Lithium Cell Manufacturing Part 1

Smart Battery packs have very specialized hardware that make possible a battery to provide just the right power at just the right moment. This hardware includes the connector, the fuse, the charge and discharge FETs,  the cell pack, the sense resistor (RSENSE), the primary and secondary protection ICs,  the fuel-gauge IC, the thermistor,  the pc board, and the EEPROM or firmware for the fuel-gauge IC. One of the most critical component in this list is the cell pack.  The battery cell pack can be thought of as the holding area of the battery’s chemical. The battery cell pack is critical to the overall capability of the smart battery. Cell packs have to be designed and integrated based upon the vitals of the battery including chemistry type (Li-ion, Li-po, NICD, NIMH, etc.) cycle life, storage-capacity loss, shelf life, impedance, capacity at different rates of discharge and temperature, and mechanical and environmental requirements. It is critical to say the least. But how do you make a battery cell pack? What are the manufacturing processes necessary to make lithium based cell?

Lithium cell manufacturing was first developed in Japan using heavy machinery and automated equipment to perform certain steps while using robots to transfer partially assembled materials from one step to another. Chinese companies developed a manual approach to take advantage of inexpensive labor.  This is not to say that it is 100% manual on the contrary it more correct to say that it is a semi-automatic production process of Li-ion cells using automated equipment in the most critical areas such as mixing of powder, coating and winding.

In this series we are going to look at the critical processes involved in the manufacture of lithium-ion cells. What critical components are required for a lithium battery and how each component is made.

Until next time, Dan Hagopian –
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