Emerging Technologies Conference Proceedings


LITHIUM POLYMER CELL HIGH VOLUME MANUFACTURING

Author: Napoleon C. Cailipan
Company: Ion Energy Resources
Date Published: 11/1/2000   Conference: Emerging Technologies


Seika Machinery, Inc.

Abstract: Producing lithium polymer batteries for the wireless telecom industry has a throughput time equal to 2 days using laboratory production system. Producing 10,000 cells is a benchmark goal for high volume manufacturing (HVM).

An R&D model of producing lithium polymer batteries involves 7 major process steps divided into 3 manufacturing sections: I. Electrode Assembly or Fabrication - (1) electrode lamination, (2) bicell fabrication, (3) optional process prior conversion of electrode to cell: II. Cell Assembly - (4) metal tab welding, (5) electrolyte activation and packaging; and, III. Testing – (6) formation, and (7) pack.

Each process will require well-defined process parameters, which must be matched by a flexible mechanical design for its material handling system (MHS). Though material specifications and related quality issues will not be covered, materials will be discussed as to its effect into the design model.

MHS for section I requires quite a number of rollers, synchronous and servo motors and, crank and drive transfer mechanism for safe handling of continuous rolls of electrode materials and interleafs.

MHS for section II requires moisture free environment when electrode units are transformed into cells.

MHS for section III are static that requires less material handling yet will be the final yielding station for the lithium-ion cell production.

Each processes requires different technology integrated into the MHS. Section I involves a continuous heating process required in the lamination of process for anode and cathode electrode materials.

Section II requires an inert environment, elevated temperature and moisture free handling of materials.

Section III is the activation cycle for electric charge and discharge where H2 gas needs removal before complete sealing to produce a single unit of lithium polymer battery.

Material quality is an important item for good MHS operations that includes: web preparation, shear stress quality for continuous process handling, expanded metal treatment, welding integrity, and package sealing properties. The extraction process uses methanol for plastic film in the electrode film material. This can be one environmental issue in the manufacture of polymer lithium-ion cells, however, the chemical is continuously recycled.



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