Enhancing the UK’s Capability for Traction Battery Production

News last week that Siemens is to partner with the University of Warwick’s Manufacturing Group (WMG) in their research and development into the next generation of traction batteries is to be welcomed.

The announcement has come in response to the growing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles, with UK manufacturers increasingly keen on exploring the potential of vehicle electrification.

The project is set to be housed at the WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), the UK’s largest battery research facility.

Siemens’ automation controls architecture, PLCs, networks and operator interfaces, will now play a central role in this innovation-led project which aims to increase the UK’s knowledge and capability in the support of design and production methods for modular battery systems.

As sales of electric vehicles surge, moves are now being made to provide a flexible manufacturing solution for UK companies embarking on the production of batteries for vehicle electrification.

Research conducted by the University started in 2015 and brought together a consortium of interested parties which over the past three years has developed a modular, scalable production facility that reconciles the aspects of production efficiency against configurability but, and this is crucial, at an affordable cost.

This project, now in its second phase, is laying the foundations for an extendable approach to future data-led connectivity for data collection, work instructions and cloud analytic capability.

Now customers looking at the new technology will be able to engage with a production line that incorporates a modular extendable control network supplied by Siemens. It has the ability to scale as required meaning that it can be progressively extended and integrated with wider production equipment, as well as with Siemens cloud-based platform, Mindsphere.

Led by WMG and taking place within their Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), which is the UK’s largest battery research facility, this project is looking at taking battery research and development from cell level right through to full-scale model and pack pilot line production, in order to ultimately enhance the UK;s capability in this important area.

This kind of joined up thinking is critical if the UK is to be able to develop the next generation of traction batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles and make the most of the opportunities that will be created by the shift to electric vehicles.