In preparation of building its pilot line at Grenoble
Verkor CEO Benoit Lemaignan and executives of the French battery firm will visit South Korea this week to meet with local battery equipment makers, TheElec has learned.
The executives will tour facilities of South Korean battery equipment makers to look at equipment and machines that Verkor will install at its Verkor Innovation Center, its pilot production line, to be set at Grenoble in France, sources said.
So far, the only South Korean equipment maker to confirm that it has supplied equipment to Verkor is TSI, which has won orders worth 8.5 billion won.
TSI is also a supplier of mixing equipment to another French battery firm Automotive Cell Company.
The most important process in the initial stages of battery production is mixing and electrode processes.
The mixing process mixes various materials into sludge while the electrode process makes the cathode and anode.
South Korean equipment makers that offer machines for these processes include PNT, CIS and Hanwha Corporation.
PNT had supplied its electrode equipment to Automotive Cell Company in the past while CIS had supplied similar kits to Northvolt.
Verkor was founded in 2020 and is aiming to secure an annual production capacity of 16GWh by 2024.
French autogiant Renault owns over 20% of the shares of the battery startup while Schneider Electric is also a stakeholder.
The sources said Verkor executives will be meeting equipment makers for modules, packs and other back-end processes as well.
Schneider Electric will also seek to have South Korean equipment makers use its programmable logic controllers (PLC) for the facility at Grenoble, which use to be owned by Schneider Electric.
South Korean equipment makers mostly use PLC from Mitsubishi Electric but Siemens and Schneider Electric are expanding their shares.
For example, to supply equipment to Northvolt, in which Siemens owns an equity stake, equipment makers must use Siemens’ PLC.
Siemens is also collaborating with South Koren firm Mplus, which is developing equipment that uses its partner’s PLC.
South Korean equipment maker Avaco is also developing equipment using Schneider Electrics’ PLC.