Manz AG, a globally active high-tech engineering company with a comprehensive technology portfolio, is consistently continuing its strategy of partnership-based growth. As part of a closed cooperation, the company has been assigned by UK battery cell technology developer and manufacturer Britishvolt to implement the first expansion stage for cell-assembly of a production line for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery cells in Northumberland, Northern England.
As part of this lighthouse project, Manz already provided support throughout the planning phase of the new production facility at the Cambois site in the Northeast of England. The project is based on an innovative and forward-looking concept that allows a high degree of flexibility and can also be adapted for future market requirements of cell formats and geometries.
This strategy significantly improves the performance and cost efficiency of production. Thanks to simultaneous engineering, Manz AG is able to map the entire manufacturing process for Britshvolt’s battery cells within a short period of time using customized equipment technology for the assembly of the cylindrical cells. The effects of this approach on time-to-market are correspondingly positive: delivery of the production systems is scheduled for 2023, with production to start as early as the end of the same year. For this first expansion stage with a production capacity of 4 GWh, the order volume is over EUR 70 million. The project will have an impact on sales and earnings in 2022 and 2023.
In a jointly signed Memorandum of Understanding, the two companies also agree to further expand their strategic cooperation in order to be able to implement the ambitious growth plans of Britishvolt quickly and efficiently. Within the framework of the cooperation, the realization of further lines for cylindrical and prismatic cells is planned both in England and in Canada. These are intended to increase Britishvolt’s total production capacity to well over 100 GWh.
Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG: “The dynamics in the e-mobility market is rapidly picking up pace. In view of the large number of announced projects in Europe for battery lines, it is only a matter of time before the mechanical engineering sector reaches its limits in terms of development and production capacities. With the investment in the English location in the county of Northumberland, Britishvolt is now securing the resources required for its growth strategy from us in time. With our many years of experience in the development of innovative production concepts and solutions for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, we are an internationally sought-after partner. Our cooperation with Britishvolt is an outstanding example of this. Together, we are striving to make production more sustainable overall and significantly reduce total cost of ownership by consistently reducing energy consumption and a continuously automated process optimization through the use of artificial intelligence. We are very proud that we were able to convince Britishvolt of our capabilities and look forward to growing together with our new partner in the coming years.”
Britishvolt has rapidly become a battery cell innovation driver in the UK. As such, the company plans to act as a contributing factor to help sustain the domestic automotive industry by building gigawatt capacity as the world races to zero in the age of electrification.
Timon Orlob, Britishvolt Global Chief Operating Officer: “Britishvolt aims to become a clean technology leader in the lithium-ion battery cell development and manufacturing industry. The performance of a battery is closely linked to how it is made. Therefore, we require high quality and efficient equipment to deliver our performance cells. Manz AG, with their engineering and automation experience and expertise, as well as already being well positioned and aligned to our potential customers, clearly understanding latest trends and market requirements. As such, Manz AG is the right partner for our initial production equipment. Innovative, as well as artificial intelligence-supported, manufacturing equipment will become a core part of our operational strategy. That allows us to realise the full potential of our premier Gigasite in Northumberland, creating production efficiencies and resulting in lowered operating costs and energy consumption. To be successful, choosing the right partner is critical and I believe we have found that in the excellent team of Manz AG.”
In order to successfully meet the European political goal of achieving around 30 percent of global demand for battery cells from German and European production by 2030, large-scale investment by the industry is required in production capacities for Li-ion batteries. The time to act is now as global governments search for solutions to assist the decarbonization of society. Electrifying transportation is a key driver of that success.
The fact that the temporary reluctance to make investment decisions in the battery sector has now largely been overcome is also reflected in the gigawatt project with Britishvolt. As recently as the beginning of November, Manz AG received an order from the BMW Group to set up a battery production line in Parsdorf, Bavaria.