Smart Machines & Factories
Fully integrated Smart Connected Assembly solution
Published:  18 December, 2019

Atlas Copco has designed and installed a fully integrated Smart Connected Assembly solution at leading eTruck manufacturer, Tevva Motors, for error-proof battery pack production. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Tevva, being both a developer and manufacturer of eTrucks, eTruck technologies and a bespoke battery pack and battery management system, has highlighted that as safety-critical components, batteries demand a robust and error-free assembly process that is fully traceable.

The company’s precision engineering approach to the development and manufacture of these components belies its relatively humble operation and is more akin to that of a major OEM. Demonstrating the viability, safety, reliability and durability of every electric commercial vehicle and technology that leaves Tevva HQ, the company’s batteries meet the stringent requirements for the safety standard UNECE Reg 100 Rev2 Part 2.

To support this objective, Tevva called on Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions to review the company’s existing battery assembly process and identify areas where enhancements could be implemented in line with Tevva’s philosophy of continuous improvement to deliver high quality solutions for its expanding customer base.

Tevva’s operations director, Richard Lidstone-Scott, commented: “Tevva’s business model and design, manufacture and precision engineering ethos is mirrored by Atlas Copco’s approach and their Smart Connected Assembly ethos which is particularly important to us. Total quality and error-proofing are crucial to us in areas such as battery pack assembly where Atlas Copco has taken a key role in developing an assembly solution that helps us to achieve these goals.”

Working in close collaboration with Tevva, Atlas Copco’s engineers identified various potential quality issues due to the use of hand tools with limited calibration for the manual application of fasteners in the battery assembly process. Operator guidance to ensure error-proof production and quality assurance were also found to be areas that could be enhanced and improved.

To address this, Atlas Copco designed and installed a fully integrated Smart Connected Assembly solution for the Tevva’s battery production based around two Stations each equipped with a corded Tensor electric assembly tool and positioning system with an additional cordless tool both connected to a Power Focus 6000 controller using Virtual Stations for each tool. These are supported by Atlas Copco’s Scaleable Quality Solution (SQS) error-proofing software which provides full operator guidance throughout the battery production process to ensure error-proof assembly and process reliability by eliminating oversight.

Tevva’s power production supervisor, Matt Keeling, added: “From the outset, Atlas Copco helped us to resolve quality issues in the battery assembly process. This resulted in the legacy manual fastening process being replaced with a fully integrated Atlas Copco smart tooling solution with two SQS workstations.”

Based on the success of the battery assembly solution, Tevva is now investigating further areas within the eTruck production process where Atlas Copco’s assembly technology and expertise can add further value.

Tevva’s engineering technician for Power Production, James Evenden, concludes: “There are many advantages to the Atlas Copco tooling system. In particular, the amount of detail that we can incorporate when integrating the Atlas Copco tooling, such as operator guidance and traceability throughout manufacture.”

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Tevva Motors

Chelmsford-based Tevva Motors is a leading innovator in eTruck technology which enables fleet operators to autonomously switch their urban delivery vehicles from diesel to electric to meet the requirements for ultra-low emission zones.

Tevva focuses solely on the medium duty commercial vehicle sector (7.5t to 14t range) with a view to tackling the urban distribution industry, which is in most urgent need of more environmentally sensitive solutions. As such, Tevva’s eTruck technologies are at the forefront of the now inevitable electrification of the sector, whereas the economics, timescale and ambition of other companies is still unclear.

Tevva Motors Ltd was established in September 2013, by Israeli entrepreneur Asher Bennett. A former Israeli Navy submarine officer, Bennett realised that the problems he grappled with on the diesel-electric hybrid subs mirrored the issues suffered by the medium duty, urban distribution industry. Range, payload and cost efficiency are the same challenges in both sectors, where safety, reliability and durability of the product are also of paramount importance.



Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions

Focused on delivering a fully integrated customer experience, encompassing multiple joining technologies and support services with a particular focus on efficiency improvements and cost reduction in automotive manufacturing, Atlas Copco has merged its Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions business areas into a single entity.

The restructured business unit, Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions, is headed up by general manager, James McAllister, who has been appointed to the role from managing the Industrial Assembly Solutions division.

With three-quarters of the newly merged division’s annual revenue aligned to supporting UK vehicle production, providing commonality across all its joining technologies, for the benefit of customers, made sound commercial sense, according to McAllister: “Ongoing uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the steadily increasing advance of vehicle electrification have created a number of challenges for manufacturers, as regards complexity of assembly and managing profitability.

“By bringing all the Atlas Copco advanced joining technologies together we can enhance the customer experience, improve efficiency and mitigate risk, whilst helping them to reduce production costs. Our expertise in smart tooling and data driven services, delivered through our Smart Connected Assembly approach, has already shown proven results in greater productivity and lower assembly line errors with the assurance of full traceability throughout the process, all of which has a positive impact on the bottom line.”

Atlas Copco Tools and Industrial Assembly Solutions covers every aspect of assembly, including tightening solutions, adhesive dispensing, self-pierce riveting and flow drill fastening, as well as battery joining, sound dampening, sealing and quality inspection technology.