Schuler has significantly expanded its e-mobility portfolio through the strategic acquisition of Italian Sovema Group and its U.S. affiliate Bitrode Corporation. Schuler is now able to also provide systems for complete battery cells in addition to systems for battery housings.
Solution provider for gigafactories
Schuler was already active in the e-mobility sector with manufacturing lines for battery cell housings, electrical sheets for e-motors and bipolar cells for fuel cells, before the acquisition of Sovema. “The combination of Sovema’s battery manufacturing know-how and Schuler’s competence in handling large projects makes us an ideal solution provider for gigafactories”, says Hermann Uchtmann, Head of the Product Group at Schuler.
Cell assembly and cell finishing are two main stages in battery cell production. This is true for all common cell types – hard-shell cylindrical and prismatic cells as well as soft-shell pouch cells.
Even mass production systems are already available, such as the Sovema-developed roll-to-roll electrode notching machine capable of machining up to 300 parts per minute in a fully automated process, and the automated cell finishing plant that comes complete with intralogistics.
Quality control in battery cell production
End of line tests play an important role in assuring quality and high efficiency in battery cell manufacturing. They ensure that only spec-compliant cells are assembled into cell modules and packs. To this purpose, the Bitrode Digital Cycler (BTDC) was developed, which according to Bitrode CEO and President Cyril Narishkin “leverages the most recent advancements in power electronics, digital control, and communications to provide a best-in-class solution for cell cycling”.