PNE Solution will produce battery cycler equipment at China to save cost and win orders from local battery makers, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean battery equipment maker will produce the equipment through its Chinese joint venture set-up in 2017.
PNE considered producing both formation and cycler there but it has focused on formation so far.
Formation equipment is used near end of the production line after the batteries are assembled to charge them. Cycler are mostly used in research and development to test the life cycle and characteristics of batteries __ it is also sometimes used in commercial production line.
Cycler is the more expensive of the two. Cycler used in electric vehicle production line costs around 50 million won per unit. More units are required to manage batteries in modules and packs.
Formation equipment, meanwhile, cost around 30 million per unit. More of them are used in production lines. There are at least 100 units of them per one EV battery production line. However, it has a low entry barrier compared to other equipment and is lower in profitability.
However, formation equipment takes around a year from order to delivery to activation at line, while cycler takes around five months. Customers require cycler equipment vendors to deliver their goods faster.
PNE producing cycler at China will allow them to deliver them to customers on time and save cost and increase margins.
The South Korean company suppliers its goods to LG Chem, SK Innovation and Samsung SDI. It has an office in Budapest, Hungary and is aiming to win orders in Europe as well. It has supplied its formation and cycler equipment to Sweden-based Northvolt before. In August, it completed its new factory in Pyeongtaek which increased doubled its production capacity.