Data Is Your Pathway to Efficient EV Battery Manufacturing
As EV manufacturers bring new models to the market, EV battery manufacturing plays a critical role in long-term EV performance and gaining a competitive edge. Find out more in our recent blog.
As electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers bring new models to the market, EV battery manufacturing plays a critical role in long-term EV performance and gaining a competitive edge.
During every step of EV battery production, there are massive amounts of data to be captured that can help manufacturers get the process right the first time by improving visibility, enhancing quality and optimizing complex processes.
Consider thermal monitoring, for example. When temperature data isn’t carefully tracked, defects can slip by undetected, including problems with cell bonding, joining materials or battery sealing. This can lead to costly recalls and negative impacts on reputation. The right temperature can make or break the success of the manufacturing process, as well as battery performance. Temperature readings that fall outside predefined parameters can be early indicators of a problem.
Let’s break down EV battery manufacturing to understand the impacts of thermal monitoring at each step.
Step 1: Manufacturing electrodes
Data is critical to anode and cathode production lines, which manage mixing, coating, calendaring, slitting, notching, etc. During these multi-stage processes, a slurry is mixed to form a film on both sides of a foil. Drying occurs, then calendaring, and then the foil goes through slitting and notching operations before electrode making.
The way raw materials come together per their respective recipes—including their temperatures—is an important parameter to monitor to ensure a proper mix. During drying, an improper temperature can impact component distribution onto the film.
Thermal monitoring ensures optimal temperatures throughout this process to:
- Create consistency from batch to batch
- Make sure components don’t degrade
- Support long EV battery life for the end-user
- Promote fire protection and employee safety
Step 2: Assembling battery cells
Once electrodes are manufactured, they are cut and placed into a can, container or pouch. To create the internal structure of a battery bank, coils are cut into individual sheets that are stacked in layers following an engineering design pattern.
During this process, electrode tabs are also welded to main terminals, and then the battery cell is placed into an electrolyte-filled enclosure and sealed.
Even seemingly insignificant inconsistencies in temperature during the assembly process can impact long-term battery performance.
Step 3: Battery cell finishing and conditioning
The final manufacturing phase includes charging and discharging the EV battery for quality testing.
Temperature monitoring during this process is critical to ensure that batteries aren’t being overcharged or discharged unproportionally, or to isolate a possible issue so it can be resolved (potential fires due to overheating, for example).
The roles of networks in supporting vital data
In order to monitor this vital data during EV battery manufacturing, reliable and robust networks are key. They provide the foundation for automation, monitoring and smart manufacturing.
Networks must be able to support the sensors, devices and applications required for temperature and thermal monitoring, and must also be able to acquire, transmit, orchestrate and manage the information generated by these devices and sensors throughout production.
Your network must also be able to help you contextualize and visualize your data so you can understand—at a glance and in real time—how systems and processes are performing. With Belden, this happens through a unified data plane that houses all OT data from machines, PLCs, sensors and drives to enable advanced reporting, visualization and analytics.
If performance falters or safety is at risk, then alerts can notify the right people immediately. We can also help you use your data to implement prescriptive maintenance so that your system automatically assigns resources to problems as they arise.
Because Belden’s systems are vendor-agnostic, you can use whatever sensors, devices and applications work best for you—and we can support them.
To perform proofs of concept, the experts at our Customer Innovation Centers (CICs) help you verify that certain concepts or features will work in your environment before they’re deployed onsite.