Schuler, a member of international technology group Andritz, acquired Italian mechanical engineering firm Sovema Group, a 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. Based in Villafranca di Verona, with sites in the United States and China, Sovema supplies equipment for the production of battery cells. The company has built machines for pilot and laboratory projects for battery manufacturers and also supplied automated turnkey plants for the mass production of lead-acid batteries.

“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,” said 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.”

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 United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Hungary.

Göppingen, Germany-based Schuler supplies a range of forging-press lines and is also a leader in the digitalization and networking of forming technology.