Safe handling for valuable batteries

Article of 28 May 2021 

Elektromobilität

The number of electric vehicles is growing and so too is the demand for batteries. Festo offers solutions for battery production to ensure sturdy, safe and precise gripping and transportation of battery cells. The high quality pays off for customers as the batteries are very expensive and down-times in the systems are costly.

Drive train electrification means that there is a growing degree of automation in production. Whereas classic engine assembly requires high-precision installation of mechanical components, battery module production involves very expensive electrochemical components. Festo offers tailored solutions for sturdy, safe and precise gripping and transportation of battery cells, in particular in the area of handling technology. The safety of the working process is also a key element.

Aside from this, electric vehicles also feature new components that are not found in vehicles with combustion engines, such as the electric motor, batteries and power electronics. Their production entails new requirements: for instance the battery cells must be carefully protected against damage caused by falling.

Greater safety

Festo showcased a modular assembly and disassembly system for battery modules and battery packs at the virtual Hannover Messe. The system’s main focus is the safety of battery module handling. A swivel module positions locking mechanisms under the cell to prevent it from being dropped unintentionally. Optical sensors detect the mechanical alignment of the cell in a parallel process during the movement. The cell’s polarity is also measured electrically. If the voltage is incorrect, the cell is removed from the process. The tested cells are placed into the module housing with the correct orientation. If the battery is accidentally installed with the poles the wrong way round, this can cause the module to short circuit.

The modular assembly and disassembly system for battery modules and battery packs can be operated sustainably with a fuel cell instead of a battery.
The modular assembly and disassembly system for battery modules and battery packs can be operated sustainably with a fuel cell instead of a battery.

Assembly and disassembly

A mechanical locking system on the cylinder holds the end position securely to prevent dropping if there is an unexpected loss of energy. Statistical process data monitoring evaluates the data and indicates when the gripper needs to be replaced, for example. Festo thus uses an energy-efficient combination of pneumatic and electric drives, including sensor technology. The modular assembly system for battery modules and battery packs can also disassemble the packs in the reverse order. Battery recycling will become an increasingly important element of sustainability in future.

Complex manufacturing

Battery production is highly complex. Festo offers sector-specific products and solutions for the production of machines and systems throughout the process chain for battery cell manufacturing: from products for process automation in raw materials processing, to products for fully automated battery cell production that are free from copper, zinc and nickel and are suitable for dry rooms and clean rooms, right through to assembly systems for installing battery modules in vehicles. Festo also offers automation engineering and expert know-how, training in battery production for staff with Festo Didactic, and advice from Festo Training and Consulting.

  • Sicher ist sicher: Während die Hauptkinematik in Bewegung ist, werden mechanische Fixierungen mit einem Schwenkmodul DSM unter die Zelle geschwenkt. Dies beugt einem ungewollten Verlust der Zelle vor.

    Whilst the main kinematic system is in motion, locking mechanisms are positioned under the cell with a swivel module DSM. This prevents the cell from being incorrectly dropped.

  • Parallel zur Bewegung kann Positionselektronik wie der SDAT Zelleigenschaften erfassen und kontrollieren. Polarität, Spannungsmessung oder geometrische Abmessungen werden so taktzeitneutral erfasst.

    The position electronics can detect and control cell properties such as polarity, voltage measurement or geometric dimensions.