ION Energy, Wamtechnik Battery Partnership

By Battery Power Online Staff

March 27, 2020 | ION Energy yesterday announced a strategic partnership with leading European battery manufacturer Wamtechnik to facilitate the deployment of its prototype—an electric excavator for a leading European construction equipment maker. Wamtechnik is a European leader in power supply systems. The 28-year-old company undertakes the design and production of dedicated rechargeable and non-rechargeable battery packs for industrial applications.

The collaboration aims to address the dearth of sustainable, zero-emission construction machines that could replace the diesel engine to absolution. With Wamtechnik envisaging the design and deployment of a range of compact electric construction equipment that would operate in subzero temperatures (below -20°C), ION Energy emerged as the project’s key enabler. The partnership enables Wamtechnik to license ION’s BMS technology platform.

ION Energy’s technology has utilized a 48V, 456Ah battery pack to power the primary model of the excavator. The battery pack is constructed using 10 parallel modules of a 14S16P cell configuration, to achieve the rated energy capacity. ION Energy deployed its cutting-edge tech platform to overcome the foremost project hurdle, identifying a smart battery management system provider who would enable a highly scalable and reliable Master-Slave architecture for batteries manufactured by Wamtechnik. The battery giants configured a battery pack with variants of different energy capacity that would work on all of them without depending on hardware and software customization.

Impressed by ION Energy’s commitment to building technologies that improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries, adapting to different business models to suit customer requirements, proven BMS capabilities and ION’s cloud analytics platform, Wamtechnik selected ION Energy as the BMS provider for this state-of-the-art project. ION’s integrated battery management solutions and commitment towards customer success along with its technological expertise—in-house hardware and firmware development capabilities, real-time data visualization, and customization—were the determining factors that helped ION emerge as the ideal solution provider to the European battery powerhouse.

To solve the gaping problem of accelerated battery life degradation caused by the extremely cold temperatures as low as -20°C that lead to lithium plating, ION developed and implemented the control of a unique Wamtechnik thermal management system that manages the safe operation of a Li-Ion Battery at temperatures as low as -40 degree C, where an excavator is expected to function. The system verily powers up the heaters using onboard chargers and brings up the battery to an optimum temperature before its activation.

ION enabled Wamtechnik to electrify their customer’s first excavator and continue to design platform solutions for the customer. ION has ensured a minimum business of $1 million for the partner in 2020 that would increase to $15 million in the upcoming years.

To tackle Wamtechnik’s master-slave architecture challenge, ION implemented the daisy chain formation method on the existing FS-LT BMS. This was followed by a transition to the FS-XT BMS, designed for High Voltage battery systems that better suit the need.

FS-XT is suitable for automotive and storage applications. Its premium features include support for insulation monitoring, system interlock monitoring, contactor weld detection and system communication with isolated CAN.  This architecture can manage many smaller battery modules connected in series or parallel. The compact yet robust FS-XT master can connect up to 40 slave modules/combinations. Each Slave unit can monitor from 6 to 18 cells in series. Over 170 user-configurable parameters have fast-tracked the system integration challenges that enabled the reduction of prototyping to production.

Wamtechnik leveraged ION’s AI-powered battery intelligence platform Edison Analytics to visualize, predict and interpret battery data to improve battery life and manage their fleet.

Commenting upon the fruition of the path-breaking collaboration in a press release, Filip Gabryelewicz, Product Manager at Wamtechnik said, “ION has massively assisted our customer to overcome their critical challenge of operating the battery under extreme temperatures. The support and guidance that ION’s team offered to us and our customers throughout the project was invaluable. We have been able to significantly boost our business profitability and are confident about working with more customers to solve pressing battery management problems!”

In the same press release, Akhil Aryan, Co-founder & CEO of ION Energy said, “This collaboration with Wamtechnik has been instrumental in realizing ION’s long term growth and expansion targets and also in ushering emission-free and sustainable electrified automation. The project is furthering ION’s mission of accelerating the Earth’s transition to an all-electric planet.

The strategic alliance will go a long way in transforming the power supply and construction equipment ecosystem. It will revolutionize and redefine hitherto smoke-producing, manual, and inefficient processes. This convergence of ideal business innovators and pioneering technologies is vital for achieving a global sustainable industrial model that utilizes scientific advancement and knowhow to sublimate the impending disasters posed by the deadly climate change and the continual distress primarily induced by ICEs.