South Korean battery suppliers are joining the race to land orders for SK Innovation’s electric vehicle (EV) battery-making plant to be built in Jackson Country of Georgia in the US that broke ground in March this year.
The factory is scheduled to churn out an annual 9.8GWh worth of batteries, with mass production to begin in 2022. SK plans to spend up to 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion) on this project by 2025.
Together with the EV battery making facilities in Komarom Hungary and Changzhou of China, the plant will be a key manufacturing unit for SK, according to the company on Aug. 6.
In return, the new factory is creating a big boon for battery suppliers. In July, battery equipment maker NS said it landed a 12.6 billion won order, while another firm, mPLUS said it bagged an 14.8 billion won order. Toptec sid it too will be supplying SK Battery America and unspecified amount worth of equipment.
NS and mPLUS specialize in assembly equipment for notching, stacking and degassing. In Hungary and the US plants, NS will be supplying the degassing equipment, while mPLUS takes care of the rest of the process.
If the equipment making design from the Hungary plant is applied to SK’s US plant, it could create opportunities for another supplier called PNE Solution, which manufactures formation and cycler equipment that makes the batteries usable once they are assembled.
PNE Solution was dominant in the formation industry; there are some rivals, but they are, but most aren’t even close in terms of volume or performance. South Korea’s top three battery makers all use products from PNE Solutions.
In logistics equipment, SFA and Toptec are rivals. SFA was known as the only battery logistics equipment maker in the country. With Toptec joining the race and signing the partnership with SK Innovation, competition is expected.
SK Innovation has been making hefty investment into the EV battery business on soaring demand over the past two years. Battery orders amounted to 50 trillion won as of the end of the first quarter. The annual production of 5GWh will accordingly be expanded to 100GWh. Industry watchers expect suppliers for SK Innovation to maintain and renew their contracts with the SK unit up to 2025.
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