ABB has entered into an agreement with leading global transport solutions provider, Scania, to provide a comprehensive range of robotic solutions for Scania’s new highly automated battery assembly plant in Sweden. The new facility will be a key milestone on Scania’s journey towards the electrification of heavy vehicles. Scania will invest more than SEK 1 billion ($108 million) in the facility over several years and the new Södertälje plant is expected to be fully operational by 2023.
“We are delighted to work with one of our longest-standing clients to help deliver their electrification roadmap,” says Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics’ automotive business line. “The automotive industry has always been at the forefront of automation. But with the shift to electrification, it faces wholesale changes to established manufacturing processes. With our expertise, we will design and help implement the manufacturing flexibility that is vital for market leaders such as Scania in delivering this change.”
Tony Persson, Head of Scania’s battery assembly, said: “The factory is designed in line with Scania’s efforts to be at the forefront of industrial digitalization, automation, and the use of advanced robotic technology to streamline production processes with increased flexibility. That is where the robots and solutions from ABB fit in. For Scania, the factory is also an investment that will further strengthen Sweden’s position as a hub for cutting-edge technology in the electrification of heavy vehicles, which is crucial in the transition to sustainable transport.”
The advanced 18,000m2 facility will be built next to Scania’s chassis assembly plant in Södertälje, Sweden, and will be highly automated, from goods reception through production to delivery. It will assemble battery modules from cells supplied by Northvolt’s battery factory in Skellefteå, with the completed packs delivered directly to the vehicle assembly hall. Multiple ABB robots will be involved in the assembly process, including the IRB 390, IRB 4600 and IRB 6700 models, along with additional solutions to support the production process.
This will mark the first time ABB’s IRB 390 robot will be used in a battery production facility. Originally designed for the packing industry, the robot combines speed with power and can mount contact plates in batteries at a rate of one plate every second, twenty-four hours a day. ABB’s RobotStudio® simulation and programming software will enable full verification of the production line prior to deployment which will significantly shorten lead times and support the quality process.
Scania and ABB have worked in partnership for more than four decades and are collaborating on building production infrastructure for electric vehicles. Recently, they joined forces to create charging solutions for heavy goods vehicles that will also be powered by batteries manufactured by Northvolt. The Northvolt facility – Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery factory – has also been developed in partnership with ABB.