NDT for Batteries

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Inspection and NDT solutions for the battery industry

Li-Ion batteries are among the most powerful energy storage devices commonly used in portable electronic devices, stationary power sources and electric vehicles. Manufacturers and suppliers are working hard to increase load capacity, extend lifecycles, and comply with all quality assurance and safety standards.

Our broad portfolio of premium X-ray inspection and CT systems supports quality control and failure analysis at all stages of a battery’s lifecycle. From R&D to the post-mortem analysis of defective Li-Ion batteries to analyze the cause of failure. Fast CT inspection also provides safe and secure at-line and in-line production control with reliable inspection of all vital parts.

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THE CHALLENGES

We bring fast, accurate, cost-effective NDT solutions to the floor of your plant.



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Extending Lifetime

End-users are demanding batteries that can match user requirements on extended lifetime

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Manufacturing Challenges

20% - 30% of batteries coming off production lines are discarded due to flaws in manufacturing ... The need to adapt to new manufacturing technologies.

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Increasing Energy Density

Safely increase energy efficiency and capacity, while not impacting weight.

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Exponential Growth in Demand

Efficiently scaling mass production as supply of raw materials become more constraint with increasing demand.



OUR EXPERTISE

Benefits of battery inspection with CT



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Better visibility for defects

Easily detect anomalies in battery components, battery cells and ESS & EV modules. Inspect known sources of defects and gain insights into new areas of possible concern.

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More efficient

Inspect different types/sizes of batteries and defects on the same line. Reduce changeover time/personnel to move large batteries for inspections.

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Deeper insights

Identify new failure modes and implement critical process improvements. Meet and exceed regulatory compliance mandates. Gain more confidence in product integrity (avoiding costly recalls).

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Intelligent inspection

Train your artificial intelligence based ADR algorithms to benefit from maximized defect detection



STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Collaborating with some of the world's most prominent partners in the battery industry to deliver peace of mind



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Waygate Technologies and the UKBIC sign Memorandum of Understanding

Strategic agreement lays groundwork for long-term collaboration to drive innovation in battery pack and cell inspection and set new industry standards



FULL SERVICE

Technologies made for your industry challenges



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Battery Cells

Detecting anomalies present in battery components, battery cells and ESS & EV modules is now easier than ever. With Lithium-ion battery automated defect recognition, battery manufacturers and users can inspect known sources of defects as well as gain insights into new areas of possible concern or product design improvement. 

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Battery Modules

This ranges from classical regular anode/cathode overhang inspection for pouch and prismatic cells to new spot checks for items such as foreign body materials, gas bubbles, welding defects of electrodes, electrode cracks, and electrolyte filling. And with the prevalence of ever larger ESS & EV modules, the necessity to inspect complete modules for resin filling, connections, cell alignment or dimensional accuracy becomes that much more important.



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Battery Packs

Battery quality is directly correlated to productivity, managing costs and limiting risk. In battery manufacturing, assembly quality control during various stages, anode overhang analysis or finding potential failure modes prior to end-use, are essential to properly mitigate higher-order risks but also significantly reduce scrap rates and related manufacturing costs. 

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Data Management & Analytics

When time is your most valuable asset, we want to help you make the most of it. Our InspectionWorks Software Platform helps you transform inspections from a necessary cost to a critical flow of data enabling better product design and optimization.



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Production Line

Fortunately, new advancements that leverage 3D industrial CT technology for battery quality inspections are redefining what is possible. Used in-line or at-line in battery fabrication, CT X-ray technology offers comprehensive quality inspections across all stages of manufacturing while enabling multiple failure cases to be checked concurrently. Our CT systems also provide the battery-required high resolution at high inspection speeds.



BATTERY MANUFACTURING

Where and how can CT add value?



