An ever increasing demand for quickly available and cost-effective energy worldwide combined with the issues of climate change and growing environmental awareness creates a tough challenge for our society. As a consequence, the demand for advanced battery technologies is ever increasing. Particularly in the field of e-mobility, smart wearables and grid stability, this development is a major boost for developing new technologies and innovative production processes. The same driving forces apply to these processes as well, they need to be efficient and sustainable with the lowest impact on the environment.
The application of vacuum is mandatory at various stages of production in the manufacture of Li-ion batteries: Vacuum is required during the mixing process of the so-called slurry, which is applied to the battery cell electrodes. The coil drying and electrolyte filling also takes place under vacuum.
In general, the pumps generate the vacuum which is needed for the different production processes.
But not only during production, vacuum is also required during the aftermarket treatment. The ever growing demand of resources to serve this market can only be fulfilled with an appropriate circular economy where efficient recycling processes are crucial. The highest recycling efficiencies of modern procedures are achieved with the support of vacuum. The pumps must have a high resistance to poisonous and toxic fumes in drying, filling, formation and recycling processes. Pfeiffer Vacuum pumps generally are known to be robust and efficient to ensure sustainable production of Li-ion batteries.
Furthermore, leak detection is an essential step in quality control to protect battery cells, battery components, cooling systems, battery modules and battery packs from moisture ingress. In addition, the generation or escape of hazardous substances is avoided.
Battery components, like the cell cover, clearly are the domain of tracer gas leak detectors due to their low detection limit. Other applications like cooling circuits are optimum for our high precision Micro-Flow leak detection technology, which uses air as a tracer gas.
Some applications are even covered by both detector technology types. This applies for example to testing battery packs. Parameters like PASS/FAIL criterion, localizing or integral test, and last but not least, costs lead either to leak testing with a specific tracer gas, or use of air-based test methods.
As the market becomes more dynamic, an agile and innovative product development process is essential to optimally serve the needs of the customers. Pfeiffer Vacuum also collaborates with relevant industrial partners in the development of pumps and leak detectors. In March we introduced a completely new series of dry, scroll pumps called HiScroll to our product portfolio, which guarantees short cycle times and increased energy efficiency. Regarding the production of Li-ion batteries, it is especially used for electrolyte filling processes. In case ATEX certification is mandatory we can also provide our HiScroll with “Ex II 3/-G Ex h IIC T4 Gc X” certification.
With our Roots pump, HiLobe, we offer a pump for low and medium vacuum applications, at lower operating costs and short pump-down times.
Earlier this year we introduced our new Helium and Hydrogen sniffer leak detector, ASM 306 S, for faster cycle times especially in battery pack testing. Additionally, we can provide analytical tools in the area of mass spectroscopy, such as the OmniStar GSD for the detection of electrolytes or escaping gases, exemplarily during the formation or end-of-line test.
We are proud of our strong application support, which assists our customers in selecting the right test criteria and methods. The next step to support our customers was the introduction of our leak testing services: the conduction of feasibility studies or contract leak testing. A feasibility study involves finding the most suitable leak testing method or technology and to verify the defined leak rate requirements.
In its 130-year-old history, Pfeiffer Vacuum has distinguished itself first and foremost in collaborating with customers to develop customized solutions. Pfeiffer Vacuum provides pumping solutions with outstanding performances for short cycle times and efficiency. In the field of (battery) leak detection, Pfeiffer Vacuum is the only company that offers leading air leak testing solutions, as well as tracer gas leak detection technologies and to complete the portfolio with the quadrupole mass spectrometers.