The REVAMP project, which was recently launched, has set out to automate the process of assessing the condition of used vehicle batteries.
The project aims to economically recondition batteries for subsequent use in vehicles or other applications. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) and is led by MAN Truck & Bus, in collaboration with a consortium of nine partners from industry and science.
As the adoption of electromobility continues to rise, there is an expected increase in the number of used batteries in the future. After their initial use in trucks, buses, or vans, there are several options for a second use: reusing them in the same vehicle, repurposing them for other applications, such as stationary buffer storage, or recycling them to recover valuable raw materials. Reprocessing battery components for a second use presents an environmentally friendly and economically viable alternative.
The REVAMP project, officially known as Remanufacturing of variant battery modules with automated assembly and testing processes, aims to achieve this goal. It is part of the BMWK’s funding measure for “Research in Priority Funding for Battery Cell Production” and seeks to increase the utilisation rate of second-use and second-life batteries in Germany. The project is overseen by the project management organisation VDI/VDE-IT.
The core aspect of REVAMP is the assessment of battery condition and the automated dismantling of battery returns, which is a process known as remanufacturing. This process, similar to the remanufacturing of engines or vehicle components, serves as the foundation for further research on reprocessing, reassembly, testing, and reintroduction of batteries into the market.
Several institutions are involved in the REVAMP project, including the Machine Tool Laboratory (WZL) and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA) at RWTH Aachen University, as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (Fraunhofer IPT). The consortium also includes industry partners such as Bertrandt Technikum GmbH, Software AG, IBG Automation GmbH, BE-Power GmbH, Wacker Neuson Produktion GmbH & Co. KG, Weidemann GmbH, and MAN Truck & Bus SE.
One of the challenges faced in the remanufacturing of commercial vehicle batteries is the varying aging states of the batteries when they are returned for assessment. Additionally, the batteries may differ in terms of shape, structure, and manufacturer, adding complexity to the REVAMP project. Therefore, it is crucial to design a flexible remanufacturing system that can accommodate these different states and battery characteristics.
The research project is divided into 11 work packages. These include the development of methods for condition assessment, planning for second-use and second-life applications, and the preparation of battery components at the pack, module, and cell level. Simultaneously, plans will be made for flexible and automated disassembly and reassembly processes, along with the creation of corresponding control components.
Moreover, a digital twin will be developed to simulate the entire battery life cycle. This digital twin will facilitate a life cycle assessment based on key metrics, enabling the evaluation of decisions related to subsequent battery use and tracking the sustainability goals of remanufacturing. The project’s outcomes will be validated through application-oriented tests and demonstrated at the eMobility technical centre at MAN in Nuremberg.