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Virtual slicing in any direction

Deviations can be identified and analyzed with respect to size and positioning

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Deviations in anode overhang

Evaluate anode anomalies to optimize quality and your production processes



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Delaminations

Detect and evaluate delamination areas in your cell

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Foreign particles

Identify inclusions and their exact position within the battery



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Electrode defects

Evaluate structural electrode defects affecting the cell performance

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Pole area defects

Detect cracks in the pole shoe, pores in the casting or residual electrolyte



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Tab defects

Detect disconnect, folding and wearing areas to prevent overheating zones

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Automated anode bending measurement

Proprietary machine learning (ML) based algorithms deliver exceptional Automated Defect Recognition (ADR) across various flaws for e.g. battery anode overhang analysis or typical casting defects



FAQs
Why is non-destructive inspection critical for battery quality assurance?

The structure of batteries is complex and there is no common standard between suppliers. Once the battery is built, it is sealed and is like a black box. The true integrity of the structure inside is unknown. To avoid scrap, it is necessary to look inside non-destructively, and this works best with CT inspection technology. Our Phoenix product line provides certainty for original manufacturers and suppliers and helps reduce costly scrap and recalls.

What are the advantages of 3D CT technology over other battery inspection methods?

With 3D CT technology, we can look inside the battery after assembly, inspect in greater detail, and assess the entire cell more accurately. That makes CT the best solution for finding the cause when batteries fail or test poorly. It thus reduces failed tests, and thereby scrap, costs, and environmental impact. However, the main goal of our customers is to optimize cost efficiency. Every cell that tests as poor lowers efficiency and drives up costs. CT is a universal tool to control the cell.

For example, the batteries used for electric vehicles or energy storage are made up of modules, and each module in turn is made up of multiple cells. When inspecting the batteries at the cell level, engineers examine the mechanical fabrication to see if there are any inclusions, the homogeneity of the electrodes, internal connections (welding), and the arrangement of the electrodes in the cells. Inspection of the electrode geometry involves examining the spacing between the electrodes, their size and orientation with respect to each other, their distance from the wall, and their angles. With 2D X-ray systems this might be possible, too, but inspectors will not see the whole picture because usually only one or two types of significant defects are visible within all the overlaying features of an X-ray image. Industrial computed tomography (CT) provides a complete picture of the critical parts of the cells and their arrangement within the casing. Inspectors can thus find any kind of defect causing deviations in X-ray absorption.

For whom are Waygate Technologies' X-ray and CT solutions relevant?

Battery research institutes, original equipment manufacturers as well as suppliers in the automotive and electronics industries use CT for quality assurance in development, production and failure analysis. When a battery fails in a car or electronic device and comes back from the field, a CT test is performed. Opening the battery can damage it. Therefore, a non-destructive inspection is necessary in advance. CT inspection can be used to prove if a defect was present before the battery was opened. If technicians then need to open a module, CT shows them with micrometer precision where the defect is to be found and where they can safely place their tools for detailed destructive examination.

To go even deeper, Waygate Technologies partners with Thermo Fisher. While CT allows precise 3D localization (within a few microns) of anomalies within batteries and other specimen, Thermo Fisher help expose anomalies using lasers for micrometer-precise surgical cuts into the object under investigation, polish them with plasma and analyze them down to the atomic level using electron microscopy. This synergy of non-destructive 3D defect detection and localization and laser-based destructive defect exposure at the location determined by CT followed by defect analysis through scanning electron microscopy for the first time enables a multiscale workflow from the macro scale to the atomic.

Why is battery testing so important for the electric vehicle industry?

The scrapping rate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries is still very high. The major battery manufacturers can produce about one million cells per year in one factory. If the scrap rate reaches a double-digit percentage value in the process, that's a huge number of wasted cells that don't meet quality standards. A huge drain on profitability - and the environment.

It's also difficult to manufacture these batteries, especially if manufacturers want to get maximum yield from the materials they use. Waygate Technologies is often approached to measure the effectiveness of electrode stacking. These are thin alternating electrodes that must be placed very precisely to achieve maximum function and performance. With each incorrectly placed electrode, the capacity decreases, resulting in reduced range in a car, for example.

Why is battery inspection so important for the electronics industry?

