What the battery factory of the future could look like Intelligent manufacturing of battery cells
Anyone driving an electric car must be able to rely on the battery. In order to guarantee their quality, considerable efforts are required during production. Because each of the many battery cells contains wafer-thin electrodes that are very sensitive. A highly automated manufacturing process could detect the defects during production and take countermeasures. Technische Universität Braunschweig is participating in a research project that deals with the prerequisites of such a future factory.
In order to find out what requirements will be placed on a battery factory of the future, TU Braunschweig and other research institutions have joined forces. Under the direction of the Fraunhofer IPA, a virtual production system for battery cell production is being set up. For this purpose, all work steps in battery cell production are mapped in simulation models. Finally, these many individual models are brought together on a digital platform, the ViPro system. This creates a virtual image of the entire production process.
The virtual production system has several advantages. Above all, it serves to control and optimise the entire production. As the digital twin of the physical machines, it collects the data from the numerous sensors and switching points in real time. If the sensors register a deviation from the norm, the component does not necessarily have to be discarded. The error can possibly be compensated for in the next work steps with modified settings. The system itself learns which constellations lead to the best result. In this way, the virtual production system can also help to optimise the plant.
On the part of TU Braunschweig, the Institute of Machine Tools is responsible for the conceptual design and implementation of the cross-process production control and the intelligent operations control system. This means that those components of the overall system that make the decisions for further production are examined here. In the process, the scientists from Braunschweig are working with data from models as well as real production data in order to assess the intermediate products and optimise the production parameters of subsequent processes with the help of machine learning methods. At the halfway point of the project, the researchers at TU Braunschweig are able to present a concept of the overarching system architecture, which shows the linking of the cross-process production control and the intelligent operations control system with the models as well as a database and describes the functions of the control components in more detail.
More detailed information on the project:
The project “Virtual production systems in battery cell production for cross-process production control” (ViPro) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2023 as part of the umbrella concept “Research Factory Battery” in the battery cluster InZePro (Project Management Organisation Jülich (PtJ), funding code: 03XP0324A). The total funding amounts to 2.2 million euros. Under the leadership of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA), the Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF) of Technische Universität Braunschweig, the wbk Institute for Production Science of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) are involved.