Lithium-Ion Battery Electrode Manufacturing Line Improves Flexibility


Leverages product development and process improvement capabilities with those of world-class partners

(De Pere, Wis.) Babcock & Wilcox MEGTEC (B&W MEGTEC) has launched a complete lithium-ion battery electrode manufacturing line in an operating layout that improves flexibility, quality, cost-effectiveness, and speed-to-market.

Matched to meet application-specific production requirements, each line configuration is a complete manufacturing operation, encompassing every stage in the electrode production process, including powder handling, slurry mixing, coating and drying, calendering/roll pressing, secondary drying, slitting, and n-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) recovery and purification.

“Commercialization of energy storage technology continues to expand with broader applications such as electric vehicles due to advances in battery development,” said Jeff Quass, vice president of technology and development. “Our complete lithium-ion electrode manufacturing line offers a simplified process flow and machinery design, the cornerstone of which is our exclusive simultaneous two-sided coating system. Collectively, the line improves electrode quality and enhances speed-to-market efforts, all with better overall cost-effectiveness.”

The seven process stages of the complete B&W MEGTEC lithium-ion electrode line include:

  1. Powder Handling: segregated unloading station for super-sacks; pneumatic conveying of powder to hoppers; loss-in weight screw feeders ensure precise powder delivery to the mixing system.
  2. Slurry Mixing: planetary dispersing mixers from 2 liters to 1,500 liters; semi-continuous dispersing systems from 1 to 960 liters/hr; continuous mixing systems from 20 to 2,000 kg/hr.
  3. Coating & Drying: simultaneous two-sided horizontal; tensioned web coating with flotation drying.
  4. Calendering/Roll Pressing: inline or traditional stand-alone calendaring/roll pressing systems; widths of 250 mm to 1300 mm; hot or cold pressing; inline thickness control.
  5. Secondary Drying: continuous roll-to-roll drying system eliminates work-in-process storage, increases throughput, and improves drying uniformity.
  6. Slitting: flexible machines for multiple products; individual friction shafts; tangential shear cutting method; cassette system for setting knife offline to minimize changeover time; speeds up to 50 m/min with lay-on roll.
  7. NMP Recovery & Purification: remove, recover, and purify solvents from coating-line exhaust air streams; typical recovery rate is > 99%; savings of $2/kg can be achieved.

Additional Features and Benefits

Process Development and Team Training: During the machine build period, B&W MEGTEC provides customer-specific process development trials. This makes it possible to dramatically reduce the time from commissioning to full production by fully training technicians before installation and achieving steady-state production in a shorter timeframe.

Lowering Total Costs: Due to its simplified manufacturing flow and machinery design, the B&W MEGTEC electrode line reduces utility demand, requires fewer technicians/operators, increases yields due to improved quality, features a straight-line product flow and single-level footprint, and requires lower a lower capital investment.

Quality Control: Electrode quality is critical to the viability of lithium-ion battery technology. The B&W MEGTEC electrode line offers a fully integrated data capture and management system that provides complete traceability from raw materials to finished cells. Inline process control improves product quality and confidence, and is based on rheology monitoring, coat-weight measurement at multiple locations, physical quality inspection system, thickness measurement and control, and two-sided coating coupled with flotation drying.