Porsche was commissioned to deploy 3D printing Gigafactories for batteries

Porsche was commissioned to deploy 3D printing Gigafactories for batteries

(Photo courtesy: Sakuu)

We are confident that this technology will mark a turning point in the electric mobility industry. – This is the statement made in 2019 by Thank you, the American pioneer behind a revolutionary new battery manufacturing solution. Two years later, the company began announcing that it had appointed operations consultancy Porsche Consulting to advise it on the construction of large-scale 3D printing factories for batteries.

Formerly known as Keracel, this startup if you don’t already know, has set itself the challenge of creating a sustainable battery using the benefits of 3D printing. The goal set by its founder, Robert Bagheri, is to be able to solve the known problems of this energy source, by reducing at the same time its cost of production, its size and its weight, and at the same time increasing its independence and durability. .

The arguments heard by the Japanese manufacturer Musashi Seimitsu Industry, who ended up joining the project in 2019. The desire of the two partners to improve the battery is more precisely related to the design of semiconductor batteries. This is what we call batteries that work from a solid and non-liquid electrolyte.

If many manufacturers are betting on this technique presented as the next revolution in the electric car, it is because the solid-state battery has many advantages over the existing ones: low cost, long life, safe speed, fast charging, and excellent energy density . The difference between this type of battery and conventional lithium batteries is that it works with solid materials.

The distribution of lithium ions is ensured by polymer or ceramic type. Beyond the reduced risk of overheating (and therefore of fire), the cells can be assembled in a more compact way. The result is a very clear improvement in energy density, and therefore greater autonomy of the vehicle.

An inside view of the additive manufacturing platform developed by Sakuu

An inside view of the additive manufacturing platform developed by Sakuu (photo credits: Sakuu)

To implement these benefits, which are certainly huge, but above all good on paper, Sakuuu has developed a 3D printing technology that faces challenges. A solution developed by the gray matter of a new generation battery manufacturer called SwiftPrint™, is actually based on two additive processes: fusion on the powder bed and the plane of the material. In this way it will be possible to combine several devices in one publication. (Probably ceramic and steel, two important materials in the manufacture of batteries).

Thanks to this technique, the startup claims to be able to produce batteries that are 50% stronger and 30% lighter. The process would also make it possible to eliminate the defects inherent in existing processes, that is, batteries with low energy density that are not suitable for mass production, because they consist of thick and brittle ceramic layers. Sakuu’s technology would guarantee batteries with high energy density, with thin monolithic layers of ceramic and metal, as well as an excellent interface.

The Californian company also emphasizes the interest in the complexity of shapes and the flexibility of design that can be provided by 3D printing. Its customers will therefore be able to adjust their battery production, depending on their size and type. Finally, another positive effect of its technology is related to durability. The ability of this technology to use the right amount of material, actually means less material is needed to make the battery.

“We look forward to launching our first gigafactory with donations and support from Porsche Consulting”

To face another challenge of mass production of its batteries, Sakuu commissioned Porsche Consulting. A subsidiary of carmaker Porsche will be responsible for all aspects of the Gigafactory structure, i.e. large factories, on a global scale. Sakuu’s goal is an annual energy production of 200 GWh by 2030.

With respect to their deep expertise in automotive engineering concepts and implementation, we ultimately chose Porsche Consulting because of our belief that their team demonstrates expertise in designing large manufacturing plants – from start to finish.“Said Robert Bagheri, Founder and CEO of Sakuu.” We are looking forward to opening our first gigafactory with donations and support from Porsche Consulting. »

Porsche Consulting’s expertise in designing large factories, particularly in the automotive space, will enable Sakuu’s gigafactories to prioritize sustainable design, while increasing manufacturing efficiency that can be effectively replicated around the world. Sakuu explains that it wants to open a series of one-of-a-kind factories that will focus on implementing a platform called Kavian ™ dedicated to producing its Swift Print battery types, through its multi-material additive manufacturing technology.

The solution developed by Sakuu can enable various applications, from mobile phone batteries to electric car batteries.

The solution developed by Sakuu can power a wide range of applications, from mobile phone batteries to electric car batteries (photo credits: Sakuu)

Remember that already last year, the California startup opened a printing and engineering center for its batteries. Located in the prestigious Silicon Valley, this multi-million dollar, 7,000 m2 facility is used by Sakku as an engineering center.

The teams work on batteries, engineering, materials science, R&D and additive manufacturing. This center is mainly intended to manage the training of new factory workers and customer product demonstrations. At least 115 workers should be working there by the first quarter of 2023. In his latest information, Sakuu said he wanted to initially focus on the two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicle market.

Sakuu is committed to building a talented workforce that wants to be part of our innovation in sustainable energy production. concludes Robert Bagheri, founder and CEO of Sakuu. ” We are on a mission to build a business and brand that is driven by transformative products that can leave a legacy of impact on social and environmental change.

Alexandre Moussion
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