DemoSens

 

Joint Project Researches on Dismantling and Recycling of E-Mobile Batteries

Robot arm for battery disassembly Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen

DemoSens is a joint project of four institutes from the vicinity of RWTH Aachen University and Münster University of Applied Sciences. "Disassembly and sensor-supported mechanical processing of lithium-ion batteries for high-quality recycling" (DemoSens) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the competence cluster "Recycling & Green Battery" (greenBatt; total volume: 30 million euros). The three-year DemoSens project increases the automation of the disassembly and recycling of lithium-ion battery packs from electric vehicles. Along the entire process chain from disassembly and sorting to mechanical processing, it is also anchoring digital processes that are partly based on machine-learning approaches.

Disassembly is currently still costly manufacture work
Numerous players have made great efforts in recent years to establish the battery as part of the electric powertrain in vehicles of the coming generations. Now, industry and research are addressing the challenges at the end of the first life phase of vehicle battery systems. From this point on in the battery cycle, the disassembly of battery packs becomes increasingly important in the choice of different "Re-X paths" ("Re-Use", Remanufacturing, Recycling). Up to now, battery systems have almost exclusively been disassembled manually. This is mainly due to the great variability in the structure of battery packs, the arrangement of their subcomponents and the joining processes used. However, the increasing market shares in the field of e-mobility will require automation of this dismantling process in the future.

As part of the joint project, for the first time a highly automated pilot plant is being planned and implemented at the Electromobility Laboratory (eLab) of RWTH Aachen University. With the help of collaborating robots, it is intended to solve the various problems that exist on the part of the individual processes and the batteries. In order to achieve the desired level of automation, the use of various machine-learning approaches is also being investigated.

More automation, intelligent machines and special sensors
In this project, the Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) at RWTH Aachen University is primarily concerned with the processes to be defined for automated battery disassembly in the future. The basis is formed by empirical values from various disassembly studies on different battery packs from the automotive sector. This collected know-how helps to increase the degree of automation of the disassembly, to support the implementation of innovative machine-learning approaches and to select the necessary sensor system based on the disassembly requirements. The aim is to gain key insights in the field of automated battery pack disassembly by setting up a pilot plant and to identify new aspects for future research.

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