Electromobility and lightweight design are radically changing the automotive industry
The automotive industry is in a significant transition with radical changes to fulfill high global environmental goals. Major trends in automotive include implementing new drive concepts such as battery (EV), hybrid (HEV), and fuel cell (FCEV) for electric vehicles, and decreasing vehicle weight to gain higher energy efficiency.
Production set-up needs to be scalable in order to grow with high demand, but also to be flexible and cope with new requirements that come in the future generations.
Electric Vehicle battery production process – new challenges and opportunities to tackle climate change
At Atlas Copco, we push innovation to handle the leading-edge material inspection and assembly solutions to realize high-performance processes at every stage in the electric vehicle battery production process.
We combine inspection and assembly technologies with quality assurance and error proofing to create smart connected assembly solutions that realize the vision of Industry 4.0 and drive innovation.
As your innovation partner, we will help you meet all the challenges in the electric vehicle assembly process
Electrification is not the future - it is happening right now
Each year brings new electric vehicle models to market from both well-established manufacturers and new brands.
The whole industry around electrification is changing at high speed, especially when it comes to the heart of the electric vehicle – the battery. The required driving range and the challenge to minimize charging time increases continuously.
Different types of battery cells, such as as cylindric cells, prismatic cells, or pouch cells, influence the production process.
Battery weight needs to be reduced significantly and production processes need to be optimized and globally scalable. In addition, the overall design is constantly adapting due to changes in products and available resources.
Innovative, safe and efficient assembly process solutions –
Discover how we support your EV battery production process
Many new and existing application challenges need to be solved in the production process of electric vehicles, batteries, and powertrains. For efficient production, you need to implement several technologies in joining, error-proofing, and quality assurance technologies to meet customers' expectations.
Essential in an efficient process is the availability of fast and accurate assembly tools and dispensing systems that ensure consistent bubble-free application, together with riveting systems that can securely join mixed materials without damage and flow drilling to create reversible secure joints where there is only one-sided access.
To complement these, error-proofing with process control delivers "right-first-time" production and quality assurance including calibration, measurement, and reporting make sure that faults are fixed cost-effectively and every assembly is fully traceable.
From cell production to final assembly – Atlas Copco is your innovation partner for electric vehicle battery production and data driven process improvement
0-1. Cell component and cell inspection
Using inspection systems to monitor product quality for all types of battery cells and battery components early in the process ensures resource and cost efficiency in production. They supply system operators with information on the process and product quality and highlight the potential for optimization.
2. Cell stack assembly
Different production methods for cylindric cells and prismatic ones are needed. A perfect combination of dispensing systems for the cell bonding and self-pierce riveting systems for assembling the modules increases quality, for instance, the bonding of the cells using a two component (2C) material. For cylindric cells, low viscosity material by multi-dot injection and bonding of the side walls is the optimal choice.
3. Module assembly
After stacking cells together, they need a solid framing around to build a module.
4. Battery tray assembly
The assembled battery module needs to be placed correctly into the battery tray. A high-quality tray is essential to ensure the battery can provide optimal performance also giving structural stability to the whole car.
5. Thermal management
A thermal compound material is needed to manage the battery heat. A detailed check of the tray and correct material calculation provides the right foundation for the optimal application of gap filler with a dispensing system.
6. Assembly of modules
After dispensing the compound thermal material, the module needs to be mounted and tightened to the battery tray. A multispindle with 3D robot guidance allows a perfect tightening process.
7. Assembly of electrical components
Using battery tools with an integrated controller, a precise assembly in this complex process step is achieved while isolated sockets provide optimal operators' safety. Wireless bolt level positioning systems and process control software guide the operator clearly and increase battery quality.
8. Fire protection
If battery cells get inflamed, passengers should have a minimum of five minutes to leave the vehicle. The application of a 2-component fire protection material delays burn-through. For this, the flat stream application of the fire protection material needs to be seamless and very precise. Vision solution inspects and controls the correct application.
9. Cover sealing
To make sure no humidity can enter nor gases come out, a cover sealing application is necessary. Our tight cover sealing avoids leakages and guarantees the serviceability of the battery.
10. Cover to tray joining
The battery production is finalized with closing the tray. Fast cycle times, high complexity, and the need for serviceability make this last step challenging. Flow drill fastening with our K-flow product line is an optimal, reversible fastening technology.
We examine the challenges and illustrate solutions how to solve them. One of these challenges is cell-to-cell mounting, an early step in the battery production process.
Discover more in our white paper on "The future for electric vehicle battery assembly solutions."
Precise and reliable sealing for the battery cover tray
Ensuring the battery tray is sealed properly before the cover is mounted is a crucial part of the battery assembly. Precision solutions that do not introduce heat or use certain materials are required to achieve proper isolation of the internal and external atmospheres.
The assembly process of a high voltage EV battery pack has a strong influence on the performance, safety and durability of the battery. Choosing the right joining technology for the special requirements of battery manufacturing and aiming for an efficient joining process is crucial.
The assembly of a battery for hybrid and all-electric vehicles is one of the most safety-critical processes in vehicle manufacturing. But how does the K-Flow flow drill fastening joining technology that works with processing forces of up to 3000N fit into the picture?
For certain applications, it may be useful to apply adhesives and sealants manually rather than automatically. Planners and users should note several factors in order to achieve a consistently high quality.