SFA succeeded in winning an order for Samsung SDI battery equipment. The target is logistics and automation equipment. Following SK Innovation’s subsidiary, SK I Technology (SKIET), where it delivered a lithium-ion battery separator production equipment, it has secured a next large-scale customer.
The target is the Hungarian Göd factory. It is expected that the equipment can be transferred to the local area as early as this year. This is the first time for the company to supply battery equipment to Samsung SDI. The specific contract size is not known. Considering that the Hungarian plant will continue to invest until 2030, it is expected to generate tens of billions of dollars in sales every year.
Both companies are reportedly focused on building a’fully automated’ production line to increase battery productivity. Close cooperation has been achieved from the R&D stage. An industry insider said, “Samsung SDI has established a pilot production line mother fab for complete automation at its Cheonan plant since 2017.”
Currently, the number of operators (production staff) working on one battery production line of Samsung SDI is around 100. Distributed work in electrode, assembly, and post-process. Manpower is concentrated in the process of transferring the battery material made in the electrode process to the assembly process and putting it into the equipment.
Another industry insider explained that “transporting battery materials and equipment settings that are put into the assembly process requires manpower,” “To reduce the number of operators and improve productivity, automation of this part is essential.”
SFA can supply automation solutions for all processes, from mixing of battery materials to assembly and activation (formation) for battery cell production. Samsung SDI is expected to use artificial intelligence (AI)-applied self-driving unmanned vehicles (AGVs), smart conveyors, and smart warehouse systems (ASRS) that can increase the efficiency of post-processing.
Along with battery logistics and automation equipment, the assembly process equipment business is also expected to gain momentum. It has completed the development of assembly process equipment such as Stacking and Degassing. It has also decided to enter the electrode process equipment business, a pre-process in front of the assembly process. In fact, most of the battery production equipment can be supplied on ‘turnkey’ basis. The battery equipment business has gained momentum for SFA after successfully supplying’Oil Extractor’, an equipment for separator production to SK IE Technology.
SFA’s battery equipment business sales in the first half of this year were KRW 69.7 billion and the order backlog was KRW 1427 billion. The order backlog is expected to increase further from the end of the year when Samsung SDI’s battery equipment supply begins in earnest. Sales of more than 200 billion won can be seen only in the battery business next year.