Akasol places equipment order for new fully automated production lines

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Battery systems manufacturer Akasol has commissioned mechanical engineering firm Woll Maschinenbau to develop and supply highly automated production equipment for its new manufacturing facility in Darmstadt, Germany.

From mid-2021, the company’s new AKASystem AKM CYC lithium-ion battery system – which provides all-electric buses and commercial vehicles with a 600-800km range – will be manufactured at the company’s new Gigafactory 1 production plant.

The total investment volume for the order is said to be in the low double-digit million Euro range and includes the option of further production lines at Akasol’s US site in Hazel Park, Michigan USA, as well as the subsequent expansion of Gigafactory 1 in Darmstadt.

Akasol’s new Gigafactory 1, which will be built at the company’s headquarters in southwest Darmstadt, will have a total capacity of up to 5GWh

At the beginning of February Akasol commissioned mechanical engineering company Manz from Reutlingen to build fully automated production lines in Darmstadt and Michigan in a deal worth £17.6m (€20m).

While Manz will provide the equipment to produce battery modules, Woll will supply special machines that link 10 of these modules to form a battery system.

“Continually increasing the degree of automation in serial production is of high importance in order to allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand for production-ready high-energy battery systems,” said Akasol CEO Sven Schulz.

Woll will supply special machines that link 10 Akasol battery modules to form a battery system

Akasol’s third-generation battery system, the AKASystem AKM CYC, is to be produced on a new, 100m-long production line in Darmstadt from mid-2021.

According to the company, the battery solution, which weighs around 500kg and stores 100kWh, could be produced at a rate of up to 70 units every day.

Furthermore, the automated production line should be flexible enough to be able to build “customer-specific products of the same battery system type”.

According to Akasol, a further acceleration of the production is possible; with further investments in automation solutions, the cycle time can be reduced to up to 10 minutes per battery system, said Schulz.

The new AKASystem AKM CYC battery system will be produced in Akasol’s Gigafactory 1 in Darmstadt from mid-2021

“As a result, we have the potential to raise output to as high as 126 systems per day, for a storage capacity of 12.5 MWh per day.”

Akasol’s Gigafactory 1 reportedly also has sufficient space to install a second line of the same type there. As a result, the production capacity at the Darmstadt site could be expanded by up to 5 GWh per year in the future.

The Darmstadt plant also forms the basis for the further expansion of capacity in North America, where Akasol plans to start operating Gigafactory 2 with almost identical production equipment from early 2022.

At Akasol’s Langen site in Germany, the company had already increased production capacity to up to 800MWh in March by commissioning a second production line.

With the construction of the plant in Darmstadt, the battery manufacturer is further increasing capacity in view of “follow-up orders from long-standing series customers”.

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