Robots build batteries
From start to finish, throughout the whole process – Fully automated Norwegian battery factory equipped with KUKA's robots
Opening of the Factory by Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Starting a battery factory in Norway appears a logical choice. The country is one of the global homes of the electrified vehicle. In addition to well-developed hydroelectric power generation, Norwegians also have a strong position regarding the proportion of electric vehicles (over 30 percent), which is unique in the world.
Prime minister attends inauguration
An indication of the importance that the Norwegian government places on battery technology is the fact that Prime Minister Erna Solberg attended the inauguration of the factory in Trondheim, which is an investment at a level of 100 million. "Trondheim itself is also a good choice. Siemens has a competence centre for electrical and hybrid solutions in the town, with long experience. In addition, it is close to the customers in the maritime and offshore industries", says Frode Grimsbø.
Batteries for marine purposes
"Everyone considers that this market will grow significantly in the future. We have gone into this with high ambitions to create solutions that live up to the customers' expectations," says Bjørn Einar Brath, head of Offshore Solutions at Siemens.
Siemens expects a doubling of the marine market up to 2024. Nearly 80 percent of all new small and medium sizes vessels of up to 150 metres in length, the type of ship that operates in the Hurtigruten, are expected to be equipped with hybrid solutions that include battery operation.
Long-term collaboration with Norwegian partner
The AGVs move around the room, they retrieve and leave material and manage other service tasks. The collaboration of the machines allows them to do everything from unpacking parts to assembling and finally testing the newly built battery modules.
"Intek is a clever engineering company that we have had a good collaboration with for several years. Here they have designed an efficient production line with a high degree of complexity," says Frode Grimsbø at KUKA.
According to Anita Hager, CEO of Intek, the unique thing about the battery factory process is that the robot cells are able to carry out several different operations. This gives flexibility and creates the opportunity to scale up the capacity when the demand increases", she says.
New assignment in Bergen
Annually, the factory will manufacture batteries with a combined capacity of 300–400 MWh, which is sufficient to power approx. 150–200 ferries. But Trondheim is just the start. The expectations of increased demand are large in both Siemens and other players. "Intek has also been given the task of designing the production line for an automatic battery factory in Bergen. This time the Norwegian-Canadian company Corvus is behind the factory", says Frode Grimsbø.