LG Energy Solution will be using films provided by a Chinese firm for pouch batteries sold in China.
KDW, a subsidiary of Shenzhen Selen Science & Technology, has recently signed a contract to supply the South Korean battery maker with its lithium-ion battery pouch films, Chinese media Yuncaijing reports.
LG Energy Solution had previously only used pouch films supplied by Japanese companies Dai Nippon Printing and Showa Denko.
But it has been attempting to diversify its suppliers since 2019 when Japan imposed trade restrictions on is exports to South Korea.
Pouch films were not included as a restricted product but LG Energy Solution considered it important to diversify its suppliers to avoid long-term risks.
The South Korean company tested pouch films with South Korean companies but these were lackluster in performances.
They received B ratings from LG Energy Solution __ the company only uses films that it gives A ratings in.
An LG Energy Solution spokesperson said the volume of films provided by the Chinese company is small and it will only use them for batteries it supplies to China.
A source within the company said it was currently using films manufactured from China and Japan. They didn’t say whether films made by a South Korean firm were being used.
LG Energy Solution is also currently using battery separators manufactured by Chinese firms Semcorp and Senior.
A source at a pouch film manufacturing company based in South Korea said it was conducting sample tests with South Korean battery cell companies but they were not ready to be commercialized.
South Korean company YoulChon Chemical is continuing its talks with LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI on potentially supplying them with pouch films, people familiar with the matter said.
Its films have passed Samsung SDI’s quality test __ the battery maker plans to use them for small batteries.
YoulChon declined to comment on the matter.
Pouch films are used to house the internal materials of batteries. What material is used for the film's influences how much the battery heats up, and it is an important component for safety. Pouch films account for 10% of the cost of pouch batteries. Besides YoulChon, Korea Aluminum and BTL Advanced Material also manufactures pouch films in South Korea.