Having proven its robotic assembly capabilities, REE Automotive is bringing its highly-automated integration centre manufacturing approach to the West Midlands where it will focus initially on the P7 electric platform for commercial vehicles that include walk-in delivery vans, buses, and recreational vehicles.
These vehicles will have more volume for passengers and freight thanks to REEcorner technology that incorporates steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control into a single unit positioned between the chassis and the wheel, allowing REE to build fully-flat EV platforms.
Peter Dow, REE VP of engineering, said Coventry will have a capacity of 40,000 REE corners, or 10,000 vehicle sets, this year and that Coventry will serve as the blueprint for all future Integration Centres globally. This includes REE’s North American Integration Center in Austin, Texas, which is expected to double global capacity to 20,000 vehicle sets in 2023.
Dow said: “The whole ethos for REE is about modularity and flexibility. Because we know we know the footprint [and] we know the process, we can pick and place that integration center right next to our customers.
“If we have a particular customer in a particular region that we know we've got a volume for it's a low investment and quick application to put that [Integration Centre] in.”
To achieve its target volume in Coventry, Israel-headquartered REE has partnered with companies including Rockwell Automation and Expert Technologies for robotics and automated assembly, with the first assembly line expected to become operational in the second half of 2022.
REE said it is implementing line-side controls from Rockwell Automation and is also adopting Plex Manufacturing Execution System (MES), a cloud-based capability that enables scalable manufacturing locally and across global Integration Centres.
Dow added that a prototype build facility will be co-located with the Integration Centre that will include a pilot line with some of the assembly stations already present in the Integration Centre.
“Even as we’re building first engineering prototypes we can understand how they will go down the line,” he said.