Comau delivers automated battery manufacturing line to Leclanché
Industrial automation firm Comau has developed a high-volume manufacturing line to produce lithium-ion battery modules for Leclanché, a energy storage solution provider for the heavy transportation, naval and railway industries.
The highly automated line, commissioned two years ago, combines industrial robots, vision systems, laser welding, and in-line joint validation via artificial intelligence.
It will enable Leclanché to produce up to six times the company’s current capacity, reaching an output of more than 60,000 battery modules per year. The solution is also expected to reduce costs by up to 20 per cent, support 50 different product configurations and save the firm valuable time when introducing new formats into the manufacturing line.
With the inherent flexibility to evolve as Leclanché’s business evolves, the new line features three automated and semi-automated stages within a compact environment capable of handling the entire battery manufacturing process – from pouch cell stacking and welding to final assembly. It includes the latest quality and process control technologies – setting the foundation for Industry 4.0 – and priority was given to ensuring multi-module configurability, full traceability and the highest level of safety.
Comau’s hybrid laser solution ‘Lhyte’ is included, as is a proprietary vision system based on artificial intelligence that automatically validates the electrical and mechanical resistance of each welded point.
The line is also equipped with the in.GRID MES interactive Internet of Things (IoT) and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) platform. The platform is connected with Leclanché’s infrastructure, facilitating a constant exchange of information between the individual production cells and the full line. This data is processed in real-time and shown via a web-based interface that is accessible from any device, letting Leclanché easily manage its data and monitor production, processes and maintenance, both onsite or through telemetry.
‘We are pleased to work with Leclanché to support their automation journey and expand their production potential,’ commented Andrew Lloyd, Comau segment leader for diversified automation systems and electromobility. ‘The success of this project...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.’