To be installed at Cheonan for testing
Samsung SDI was considering applying autonomous guided vehicles (AGV) in its battery production lines to carry battery materials, TheElec has learned.
The goal is to have the AGVs replace operators and make the lines semi-autonomous.
Battery production lines currently have little autonomous functions. Only around 10% of the processes, from electrode to formation, is done autonomously. This applies to all battery makers, not just Samsung SDI. Operators are used between the steps. They are used mostly in the electrode process. They are used to transport the battery materials made from the electrode process for the assembly process accurately.
Cathode and anode materials made in the electrode process are called the mother roll. The roll is divided through slitting to make them into smaller reels. Reels for electric vehicles batteries are hanged on shafts 3-inches to 6-inches long. They weigh 200kg to 600kg, causing misalignment of the reels when are pushed by human operators during transportation. A person must be there to place them at correct angles when moving them from shaft to shaft. This need for human operators have limited productivity and yield rate increases for the line.
Samsung SDI’s E3 Lab at Giheung believed this could be improved. It has been researching semi-autonomous equipment since early last year. It is testing AGVs supplied by local and foreign battery equipment makers.
Affiliate Samsung SDS previously oversaw the semi-autonomous system of Samsung SDI’s factory lines. Samsung SDS’ equipment simply transported the reels. But the new improved equipment can do the same while also controlling the shaft’s up, down, left and right as well as the angle to make sure it is precisely aligned with another shaft when transported.
If Samsung SDI proceeds with the investment to apply the AGV, it will be the world’s first in battery production. The cost will be over tens of billions of wons to apply to all processes at its factories.
Lab verification for the AGV has been completed and now it will be tested at Samsung SDI’s Cheonan plant, a person familiar with the matter said. After verifying the concept in testing, it is highly likely that it will be applied, they said.