Tech Insights

Digital Twins Accelerate Battery Test and Development

February 15, 2024 by Mike Falter

Comau will develop digital twins and other digitalization strategies to create a next-generation battery testing platform designed to accelerate the testing and verification of fixed and mobile battery systems as part of the FASTEST project.

Comau will implement its digital twin technology to develop a novel battery testing platform. If successful, the platform will reduce the time and cost of battery test and verification for both automotive and fixed battery platforms.


 Battery testing.

Battery testing. Image used courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


The FASTEST project is a multi-nation, cross-disciplinary initiative of the European Union aiming to speed up battery system development while improving battery safety, reliability, and durability.

Comau will use its capabilities in advanced automation processes digitization to help develop a battery test platform that is anticipated to reduce development timelines and costs by as much as 20%. 


FASTEST Battery Project

The current methods used to evaluate new battery systems are lengthy and resource-intensive. Physical testing of battery systems involves expensive specialized equipment and long, repetitive test procedures that extend development timelines and costs.

Modeling batteries in virtual environments has been difficult because of the complexity of battery structure. The process necessitates physical testing of representative units to validate their safety, performance, and reliability.

With FASTEST, a fast-track hybrid testing platform combines virtual and physical testing to reduce battery test times and costs. Digital twins, developed through data-driven modeling, are virtual representations of a battery mimicking its physical characteristics. A battery’s digital twin serves as a structured data representation of the physical battery that can be tested through simulation, reducing the amount of needed physical testing.


Creating Battery Digital Twins

A leader in process automation solutions, Comau’s role within FASTEST will be to lead the project’s digitization strategy, integrating the company’s In.Grid Internet of Things (IoT) solution for developing and analyzing battery digital twin data.

In.Grid IoT is a networking platform that integrates digital capabilities into physical plants, production lines, and equipment using sensors, real-time monitoring, and data analysis. The platform integrates seamlessly with Comau and non-Comau process automation equipment, providing production operators with valuable insights related to predictive maintenance and overall productivity. 


In.Grid IoT for the digital era of manufacturing plants.

In.Grid IoT for the digital era of manufacturing plants. Image used courtesy of Comau


Applied to battery test and development processes, In.Grid’s connected analytics will introduce similar efficiencies and productivity gains related to the resource-intensive battery test and evaluation process.

According to Stefania Ferrero, chief marketing officer at Comau, the company’s digitization technologies will dramatically lower the time and costs for new battery cell and process developments, accelerating innovation with the automotive electric vehicle and adjacent markets.


Strategic Implications for e-Mobility

Comau is a subsidiary of automotive giant Stellantis, whose iconic brands include Chrysler and Fiat. With 50 years of operating experience in process automation, Comau is also involved in a range of other battery initiatives, including the European Battery Alliance (EBA) and the Batteries European Partnership Association (BEPA).


Alpha Romeo, a Stellantis brand.

Alpha Romeo, a Stellantis brand. Image used courtesy of Stellantis

Comau’s work in battery development will have strategic implications for parent Stellantis as the automotive OEM prepares to compete for its share of the growing global EV market.