The deal with the Japanese equipment maker allows manufacturers of batteries for electric cars to receive a complete packages from one supplier with technology for double-sided coating and drying electrodes and established systems for solvent recovery. Tesla’s Battery Day highlighted the importance of the battery manufacturing process for improving the performance of electric vehicles and reducing the cost.
“This provides us with a convincing all-round package for major projects in the automotive sector. In the medium term, the Group is aiming for a sales volume in the high double-digit million range in battery manufacturing technology business,” said Dr. Jochen Weyrauch, Deputy CEO of the Dürr Systems.
Dürr’s 2018 acquisition of Megtec in the US provided important capabilities in battery manufacturing technology. With its coating, drying and solvent recovery systems, Dürr Megtec supplies systems for three essential steps in the production of lithium-ion batteries.
In the coating process, anode or cathode active material is applied on both sides as a thin slurry onto a metal foil. The drying process then creates a solid composite material. Within the lithium-ion battery cell, the role of the active material is to store the energy, while the metal foil ensures the dissipation of current. Solvents used in the manufacturing process can be recovered for reusage with Dürr technologies.
Both sides of the metal foil are coated in one pass to provide an efficient process. Dürr Megtec developed a special coating process for simultaneous two-sided coating. Slot dies are used to coat both sides of the electrode foil directly after one another and getting dried in a horizontal air flotation dryer afterwards. Benefits of this unique process are, among others, smaller overall manufacturing footprint and high cost efficiency.
With its simultaneous two-sided coating solution for battery electrodes, so far Dürr has been successful mainly in niche segments. For example, the mechanical and plant engineering firm is benefiting from the growing demand for small-format lithium-ion batteries for hearing aids, headphones and other mobile electrical devices. In the first half of 2020, among others, a major contract was received from a battery manufacturer in Germany.
However, the biggest growth driver in the market for battery manufacturing technology is electromobility. For the large amounts of electrodes required for e-car batteries, Techno Smart offers a highly efficient, proven and robust process. The slurry is applied on the first side by a slot die over a backing roller and becomes dry directly afterwards. After leaving the dryer in the first pass, the foil is turned and the second side is coated and dried following the same process.
“With our cooperation, we combine our market-leading drying and solvent recovery technologies with the proven coating solutions of Techno Smart for e-car batteries,” said Dr. Daniel Schmitt, CEO of Dürr’s Clean Technology Systems division. “That way, we create a unique portfolio in the market, where we can effectively support the development of battery manufacturing for e-mobility as an experienced partner of the automotive industry.”
The Dürr Group also supplies gluing technology for battery modules and coolant filling systems for batteries as well as final assembly and testing systems for electric cars.
With an order intake of just under € 400 million, production technology for electric cars already accounted for 22% of the order volume in the automotive business last year. Despite the corona crisis, Dürr says it was able to significantly increase incoming orders in the e-mobility business in the first half of the year.
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