Robotized system for Battery dismantling

Comau for battery recycling technologies

Comau promotes sustainable and circular electric mobility with the development of innovative battery recycling technologies

While the use of electric vehicles can help to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the impact that disposal of batteries required for their use will have on the environment should not be overlooked. According to the EU, by 2030 there could be at least 30 million zero-emission electric vehicles in Europe, with more than 1 million batteries being disused, recycled and reused.

A fact that focuses on the need to develop technology solutions that enable a sustainable and circular energy transition. Gian Carlo Tronzano, Head of Battery Cell Global Competence Center at Comau, talked about the benefits of Comau’s Flex-BD robotic system as part of the European Flexible Battery Strength project during the Agi agency’s BIT podcast, to help companies automate the disassembly of exhausted electric batteries through a flexible, repeatable and standardized process that increases work efficiency and reduces risks for operators.

According to Gian Carlo Tronzano, automation is the key to managing the recycling and reuse of electric batteries in a sustainable way, both environmentally and economically. But what are the results?

Increased safety. By automating traditionally manual disassembly operations, Flex-BD improves the handling of delicate and repetitive processes, which can result in contact with potentially harmful substances. For example, the presence of corrosive and flammable liquids in modules and cells and the fact that the batteries to be removed are initially charged. The use of the Flex-BD robotic system, explains Tronzano, increases the safety of the operators by relieving them of heavy tasks and assigning them to more value-added tasks, such as controlling and programming the robot cell.

More efficient recycling. With Flex-BD, the process of recovering modules and their components can be made more efficient and sustainable, enabling manufacturers to reduce waste and optimize the reuse of raw materials contained in battery packs. Tronzano explains that it is a virtuous process that is essential for effectively containing the volume of waste, the use of energy sources and new resources.

Flexible processes to dismantle any battery. As the battery packs to be recycled can be very different from each other, Comau has developed a system that can autonomously handle different types of product, Tronzano clarifies. Inside the Flex-BD cell, a NJ-370-3.0 high-load robot automatically executes every required machining step, changing tools on its own depending on the tasks it is required to perform. It uses advanced sensors and vision systems, based on Artificial Intelligence algorithms, to recognise the battery pack type and initiate a dedicated dismantling process. Finally, thanks to a low code programming approach, operators can redefine the work cycle quickly and easily every time, without the need to reprogramme the robot.

Listen to the full interview of the BIT podcast at Gian Carlo Tronzano