Schuler has acquired the Italian mechanical engineering firm Sovema Group to become a leading systems supplier of battery cell manufacturing solutions for the automotive industry and other sectors. Together with Sovema, Schuler will develop the capabilities needed to equip gigafactories for the mass production of lithium-ion batteries, whose large-scale availability is essential for the success of eco-friendly e-mobility on the road.
According to estimates, the production capacity provided by the annual output of lithium-ion batteries will increase approximately fivefold worldwide by 2030, compared with 2020. One third of the planned capacity is expected to be produced in Europe. In addition to Germany, there are plans to build new gigafactories in Italy, Spain, France, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary.
Based in Villafranca di Verona, Italy, with further sites in the USA and China, Sovema is one of the leading international suppliers of equipment for the production of top-quality battery cells. The company made a name for itself in the automotive sector as well as other industries by building appropriate machines for pilot and laboratory projects, accounting some of the most prominent battery manufacturers worldwide in its customer portfolio. Furthermore, Sovema is the worldwide-only supplier of automated turnkey plants for the mass production of lead-acid batteries. The Sovema Group employs just over 170 people and most recently reported sales of around 50 million euros.
“With Schuler as owner, we can now combine Sovema’s technological expertise with our know-how in the production of complex lines for the – mass manufacturing of parts and components,” states Schuler CEO Domenico Iacovelli. “This gives us the potential to develop Schuler into a turnkey supplier of technology for the core process steps of cell assembly and cell formation for existing or planned gigafactories dedicated to manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells.”
Schuler already offers production lines for the cost-efficient mass manufacturing of both prismatic and cylindrical battery cell housings.
Schuler will be the sole owner of Sovema in the future. Based in Göppingen, Germany, the technology company has systematically expanded its classic product range of highly efficient press lines over the past five years. It is now a leader in the digitalization and networking of forming technology and offers an increasing number of machines in the field of sustainable technologies. In addition to battery case production, this includes lines to produce laminations for electric motors and to manufacture fuel cells and electrolyzers for the hydrogen industry.