Precision Environments Provides a Comprehensive Suite of Gigafactory Services
Gigafactories generally follow basic manufacturing principles and production flow. Raw materials flow in and are stored at one end; manufacturing occurs in the middle; and packing, storage, and shipping take place at the opposite end. The main difference is the sheer scale of the facility. These giant facilities present new challenges to the construction industry, requiring a unique approach to planning, design, engineering, scheduling, construction management, and certification.
At Precision Environments, we leverage our 30+ years of controlled environment experience and resources with newly-forged partnerships to successfully collaborate on, innovate in, and construct gigafactory projects. Our Project Management Team will perform the following services:
- Concept Planning & Budgeting
- Design & Engineering
- Construction Management
- Maintenance & Testing
The complex process of electric vehicle (EV) battery production involves multiple stages within a gigafactory’s specialized cleanrooms and dry rooms. Due to the restrictive environmental requirements to produce high quality, high capacity EV batteries, these distinctive rooms are exceptionally large, often with high ceilings, and multiple floors. The energy consumption is exceptionally high because large volumes of air need to be sealed, treated, temperature-controlled, and dried via desiccant dryers.
Moisture control is vital to the EV battery production process due to how reactive lithium, a central element of the EV battery, is with moisture in the air. Desiccant dryers are essential to the battery manufacturing process, but are costly, and have long lead times due to their customization. The increase in EV battery manufacturing has also contributed to the long lead times and subsequent equipment supply shortage for this specialized HVAC equipment.
There are many components to operating an EV production facility that Precision Environments considers during the planning phase. Personnel working in the cleanrooms and dryrooms are moisture sources, though advances in cleanroom personal protective equipment (PPE) and garments help reduce moisture and maintain contamination-free environments. Proper design and integration of doors are essential because doors are major moisture sources in gigafactories. Door choice and installation is a critical part of our planning and design process so the completed gigafactory operates efficiently and smoothly for our client’s unique processes. Typical gigafactories include hundreds of standard doors, many double doors, some larger process roll doors, and some specialized conveyors. Door choice depends on sizes/dimensions, fire rating, and finish.
Structural design elements are critical in Precision Environments’ design process. Structural elements for gigafactories often incorporate large wall panels, stack joints, supplemental steel support, seismic considerations, bracing, hangers, expansion joints, guard rails, and parapets walls. Other gigafactory specialty products include custom ceiling supports. Panel choice is critical based on the overall gigafactory design. Insulate metal panels are manufactured with various fire ratings (1-hour or 2-hour rated are most typical), panel facing finishes, thicknesses, and spans. Specifications for panel types, finishing sealants, and lead times also need to be considered during the design phase.
Construction & Certification
Specific elements in the construction of gigafactories are also critical to project success. Construction protocols, cleaning procedures, and certifications process all need to be incorporated into the design of gigafactory cleanrooms and dryrooms. Penetration plates, frames, sleeves, and sealant that are used to finish penetrations need to be considered. Solid shop drawings become critical for achieving schedule goals during field construction. Confusion on any of these plans can cause delays for crews in the field. Due to the large crew sizes needed to install gigafactories, safety training and quality control management become major factors throughout the entire Precision Environments’ construction management process.
Site logistics and coordination planning are two other essential elements that Precision Environments provides during the construction phase of gigafactory projects. Projects of this scale require significant coordination between multiple contractors working simultaneously to achieve the same goal. Significant coordination and planning are needed throughout the preconstruction phase and BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology. There are many challenges surrounding the handling of such large panels that are used for gigafactories. Special equipment and lifts are required for handling panels that can weigh over 1000lbs each and are over 40 feet long. Often, such large panels need to be installed in difficult locations where lift access is limited. Panels are shipped in large bundles that are moved to the site. Panels often need to be lifted to the second or third levels of gigafactories depending on the design. Precision Environments ensures that site installers receive training from the lift equipment manufacturers of this special vacuum-lift equipment and also provide consultation and coordination with the interior metal panel manufacturers.
As the EV revolution continues, critical gigafactory processes require certified cleanrooms and dry rooms critical to the manufacturing of the final product. Contact the Precision Environments expert team about your upcoming gigafactory project!