Discover the online process control solutions scaling up battery manufacturing and recycling

The surge in electric vehicles has propelled battery manufacturing to new heights, and this trend is expected to continue. However, large-scale battery manufacturing is complex, requiring accurate, reliable, and automated tools. Cost pressures demand constant innovation to reduce waste and ensure consistent quality. This applies not only to production, but also to battery recycling, which must be profitable despite fluctuating prices for key materials like lithium and nickel.

Industry 4.0 based solutions can significantly address these challenges. Malvern Panalytical offers a suite of online analytical tools that span the entire battery manufacturing value chain, empowering smarter factory processes. join our Webinar to know how online particle size analysis can help optimize precursor and electrode materials production.The webinar will also cover online elemental composition analysis solutions to analyse liquid precursors during production and recycling, and real time analysis of electrode coatings for elemental inhomogeneity mapping.

Measuring PSD online and reporting the data in real-time

For battery manufacturing, the PSD of Cathode and Anode materials is vital to its performance. The power and performance of the final battery, measured in energy and power density, charge, stability and the like, can be linked back to the PSD of these materials, so one could say the power is in the particles. Measurement of PSD is often done by Laser Diffraction (LD) and covered by ISO13320, as an accepted industry technique. LD can be employed in the lab and online, but regardless of the solution there are two major considerations that need to be discussed when implementing its use: sampling and data reporting.

The Insitec, for example, is well suited for robust online LD measurements in battery material processing. Online LD is employed in many types of milling lines across multiple industries and with a properly designed sampling solution the data is representative of the process over time. Whether in R&D or full production, mills do not report their performance, which is to produce a certain PSD of the material being milled. These mills are often expensive and require a high operational cost as well, so why not use the proven technique of LD and take the uncertainty of size reduction, and make it clearly in control.

Data export protocols, such as Ethernet-IP or Modbus TCP/IP, can then enable real-time integration of the PSD data. Process performance of the mill is then clearly displayed with values like Dv10/50/90, so the team is always well informed. Using that data in control logics can further automate the process, driving fines lower, increasing yield, and limiting off-spec or over-sized particles with confidence. Operators then ‘know what they are making while they are making it’ and with that knowledge, process optimization becomes a reality.

Elemental results that can be obtained and interpreted quickly

Elemental analysis is used in the battery value chain to control critical elements such as Nickel, Cobalt and Manganese usage and recovery. Hereby speed and real-time feedback is another core characteristics of analytical solutions that bring value to a manufacturing environment. When any interruption or bottleneck can drastically reduce the entire factory’s product yield to a halt, analytical measurements must be obtained and interpreted quickly enough to match the speed of upstream and downstream manufacturing operations. The technology used for a particular analysis must be selected accordingly.

For example, X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a good choice for elemental analysis in automation, especially to optimize the chemical composition of battery cathode manufacturing. This is because it can very quickly record the fluorescent “blueprints” of the atoms in a sample, it is not destructive and the resulting measurements can also be easily interpreted. The Epsilon Xflow, for example, gives you insight into the essential elements present in liquid precursors as well as in hydrometallurgy recycling operations, including their concentrations.

Also to validate the final coated electrodes, manufacturers can ring the Epsilon XRF technology into a production environment. The Epsilon Xline provides real-time material monitoring and up-to-the-minute process control for electrode coating.

Keep up to date with the latest innovations

The field of analytical instrumentation is a highly dynamic one, with innovations improving this vital part of the battery industry every year. Malvern Panalytical is committed to helping the scientific and industrial community stay updated with the latest developments: as part of this, we’ve organized a webinar in collaboration with Plugvolt on automated process control solutions for battery component manufacturing.

Join our colleagues Michel Zoontjes, EDXRF Product Manager, and Jeff DeNigris, Batteries Business Development Manager, on June 5. Discover more instrumentation and technologies that bring automation to the battery manufacturing and recycling process, and learn more about how these instruments are being developed and implemented in production environments.

Don’t miss out – register to reserve your spot and receive a PDF copy of the presentation after the event.

  • Date June 5th, 2024
  • Time 16:00 – 17:00 CEST