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Korvus Technology

Battery Manufacturing With Advanced Cluster Systems

In a world of evolving technology and energy storage systems, one energy source stands out in terms of effective power: lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Manufacturers use these batteries for various industries, from personal electronics to the automotive industry. In fact, there are already about 900,000 battery-electric vehicles on UK roads [1]

Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and have a higher energy density [2], but manufacturing them is expensive. 

Battery manufacturing with advanced cluster systems is a viable solution for this issue. This innovative battery cell manufacturing process uses sustainable cluster system methods to create thin-film batteries. It will help the industry meet the growing demand for lithium-ion batteries while meeting cost and sustainability targets

Using Cluster Systems for Battery Manufacturing

Cluster systems are ideal for battery manufacturing because they are a more sustainable alternative to traditional battery manufacturing. Traditional manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries involves: 

      • Slurry mixing

      • Coating

      • Drying

      • Calendering

      • Welding

    This takes a lot of time and money. Battery manufacturing with advanced cluster systems streamlines these steps for a more effective manufacturing process and battery. 

    The digitalisation of battery manufacturing processes offers benefits starting at the manufacturing level, through the supply chain, and carrying on to the customers. This remains true for various industries using advanced energy storage systems (AESS), such as automotive, renewable energy, and electric utilities industries [3].

    battery manufacturing process

     

    What Is a PVD Cluster System?

    A physical vapour deposition, or PVD, system converts a material to gas and directs it toward the substrate to create a thin layer of material. This process simultaneously increases the purity of the battery cells’ layers and reduces waste by creating multilayers of various material classes and avoiding cross-contamination.

    In a PVD cluster system, manufacturers maximise the benefits of the PVD process by connecting multiple PVD chambers. The stages of thin-film processing are separated into different chambers: etching, deposition, and characterisation. 

    The Process

    The PVD process is vital to making thin-film batteries, which are smaller, more affordable, and often more reliable than the typical lithium-ion battery. The PVD cluster machines use thermal evaporation and other methods to convert materials like metallic lithium to gases to deposit in thin layers on the batteries’ anodes and cathodes.

    Learn more about reducing contamination with cluster systems.

    How Cluster Systems Are Improving Battery Technology 

    Cluster systems improve technology with a more efficient method of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. 

    Production Timelines

    By using cluster algorithms and analysis [4], manufacturers can detect defective batteries with more accuracy. This results in a dramatic shift in production timelines. Rather than spending time and energy searching for defective batteries, manufacturers use data from battery production and testing to find patterns in the characteristics of defective batteries. 

    This approach gives manufacturers more time to create better-functioning batteries and eliminate ineffective ones before they reach customers. 

    Elevating Battery Reliability

    With the increasing demand for lithium batteries, manufacturers need a way to create more without sacrificing quality. With cluster algorithms and systems, manufacturers can create higher-quality lithium-ion thin-film batteries. 

    When the batteries are defective, cluster algorithms identify them before they land in the hands of customers, improving quality control.

    Moving Towards Sustainable Battery Production

    Cluster systems benefit manufacturers and customers, but they also benefit the environment. This eco-friendly approach to lithium-ion battery manufacturing limits waste. Since PVD cluster systems create multilayers of materials, it limits the exposure of the sample to the air. 

    Cluster systems like the Korvus Technology cluster system are customisable, making them flexible. Battery manufacturing with advanced cluster systems is the future of battery production.

    Battery Manufacturing R&D Options From Korvus Technology 

    Korvus Technology’s HEX series, including the benchtop HEX and HEX-L models, provides customisable ranges of deposition options for thin-film battery R&D. The HEX-L is part of the Korvus Technology cluster system.

    The HEX benchtop coating system is the smaller of the two machines, ideal for those looking for a more compact system. The system can test samples up to 4” in diameter, with a chamber volume of 12 L. It has glovebox integration and a base pressure of 9×10-7. The PVD system coats the surface of materials with a durable film using thermal evaporation, sputtering or e-beam.

    While the HEX is small enough to mount on a rack or benchtop, the HEX-L is a larger, standing system that is capable of testing samples up to 6” in diameter. It has a chamber volume of 50 L, and a base pressure of 9×10-7. In addition to the glovebox integration, it also has a loadlock option.

    Both systems are customisable with a variety of deposition sources, including: 

        • TAU for ultra-thin film deposition

        • TES for deposition of metals and organics

        • ORCA for low temperature evaporation of volatile materials such as lithium

        • FISSION for RF and DC sputtering functionality 

      Both are highly modular instruments which can be used for battery manufacturing R&D. The HEX-L can be used as a standalone unit or clustered. Contact us to discuss your application. 

      Resources

       

      [1] Edwards, J (2023, October 18). EV Market Stats 2023. https://www.zap-map.com/ev-stats/ev-market Accessed 20 October 2023.

      [2] Cost and performance enhance research efforts. Advanced Clustering Technologies. (n.d.). https://www.advancedclustering.com/act_success_stories/cost-and-performance-enhance-research-efforts/

      [3] Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. (2017, October 12). Growing the advanced energy storage systems innovation cluster in Michigan. Growing the Advanced Energy Storage Systems Innovation Cluster in Michigan. https://skilledwork.org/projects/aessi/

      [4] Li, W., Chen, S., Peng, X., Xiao, M., Gao, L., Garg, A., & Bao, N. (2019). A comprehensive approach for the clustering of similar-performance cells for the design of a lithium-ion battery module for electric vehicles. Engineering, 5(4), 795–802. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2019.07.005 

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