Samsung SDI is seeing more of its rivals follow its footsteps in making batteries in the touted stacking process for prismatic car batteries.
The battery-making affiliate of Samsung Electronics have been applying stacking method in its production process __ in which cathodes, anodes, separators and electrolytes are stacked together.
The method is quickly becoming preferred over the winding method in which the four materials are winded together as a jelly roll.
Stacking allows for more room within batteries and are better adapt at avoiding swelling compared to jelly rolls.
Samsung SDI rivals such as CATL, Svolt and Northvolt are all moving to apply the method.
These companies specializes in prismatic batteries, in which materials are put inside square-shaped metal cans. The materials are winded together before being put inside.
To apply the stacking process, notching and stacking equipment are a must. Notching is used to make positive and negative tabs, and it is an additional step that wasn’t required in the winding method, which increases production time and cost. Additional investment as well as research and development is also needed. Roll-to-roll technique is a requisite.
Stacking method crucial in Prismatic v Pouch arena
Samsung SDI seems ahead of the pack in schedule. Its factory in God, Hungary, is planning to deploy stacking equipment within the year. Stacking method will be applied in producing 5th generation car batteries, people familiar with the matter has previously told TheElec
CATL is also positioned to complete development of a battery made in the same way, with production also slated to begin this year.
Svolt, meanwhile, has announced it will launch a battery with 590Wh/L in energy density on June next year, which also used the stacking method in production. It is based on lithium iron phosphate, while Samsung and CATL will launch those with cobalt with energy density of 660Wh/L and 670Wh/L, respectively, and 10% to 15% pricier.
Northvolt is also attempting to apply stacking method in its battery production, but, the equipment used isn’t performing well, according to people familiar with the matter. The vendor, known as a close partner to German car giant Volkswagen, is wooing Korean equipment maker and pivoting away from Lead China.
Meanwhile, LG Chem and SK Innovation, unlike these vendors, make battery in the pouch format which has already adopted the stacking method to prevent swelling.
How successfully Samsung SDI and its followers deploy the stacking method will whether the prismatic camp or the pouch camp will take the lead in car batteries in the coming years.