Comau has renewed its commitment to the EU’sFlexible Battery Dismantling (Flex-BD) project for the second year, to help deliver a fundamental pillar on the path towards a truly circular economy.
Flex-BD is a robotized system that automates the entire process of dismantling worn-out electric batteries using a highly flexible, repeatable and standardizable process. Now, having validated the proof-of-concept, Comau has expanded the scope to include second life repurposing of automotive batteries.
Comau estimates, based on the predicted electric battery production volumes within Europe over the next several years, that the EU could easily have over 1 million discarded batteries to be reused by 2030. To this end, Comau is helping anticipate what it believes will be a growing market demand for powerful electric battery recycling and repurposing solutions. In tandem, it will enable businesses to reduce waste and optimize the reuse of raw materials contained within battery packs.
Flex-BD represents a significant improvement to manual handling processes that often include repetitive and heavy tasks in addition to contact with potentially harmful substances. It therefore makes the recovery of battery modules and their components more efficient and sustainable while having a positive impact on workers’ health and safety.
With second-life battery repurposing, the fully automated manipulation of low-charge batteries minimizes risks to both operators and the dismantling equipment. Unlike the materials recovery and recycling process, in which the battery is completely discharged and destroyed, second-life battery repurposing is done while maintaining a low but active battery charge.
With the Flex-BD cell, battery packs are introduced one by one into the specialized cell where a high-payload Comau NJ industrial robot automatically executes its path and changes its end-effectors based on the required application.
Additionally, Flex-BD is designed around a highly flexible programming approach based on a reduced use of codes, state-of-the-art environmental perception techniques and the robot’s reactive capacity. The entire dismantling cycle is defined through CAD. The use of LowCode programming also allows operators to quickly and easily redefine the cycle with no need to reprogram the robot.
Comau’s efforts to advance green energy deployment extend beyond its expertise in automated manufacturing systems for batteries, electrical motors and drive units. At the same time, the company is addressing several key technical and development aspects of the automation process for battery cell manufacturing, including process design and assembly of rechargeable cells, as well as the use of renewable energy and second-life strategies for automotive batteries.