In a project that ran parallel to the aforementioned optimisation of AMTE Power’s Thurso manufacturing base, HSSMI worked with the battery cell manufacturer to explore how digital simulation tools could support AMTE Power as it scales up its operations towards Gigafactory production rates.
HSSMI worked with AMTE Power to leverage digital tools in order to anticipate and overcome future production challenges, boost productivity and meet increased demand for lithium-ion batteries across the automotive and energy storage sectors.
A key focus of this particular project was on validating a novel acoustic battery testing method – how and where it could be implemented on the production line and how it may impact the overall production rate.
The simulation that HSSMI designed accommodated this requirement, but also enabled AMTE Power to analyse multiple other parameters.
Simulating Future Possibilities in Battery Production
Data to power the simulation was gathered from AMTE Power’s current manufacturing processes, testing methodologies, and cell manufacturing requirements. The specific data provided by other project partners, JW Froehlich and UCL, was crucial to the development of an accurate simulation model. HSSMI also spoke to various equipment suppliers to ensure that the latest technologies were being considered.
With this information, HSSMI was able to develop an AnyLogic simulation model, which was aligned to a facility layout created by HSSMI specifically for the project. The simulation produced a range of production analysis data, which assisted in optimising factory layout, operator requirements, shift patterns, cycle times, number of machines, as well as the associated costs. The simulation highlighted potential bottlenecks in the process and provided data driven insights in order to maximise efficiency.
The simulation contained multiple parameters that AMTE Power could adjust to run further experiments in the future.
Results of the Acoustic Battery Testing Method
The simulation of the acoustic battery testing method complemented real-life tests done by UCL at the AMTE Power facility. The objective was to validate the acoustic testing in different stages of the production process.
Based on JW Froehlich’s high-volume testing equipment design, the simulation successfully validated the placement and implementation of the acoustic testing process within the facility and demonstrated that the acoustic testing method would not negatively impact the production line. Overall, the testing, both digitally and in real life, delivered a strong case for implementing the acoustic testing method across multiple locations and as an end-of-line quality check before releasing new cells to the lengthy and expensive formation, aging and testing stage.
This work was carried out as part of AcouBat, which was a collaborative project between AMTE Power, University College London, JW Froehlich, and HSSMI, carried out with funding from Innovate UK and the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).
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