Backing Pumps, Turbopumps and more Applications in High Vacuum
Vacuum Products Canada Inc.

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Lithium Ion Battery Manufacturing

A lithium-ion battery (sometimes Li-ion battery or LIB) is a family of rechargeable battery types in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable battery for portable electronics, with one of the best energy densities, no memory effect, and a slow loss of charge when not in use. Beyond consumer electronics, LIBs are also growing in popularity for military, electric vehicle, and aerospace applications.    

                                                 

Specifications and design                                                                                                    

Specific energy density: 150 to 250 Wh/kg (540 to 900 kJ/kg)

Volumetric energy density: 250 to 620 Wh/l (900 to 1900 J/cm)

Specific power density: 300 to 1500 W/kg (@ 20 seconds and 285 Wh/l)

Lithium-ion batteries with a lithium iron phosphate cathode and graphite anode have a nominal open-circuit voltage of 3.2 V and a typical charging voltage of 3.6 V. Lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) oxide cathode with graphite anodes have a 3.7 V nominal voltage with a 4.2 V max charge. The charging procedure is performed at constant voltage with current-limiting circuitry (i.e., charging with constant current until a voltage of 4.2 V is reached in the cell and continuing with a constant voltage applied until the current drops close to zero). Typically, the charge is terminated at 3% of the initial charge current. In the past, lithium-ion batteries could not be fast-charged and needed at least two hours to fully charge. Current generation cells can be fully charged in 45 minutes or less. Some lithium-ion varieties can reach 90% in as little as 10 minutes.

Earlier trials of this technology ran into cost barriers, because the semiconductor industry's vacuum deposition technology cost 2030 times too much. The new process deposits semiconductor-quality films from a solution. The nano structured films grow directly on a substrate and then sequentially on top of each other. The process allows the firm to "spray-paint a cathode, then a separator/electrolyte, then the anode. It can be cut and stacked in various form factors.

Vacuum is Required in Several Steps of the Manufacturing Process

Cathode coating
Filling and vacuum sealing of the units
Battery charging including formation of gas, opening, degassing, and resealing of the pack in a vacuum

Vacuum Filling Systems for Lithium Ion Batteries

An electrolyte vacuum filling machine for lithium ion batteries features a compact rotary dial table design and incorporates many automatic functions and features required to process high capacity Li-ion cells.  The patented pre-fill system efficiently fills cells with accurate amounts of electrolyte.  The system also minimizes the required amount of dry room space.  Its robust design means low maintenance and high production efficiency.

Lithium Ion vacuum filling system

A standard vacuum filling system includes the following features:

 

Available models for 30, 60 and 120 cells per minute throughput depending upon the battery size

Versatile design for easy change over to different cell sizes

Manual or automatic cell loading and unloading into carrier boats

Automatic transfer of cells to and from the vacuum fill module

Automatic weighing of cells prior to filling and after filling for 100% verification of electrolyte fill weight

Automatic vacuum filling using programmable vacuum-fill sequences

Automatic cell unloading and rejection of any non-conforming cells

 

Servo motor-controlled seal-less ceramic metering pumps make electrolyte compatibility and salting issues a thing of the past

 

 

Sealing ma chine for cylinder cells

 

Advantages and Disadvantages   

 

Highest energy density (by weight & volume) over NiMH, NiCd, lead, etc.

Reasonable cost; $ / Watt-hour

High cell voltage, 3.7 V

Good life of recharging cycle

No memory effect

Low self-discharge

Potential explosion (still a negative concern)

Overheating (still a negative concern)

Li Battery Applications

 

Any portable and moveable device; aerospace / space, automotive sectors and other transportation vehicles, energy storage & back-up

Devices such as portable electronics, mobile phones, notebook computers, GPS, e-books, school e-textbooks, etc.

Aircraft, automobiles, e-bikes, emergency back-up battery ,energy storage from solar, wind, etc.

Vacuum Requirements and Pumps for Li Battery Production

Purpose of Vacuum

To remove solvents and moisture during the filling / sealing steps in production

Recycling processes for spent Li batteries also require vacuum

 Required Vacuum

Ultimate pressure requirements between 5 and 1 torr

Pumping speed - depending on production line, but normally between 200 and 400 cfm rated vacuum pumps

Material compatibility / concerns - DEC (Diethyl carbonate), DMC, EC (ethylene carbonate), particles, o-ring stability (Kalrez recommended) and moisture resulting in oil contamination

Suitable Vacuum pumps

HeptaDry pumps, OnTool Side Channel Booster

Multi-stage roots pumps, Hena single-stage rotary vane pumps

Battery market size

$15 billion in 2010, $30 billion by 2015, greater than 85% from portable electronics and transportation.  Li battery use has been growing by 20% every year since 2005 with this trend expected to continue for many years. Investment on R&D for Li batteries is more than the investment on all other batteries combined.

For more information on the use of vacuum in production and recycling of Lithium Ion batteries, please contact our applications support department at the numbers shown below or by email at reachus@vpcinc.ca.

 

Vacuum Products Canada Inc.    www.vpcinc.ca    1-800-269-6030    reachus@vpcinc.ca    
Copyright Vacuum Products Canada Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Last Modified Monday, October 21, 2013