialist, Comau UK has been selected by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to develop and deploy a semi-automated battery module and battery pack assembly line for the publicly-funded ‘open access’ battery production development facility.

The Module & Pack assembly line is the first of UKBIC’s innovative battery manufacturing equipment to have been installed, commissioned and available for its customers to use.

One of the unique elements of the project was the requirement for agile flexibility, which will allow UKBIC to manufacture a wide range of Modules and Packs, and support various customer requirements without the need for major process or site changes.

Working in collaboration with engineers from UKBIC, Comau UK provided all the necessary technology and know-how to manage the entire battery Module & Pack manufacturing process, from cylindrical cell preparation and pouch cell stacking to the battery pack assembly. The facility is located in Coventry, England, about 30 miles southeast of Birmingham and 20 miles from the Comau UK facilities in Rugby, where the company has been engineering sustainable automation solutions since 1991.

To meet the demand for UK-produced batteries, which is expected to reach a total of 440 gigawatt-hours per year by 2040 (source: McKinsey, June 2019), the 18,500 m2 UKBIC facility, with its Comau-developed Module & Pack manufacturing line, will allow British companies to determine whether their prototype technology can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful.

In addition to helping ensure the safety and reliability of the manufactured batteries through the use of smart cameras, thermal imaging and End-of-Line leak test technologies, the solution has built-in scalability to handle greater production volumes when required. Furthermore, thanks to its facility in the in UK, Comau offers the added value of delivering a seamless, barrier-free, intra-continental customer experience throughout every step of the electrification process – from proposal to engineering to execution.

We are honoured to be selected as the main technology partner by UKBIC for its Module & Pack assembly line,” explains John Coombes, Managing Director, Comau UK. “The combination of our close collaboration with the customer and their dynamic resolve to adopting solutions has proven to be a winning approach for both companies. More importantly, the cutting-edge facility will allow UKBIC to remove barriers that can slow the development of these promising new technologies.

Ian Whiting, UKBIC’s Commercial Director added: “We’re delighted to have our Module & Pack line up and running at UKBIC, the first part of the facility which customers can use. From the outset, the team at Comau have helped us realise our goal of proving whether promising technologies can be manufactured at the required volume, speed, performance and cost to be commercially successful.

UKBIC is an important part of the UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge programme, which is designed to fast track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries.

About Comau UK
Comau UK, formed in 1991, employs close to 60 people at its headquarters in Rugby, Warwickshire (UK). With a full range of competencies, from concept engineering design to full-line integration, Comau UK provides flexible, tailored and value-added solutions to customers within and beyond the United Kingdom, and across various manufacturing and materials management sectors.

Comau UK offers the added value of leveraging the resources of Comau’s global organisation for large-scale projects, while enjoying an extensive and mature supply chain in the UK. The company has won over 600 projects over the past 5 years, from automotive companies to logistics & packaging, food & beverage, and more. Comau UK has also developed the Module & Pack assembly lines for the publicly-funded UKBIC lithium battery manufacturing operation.  

Comau UK’s comprehensive portfolio includes Industry 4.0-enabled technologies and interconnected digital solutions. The company is also helping established and emerging companies begin and evolve their electrification journeys thanks to its significant experience in the electrification market.

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