Connectivity in manufacturing: how can it be improved?
Business Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Wednesday a broadband review to address the problem of low connectivity in UK manufacturing and improve its prospects in the 'Industry 4.0' paradigm. The review is intended to address the rising costs and unavailability of connectivity in UK manufacturing and pave the way for better and easier adoption of automation technology.
Around half of UK manufacturers currently use connectivity for ERP and cloud purposes. Automation software and technology depend on reliable and uninterrupted connectivity and broadband access.
Antony Bourne, Global Sales Director at IFS, highlighted the importance of this review as a stepping-stone for UK manufacturing:
“The broadband review promised by the government is a step in the right direction. With advances in automation technology soaring globally, UK manufacturers should not only be adapting but should lead the way. They have already reaped the benefits of automation software which makes businesses leaner, products more targeted and supply chains more visible and controlled.
“However, unaffordable and unreliable broadband access prevents UK manufacturers from realising the full benefits of automation.
“Only a fifth of companies believe that the UK is at the forefront of internet connectivity, according to a recent report by industry body EEF. It is good to see that government is trying to change that. The same report states that two in three companies are aiming to invest more in internet connected capital – it would be a shame if their internet connection prevented them from doing so.”
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.