Briggs & Stratton is making an additional investment of $6 million in its Advanced Battery Manufacturing facility in Tucker, Georgia.
The company is aiming to improve the safety, efficiency and production capacity of its Vanguard Lithium-Ion Battery Packs through the addition of automated equipment within its manufacturing process.
Opened in 2020, the 78,000-square-foot facility supports a strategic supply agreement with Ingersoll Rand to power Club Car vehicles with Vanguard Lithium-Ion Battery Packs. The Tucker location includes four production lines with the capacity to accommodate future growth as the demand for battery power continues to grow across the off-highway industry.
In response to the growing Vanguard battery portfolio, the Tucker facility is expanding its manufacturing processes to accommodate the production of different packs and configurations. The automated equipment will enable all of the facility’s assembly lines to build the different battery pack models and configurations.
“This significant investment further cements our commitment to bringing the most robust, reliable battery packs to market. The addition of automation to our manufacturing processes will help to streamline and strengthen our production capacity but also further ensure the safety of those working on the assembly line,” said Chris Davison, Marketing Director — Electrification at Briggs & Stratton. “With the addition of strategic automation enhancements, the state-of-the-art Tucker facility will elevate the level of service, support and expertise we are able to provide to our OEM stakeholders as they seek to integrate battery power into their equipment.”
Safety is a top priority for Vanguard, and the addition of automation builds on the company’s commitment to safety — from the start of the development and testing process all the way through to the manufacturing and application of its battery and commercial engine products.
The company believes automation will add an additional layer of safety to the manufacturing process as it helps to address ergonomic strain on operators due to repetitive motion, limit the exposure of operators to sensitive materials, and ensure that material handling requirements are met.
“We’ll be using advanced safety devices, controls and equipment to ensure that we’re not only making a quality product, but also keeping our operators and technicians safe in the process,” said Christopher Bonham, Plant Manager at Briggs & Stratton.
With the addition of automated equipment, Bonham also anticipates improved quality levels and production performance due to the removal of variation throughout the manufacturing process.
“Automation allows us to minimize the occurrence of inevitable human error in assembly. The best way for us to address potential quality and safety issues that could arise from working with sensitive battery cells is to eliminate risk. This is one method of achieving that,” Bonham said. “It also helps us streamline and simplify our processes, improve scheduling, and pivot more quickly to meet customer demand. We will see efficiency improvements between three and ten times.”
Vanguard offers a competitive range of battery power solutions in both fixed (Fi Series) and swappable (Si Series) configurations, including a 1.5kWh power option in the Si Series and 3.5kWh, 3.8kWh, 5kWh, 7kWh and 10kWh power options in the Fi Series (total energy measured using a 0.2C discharge per IEC 61960-3:2017).
As Briggs & Stratton continues to invest in the growth of its electrification offerings, the addition of automated equipment to its manufacturing processes creates opportunities for employees to gain knowledge and training on in-demand technical jobs as the Tucker facility grows other areas of its operations.
“This investment shows Briggs & Stratton’s commitment to electrification as well as to the Tucker facility and our workforce here,” Bonham added. “It’s a significant investment and vote of confidence for the products we’re building. We have a great future ahead as both our team and product lineup continue to grow.”
The new automated equipment will begin operation in early spring 2023.