Industrial automation products and systems developer Comau has renewed its commitment to the EU’s Flexible Battery Dismantling (Flex-BD) project for the second year. 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.
Comau – a member of Stellantis – estimates that the EU could easily have over 1 million discarded batteries to be reused by 2030. Having validated the proof-of-concept, the company has expanded the scope to include second life repurposing of automotive batteries, anticipating a growing market demand for businesses to reduce waste and optimize the reuse of raw materials contained within battery packs.
Flex-BD is an improvement to manual handling processes that often include repetitive and heavy tasks in addition to contact with potentially harmful substances. 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.
During the Flex-BD cell process battery packs are introduced into the specialized cell where a high-payload Comau NJ industrial robot works automatically. In a typical recycling application, the robot unscrews the battery cover, changes grippers to remove the cover, re-attaches the screwdriver to unscrew the modules and then using its gripper moves the pieces to a dedicated storage area.
Comau’s efforts to advance green energy deployment extend beyond its 50 years of expertise in automated manufacturing systems for batteries, electrical motors, and drive units. “Our work with the Flex-BD project leverages Comau’s long standing automation expertise in the development of flexible, scalable and sustainable processes,” said Pietro Gorlier, CEO at Comau. “By expanding our smart automation solution to include second life repurposing of high-power batteries, many of which have a residual capacity of up to 80%, Comau is making a concrete contribution to the realization of truly sustainable mobility.”