The Smart Connected Factory Of The Future, Starting With A Little Jellyroll

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A massive technology transformation is taking place around us, including in manufacturing. The fusion of humans and science, including IT and OT, consistently reveals improvement in cost, throughput, quality, safety, and revenue growth through the deployment of smart connected factory technology.

Capabilities in industrial internet of things (IIoT) includes cloud and edge computing, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, vision systems, and augmented and virtual reality systems, among others. They are offering leaders a broad range of choices and opportunities with respect to smart factory transformations, both in terms of which technologies to use and how to deploy them.

The major objective of IIoT is to achieve high operational efficiency, increased productivity, and better management of industrial assets and processes. That equation of success is the objective of a new collaboration.

Rockwell Automation, Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, will begin teaming with Cadenza Innovation, the award-winning provider of safe, low cost, and energy-dense lithium-ion-based storage solutions. The association is designed to create a cloud-based, distributed, energy storage monitoring system, a full manufacturing execution system, and controls automation for a smart connected factory of the future.

New Paradigms Produce the Smart Connected Factory

“The transition to cleaner forms of energy to combat climate change is well underway,” says Christina Lampe-Önnerud, chief executive officer, Cadenza Innovation. “Driven by the global adoption of EVs, utility grid storage, and dozens of other uses, there’s unprecedented demand for rechargeable batteries.” Lithium-ion batteries are the only commercially viable, readily available solution to address this need, Lampe-Önnerud argues, adding that the world requires safer, better performing, and lower cost versions.

So Cadenza Innovation has forged a new relationship with Rockwell Automation, which, she says, “enables our companies to help address this global demand, doing so with an emphasis on sustainability.”

Rockwell Automation tries to address digital imperatives by helping companies lay the foundation for comprehensive, iterative strategies that continually drive rapid value from technology investments. They offer inroads into digital transformations, with opportunities for a company to discover how an industry can increase speed to market and outperform existing industry standards.

That intersection of digital forces with practical outcomes is where Cadenza Innovation comes in. Cadenza’s supercell technology provides a holistic solution for the cell, module, and pack/rack, as its cell design combines properties from wound jelly rolls and large prismatic cells. It allows for safe, reliable, high energy density solutions at low cost for EV, PHEV, energy storage, telecom, and other specialty markets.

Lampe-Önnerud explains the Cadenza Innovation approach to li-ion supercell technology.

“The Cadenza team took a pragmatic yet innovative path through the development of the Cadenza supercell, which is delivering one way to fully realize the promise of lithium-ion technology – high energy density at low cost and high reliability,” Lampe-Önnerud, a Swedish inorganic chemist and battery innovator, stated. “Safety, which has been traditionally constructed around the battery, is engineered directly into the Cadenza supercell.”

The Rockwell/Cadenza Collaboration

This collaboration across sectors is very interesting. During 2022, the companies intend to work together to develop a customer cloud portal to manage deployed distributed energy resources, an end-to-end battery manufacturing execution system (MES), and equipment automation to support the expansion of Cadenza Innovation’s battery manufacturing in the US and abroad.

Mutual goal: To define a strategic relationship including a shared goal of building the industry’s highest performance battery cell production lines.

Project: Create a full digital thread that feeds information from business systems to the factory floor and subsequently out to the field-deployed energy storage systems to ‘close the loop’ by feeding data from the field back into Cadenza Innovation’s connected operations.

End result: Ensure peak performance of customer systems.

Cadenza Innovation’s commitment: Working with Rockwell Automation will allow the company to bring its battery technology to customers more rapidly.

Rockwell Automation’s commitment: Drawing upon the emerging sustainable battery sector to incorporate new energy technologies and customers and enable new economy manufacturing.

What does Cadenza do? Combining superior energy density and low-cost with industry-leading safety, Cadenza Innovation’s patented and UL-registered supercell battery architecture stops propagation during thermal runaway. Addressing the needs of the utility, commercial/industrial, transportation and prosumer markets, Cadenza Innovation’s platform-based ecosystem fuels rapid product deployment in space-efficient configurations. The supercell has passed stringent safety testing by the Department of Defense.

What does Rockwell Automation do? A global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation, Rockwell Automation connects the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to incrase productivity and sustainability. Their signature project is The Connected Enterprise, with objectives to “bring life across industrial enterprises.”

Automation Fair 2021 Preview: Don’t miss a Vuforia augmented reality (AR) experience powered by Rockwell Automation and Cadenza Innovation’s smart battery cell manufacturing at the Automation Fair. It’s a complimentary event, whether you attend in-person or virtually, but registration is required.

The “Unprecedented Time” of Massive Technology Transformation

Tom O’Reilly, vice president of sustainability, Rockwell Automation, commented on the new collaboration with Cadenza Innovation. Intended to build high performance battery cell production in conjunction with Rockwell Automation’s global industry expertise in manufacturing and sustainability, “Cadenza Innovation’s field-proven operational and mass production expertise in the battery market” aligns with Rockwell Automation’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, he said.

Reilly conducted an interview at the Automation Fair in Houston, Texas with Lampe-Önnerud. The Cadenza CEO indicated she was “thrilled to be in a position to use global supply chains” to use small electric devices. The “jellyrolls” are situated in a larger package, an envelope, that separates cells yet puts them very close together. Set in an aluminum cup that serves as a cold finger as it’s welded to the bottom of the plate of the big cell, they’re tightly packed to allow them to work together most efficiently. “High performance” is key to the configuration, which inhibits fires, thermal runaways, or explosions.

“We sit in an unprecedented time,” Lampe-Önnerud expressed. As batteries are becoming one of the central building blocks of renewable energy, the lithium-ion family has much potential. Cadenza hopes to work with Rockwell Automation, to use lithium-ion to standardize performance on multiple ways to format “using this idea of small cells.”

“We live in a massive technology transformation era,” Lampe-Önnerud noted. “Crash absorption thought” widens the perspective. The vision of “Lego blocks” of batteries, the Cadenza CEO says, “disrupts and democratizes energy.” Having the metrics and data will allow individuals  the capability to affect and engage in renewable energy. It’s easy “to recycle, to reuse.”

Adding a team of “market shapers” to the smart connected factory vision will help to solve “intractable” problems, doing interesting things with manufacturing and software. They will be able to, together, create better yields and cost positions, and, “done right,” she added, “we will shape a sustainable future.”

smart connected factory

Images courtesy of Cadenza

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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