£11m battery production project to ramp up

A £11.3m project, designed to scale up the UK’s battery pack manufacturing and supply chain capability has secured a commercial contract with a global customer.

The H1perChain project, which was funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC), has developed an automated pilot line for module/pack assembly, cell joining and in-line testing – delivering a step change in high performance battery costs and scalability.

Led by Hyperbat and working with main consortium partners Unipart Manufacturing, WAE, Coventry University and Direc-Tec, the challenge has also come up with a world class laserwelding joining process for cylindrical cell formats, hundreds of skills development opportunities, and the creation of a digital platform to connect the battery value chain.

More than 50 highly skilled jobs have been created at the production facility in Coventry, with another 25 on the way as it enters into its first commercial agreement to supply battery packs for a global customer.

Jon Bell, Project Lead at Hyperbat said: “We came into H1perchain with the overriding aim of developing a process and emerging supply chain capability for manufacturing high-performance batteries in the UK.

“The brief was to find a way of reducing costs whilst increasing performance and meeting lead times, something we believe we are well on the way to achieving with the pilot line successfully assembling packs and a ‘digital twin’ in play to scale up production into the tens of thousands.

“Importantly, we have won our first commercial project, which has started to go into production. There are also several other opportunities in the pipeline that we are exploring.

“If the UK is going to compete in the electrification race, it is critical that we have a domestic
battery making capability and a supportive supply chain in place.”

At a project conclusion event, experts from H1perchain presented the novel industry 4.0 digitalisation platform that will underpin the development of a UK supply chain capable of producing more than £70m of module and battery pack components and sub-systems every year.

Its supplier portal has seen the firm onboard 36 UK suppliers, with ambitious plans targeting to increase this to 200 by the end of 2024.

The full H1perchain consortium included Hyperbat, Unipart Manufacturing, WAE, Coventry University, Direc-Tec and The Welding Institute.