Batteries, recycling and reuse: the Comau system


For the second year in a row, Comau will participate in the European Flexible Battery Breakdown (Flex-BD) project, which supports the circular economy in the automotive sector and especially with regard to batteries. The automated system triggers the automation of the disassembly of used batteries, with a flexible and modular process, with the Turin-based company extending its reach to the automotive sector.

European project

In partnership with other realities European Community of Innovation EIT Manufacturing, Comau strives to make an important contribution to battery recycling, also taking into account the expected production volumes in Europe for the next few years: Comau estimates that, in all likelihood, by 2030 more than a million used batteries could be reused in the European Union. For this reason, Comau intends to anticipate what it sees as a growing market demand, while also developing advanced solutions for the recycling and reuse of electric batteries. At the same time, this project will enable companies to reduce waste and improve the reuse of raw materials contained in battery packs.

Circular economy for electric batteries

Flex-BD offers a significant improvement in manual disassembly processes that often involve tedious and repetitive tasks, as well as contact with potentially harmful materials. In addition, the recovery of battery modules and components is becoming more efficient and sustainable, with a positive impact on the health and safety of operators. On the other hand, in the process of regeneration, the fully automatic treatment of low-charged batteries reduces operating risks, both for the insiders and for the disassembly of the equipment. Unlike the material recovery and recycling process, in which the battery is completely discharged and destroyed, regeneration actually takes place by maintaining a low but active battery charge.

How does Comau

The operation of the Flex-BD system is intuitive and innovative. The batteries are individually fed into the special cell where the Comau NJ high payload industrial robot automatically performs the procedure and changes its tools according to the desired application. In a typical recycling process, for example, the robot undoes the battery cover, changes the two grippers to remove the cover, re-operates the screwdriver to loosen the modules, and then, using the clutch again, moves the parts to a designated storage area. Flex-BD is designed to operate with a highly flexible programming approach based on low code usage, state-of-the-art environment sensing and robot response technologies, while the entire disassembly cycle is determined via CAD. Using low-code programming (low code) It also allows operators to quickly and easily redefine the course, without having to reprogram the robot.

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