Semi-automated production begins today in Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery storage systems, located in Wittenberg, Germany. Innovations in Tesvolt’s production process have enabled extremely flexible and efficient series manufacturing of its lithium-ion storage systems for industry and commerce. Production in the new factory is subject to stringent safety precautions. Additional measures are being taken to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.

On a production area of 12,000 m2 Tesvolt manufactures battery storage systems in various size categories with storage capacities ranging from 9.6 kWh into the megawatt range. Its new production line will allow the company to produce storage systems with a total capacity of up to one megawatt hour (MWh) every day and 255 MWh each year. The factory is designed so that the production capacity can be expanded to as much as one gigawatt. Tesvolt will be gradually adding capacity to account for the current increase in demand, seeing as its order volume has almost tripled since the same quarter last year.

One of the most important innovations in the new production process is semi-automated full-cycling. Every battery module is fully charged and discharged and checked for anomalies in terms of temperature, voltage and internal resistance. After this step, fully automated end-of-line inspection ensures the highest possible quality. Every battery cell is checked and modules that do not meet high performance standards are automatically removed from the process.

Rising demand

“The coronavirus crisis is a major concern for us as a manufacturer as well as on a human level. We’re very grateful that we were able to close the first quarter with strong turnover figures”, says Daniel Hannemann, Managing Director and co-founder of Tesvolt. Demand has spiked in particular for storage systems with an emergency power function as well as for off-grid storage, according to Hannemann. “We don’t know how demand will change in light of the coronavirus crisis. We want to work closely with our customers to overcome these new challenges in a spirit of solidarity, creativity, flexibility and ingenuity.”

Production staff working in isolation

“When it comes to COVID-19, our employees’ safety is of course our top priority. Three weeks ago we asked all staff who can do so to work from home — including production planning staff. In production itself, meanwhile, employees are still at work but isolated from one another”, says Simon Schandert, Director of Engineering and co-founder of Tesvolt. “We’re lucky that production is continuing at our battery cell supplier Samsung SDI in Korea.”

Roadshow and training sessions via webinar

“We are taking COVID-19 very seriously. Following the outbreak of the epidemic, we decided to switch our European roadshow over to a webinar format. We were unsure whether a roadshow could work without face-to-face contact, but it’s proven to be a success. Lots of registrations came in within a very short period of time and the webinar participants have given us positive feedback”, says Thomas Franken, who is responsible for international marketing at Tesvolt. Tesvolt set up its own recording studio for the webinars. Its training sessions are now also being held online.

“Our staff put in some night shifts to quickly change everything over to an online format. We can only overcome this crisis by working together”, says Hannemann.