Accuracy, precision and reliability are the keys to meeting rising battery demand

Learn with ABB | September 27, 2023

When it comes to ensuring the quality and safety of batteries, the accuracy and reliability of key production equipment such as flatness, tension and thickness measurement devices is key.

Now that battery-based electric power has become more efficient, less costly and more reliable, the global electronic vehicle (EV) market is booming.

That’s good news for us, and for our planet.

The market for EVs of all types – including power storage - is booming so much that battery manufacturers are currently facing considerable challenges to keep pace with demand. Manufacturing facilities worldwide are already working flat out, but even with more giga-size factories coming online, supply is expected to remain very tight for the remainder of 2023, and demand is forecast to continue to outstrip supply until at least the end of the decade.

To keep pace with demand, battery manufacturers must optimize their production lines and reduce downtime to levels that until recently were unattainable.

Potential for error

Battery production, for vehicles or energy storage, is a highly involved, occasionally messy, and sometimes hazardous business. Even minor handling or assembly miscues could potentially lead to quality problems that could result in mass recalls, with all the financial and reputational issues that involves.

For example, it’s crucial that key parameters such as battery flatness, tension and thickness are precisely measured to ensure that production batteries meet the required standards. This avoids issues such as tearing, wrinkling and incorrect application of slurries that could not only affect battery performance and safety, but cause flaws – some potentially dangerous - that would be rejected for sale altogether at a time when every single battery counts.

Getting “watt” you need

The correct selection and accurate measurement of constituent components and materials for rechargeable, lightweight, energy-efficient and high-energy density lithium-ion batteries makes all the difference in manufacturing safely and efficiency. It’s the same for the ultimate applications of these batteries, which includes everything from smartwatches to electric vehicles and much more.

Taking such crucial measurements and doing so consistently for a long period of time amidst the increasing pressures of a highly competitive market can be difficult but is essential to ensure maximum uptime.

Getting the fundamentals right

The answer to the question of how to meet the rapidly escalating demand for batteries is to do everything possible to build and maintain production lines that don’t have to stop. But some factories today are still plagued by downtime incurred by the frequent need to check and adjust the calibration of the measurement equipment they’re using to ensure accuracy. This means the entire line must be taken offline for the necessary work to be completed, and that costs time and money – sometimes a great deal of both.

This issue can be fully resolved by opting for devices that function for long periods of time without drift or loss of calibration. For example, ABB’s Pressductor® load cells, based on magnetoelastic transducer technology, do not require physical movement in the transducer, enabling them to withstand vibrations, shocks and overloads that often affect other sensor types. They are also impervious to the ingress of dirt and fluids that could interfere with their accuracy or performance.

By simply eliminating the need for frequent recalibration and enabling measurement accuracy to be maintained for long periods of time, yields can be maximized because unscheduled disruption to production have been vastly reduced.

ABB’s stressometers and thickness gauges offer the same benefits. Both device ranges apply extremely stable measurement techniques that avoid the need for recalibration and are equally unaffected by external disturbances such as vibration and ambient temperatures.

The need for electric energy is only going to grow, and grow exponentially, and with it the need to safely, sensitively, and efficiently produce the power-giving devices that will meet demand. It is therefore crucial that every component used to manufacturer electrical power delivery goods and devices can so with minimum disruption, and that starts by ensuring that the most precise measurements possible are taken to ensure quality, consistency and longevity.

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