Agile production system for flexible battery cell manufacturing

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is developing an agile production system for flexible battery cell manufacturing. This will mean battery cells can be adapted individually to fit various requirements.

In order for batteries to fit into more small and narrow spaces and to store more energy, flexibly adaptable cells are needed. However, currently, lithium-ion battery cells have been produced in standardised formats and rigid systems.

Now, scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and their partners in science, are creating an agile production system for flexible battery cell production in terms of format, material, and quantity. AgiloBat2, the second phase of the project is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and has been given €14.5 million in funding.

Battery research is gaining significance worldwide, but the question of how batteries can be modified to the installation space available, has not been answered so far. Currently, the usual practice is having standardised battery formats and modifying the space available to fit.

President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka, said: “Intelligent and sustainable battery cell production is of decisive importance to future mobility, but also to electronics used today, such as smartphones.

“Within the AgiloBat2 research project, KIT researchers and our partners from science work on enabling agile production in Germany. With an agile production system, battery cells can be adapted individually to the respective requirements – and this will open up many new opportunities.”

The agile production system is to be set up at the Karlsruhe Research Factory. The research team will begin by designing the adaptable production plant. They plan on attaining adaptability by setting up a digital twin that realistically models both the overall process and individual processes, so that the system can be quickly configured based on the characteristics chosen.

In parallel to this, the production system proper will be constructed. “We will set up an agile production system at the Karlsruhe Research Factory. It will differ considerably from all production systems used for battery cell production so far,” commented KIT’s Head of Institute of Production Science, Jürgen Fleischer.

“Contrary to currently established rigid production lines, our system will be scalable. This will enable economically efficient production of small to medium quantities of various materials and formats.”

Standardised robot cells will accommodate the production modules, and measures to manufacture various formats will take place.

Testing of the modular systems will start in 2022. Both projects will be completed in late 2023 by the final evaluation of the agile production system and the corresponding cell design.



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