German engineering firm Manz has received an equipment order from UK-based battery startup Britishvolt. Manz specializes in processing solutions for the manufacturing of products related to electronics, solar PV, and energy storage. The equipment from Manz will be deployed in the first-phase section of the gigafactory that Britishvolt is planning to set up in Blyth, a town in the county of Northumberland, UK. The first-phase section will provide an initial annual production capacity of 4GWh. The value of this transaction is worth more than EUR 70 million. The deal was announced on December 21, 2021.
Manz stated that it has been providing technical support for the planning phase of the gigafactory since last September. The gigafactory adopts an innovative and forward-looking design that allows a high level of flexibility with respect to the shapes and specifications of battery cells. Britishvolt wants to be able to adapt to changing market trends.
According to the terms of the equipment order, Manz will deliver its production systems to Britishvolt in 2023 as the first-phase section of the gigafactory is scheduled to enter operation by the end of that year. Also, the two companies have a signed an MOU stating that they will collaborate on adding more production capacity for prismatic and cylindrical cells in the UK and Canada. Britishvolt currently aims to raise its annual total production capacity above 100GWh.
Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz, said that the electric vehicle market is evolving rapidly, and with so many announced battery manufacturing projects in Europe, the mechanical engineering sector will soon hit a ceiling with respect to production capacity. Drasch added that Manz and Britishvolt share the same goal of enabling battery manufacturing that is less energy intensive, more environmentally sustainable, and lower in the overall cost. To that end, Manz has developed production systems that employ AI and automation technologies to optimize the entire process flow.
Tom Orlob, global COO of Britishvolt, said that his company is leveraging Manz’s expertise and experience in the development of automation technologies. Orlob also noted that Manz and Britishvolt share the same understanding with respect to market trends and potential customers. Hence, Manz is in the perfect position to be Britishvolt’s partner for the initial production equipment.
Website Electrive has reported that the gigafactory in Northumberland will be powered by renewable energy. In addition to Manz, Britishvolt has arranged to have access to Siemen’s technologies related to vehicle electrification and automation. The gigafactory is expected to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.