KIT Scientists Increase the Production Speed to 100 Meters per Minute – New Coating Technology Reduces Costs of Manufacturing Process of Lithium-ion Batteries

KIT Scientists Increase the Production Speed to 100 Meters per Minute – New Coating Technology Reduces Costs of Manufacturing Process of Lithium-ion Batteries

Interesting news coming from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, where recently announced was a breakthrough in the battery electrode manufacturing process.

According to KIT, a new method of production was developed - three times faster than current state of the art with speeds up to 100 meters per minute.

But more important is that increase in speed does not involve increased investment costs and KIT stated that "production costs of lithium-ion batteries can be reduced drastically".

"New world record: Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) increased the manufacturing speed of electrode foils coated batch-wise by a factor of three – to 100 meters per minute. This was achieved by a flexible slot die process that enables production of any pattern with high precision and at high speeds. Thanks to the patented new technology, electrode foil production speed is increased by a factor of 3. As a result, lithium-ion batteries can be manufactured at much lower costs."

"So far, 25 to 35 meters per minute have been the industrial state of the art. Within the project “Competence E”, the scientists developed a revolutionary coating technology, by means of which it is not only possible to produce continuous coatings, but also patterns featuring high precision. A patent has been filed for this invention."

"When producing an electrode foil, a slurry containing the active material, carbon black, binder, solvent, and additives is applied onto a substrate foil made of copper (for the anode) or aluminum (for the cathode). The coating is often processed continuously, however intermittent coatings are associated with a superior processability for subsequent process steps."

Professor Wilhelm Schabel stated:

“In case of intermittent coating, defined start and stop edges are required no matter the coating speed. In our process this is achieved by a membrane that quickly moves back and forth in a controlled manner in the coating head, i.e. in the slot die. Other movable parts are not required. This results in high frequencies of up to 1000 electrode patterns per minute and highly precise coating. By optimizing membrane parameters, the process can be adapted in-situ to the properties of the coating medium.”

Dr. Andreas Gutsch, head of “Competence E” at KIT, points out:

“The new coating technology in combination with the helix technology developed and patented by KIT for the production of spirally wound lithium-ion batteries, offers the potential of reaching cost leadership.”

German Engineering Association (VDMA) defined the goal of 100 meters per minute for 2030, so KIT jumped well ahead.