Lithium-Ion Battery Component Manufacturing Measurement Solutions

by , | Jun 12, 2024 | Chemical, Sustainability | 0 comments

Achema 2024, the World Forum and 34th Leading Show for the Process Industries, is happening this week in Frankfurt, Germany. The focus of the conference this year is on six innovation themes: digital, green, lab, pharma, process, and hydrogen.

Emerson’s Michael Machuca will present Measurement Solutions for Lithium-Ion Battery Component Manufacturing on Thursday afternoon. Here is the abstract of his presentation.

Lithium battery component manufacturers must ensure quality and safety and reduce the cost of production. Making components for the battery anode, cathode, and electrolyte involves mixing various ingredients in batches, making the need for consistency paramount to the quality of the battery. Emerson’s advanced measurement solutions best practices ensure accurate batch control for consistent product quality. This presentation will cover:

  • Limiting variability among batches caused by raw material inconsistency.
  • Monitoring and controlling the progress of a batch from start to finish.
  • Avoiding excess equipment wear and subsequent loss of precise control due to damage caused by corrosive and abrasive materials flowing through the production process.
  • Protecting personnel, equipment, and the local environment by maintaining control over and safe storage of corrosive and toxic products.
  • Building in production flexibility to meet customer requests for different battery component types and proprietary recipes.

Michael highlights the challenges to growing the battery supply chains by 10x by 2030 to meet forecasted demand due to global decarbonization efforts. The supply chain begins with mining the raw ores and then continuing with processing & refining those ores and manufacturing specialized battery components such as cathodes, anodes, electrolytes, separators, and casings. These components are assembled and tested in battery packs, which ultimately go into EVs and hybrid vehicles. In the final stage, the batteries are recycled and refined into components. Every part of the supply chain needs to expand to accommodate forecasted growth.

He explained how early use of Emerson and AspenTech solutions reduces risk across project lifecycles from upfront planning and design through pre-engineering, engineering, final investment decision (FID), project execution, and ongoing operations. A full range of Emerson applications and solutions is available across the battery supply chain.

Cathode manufacturing is essentially a batch process. It starts with the cathode precursor reaction and then moves to the cathode production, which involves mixing the materials in precise quantities in mixing tanks. The ingredients (material additions) to the reactors and mixers must be precisely measured to ensure a high-quality battery. This challenging measurement consists of metal slurries and materials with different fluid properties. Also, the ingredients can have different concentrations, and there is often entrained gas. Any deviation from the recipe based on mass units will lead to an off-spec product.

With these challenges, Micro Motion Coriolis mass flow measurement meters provide tremendous value in these batch addition applications. Coriolis meters measure mass and density directly. With direct mass measurement over wide turndowns, accurate material additions reduce batch rework while ensuring yield improvement. Direct density measurement can detect feed composition changes, and the correct material can be added. Eliminating errors in the material addition measurements is critical for improving quality, maintaining on-spec batches, and reducing scrap and rework.

Lithium io battery component manufacturingMeasuring the level in cathode mixing tanks can be very challenging. The mixer creates turbulent conditions that can be difficult to measure with non-contacting radar technologies. Because of the varying density of the materials being added, differential pressure (DP) level solutions are also challenging and contacting technologies will be coated by the cathode material. Operating the mixer in low-volume conditions can damage the agitator and shut down the mixer. Overfills can create hazards for plant personnel and require expensive cleanup. The Rosemount 5408 non-contacting radar is highly successful in these challenging applications.

pH is a critical measurement for the cathode precursor. Cathode precursor pH measurement accuracy is critical to the final shape of colloids, which impacts battery quality. It is a challenging measurement because sulfide poisoning is common in this application. Reducing sensor life and oil layers on the sensor tip makes measurement difficult. These short life cycles increase sensor replacement costs, reducing pH sensor accuracy and measurement availability risks and reducing cathode quality. The Rosemount RBI pH/ORP sensor is designed for extended sensor life when used in applications with sulfides and oil layers. It is highly chemical resistant and can be used with a retractable option for easy replacement and service. This sensor has been proven to last much longer in this challenging application, ensuring the quality of the cathode precursor, improving batch consistency, and reducing maintenance and replacement costs on the pH sensor.

pH is a critical measurement for the electrolyte manufacturing process since the concentration of LiPF6 must be maintained to meet quality requirements. It is a challenging measurement because HF reduces the life of the sensor. The short life cycle increases sensor replacement cost, and reducing pH sensor accuracy and measurement availability risks reducing electrolyte quality. The Rosemount 372 pH sensor is designed for extended sensor life when used in applications with HF. It is highly chemical resistant and can be used with a retractable option for easy replacement and service. This sensor has been proven to last much longer in this challenging application, ensuring the electrolyte’s quality, improving batch consistency, and reducing maintenance and replacement costs on the pH sensor.

For cathode manufacturing, it is essential to control the final viscosity of the cathode slurry. Inconsistent viscosity of the cathode slurry will result in poor thickness control of the deposition of the cathode material onto the metallic surface of the battery. Many customers use manual measurement or sampling to check the viscosity of the cathode slurry. This results in non-real-time measurements that can impact the final battery quality. A Micro Motion viscosity meter that can measure the cathode material viscosity provides real-time measurement. Improved insight into the cathode viscosity enables better control and improved product quality, minimizing batch inconsistencies. Reducing manual sampling also helps keep personnel engaged in more high-value tasks and keeps them out of the plant, reducing safety risks.

Conductivity is the most essential factor in carrying ions between the cathode and anode, and its measurement accuracy is critical to the final electrolyte impacting quality. The Rosemount 228 Toroidal conductivity sensor provides extended sensor life when used in applications with highly corrosive materials to ensure the quality of the electrolyte and improve batch consistency.

Lithium battery production involves highly corrosive and erosive materials, which increase the risk of loss of containment of the corrosive materials that can expose plant workers and the environment to dangerous hazards. The wireless, nonintrusive Rosemount Permasense probes can be installed outside the pipe. These probes are easier to install since they don’t require process penetrations, and they monitor the impact of corrosion by measuring the wall thickness loss on the pipe.

Visit the links throughout this post for more information on these measurement technologies for more efficient, reliable, and quality production.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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