NTS CombiMetaal creates module for RGS Development in fastlane-traject
'Uniting competences and a relationship of trust leads to optimal results'
NTS CombiMetaal, part of NTS, recently manufactured a Wafer Outfeed Bin for RGS Development. By adding this new complex module to the production machine, the company makes a big step in increasing its efficiency in the production of E-Magy; a silicon powder that can improve the capacity of lithium ion batteries significantly. The time pressure on the project was high. It was realized in an extremely short turnaround time of 10 weeks. Bert Kraaijveld of RGS and Jeroen Sprankenis of NTS describe this success as a remarkable achievement. What did it take? 'Understanding the technology, setting up a tight process, craftsmanship, multidisciplinarity, clear communication between all parties involved, not to mention a strong mutual trust.'
RGS & NTS CombiMetaal
NTS and RGS Development are old acquaintances. NTS worked on the engineering and construction of the company's production machine over a decade ago. Over the years the relationship deepened further during the development of the technology. Recently, RGS Development once again contacted NTS. This time concerning the creation of a Wafer Outfeed Bin. With the installation of that module, the step from the production of sample batches of a few kilos E-Magy to manufacturing tons per year has been made possible.
Jeroen Sprankenis, New Business Manager of NTS: 'The realization of such a complex module is a challenge that fits NTS CombiMetaal like a glove. It contains sheet metal, complex welding compositions and double-walled parts. In addition, we had to test it according to the specifications of RGS. In the first talk about this project it immediately became clear that the module had to be installed at short notice, during a planned upgrade of the installation. Fast action was called for. NTS CombiMetaal is equipped accordingly. We not only produce small series and one-piece flow, but also have special expertise in fastlane projects, for example the realization of special and urgent projects. Everything is focused on a quick, flexible and cost-effective conversion of a drawing package, an unfinished design, a sketch or even only specifications, in a technically manufacturable product with the right precision, robustness and dimensions. In doing so, our specialists, engineers and the customer work closely together. We unite competences in a relationship of trust. This leads to optimal results.'
First time right
Dirk Baudewijns, Sales Engineer at NTS CombiMetaal, was closely involved in the project for RGS Development. This started with understanding the production process and the function of the new module. 'What does it have to do, what are the conditions regarding temperatures, how is it integrated into the machine, how stiff should the construction of the double wall and ribs be...?
‘A comprehensive understanding of all these things and much more was necessary for translating the initial TPD into a quality product that can be made. We did this together with the engineers of RGS Development. One of the challenges was to achieve the right accuracy. Before you weld components together, for example, you have to ask yourself what a miller needs in the mechanical post-processing to maintain the correct material thickness. This kind of multidisciplinarity - both from the perspective of design and practical manufacturing expertise - is a great force of NTS CombiMetaal. At the same time, of course, we had to do it within the budget. Moreover, there was no second chance to get it done; it had to be first time right. We had twelve weeks to complete the project from start to finish, we did it in ten weeks. And we're very proud of that.'
More about RGS Development & E-Magy
The application of silicon can significantly increase the capacity of lithium ion batteries. However, you have to solve the problem of physical expansion. RGS Development developed a silicon powder with a spongy structure - E-Magy - that overcomes that effect. This allows you to create a robust battery that has up to 40 percent more capacity. The interest of the automotive industry is high. RGS Development is currently working with major battery manufacturers and several well-known car brands in product qualification projects. Given the exponential growth of e-mobility, the question is justified as to what the strategic commitment of RGS is and what that means for the cooperation with NTS.
COO Bert Kraaijveld: 'From 2020, E-Magy will continue as a separate company. We expect that a new production machine is needed in maximal four years. Realizing this requires working together with partners. We select them on capacities, turnaround time and costs. That NTS has everything in-house to create our module was a huge advantage in realizing the first step in scaling up production. When developing and building a new production machine, the complexity and investment is excessively bigger. From a risk management point of view, it makes sense that you want to work with an enterprising highly integrated first tier supplier with the right R&D and manufacturing competencies. NTS is such a company.'