Covid-19 safeguarding measures introduced to production process of Swedish battery manufacturer
As the world adjusts to a new normal, there are many business functions that have had to adapt and evolve. This transition can be jarring and, in some cases, have led to a pause in operations. Prior to the global response, Nilar was experiencing a period of expansion. There were new production lines being built. Operational staff was being hired and trained to ramp up production capacity. There was a new design feature being integrated into the battery pack towards a new product launch that would revolutionize the energy storage industry.
When COVID-19 transformed into a pandemic, every country reacted differently. Many imposed home isolation orders to minimize the spread. This affected the livelihood of more than 80% of the global workforce. In Sweden, there was no major shutdown of everyday life, but a restriction was placed on public gatherings of 50 or more people. There was an emphasis on social distance and hygienic practices but no nationwide directives. There were economic crisis packages created through multipartisan agreement within the Swedish government to assist small and medium-sized enterprises.
As with the rest of the energy industry, Nilar continues to adapt to the ever-changing pandemic. Once the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the escalating outbreak as a pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, Nilar moved swiftly to protect employees first. The economic crisis packages offered by the Swedish government were embraced to safeguard employee jobs. This allowed Nilar to supplement payroll expenses without the apprehension regarding loan payback in a struggling industry.
Although there were no nationwide restrictions to enforce, Nilar took a cautious approach. The headquarters in Täby consists of the management, sales and marketing teams. A five-month remote working strategy was implemented for all the staff, reducing the in-office workforce to a single person to ensure performance of payroll and administrative activities. Without the employees present, the office layout was rearranged to increase social distancing. There was hygiene signage placed throughout and sanitizing stations located strategically around the building. A supply of personal protection equipment was made readily available for any employee. At the end of August, the employees were welcomed back to the Täby office, with some still reporting remotely on occasion.
At the office premises in Gävle, there is a collection of different functions for the company, including Environmental Health & Safety, Quality, Purchasing, Logistics, Project Management, Human Resources, and Aftermarket Support. For the most part, all of these groups were also able to transition to a remote working strategy, with minimal tasks being assigned that require in-office attendance. Online conference software was embraced to facilitate meetings and collaboration. As for Täby, the office layout was adjusted to promote social distancing and sanitizing stations were distributed throughout. Employees have been able to return to the office as needed, with Nilar supporting the continuation of remote working.
For production, and R&D in Gävle, a different approach was required. Where possible, the R&D staff worked remotely, minimizing the staff present within the building at any given time. Experiments were reprioritized and restructured to support this change. The production staff was relegated to a reduced schedule to minimize the number of employees present at the same time, especially at shift change. Though the battery factory is primarily automated, measures were implemented to promote social distancing between present production staff. The communal lunchrooms were reorganized to ensure social distancing, with a strict schedule to certify low occupancy. As with the office premises, there were hygiene signs and sanitizing stations placed throughout the production facility. The battery production process already has anti-contamination measures in place to ensure quality control, but the inventory of personal protection equipment was increased as a precaution. All of these changes allowed Nilar to maintain production of the innovative Nilar Hydride® technology and to continue to meet the customers’ needs.
Though this time of uncertainty has led to challenges all over the energy industry, the consensus is that the global energy storage market will rebound and is expected to grow aggressively. Renewable energy sources can only go so far since their supply can be intermittent. Batteries will ultimately be the key to the green transition. Nilar will continue to provide solutions to become the system the energy transition demands.
For information contact:
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Matilda Ekman Vråmo
+46 73 656 43 66
Nilar is the leading manufacturer of advanced Hydride® batteries (NiMH) for energy storage. Our modular, low lifetime cost solutions offer unique safety benefits and are environmentally-friendly, making them ideal for use in private households, commercial properties and industrial plants.
With production based on 100 percent renewable energy at the manufacturing plant in Sweden, Nilar is revolutionizing energy and power supply technology, and is taking automated battery production to the next level.