Battery assembly machines are used to manufacture electrical batteries and battery packs. They are categorized according to the type of product assembled.
Types of Battery Assembly Machines
Product-Specific Machine Types
Battery assembly machines include those for alkaline, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries as well as equipment for lithium-ion, lead-acid, and zinc air cells.
- Alkaline batteries are common batteries that implement the reaction between zinc and manganese dioxide to produce power. They account for the majority of batteries produced in the US.
- Nickel-metal hydride batteries are rechargeable batteries use a hydrogen-absorbing alloy for the negative electrode instead of cadmium used in nickel-cadmium batteries. Compared to lithium-ion, the energy density (by volume) is similar but self-discharge is higher.
- Nickel-cadmium batteries are rechargeable batteries that use nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. They come as either sealed or vented types.
- Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable batteries implementing lithium as the migrating ion during discharge and charging. They are common in consumer electronics, particularly portable electronics.
- Lead-acid batteries are the oldest type of rechargeable batteries. They have comparatively low energy density, but can maintain a large power-to-weight ratio. They are most commonly used as car batteries and to power some smaller electric motors.
- Zinc air batteries and cells are powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from air. They have high energy densities and are relatively inexpensive to produce. Size ranges vary by application, from running hearing aids to powering electric cars.
Function-Specific Machine Types
Some specific machines associated with battery assemblers are cell winders and tab welders.
- Cell winders are capable of winding round or prismatic cells 3-12 parts per minute. It is flexible enough to handle up to 5 tabs per cell at varied distances. Tension controls, web speeds, separator cut lengths, and pack roller pressure are adjustable to optimize cell design parameters.
- Tab welders are designed to attach tabs to cells. Automatic versions place multiple tabs per cell at different distances. This permits the use of thinner substrates and provides more room in the cell for active materials. Tension controls, the number of tabs, and the placement of tabs and web speeds can also be adjusted for optimization.
Other function-specific machines include closers and groovers.
Apart from the type of battery being produced, there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a battery assembly machines.
- Speed of assembly can range from 5-20 parts per minute in pilot lines to 600 parts per minute in high-speed assembly lines. Battery assembly machines are designed for slow-speed pilot lines, medium-speed assembly lines, or high-speed assembly lines. Total assembly speed depends on the number of stations being used.
- Power supply is the amount of electrical power available to the system to power the machinery.
- Air supply is the amount of air supplied to the system. It can be important for assembly line production processes and is measured in units of volume per time.
Battery assembly machines are used to create batteries in the aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, and medical technology industries, among others