GM Introduces Google Glass to the Factory Floor
As part of its research into how wearable information technology could aid productivity in its auto factories, General Motors is test-driving Google Glass.
GM has three pairs of the high-tech glasses that it has been testing since late last year at its Orion Assembly plant and the Warren Technical Center, both in Michigan, as well as at IT operations throughout Detroit.
“We’re really just experimenting, trying to find different uses for it,” Cathy Clegg, GM’s North America manufacturing president, said today at an industry conference in Traverse City.
Google Glass is a headset that displays information on a tiny screen just above the wearer’s right eye. Through voice commands, the wearer can access the Internet, take photos and videos and perform various tasks without the use of their hands. Currently, the device costs about $1,500.
“Right out of the box, we found Google Glass to help in training,” said Tony Howell, global and GM North America non-portfolio project manager. “Instead of having people sitting in a conference room learning a process, they can do it all there on the line.”
General Motors has also been experimenting with the device’s photo and video capabilities. Workers can take pictures of parts or issues they encounter in the plant and easily send the images to engineers for review.
Howell said that so far, about a dozen workers have used Google Glass in the assembly plant. The technology could decrease assembly time, but workers would have to overcome other challenges associated with wearing the device, such as adhering them to bulky safety glasses throughout the factory, not the sleekly shaped, lighter frames often modeled in advertisements for Google Glass.
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.