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LG to launch lithium-ion battery cell production at Mich. plant

By: Rhoda Miel

May 6, 2013

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — LG Chem Ltd. will launch lithium-ion battery cell production for the auto industry in July at its new plant in Holland, Mich.

LG expects to have three assembly lines ready once it successfully completes the Production Part Approval Process required within the auto industry for suppliers, LG Chem said in a May 5 press release. It will launch production making cells for Detroit-based General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt.

Original plans for the Holland site called for five assembly lines. LG Chem said it plans on finishing the other two lines by September 2015 as market demand increases for lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid cars.

LG Chem, based in Seoul, is one of two automotive battery suppliers setting up production in Holland. Its competitor Johnson Controls Inc. — based in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wis., also is making the city the base for its North American production.

Lithium-ion batteries use plastics extensively, including the inner layer of each prismatic cell. The Volt's full battery pack uses 37 pounds of plastic, including the cells, frames and structure.

"Our plan is to operate the Michigan plant as a strategic location to meet customer needs, secure future orders and compete aggressively in the [energy storage systems] battery market," said Sain Park, president of LG Chemical Michigan Inc.