Grainger & Worrall installs new £1.5 million flexible manufacturing system
As part of an initiative to further expand its small series automotive machining capabilities, the world’s leading total casting solutions provider, Grainger & Worrall (G&W), has installed a £1.5m turnkey flexible manufacturing system (FMS).
Housing three Mazak VARIAXIS i-600 5-axis machining centres, the system provides a lean and flexible solution for vehicle builds. This enhanced manufacturing capability enables shorter turnaround times and lower inventories, which are required by low volume vehicle manufacturers.
From drilling and milling through deburring, washing, assembly and on to packing, OEMs using this flexible facility can benefit from a multi-tasking machining capability for structural castings. Specifically designed for high-end automotive components, such as body in white structures and powertrain products, the system enables G&W to provide a bespoke offering for small-series OEM projects worldwide.
The lean manufacturing ethos is further supported by adopting an in process state-of-the-art robotic inspection cell using high resolution camera technology with measurement tools for 100% part validation. In addition to this a track and trace system using bar code scanning to give full component traceability from casting to despatch.
Edward Grainger, Director at Grainger & Worrall, comments: “As a pioneering total castings solutions provider, delivering innovative solutions for our global customer base is a key part of our daily operations. Investing in the latest technologies allows us to continually expand our service to give a complete solution for short-run, small series automotive projects”.
“The 20 pallet system allows fixtures to remain set, so that feeding the three i-600 5-axis machining centres is both extremely efficient and repeatable. This solution offers good flexibility to cater for changing demands whilst giving total process control, good levels of reliability and high part accuracy”.
“The FMS minimises labour requirements which with planned shift rotation and smooth handovers increases the overall efficiency of the facility.”
The commissioning of Grainger & Worrall’s new flexible manufacturing system is part of an ongoing investment programme for the Bridgnorth-based casting technology business. As well as investing further in real-time X-ray and non-destructive test (NDT) capability, G&W is also expanding its research and development laboratory facility to offer product support, investigation and consultation services.
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.