How are lithium batteries manufactured?
Lithium batteries are quite popular nowadays, and you probably have at least one device in your daily life that uses lithium batteries. However, before lithium batteries were invented, there were alkaline batteries that had been around since the 1950s. Alkaline batteries have a long history of being used in flashlights and portable radios. Lithium batteries have a lot more capacity than alkaline batteries, making them ideal for devices such as digital cameras, iPods, and even some cars.
There are four methods lithium battery manufacturers use to develop lithium batteries. They are the cast molding process, the stamping process, the winding process, and the injection molding process. These processes vary in complexity, cost, and effectiveness in manufacturing quality lithium batteries.
Building Lithium Batteries: The 4 Methods
The first method of building a lithium battery cell is the controlled process method. This is the simplest and cheapest method available to manufacturers. In this method, a liquid electrolyte and additive mixture is added to the anode and cathode material to make a slurry. The slurry is then dried under heat, forming thin sheets that can be rolled up inside a pouch or can. Low-cost manufacturers often use the controlled process method of building batteries because it doesn’t require expensive machinery or highly trained technicians to operate it.
However, there are some problems associated with this method of building batteries. One of these problems is that the drying process can cause some materials in the slurry to break down over time. Additionally, controlled processes are not very effective at producing high-capacity batteries, so they are often limited to producing small cells with capacities below 2000 mAh.
This is by far the most common way to make lithium batteries because it’s the cheapest and easiest. A few variations on this method include using binder material instead of graphite, but it’s essentially the same process. The required equipment includes a calender machine (which resembles a cross between a typewriter and a food processor), an oven or kiln for heat-treating the graphite, and a vacuum bagging machine to insulate gas produced during lithium processing.
Cast molding process
This method uses graphite mixed with an organic binder as the raw material. The resulting material is pressed into molds under high pressure, thus creating harmful molds used in the subsequent cast process to finish up the battery. The main advantage of this production method is that it doesn’t require special equipment; it’s relatively easy to do at home in your garage or basement. The disadvantage is that it’s more expensive than other methods because you have to buy them.
The cathode and anode materials are mixed with a binder in a large mixer to form a paste applied to a metal cylinder (either nickel or aluminum). Then the cathode material is used to one end of the cylinder and the anode material to the other end. Finally, a separator is sandwiched between the two electrodes. The cell is then rolled up into a coil shape and encased in plastic.
The main difference between this method and the cast molding process is that in this case, the electrodes are stamped first and then rolled up with the electrolyte solution. After that, the cells go through a drying process to ensure that all excess liquid is removed from them. This method is commonly used for manufacturing small-sized batteries. However, instead of mixing in a drum and pouring into a case, stamping molds the jelly roll directly into its finished shape within the battery case. This makes it possible to produce custom-shaped lithium batteries for unique medical devices or wearable electronics applications.
That’s all there is to it — not a high-tech process, but it is noteworthy that lithium batteries are some of the most dependably safe batteries today. No liquid electrolyte or volatile material is being directly stored near the electrodes. The only heat produced during discharge comes from a few minor, isolated reactions rather than an internal fire. They are manufactured in clean rooms with certified staff who handle them with care, which helps to ensure that their performance remains consistent from battery to battery. Many of these factors combined with the simplicity of their design make them popular with consumers looking for a dependable and safe power source.