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Battery Manufacturing Process

Optimizing battery manufacturing with Totally Integrated Automation

The manufacture of electrodes, cells and modules/packs for large-format power batteries is still in its infancy. One thing, however, is already perfectly clear: the battery manufacturing operation needs to become faster and less expensive if lithium-ion energy storage technology is to establish itself successfully in the target markets. The sensitive chemistry of the cells means that these cost and time savings absolutely cannot come at the expense of quality, which needs to remain very high. The solution, therefore, lies in fully automating and integrating production lines.

The automation portfolio needs to provide comprehensive support for the development process, from the pilot system to in-line integration. Totally Integrated Automation from Siemens makes it possible to optimize all processes throughout the production line and across the entire lifecycle of the plant. Uniform data management, engineering and communication standards ensure that all production steps, from electrode manufacturing to cell assembly to pack mounting and final quality tests, are optimally coordinated.

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1 Mixer 2 Coating 3 Compressing 4 Drying 5 Slitter/Puncher 6 Assembly 7 Dry Room 8 Formation/Aging 9 Grading 10 Packing
1: Mixer
  • Mixing of the electrode material:
    Main share anode: Carbon
    Main share cathode: Lithium metal oxide with conductive binding agent

  • Challenge: No dissolution or breakup of particles

  • Target: Distribution of constituents with maximum homogeneity

2: Coating
  • Coating of the substrate:
    Anode: Copper
    Cathode: Aluminum

  • Challenge: Tolerance for coating thickness deviations from 1 to 2 µm

  • Target: Homogenous coating thickness from 150 to 300 µm

3: Compressing
  • Drying of the solvent in the drying tunnel (in steps up to 150°C); minimization of porosity by means of compression

  • Challenge: Cracking of the material surface

  • Target: Homogenous, highly precise material properties

4: Drying
  • Optional: Drying of the electrode material

  • Drying chamber with air humidity of approx. 0.5%

  • Target: Reduction of residual humidity

5: Slitter/Puncher
  • Film cutting by means of highly precise cutting / punching / laser tools

  • Challenge: Avoidance of burr formation, fraying of edges or material particles on the surface

6: Assembly
  • Stacking of cells; integration in housing, contacting of electrodes; partial sealing of housing

  • Challenge: Positioning accuracy of ~ 0.1 mm

  • Target: Stacking process with approx. 80 layers per cell at maximum speed

7: Filling
  • Evacuation, electrolyte filling, sealing and cleaning of the cell in the dry room

  • Challenge: Toxic reaction with air humidity! Varying absorptivity, blistering

  • Target: Rapid and homogeneous filling of the cell

8: Formation/ageing
  • Activation by means of charging / discharging routines with gradually increasing voltage
    storage for 2 to 4 weeks

  • Challenge: High time and cost expenditures, increased risk of fire

  • Target: Assurance of operability; preparation for categorization

9: Grading
  • Categorization by means of discharge, resistance and capacitance measuring

  • Challenge: Approx. 5% deviation between grades

  • Target: Identical cell characteristics in battery packs

10: Packaging
  • Sorting of cells by grades

  • Challenge: Hazardous substance specifications for lithium cells; risk of fire in case of cell damage

  • Relevance of transport costs for plant location decision