Samsung SDI will selectively apply laser and press notching methods to produce its upcoming Gen 5 electric vehicle (EV) batteries being produced at its factory in Hungary, TheElec has learned.
Both methods are being used to produce batteries in various capacities depending on the production line, people familiar with the matter said.
The notching process produces anode and cathode tabs used in batteries. It comes after the plate coating process. Notching is done to shape the materials __ when a blade-shaped mold is used for the process, this is called press and laser uses laser.
Which lines will have press applied which others will have laser applied isn’t known.
Samsung plans to make Gen 5 batteries using the stacking method instead of the traditional jelly roll method. Therefore the company is planning apply the press notching first, which it has more stable technology in, considering it is trying the new stacking method.
It is still developing laser notching technology that is suitable to be applied with the stacking method.
Laser has an advantage over press in being able to cut the anode and cathode tabs cleanly, which results in less defects.
It also has an advantage over press in maintenance cost as for press notching the mold that is being used have to changed when it ages.
However, laser method is slower and costs more to install initially. It requires expensive roll to roll equipment and infrared fiber laser source. These two alone cost 1 billion won.
Samsung SDI was collaborating with Philoptics for the laser notching equipment, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Press notching will be used first but there is clear advantage that laser has over it that makes it highly likely that Samsung will expand the application of laser on production lines.
Philoptics will likely benefit from the laser notching equipment when it is completed. The company has already supplied 14 units of them to Samsung SDI in the first half of 2020. It is also the exclusive vendor for stacking equipment. It has clinched orders of 80 billion won from Samsung SDI as of August.
Samsung SDI plans to invest into its Hungary factory until 2030. It plans to produce 18 million battery cells per month by 2030. The first factory will produce 6 million units and the second factory 12 million units. The company has earmarked 1.2 trillion won for the factory.