US Battery Production
This entry was posted on June 1, 2014.
Let's clear up what kind of batteries there are. There are lead acid batteries, lithium and lithium ion batteries, nickel cadmium batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries. Certainly there plenty other battery types but the above mentioned are very prevalent and the most common ones. Now what can we say about the manufacturing about these batteries? Is it better to produce them in the United States or to outsource the jobs?
Well one thing is for certain, manufacturing electrodes, cells and module packs for large format power batteries is still in its infancy. The whole manufacturing process needs to become faster and less expensive. That is the only way that lithium-ion energy storage technology will be able to successfully establish itself within its target market. Which leads us with two options either outsource the entire procedure to cheaper labor countries, or to automate and integrate production lines. In the past creating batteries has been a good way to create jobs, but now the demand is too high, and cost too much to higher U.S. workers to do the job. Many companies are optimizing battery manufacturing by automating the entire procedure to machines which can produce batteries at a much quicker rate with a lower cost.
The best factories will assemble batteries using highly automated equipment, because it's easier on the pockets for major companies. This does open the question to a moral question about machines taking jobs away from the common man. Battery production in the US has slowly stopped using workers and all machines. Is this right or wrong? That depends on who's point of view you're looking at. The workers who lost their jobs might hate it, but in the eyes of the men upstairs who need to keep up with the markets demand, it must have been a necessary sacrifice. All in all battery production has changed drastically over the years.
The anodes and cathodes are of similar kinds of batteries and are made by similar procedures on identical or similar gear. The active electrode materials are coated on both sides of foils which act as the present collectors conducting the current in and from the cell. The untrained eye would not be able to tell difference because both substances can be virtually indistinguishable from each other. That is why the anodes and cathodes are often processed in distinct rooms.
Particle size must be kept to the absolute minimum so as to reach the maximum effective surface area of the electrodes. Particle shape can also be very important. Smooth spherical contours with curved edges are desirable since flaky surfaces or sharp edges are susceptible to decomposition of the anode passivating SEI layer, which often leads to quite substantial heat generation and potential thermal runaway when the cells are in use and higher electric stress.