Expansions: Ford to set up $100 mn battery centre; Amcor to build innovation centres in Belgium, China

Ford to set up $100 mn battery centre

US vehicle maker Ford Motor Co. has selected the location of Romulus as its home of its new global battery centre called Ford Ion Park. The facility will help the automaker accelerate R&D of battery and battery cell technology, including future battery manufacturing.

Ford will refurbish an existing 270,000-sq-ft facility to house up to 200 engineers and include pilot-scale equipment for electrode, cell and array design, and manufacturing engineering and innovation.

The lab will use technology to pilot new manufacturing techniques that will allow Ford to research and quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials as part of its plan to vertically integrates battery cells and batteries.

A new collaborative learning lab opening next year, Ford Ion Park represents US$100 million of Ford’s US$185 million investment in developing, testing, and building vehicle battery cells and cell arrays. It is part of the company’s US$30 billion investment in electrification by 2025 and a renewed commitment to making Michigan a centre piece of its focus on EVs.

“Ford already is delivering on our plan to lead the electric revolution with strong new vehicles including Mustang Mach-E, 2022 E-Transit available late 2021, and the 2022 F-150 Lightning available in spring next year,” says Anand Sankaran, Director of Ford Ion Park.

In 2010, Ford committed to making Michigan its centre for electric vehicles and chose the lab’s Romulus location. The company has committed to assemble its all-new, all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning, with foreign and domestic parts, at the rouge Electric Vehicle Centre in Dearborn, adding 500 direct jobs.

From mines to recycling, the Ford Ion Park team is working with experts across the company, including experts at Ford’s previously announced Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory, Ford Customer Service Division, plus key suppliers and partners.

Amcor to build innovation centres in Belgium, China

Meanwhile in other news, packaging giant Amcor plans to build two new innovation centres in Ghent, Belgium, and Jiangyin, China, by mid-2022, with full build-out over the next two years. The total investment is expected to be approximately US$35 million.

The new centres expand the global reach of Amcor’s innovation network, which currently includes flagship sites such as Neenah, Wisconsin, and Manchester, Michigan, in the US, as well as smaller sites around the world. The broader network will allow customers globally to tap into the company’s material science expertise and packaging development capabilities.

“Our innovation centres have already become trusted destinations for some of the world’s biggest brands as they work to improve both the sustainability of their products and the overall consumer experience,” said Peter Konieczny, Chief Commercial Officer for Amcor. “We’re excited to expand our global innovation network and remain the growth partner of choice for customers across the world.”

The centres will include differentiating features that are in high demand from customers:

  • Immersive customer experience facilities to generate consumer insights, run co-creation sessions and conduct rapid prototyping.

  • Advanced analytical and material science labs.

  • Dedicated pilot manufacturing equipment.

  • Packaging machinery that replicates customer operations to run trials without disruption to customer production.

  • The latest packaging recycling and composting know-how across multiple materials.

Amcor says it dedicates more than US$100 million annually to its R&D activities. The company was the first packaging solutions provider pledging to develop all its products to be recyclable or reusable by 2025 and is on track to meet that commitment.


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