Welding Technology in High-Performance Battery Manufacturing

In the realm of battery manufacturing, welding is an essential process for establishing the mechanical connections vital to the functionality and performance of battery systems. In this article, we’re uncovering the significance of welding in our battery production process and our plans to further enhance our manufacturing capability.

Datum Recognition & Welding Process

What is the role of welding in battery manufacturing?

Welding serves as the backbone of battery production, providing the means to mechanically connect various components, including busbars, within battery packs. The entire battery system relies on good mechanical connections to meet the electrical requirements essential for optimal battery performance. A robust welding process ensures the integrity of these connections, safeguarding the overall functionality of the battery system. If the welding process is poor, the entire performance of the battery system would be compromised.

BOLD’s Optimised Welding Method for Battery Development

Laser welding is the method we use at BOLD due to its precision, mechanical strength, and efficiency. Offering precise control over the welding process, laser welding ensures accurate and consistent electrical connections critical for battery performance. It produces minimal heat affected zones, which could be detrimental to nearby components, and creates superior mechanical joints. Compared to wire bonding or resistance welding, laser welding is significantly faster, further solidifying its position as the best choice for our battery assembly.

Visual pattern recognition system working at full speed

The process involves deep penetration (or keyhole) laser welding, a line-of-sight, single-sided, non-contact joining process characterised by high focused energy density, enabling the creation of high aspect ratio welds in metallic materials. It can be performed at atmospheric pressure with inert gas shielding for more reactive materials, laser welding minimises heat input, making it ideal for battery production where precision and minimal thermal impact are paramount.

Welding Pattern Positioning

Our laser welding machine is designed to operate within specific parameters, including power levels, beam quality, and duration. These parameters are carefully controlled to ensure safety. The machine is operated within enclosed environments to contain the laser beam and prevent any exposure. When investing in technology we ensure adherence to safety protocols, proper training, and compliance with regulations in order to mitigate any risks and ensure the safe operation of the equipment.

BOLD HQ’s current production line and welding machine in enclosed production room

Our current welding technique utilises a method known as tap laser bonding. In this process, a nozzle manoeuvres to the desired welding area, descends to establish a zero-gap condition between the surfaces to be welded, and then the laser is activated to accomplish the weld. While this welding technique is reliable, it only allows for welding at one point at a time.

Transformative Upgrades in Manufacturing at BOLD

The introduction of a new welding machine brings a new era of manufacturing for BOLD. To meet client demand, we have placed an order for a new machine, which will be seamlessly integrated into our production line. This multimillion-euro investment allows significant advancements in our manufacturing capability. With double the power and a smaller spot size compared to the existing machine, this upgrade offers greater flexibility in both battery design and in free welding geometry. With a larger working envelope, the machine also enables the assembly of larger battery packs, substantially expanding our production capabilities.

Busbar being pressed at a controlled force prior to laser activation.

The new machine also provides a larger field of view, and together with the custom-made clamping systems, will eventually allow us to significantly decrease cycle times and increase productivity as we will be able to weld several cells in milliseconds.

We are also exploring the possibility of procuring an additional welding machine for R&D purposes. This would afford us the flexibility to conduct studies and experiments without disrupting our ongoing production processes, allowing us to remain at the forefront of battery innovation.

Enhanced Quality Control with Welding Technology

By thorough inspection and strict quality control, we can detect defects such as poor joint welds, excessive heat affected zones, or incomplete welds can be detected and rectified, safeguarding the quality and performance of the battery system. This welding technology ensures that connections between battery components are strong, reliable, and consistent allowing us to maintain stringent quality control measures.

Cross-section of a welded busbar. Crucial to understand if everything went as expected

Welding plays a pivotal role in advancing our manufacturing capabilities, driving efficiency, precision, and quality across the production process. Our investment in new technologies is set to significantly enhance this capability, further expediting the time to market for our innovative solutions, powering the world’s transition towards sustainable energy. If you’d like to discuss requirements for your battery development needs, please reach out to a member of our team at sales@boldvaluable.tech.

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