Joint project “Battery Performance Center”: Standardization of manufacturing processes in the field of battery production

Petra Reus

Emissions must be reduced in order to meet global energy and climate targets. Electromobility is an important component. Prices for electric vehicles must be able to keep pace with those of conventionally powered vehicles. The production costs of the battery module are also a decisive factor. In order to optimize these costs, KUKA is part of the “Networked, adaptive production” initiative. KUKA conducts spot weld tests at its own test facility in Würselen with the aim of producing battery modules more efficiently in the future.

Laser beam welding achieves high-precision connections

The critical process step in the manufacture of battery modules is the interconnection of the individual cells. Serial interconnection in particular poses great challenges for joining technology due to the different material properties, such as melting temperature, density and thermal expansion of aluminium and copper. “These materials actually have very different properties and can hardly be combined with conventional processes,” explains Günter Neumann, Head of Business Unit KUKA Industries KIAC Laser, adding: “The laser opens up completely new avenues here.

More efficient production of battery modules with new software tool

Neumann and his team carry out welding tests on the equipment available at the site.

Process development with highest precision: Laser welding from 0.3 mm copper to 1.2 mm aluminium.
Process development with highest precision: Laser welding from 0.3 mm copper to 1.2 mm aluminium.

This enables them to develop contact technology standards. The system is networked with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology Aachen.The results of the welding tests are then stored in a database.

A software tool that is used to evaluate batteries in advance in terms of production technology is then created in a network of the Fraunhofer Performance Center “Networked, Adaptive Production” with the participants Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME. “In the future, the project partners will use the developed parameter database to access various cell and material configurations. This will save time and money during the initial evaluation,” says Sören Hollatz from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen.

Would you like to learn more about the standardization of manufacturing processes in the field of battery production? Read more about the networked, adaptive production project here.

Source header picture: iStock/Boarding1Now

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