Avoid rejects, save energy
For example, until now, between around 6 % and 16 % of battery cell production consists of rejects. These have to be separated out, transported away and disposed of. “Every percent we can save here is a gain for companies and for the environment,” emphasizes researcher and manager Professor Birke, adding: “The same applies to energy: The more efficiently a factory operates, the lower its electricity costs and – if fossil fuels are used – the lower its greenhouse gas emissions.”
The team of authors is convinced that the key to conserving resources and to energy-efficient battery cell production is digitization. Digitized production control not only allows manufacturing processes to be accelerated and flexibly adapted to customer requirements, but also allows quality defects to be detected at an early stage. Components that do not meet the criteria can be separated out and digital defect analysis can also be used to quickly identify the causes of poor product quality and readjust the manufacturing processes. This saves time, materials and energy.
“The data collected during production can then be used to create a profile for each cell that accompanies it throughout its service life,” explains Prof. Birke. Such a profile would contain, for example, information on the materials from which the cell was manufactured, the substances that make up the electrodes and how much electrolyte was added here. A smart workpiece carrier which digitally determines the weight, for instance, was developed at the Fraunhofer IPA for this specific purpose.