Heraeus Noblelight, a provider of industrial light source solutions, has announced that its carbon infrared (CIR) technology has proven to significantly improve the quality and speed of drying electrode slurry in lithium-ion battery (LiB) production. Field testing at customer facilities revealed that using CIR emitters for drying resulted in a 80% increase in production speed compared to traditional convection oven drying methods. Additionally, the technology resulted in improved conductivity and durability of the electrodes, leading to higher quality batteries.
The battery electrode production process is complex and has multiple stages that can impact the final performance of the LiB. Electrodes are typically made of copper or aluminum metal foils coated with a paste known as slurry, which is then dried. Conventional methods dry the slurry at a rate of 50 m/min, but tests showed that using CIR emitters increased the rate to 90 m/min.
Not only does this faster drying process improve crosslinking and reduce residual moisture in the electrodes, but it also eliminates creasing and foil deformation during subsequent baking and calendaring processes. This ultimately leads to longer-lasting batteries.
As LiB production in North America continues to expand, battery producers have the choice to prioritize faster production rates or smaller facility costs. Tom Marrero, Heraeus Noblelight’s Manager of Battery Solutions, stated that “battery producers can run 80% faster using CIR emitters, or they can reduce the size of their ovens and save on facility costs while running at current production rates”. This gives LiB oven manufacturers and those who integrate entire LiB production lines for battery original equipment manufacturers a way to differentiate their solutions by offering several options to their customers.