The rapidly growing demand for batteries in the electronics industry has led to a need for extremely short development times and faster production cycles without jeopardizing maximum product safety and product quality. Defective devices carry not only liability risks, but also high reputational risks. Lithium-Ion batteries are among the most powerful energy storage devices commonly used in portable electronic devices, stationary power sources and electric vehicles. Manufacturers and suppliers are working hard to increase load capacity, extend lifecycles, and comply with all quality assurance and safety standards. By detecting failures early and non-destructively, industrial CT enables manufacturers to avoid downstream costs by instantly monitoring their production output, getting statistical data on their quality, and ensuring that all production parameters are always optimal. Waygate Technologies state-of-the-art industrial X-ray CT solutions enable the highly flexible and safe non-destructive testing of prototypes and batteries and offer advanced test and measurement applications for quality control and analysis at all stages of a battery’s lifecycle - from the lab to series production.

How does CT increase the efficiency of battery inspection?

CT inspection allows the inspection of different types and sizes of batteries and defects on the same line or several different lines. Furthermore, it reduces changeover time and personnel to move large batteries for inspections.

How do faults in Li-ion battery cells actually occur?

The variety in battery cells is very high. The electric vehicles industry for example is in a kind of constant learning process. Because in this emerging mass production sector data is still being gathered on where there are issues, there is no statistical process control yet. Processes have to be redefined often. Each time something is changed the learning curve starts all over again. In the electronics sector, the maturity level of the batteries is higher, but on the other hand, much greater mass production volumes have to be managed here.

What is the advantage of using artificial intelligence-based ADR software?

Waygate Technologies offers ADR software as part of the comprehensive, agnostic data management software platform InspectionWorks and in combination with expert service teams. Once set up and implemented at a customer site by Waygate Technologies experts, the X|approver ADR software is able to automatically train itself on the inspection tasks the individual customer usually performs and the defects which occur during these tasks. By learning about the specific failure types, the ADR software becomes more and more accurate, reducing false negatives and ensuring an increase in inspection efficiency.

What are the benefits of Waygate Technologies' solutions?

Our Phoenix product line provides certainty for both OEMs of vehicles and electronic devices and suppliers.

We can always find new defects in battery production lines. Our CT systems help by analyzing the entire battery. Other test equipment focuses on a single failure mode. They perform a test for one fault, and once that has been eliminated, a sample might still test poorly because of a different fault. That's not the case with CT. 90 percent of the time, our CT systems can detect all faults because they are very flexible and the Waygate Technologies experts can help react quickly to test for any new fault modes. The main CT solution currently used by battery manufacturers is the Phoenix V|tome|x line, which is available in different versions depending on individual customer requirements. The experienced service and support teams at Waygate Technologies are ready to assist customers with planning, set up, adjustments and maintenance at any time.

When it comes to fully automated mass inspection, our new Speed|scan HD solution is now being integrated into first battery fabs of world-leading battery manufacturers.

Why is it an advantage to work with Waygate Technologies?

Waygate Technologies has more than a decade of experience in non-destructive inspection of batteries and detecting faults. The same manufacturers who already have experience in the production of cell phone batteries began to build larger batteries for electric vehicles. Even though EV batteries are a completely different application area, Waygate Technologies has a wealth of experience in battery inspection and the automotive sector that can be deployed quickly. The combined knowledge across the CT teams allows Waygate Technologies to set up machines well and troubleshoot quickly. Our systems are extremely versatile and easy to operate. Our experienced service and support teams are ready to assist customers at any time and will help manufacturers find the best solution for their respective challenge.

Do I need to buy a system?

No, many customers start with inspection services in one of Waygate Technologies´ global Customer Solutions Centers. Guided by experienced application engineers they learn which CT solutions best fit their individual inspection tasks. If they have extensive inspection demand and once they are convinced of the benefits, they might at a later time consider buying a system for their fab instead of hiring inspection services on a hourly basis.



Talk to a battery inspection expert

Get in touch with one of our Waygate Technologies subject matter experts.



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Li-ion Battery Inspection with Phoenix CT systems & Volume Graphics’ Software

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EV Battery - fast failure detection with computed tomography

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Promotional video: Li-ion battery inspection with CT



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CT for Lithium-Ion battery inspection in laboratory and shopfloor
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