Samsung SDI was collaborating with two Chinese companies to develop new stacking equipment used in battery production, TheElec has learned.
There were two other South Korean companies that were also bidding for the project but they lost out to their Chinese competitors, sources said.
Stacking is already used by Samsung SDI for the manufacture of Gen 5 batteries aimed at electric cars.
Materials such as anode, cathode and others are stacked on top of each other and this allows the battery to be more compact with increased energy density.
Prior to this method, the South Korean battery maker used the winding method where battery materials are rolled into jelly rolls and put in cans.
The stacking method can increase energy density by over 10% to this prior method.
Samsung SDI is now planning to apply the method for small batteries aimed at smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other consumer electronics devices, hence the project with the two Chinese companies.
The South Korean battery maker will use the developed equipment for stacking at its plant in Cheonan, South Korea.
The two Chinese companies are forming offices in South Korea to respond to customer Samsung SDI.
Samsung SDI already had a pilot line for the new production process at its factory in Tianjin. Shenzhen Yinghe Tech supplied the stacking equipment.
Making small batteries with the stacking method will allow Samsung SDI to better compete with rivals such as LG Energy Solution, ATL and BYD to win orders from customer Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.