// Electromobility: ZSW pilot plant gears up with new manufacturing technology for large-format lithium-ion cells

Prismatic PHEV-1 cell with an aluminum hard case and a flat coil, manufactured on the FPL at ZSW. Photo: ZSW

Fully automated electrode winder in the FPL at the ZSW Laboratory for Battery Technology (eLaB). Photo: ZSW

Scientists can research and develop prototypes in 18650 (right), pouch (left) and PHEV1 formats (center) in the ZSW Laboratory for Battery Technology (eLaB). Photo: ZSW

New Ultra-Fast, High-Precision Process for Single-sheet Electrode Stacking in High-performance Batteries

Prismatic battery cells with flat coils have proven themselves in practice and see wide use in electric cars made by German automakers these days. In the future, it will also be possible to stack rather than wind the electrode strips in the cell. This saves space and creates a more homogeneous cell structure with enhanced cell properties. Researchers and the industry are now aiming to establish this promising manufacturing technology in Germany. The pilot production line for lithium-ion cells at the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden Württemberg (ZSW) in Ulm is able to assemble prismatic cells with wound electrodes (PHEV-1 format) in a fully automated workflow. It will also be equipped with advanced stacking technology as part of a new project slated to kick off in January 2018.

Called STACK, this project is aimed to develop an ultra-fast manufacturing process using a new production line and new materials. The scientists at ZSW intend to deploy a high-tech stacker and a new separator to produce and evaluate sample cells on an industrial scale. The project will focus on comparing wound cells with stacked cells in PHEV-1 format. Manz and Freudenberg are on board as the ZSW's industrial partners.

Prof. Werner Tillmetz, a member of ZSW's board of directors and head of the Electrochemical Energy Technologies division, says, "The e-mobility boom has led to major bottlenecks in global production capacities for lithium-ion cells. Our pilot production line offers a unique research platform for the industry to develop manufacturing processes of its own.  The new STACK project will enable companies to add stacking technology to their portfolio and take the next step towards cost-effective mass production of large Li-ion cells."