South Korean battery equipment makers Mplus and Hana Technology were competing fiercely to win orders from Blue Oval SK, the battery-making joint venture between SK On and Ford.
Those from SK On and Ford are planning visit their suppliers starting this week to check their technologies and equipment production capacity.
Those from Ford arrived in South Korea last week and, together with SK On’s procurement team, are looking at equipment and materials is plans to use for Blue Oval SK’s factory that will be built in Tennessee.
These staff from Ford are expected to leave South Korea next week.
What packaging equipment Blue Oval SK chooses is the biggest thing to watch.
The venture is planning to use mixing equipment from Yunsung F&C and electrode kits from PNT __ this is all but decided.
It will likely use notching and stacking equipment from Youil Energy Tech and Woowon Technology.
But for tab welding equipment, Mplus and Hana Technology are almost evenly matched.
Packaging equipment will also be an area where the pair compete. These kits cost 10 billion won per unit and one production line use only one of them. They are used to package the battery materials into a pouch film.
Blue Oval SK’s Tennessee factory is expected to have an annual production capacity of GWh and house 17 production lines __ this means it will need 17 packaging equipment for an order worth around 170 billion won.
Mplus had offered competitive prices for its equipment for past orders for SK On’s factories in Hungary and China, people familiar with the matter said.
Hana Technology, to win orders, could also lower the price tag on its kits but raw material prices have risen recently so it will be a difficult choice to make, they added.
Meanwhile, Ford could go for a third supplier instead of the better known two. General Motors, which runs a battery joint venture with LG Energy Solution called Ultium Cells, directly chose its equipment and material companies when their staff visited LG Energy Solution’s factory at Ochang.
LG Energy Solution’s opinion on which supplier to choose was reflected little in that decision, a different group of sources said.