Automotive Cells Company (ACC), a joint venture set up by Stellantis, TotalEnergies/Saft and Mercedes-Benz, has selected Comau to design and develop an integrated battery module production line for the company’s gigafactory, which is set to be built in Billy-Berclau, Douvrin, northern France. The ACC facility is projecting a capacity of up to 40GWh.
Under the new agreement, Comau will be responsible for supplying ACC with company expertise and the equipment required to automate manufacturing of the next-generation EV batteries. The proposed Comau-designed production lines are flexible enough to handle 8- and 16-cell modules, which will enable ACC to produce up to 8GWh by the end of 2024. Additionally, Comau will use its European network to guarantee the local sourcing of technology, auxiliary equipment and components for five manufacturing lines. Three of the lines will manufacture both models, with the others set to become dedicated eight-cell MEB lines.
For the project it was imperative that a stacking force of 300-500 decanewtons could be employed to produce two distinct module formats rather than the industry average of approximately 100 decanewtons. To meet the requirements, Comau and ACC engineers worked collaboratively on the process to guarantee the intended product geometry and battery characteristics.
Comau will provide ACC with the technologies and knowledge to automate the entire end-to-end production process, including prismatic cell preparation and testing, stacking, welding, final assembly and end-of-line testing.
For the first part of the multiphase project, a joint engineering team will deploy and optimize the pilot line at ACC’s plant in Nersac, France, ahead of rolling out the full-scale manufacturing line at ACC’s gigafactory in Billy-Berclau.
“The emergence of a European equipment industry is a key success factor for ACC, whose ambition is to be a European leader of automotive battery cells and modules,” said Jean-Baptiste Pernot, COO at ACC. “In Europe, we cannot depend exclusively on Asian-only sources. We must facilitate the establishment of an entire battery ecosystem, covering the entire value chain. In this perspective, being able to rely on Comau is very important for ACC. Throughout the project, Comau’s engineering team has demonstrated its commitment to our success, improving both our process design and the seamless optimization of proprietary and non-Comau equipment.”
“Thanks to the strong collaboration and competence of our joint engineering team, Comau’s role as a development partner is helping ACC establish itself as a leading player in the high-performance battery technology field,” said Pietro Gorlier, CEO, Comau. “Together we have successfully completed the first phase of ACC’s battery program and look forward to enhancing their full-scale production lines in the next several months.”