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Nobel prized innovation makes its way into transportation vehicles

ÅF delivers production line to Alelion, a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries to industrial vehicles and forklifts.

Earlier this month, the Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for developing lithium-ion batteries in the 80’s. The innovation sparked a new generation of mobility because of its higher profile of sustainability - the energy efficiency and power density are significantly better than earlier generation batteries.

Alelion, that focuses on electrification and renewable energy storage, is the first battery factory in Sweden that series produces lithium-ion batteries to vehicles. These batteries are for forklifts and industrial transportation vehicles.

ÅF was asked to create their production line after having assisted Alelion in product development as well as with the production concept in a pilot study autumn 2017. In spring 2018, ÅF got the opportunity to deliver a turnkey project for an automated production line for assembling battery cells which was delivered in spring 2019.

Several units within the organisation collaborated to get the project up and running. ÅF built the production line for the battery modules. After being tested in Trollhättan, Sweden, and made sure that everything works correctly, ÅF took it apart and shipped it off to the client, where ÅF has just installed it.

The battery cells are mounted together with end trays, side plates and tape before laser welding the corner flanges as well as the aluminum bus bars connected to the battery terminals. A PCB card is mounted, and the battery modules are tested for current and resistance before exiting the line.

“A possibility to think outside the box”

The project management is carried out by ÅF colleague Cecilia Fredriksson.

“This has been a very complex but interesting project, with a lot of new technology areas, so while helping Alelion with our expertise regarding automation and production lines, we have also gained a lot of new knowledge along the way. What’s unique with this project’s concept is that the line should be flexible and able to build several different types of battery modules”, she says and continues:

“We’ve had continuous discussions together with Alelion to find the best solutions to various challenges which has given us the possibility to think outside the box and challenge ourselves. The result is a compact but flexible production line that fulfills the client’s demands and wishes.”

Mats Johansson, Section Manager Advanced Automation at ÅF, says that ÅF has been brave when taking on this project as no earlier references or experience existed for similar projects before.

“That required a thorough project organization from ÅF for the client, that could act independently and responsibly. And not to forget that our supplier Permanova played an important role for us to carry out the project.”

Fredrik Lusch, COO Alelion, adds:

“ÅF has been a very good partner in developing this production line from the Alelion vision of combining flexibility with mass production efficiency.”