New Partnership Eyes European Battery Production Technology

Battery technology companies Manz AG, GROB-WERKE GmbH & Co.KG, and Dürr AG have formed a strategic partnership in the field of battery production technology. Specifically, the cooperation involves joint acquisition and execution of projects for equipping entire battery factories. They aim to take advantage of the huge growth potential for business involving production technology for lithium-ion batteries, and to cover the entire value chain.

The most important trigger for the rapidly growing demand for battery production technology is electromobility. The more electric cars come onto roads, the more high-quality and high-performance batteries are required. For this reason, several battery and automotive producers are currently investing in battery factories or have announced plans to this effect. At present, there is not yet enough production capacity in Europe to meet this growing demand.

They aim to take advantage of the huge growth potential for business involving production technology for lithium-ion batteries, and to cover the entire value chain.

European Systems Provider of Battery Plants

Under the partnership, the companies are planning to join forces and establish themselves as a European systems provider of battery production plants. They will thus offer customers a powerful alternative to existing suppliers, who are mostly based in Asia. The three companies want to set innovative machine standards “made in Europe”. Access to the market and to customers will thus be combined and technical expertise will be pooled.

The partnership’s particular target market is the automotive sector. Combining their complementary skills will enable them to offer automotive customers the entire value chain in lithium-ion battery production from a single European source. It will support them in meeting the significant increase in demand for high-quality and high-performance batteries in Europe. Furthermore, the companies are targeting projects in the field of stationary storage units and consumer electronics.

Under the partnership, the companies are planning to join forces and establish themselves as a European systems provider of battery production plants.

Brings Respective Expertise in Battery Production

A global high-tech mechanical engineering company, Manz AG brings its development skills to the partnership. In addition, it provides extensive experience in key production stages for both the manufacture of different lithium-ion cell types and their assembly into a battery module. They range from wound button cells and prismatic cells through to stacked pouch cells.

For more than 95 years, GROB has been a trendsetting pioneer in the construction of production and automation systems. It boasts strength of implementation in the conception, planning, and commissioning of highly complex and customer-specific plants for large-scale production. This is especially true for the automotive industry, with a strong emphasis on e-mobility, focusing on e-drives and battery technology.

Dürr AG, one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms, completes the alliance. Dürr has expertise in the field of electrode manufacturing and further production stages in cell and module assembly. Among other things, Dürr provides coating systems for electrodes to Cellforce, the Porsche joint venture. Dürr also brings to the partnership its skills in large project execution as well as in automation and digitalization.

Durr offers a unique process for the dual-sided coating of battery electrodes.

Dr. Jochen Weyrauch, CEO of Dürr AG, says: “Battery production is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the European industry landscape. The rapid building of production capacity is a prerequisite for European automotive manufacturers to maintain their leading market positions in the age of electromobility. Our customers want reliable, local partners to implement their battery factories. We are taking on this challenge and are joining forces. The combined technology offering of Dürr, GROB, and Manz, stands for highly efficient manufacturing processes with maximum digitalization, a high level of availability, and excellent product quality. This enables both mass and premium manufacturers to produce exactly the right battery types for their requirements.”

Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG, comments: “Manz has carved out an excellent position for itself in the battery market. We see fantastic opportunities to benefit from the dynamic development of electromobility, so we have focused our business model accordingly. We firmly believe that, based on the trendsetting alliance with GROB and DÜRR — an alliance that is unique in Europe — we have reached another important milestone toward fully harnessing the huge market potential.”

The cooperation agreement enables us, together with our partners, to cover the entire value chain in battery production and to considerably speed up the development of system technology for manufacturing the next generation of batteries. We are thus also helping to make Europe independent in this strategically important market of the future.”

Signing of cooperation contract. From left: German Wankmiller, CEO of GROB-WERKE; Dr. Jochen Weyrauch, CEO of Durr; and Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz.

German Wankmiller, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the GROB Group, adds: “We are delighted to be cooperating with Manz and Dürr, two such well-respected partners. GROB is a family-owned company that has gained comprehensive knowledge of machines, system technology, and process flows for the entire e-mobility portfolio in a very short space of time. It has now become world market leader in the manufacture of production systems for electric drives. Furthermore, in the field of battery storage technology with a focus on systems engineering, we have developed process knowledge for battery module and pack systems with pouch and hard-case cells, and we have already delivered several large-scale plants.”

“In a further consistent move, GROB has also started developing system technology for the production of battery cells. Through our cooperation with Manz and Dürr, we see ourselves in an even better position and can quickly implement large-scale plants for the international automotive industry and its suppliers. This enables us to offer solutions from a single source along the entire value chain, from coating through to pack assembly. Customers thus enjoy advantages such as high throughput, low production costs, and maximum innovative strength,” Wankmiller continued.