The future will see a growing need for large-scale lithium-ion batteries, not only to store energy but also, and in particular, to power electric vehicles. Automation technology from Siemens will enable battery producers to reduce their manufacturing costs and boost productivity.
The process used to manufacture such batteries, which can be as large as a shipping container, is still in its infancy. The chemical processes in the battery cells are complex and highly sensitive. The foil coating of the electrodes, for example, must not deviate from regulation thickness by more than one micrometer across the entire coated surface. What's more, this condition must be fulfilled even though manufacturing is carried out at a speed of several tens of meters per minute.
Siemens has great expertise in the areas of automation and drive technology, production-planning, and design software. All of these areas play a role in efforts aimed at making the production of large-scale lithium-ion batteries efficient. For example, Siemens software creates digital models of planned production facilities. As a result, it is possible to determine the required size of the plant, calculate the maximum potential throughput, and optimize efficiency. These simulation results can then be applied without further modification to real live plants. Simlarly, quality-control systems can be directly integrated within fully automated production machinery.
In a recently signed cooperation agreement, KIT and Siemens agreed to collaborate on an overarching concept for an integrated production-control and monitoring system for the entire production machinery of a battery plant. The aim is to develop a primary control system that will provide online monitoring of all processes via a central computer. Sometime this year, the system is to be installed in the first production facility for lithium-ion cells of the KIT, where it will highlight the benefits in terms of product quality and reduced costs.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
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Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
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