Cooperation with Japanese coating specialist Techno Smart
SOUTHFIELD, Mich., September 30, 2020 - Lithium-ion batteries are a key technology in electromobility. In order to keep up with the growing demand for e-cars, investments are being made in battery factories worldwide. Dürr is positioning itself in this growth market as a supplier of production technology and is expanding its market access to battery manufacturers through a cooperation with Techno Smart, a leading Japanese manufacturer of coating systems. The group covers all relevant technologies for coating electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
In the future, producers of batteries for electric cars will receive complete packages from one supplier: state-of-the-art technology for coating and drying electrodes and proven systems for solvent recovery. The coating systems of the Japanese company Techno Smart are in high demand among battery manufacturers for e-cars. That is why Dürr is bringing the coating specialists technology on board.
Dr. Jochen Weyrauch, Deputy CEO of the Dürr Systems AG: "This provides us with a convincing and comprehensive package for major projects in the automotive sector." In the medium term, Dürr and Techno Smart are aiming for a sales volume in the high double-digit million range in battery manufacturing technology business.
Market-leading Dürr technologies for battery manufacturing
With the acquisition of the US Company Megtec/Universal in 2018, Dürr expanded its portfolio by adding important competencies in battery manufacturing technology. With its coating, drying and solvent recovery systems, Dürr Megtec offers solutions for three essential steps in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Dürr Megtec is part of the Clean Technology Systems division.
In the coating process, anode or cathode active material is applied on both sides as a thin slurry onto a metal foil. The drying process then creates a solid composite material. Within the lithium-ion battery cell, the role of the active material is to store the energy, while the metal foil ensures the dissipation of current. Solvents used in the manufacturing process can be recovered for reuse with Dürr technologies.
Both sides of the metal foil are coated in one pass to provide an efficient process. Dürr Megtec developed a special coating process for simultaneous two-sided coating. Slot-dies are used to coat both sides of the electrode foil directly and are then dried in a horizontal air flotation dryer. Benefits of this unique process are, among others, smaller overall manufacturing footprint and high cost efficiency.
With its simultaneous two-sided coating solution for battery electrodes, so far Dürr has been successful mainly in niche segments. For example, the company is benefitting from the growing demand for small-format lithium-ion batteries for hearing aids, headphones and other mobile electrical devices. In the first half of 2020, among others, a major contract was received from a battery manufacturer in Germany.
Portfolio expanded to include solutions for the automotive sector
However, the biggest growth driver in the market for battery manufacturing technology is electromobility. For the large amounts of electrodes required for e-car batteries, Techno Smart offers a highly efficient, proven and robust process. The slurry is applied on the first side by a slot die over a backing roller and becomes dry directly afterwards. After leaving the dryer in the first pass, the foil is turned and the second side is coated and dried following the same process.
"We've combined our market-leading drying and solvent recovery technologies with the proven coating solutions of Techno Smart to create a unique portfolio in the market for e-car batteries," outlines Dr. Daniel Schmitt, CEO of Dürr's Clean Technology Systems division. "Together we can effectively support the development of battery manufacturing for enhanced electromobility."
Broad spectrum for e-car production
The Dürr Group identifies this as a great opportunity. The portfolio includes not only solutions for coating but also gluing technology for battery modules and coolant filling systems for batteries. Moreover, Dürr is supplying painting, final assembly and testing systems for e-cars. With an order intake of just under € 400 million, production technology for e-cars already accounted for 22% of the order volume in the automotive business last year. For 2020, the growth trend is continuing, particularly due to the strong demand in China. Despite the corona crisis, Dürr was able to significantly increase incoming orders in the electromobility business in the first half of the year.
About Techno Smart
Techno Smart has been building coating systems for a wide range of applications since the 1960s. The coating specialist launched solutions for coating lithium-ion battery cells from early 1990s and has already supplied its high-precision technology to major battery manufacturers in the Asian market. In 2019, the Japanese plant engineering company with around 250 employees achieved a turnover of € 130 million.
The Dürr Group has been established in the United States since 1970 and currently employs around 880 people. From the new Campus with a state-of-art validation, testing, and training center in Southfield, MI, Dürr USA represents four of the five divisions. Paint and Final Assembly Systems offers equipment for painting and assembly processes, while Application Technology provides paint, sealants and adhesives application systems. Dürr's Clean Technology Systems is the global leader in air pollution abatement and energy efficient technologies. The subsidiary Schenck Trebel Corporation, based in Deer Park, New York, offers balancing machines, vibration and condition monitoring systems and services for the general industry. The customers of Dürr USA include automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers as well as their suppliers, and a diverse group of other industries. The HOMAG Machinery North America operates the production facilities for the HOMAG Group in Grand Rapids, MI, which is also the base for sales and service company Stiles Machinery Inc. The HOMAG Group is the world's leading manufacturer of machines and systems for the wood-processing industry and trades.
The Dürr Group is one of the world's leading mechanical and plant engineering firms with extensive expertise in automation and digitalization/Industry 4.0. Its products, systems and services enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. The Dürr Group supplies sectors like the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, chemical, pharmaceutical and woodworking industries. It generated sales of € 3.92 billion in 2019. The company has around 16,300 employees and 112 business locations in 34 countries. The Group operates in the market with the brands Dürr, Schenck and HOMAG and with five divisions:
• Paint and Final Assembly Systems: paint shops as well as final assembly, testing and filling technology for the automotive industry
• Application Technology: robot technologies for the automated application of paint, sealants and adhesives
• Clean Technology Systems: air pollution control, noise abatement systems and coating systems for battery electrodes
• Measuring and Process Systems: balancing equipment and diagnostic technology
• Woodworking Machinery and Systems: machinery and equipment for the woodworking industry