Site History: Brownstown Battery Assembly assembles lithium-ion batteries for General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera extended-range electric vehicles. It the first high volume battery assembly plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker, and is a new business enterprise for GM. The battery facility was converted from an empty warehouse to a production-ready battery manufacturing site in just five months. It is part of a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM called GM Subsystems Manufacturing LLC. It opened in summer 2009, after a $43 million investment to manufacture lithium-ion batteries.
The plant includes three primary areas: battery module pre-assembly; final assembly; and battery main assembly line.
- Module pre-assembly - where individual cells are processed and installed into one of three battery modules, which comprise a single battery. An automated, flexible, and rapid pre-assembly system is used to drive accuracy and repeatability in the assembly of the cells. The manufacturing requirement is to process a single cell every two seconds.
- Module final assembly - where final assembly and testing of the three modules required for each battery occurs. Employees perform electrical and other functional testing of the modules, while automated equipment is used to ensure safety. Automated welding equipment will perform hundreds of welds on each battery.
- Battery main line - where the battery receives its final dressing including attachments of hoses, straps and electrical connections. The battery main line utilizes Automated Guided Carts (AGC’s) where a much higher level of operator interface takes place. The main line is also where battery final testing, verification and packaging for shipment occur.