Despite the lack of take-off in the EV market, there are still plenty of new players trying to get into the lithium-ion battery market with new chemistries. But potential customers will only take these newcomers seriously if they can readily supply working cells and batteries for evaluation.
According to Giuseppe Bernini of Solith, a new player can get a pilot line capable of making sufficient cell stacks in a year for the most discerning customers and for less than €1m ($1.4m)— and in the smallest of dry rooms.
Solith is a division of Sovema— the European turnkey suppliers of lead-acid battery production lines, but it clearly has an eye on the future.
Solith’s pilot line is focused on making pouch cell designs— anything from large format for EV and large-scale storage down to the tablet size devices.
The line consists of an electrode punching machine— you’ll need to get your electrode foils made somewhere else—a stacking machine for precise line up of the cell components, a blister forming machine to create the pouch package, a trimming and tab welding machine to join the cells together, an electrolyte filling system and finally a sealing machine.
Unsurprisingly, Sovema takes the know-how it has from owning formation specialist Bitrode to produce the most cost effective formation system, which is 92% efficient and bi-directional— so when testing cells, you can feed power back to the grid.
The system goes even further than one might reasonably expect from a pilot line — there’s an ageing module to ensure cells assembled for packs are properly matched.
The company claims the systems is easy to operate and each workstation is wheeled, so they could easily be moved around the smallest of dry rooms.
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