Up to 4 times higher output
One of the corner stones of the new production line is the robot that places the tested cells in the Battery tray. The robot makes sure that each cell is placed in the correct location and of course with the plus and minus on the right side.
This way the robot creates the required cell configuration by putting cells in parallel and series. In order to meet the required cycle time of the production line, the robot must place a cell each 0,2 s. This means that the robot must move super fast, but also high accuracy is required to place the cylindrical cell inside the cell holder. The high speed in combination with the accuracy means that a very stiff machine frame is needed. Inhouse Computer simulations are performed on the frame in order to check the natural frequencies and the frame stiffness. Also, the exact movements of the robot are simulated in software to optimize the robot movements and to make sure that the robot is not crashing in any other machine parts during the first trials.
The robot can be used to fill different cell types like 18650, 21700 & 26650, different Battery Pack configurations and even completely different Battery Pack models. This allows an optimal flexible production line that can make multiple Battery with short change over times.
As explained in an earlier blog, the first step in the production process is that we test all cells, but we do not only test the cells. We also would like to know their exact position in the final Battery Pack.
Therefore, the cells are picked up from a buffer in which the tested cells are buffered in a fixed order. This way the robot knows exactly which cell is placed at which location in the Battery Pack assuring full Track and Trace ability. This allows us to trace back potential issues in the Battery Pack to the tested data of an individual cell and to the cell ID and production batch ID.
The communication between the robot and the operating system of the line is programmed by one of our Software engineers, in cooperation with our subcontractors. The Robot programming is done inhouse. The inhouse programing enables us to have full control and to enable quick implementations of continuous improvements or even introduce completely new products on the line quickly.