How can Battery industry benefit from Industry 4.0 with smart process control analytical solutions?

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. At the same time the price of battery materials and cell are having a continuous free fall, pushing the manufacturers to innovate at every manufacturing step to minimize the waste and maintain 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 online solutions can significantly address these challenges. Empowering smarter factory processes, Malvern Panalytical offers a suite of online process control tools that span the entire battery manufacturing value chain,

  • Particle size analysis in precursor and electrode materials production.
  • Elemental composition analysis of liquid precursor materials (in production and recycling)
  • Elemental composition of electrode coatings
  • Orientation index of graphite coated electrode.

Insitec: Online particle size analyzer for battery precursors and electrode materials

Battery electrode materials manufactures mostly use laboratory-based Mastersizer 3000 to analyze the particle size in precursor and finished electrode materials. With Insitec, they can measure it online giving them a real-time feedback whether the particle size is within the spec take corrective action when the process drifts off-spec. Engineered to withstand the rigors of the process environment, Insitec particle size analyzers use laser diffraction technology to measure particles in the size range 0.1 to 1000 µm in emulsions, suspensions, slurries, and dry dispersion. Online particle size analysis with Insitec can be used to monitor and control the following process stages,

  • Nucleation and evolution of particles in the reactor tank to produce NCM hydroxide precursor,
  • Sieving/grinding of Li precursors (LiOH, LiCO3),
  • Control of the classifier mill to achieve the right particle size distribution of cathode and anode materials.

Epsilon Xflow: online elemental composition analysis of liquid precursors

Cathode active materials are usually produced via co-precipitation from a solution containing metal sulphates (Ni, Co and Mn sulphate for NCM based active material). On-line analysis of the elemental composition of the liquid precursor with the Epsilon Xflow enables fast and accurate control of the chemical composition of the starting material. The Epsilon Xflow provides real-time data insights, allowing you to manage your production processes more efficiently and reduce operational costs with simultaneous multi-element liquid precursor analysis in battery CAM manufacturing and battery recycling.

Epsilon Xline: in-line elemental composition analysis of electrode coatings

By combining our advanced Epsilon 4 technology with in-line functionality, this tool offers real-time material monitoring and up-to-the-minute process control for both the ultrasonic spray coating and roll-to-roll coating processes,

  • Continuous monitoring of roll-to-roll (R2R) coating processes: real-time analyses eliminate the need for sampling and associated disruptions of the coating process.
  • Precise measurement: a patented robotic arm with an ultra-fast Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) provides optimal distance control over the production line for accurate measurements at high count rates.
  • Seamless integration into production process: Epsilon Xline supports standard communication protocols, facilitating its adoption and integration into existing production setups.

Listen to our Webinar for more details about how online particle size analysis can help optimize precursor and electrode materials production in wet and dry states. The webinar will also cover online elemental composition analysis solutions to analyze liquid precursors during production and recycling, and real-time analysis of electrode coatings for elemental inhomogeneity mapping.

Download out online solutions brochure to learn about all the online analytical solutions that we offer for battery manufacturing and recycling.