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SK On Set to Power Up New Hungarian Battery Factory with Pilot Operation Next Month

SK On, the energy subsidiary of South Korea’s SK Group, is set to initiate a pilot line for its new battery factory in Hungary next month, marking a milestone two years and three months into construction. However, the site is not yet primed for full-scale mass production as power supply infrastructure is still in development.

On the 21st, industry sources revealed that SK On is preparing to launch the pilot line at its Iváncsa plant (SKOH2), which will trial three of its 12 production lines. When fully operational, the plant will have an annual capacity of 30 gigawatt hours (GWh), sufficient to produce batteries for 430,000 high-performance electric vehicles. The pilot will reportedly focus on lines 7, 8, and 9, which are designed for short-width cells (300 mm).

The power substation set to provide electricity to the Iváncsa plant is expected to be completed in November at the earliest. In the meantime, the pilot line is anticipated to rely on a diesel generator for power. This approach is consistent with the plant’s trial phase, where a significant and steady power supply is not yet required.

An industry insider noted that “building infrastructure takes time, especially given that the factory was established in a region previously devoid of an industrial complex, in order to take into account manpower supply and transportation convenience.”

Once power supply issues are resolved later this year, the factory could commence commercial operations in the first half of 2024. However, industry experts opine that it will take considerable time to stabilise the operational rate and yield. This is in part due to the Ivan plant being SK On’s first solo factory with an output exceeding 30GWh.

Approximately 20 equipment and facility providers are supplying to the Iváncsa plant, including Yunseong F&C for the mixing equipment, PNT for the electrode process, Yooil Enertech and Woowon Technology for the notching process, Mplus for the tab welding and packaging process, and SFA for the vision-based battery cell appearance inspection equipment. Hang Kejie in China is handling the PPC and formation (activation) processes.

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