Development of a modular and scalable traction battery system for special vehicles with production data acquisition and lifelong component tracking

Project Overview

In the research project ModE-SoFa (Modular scalable battery housing for the electrification of special vehicles), the project partners are developing a modular and scalable traction battery system for special vehicles.

For special vehicles, the vehicle-specific space restrictions pose a challenge for battery housings. So far, welded aluminum constructions have been used for this purpose. However, these are very complex and expensive to manufacture and also have a relatively high weight.

ModE-SoFa is developing a modular lightweight construction approach, where the spatial situation can be flexibly considered at the module level and at the housing level. The housing is made from pultruded panels with a thermoplastic matrix. These panels can be welded and functionalized, forming the load-bearing structure.

For this purpose, a process based on reactive pultrusion with a thermoplastic matrix for the production of thin-walled, wide profiles (panels) is further developed at Fraunhofer ICT. The panels, based on polyamide 6, are used as housing walls for the traction batteries. The addition of flame retardants increases the safety of the battery housing.

In this way, lightweight and flexibly adaptable battery housings are intended to be created, which can become part of the series production of electric special vehicles.

Specifically, the construction of a fire truck by the company Magirus in Ulm is being electrified. GreenIng develops the necessary battery technology and electronics for this purpose. CompriseTec, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT), and the Institute of Plastics Engineering (IKT) at the University of Stuttgart are jointly working on the development of the modular battery housing made from thermoplastic pultrusion profiles. Selfbits contributes a comprehensive concept for tracking raw materials, panels, assemblies, and the final overall battery system.

Demonstrationsfahrzeug für das Projekt ModE-SoFa - ein Feuerwehrauto der Marke Magirus.
Demonstration vehicle - © Magirus

Project Duration

September 2022 – August 2025


Project Objective & Approach

The aim of the project is to develop a modular and scalable battery system for special vehicles. The requirements profile for traction battery systems for this vehicle class differs significantly from that for conventional passenger cars. The lower production volumes per type of special vehicle preclude the use of investment-intensive production lines for the specialized production of a battery system. Currently, welded aluminum constructions are used for the battery housing according to the vehicle-specific space restrictions. On the one hand, these housings are very complex to manufacture (many individual parts need to be welded), making them expensive. On the other hand, these structures have a relatively high weight and are only minimally recyclable.

ModE-SoFa focuses on the development and validation of a modular lightweight construction approach, allowing the spatial situation to be flexibly considered both at the module level and at the housing level through the use of standardized elements.

The contribution of Selfbits to the project

In the sub-project of production data acquisition and analysis, Selfbits equips the manufacturing and production methods developed within ModE-SoFa with comprehensive process data acquisition for tracking panels. Pultruded components are intended to be clearly identified, linked with process data and raw materials, and ultimately tracked throughout the entire production process until the fully welded and assembled battery system is completed.

The aim is to develop a Track & Trace concept for tracing all raw materials, semi-finished products, and finished parts in production and assembly throughout the entire value chain to the end product. By linking Track & Trace data with process data in production, the pultrusion process is intended to be efficiently evaluated and improved. Additionally, the end customer should be able to access a digital product passport as a dataset, summarizing the components, materials, chemical substances, as well as information regarding repairability, spare parts, or proper disposal for a product.

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