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Precise filling of lithium-ion batteries

Precise filling of lithium-ion batteries

In the energy storage market, lithium-ion batteries are considered to be a cost-effective solution.

Automated valve systems from GEMÜ make a contribution towards implementing filling solutions which further optimize series production.

Cost reduction and optimized performance profile

Thanks to its high energy density, lithium-ion technology is seen as a highly efficient electrochemical store and is therefore also used for new applications, such as actuator technology in hybrid and electric vehicles. Customer acceptance is significantly dependent on falling procurement costs and acceptable mileage and range. For this reason, all well-known battery manufacturers have test facilities where lithium salts are processed and filled.

Process parameters and automation

Media such as lithium salts, sodium bromide or lithium polymers have chemical and mechanical properties that make industrial treatment significantly more difficult. To prevent crystallization and gas diffusion, a continuous pressure must be maintained in numerous systems. This requires the use of automation-capable components which have consistent, calculable reaction times. For some customers, GEMÜ therefore implements a multi-port valve block from the iComLine® product range, which monitors and controls the preset process parameters using a tested adapter set with a positioner. The standard regulating cone made of PTFE, which is optimally designed to seal off the medium and separate it from the actuator, has a linear stroke which enables high cycle duties and fast, clearly definable reaction times.

Draining the components and cleanability of the components

Filling the cells with liquid electrolyte is a process step which is critical to successful battery production, as a precise filling level must be reached. A networked system of piping, tubes and optimally draining valves enable the precise filling level to be reached and, at the same time, minimize the maintenance required by the battery filling system. An optimized draining system for electrolyte filling as well as integrated cleaning processes help to prevent the crystallized particles from remaining, thereby protecting the entire system. This extends the service life of the individual components, which leads to a reduction in the cost of the filling process. With a corresponding seat contour, the seal geometry of the standard regulating cone and a pre-tension spring which acts on the standard regulating cone, the valve system described meets these requirements – with up to 5 million cycle duties.

Versatile valve system solutions

Depending on the medium and process parameters, alongside the PTFE multi-port valve blocks described, multi-port valve blocks made of different materials are also used. For the testing facilities described, for example, a stainless steel multi-port valve is used alongside the iComLine® valve system. The advantage here is that this valve block can also be successfully operated under vacuum pressure.

Technical consultation at the Energy Storage trade fair

GEMÜ will also be presenting at the 2017 Energy Storage trade fair in Düsseldorf. From 14th-16th March 2017, qualified engineers and technicians will be available for consultation on valves, measurement and control systems for the energy storage market – visit them at our stand in hall 8b.