🔋🦾 Battery Manufacturer Boosts Output With Automation
ESS Inc. of Wilsonville, OR, has developed iron-flow battery systems, the Energy Warehouse and the Energy Center, designed to meet the energy needs of customers ranging from small industrial facilities to large, utility-scale projects. The Energy Warehouse is built inside a standard 40-foot shipping container for easy transport and commissioning. It provides six to 12 hours of storage, with a nominal power of 75 kilowatts (kW), a peak energy capacity of 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and a rated energy capacity of 400 kWh. ESS was selected by Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, to provide an Energy Warehouse for a solar energy system at a gas compression facility. Consumers Energy provides natural gas and electricity to two thirds of Michigan’s 10 million residents.
Initially, ESS assembled products manually. As volumes grew, it implemented a semiautomatic assembly line. Workers manually assembled the stacks of materials that made up the positive and negative electrodes of the battery. Those stacks would then be handed off to robots to ensure that the seal between all the layers is done with great precision. Even on the semiautomatic line, control software is used to reduce idle time and improve utilization of key equipment.