Author: David G. Kilburn & Nigel Taylor
As I posted the other day, there are a lot of “boring” battery topics that often get overlooked and producing the battery housing (sometimes referred to as battery tray or box) is no exception! To house a battery you need a high quality, leak proof container that can easily be produced and today, there is no standard manufacturing method across the industry that solves the challenges in production:
Mechanical / Adhesives
Also known as “gluing and screwing”. While it is done, it’s messy, time consuming and frankly, not ideal in such large scale that manufacturers need today and into the future.
Friction Stir Welding
This process is expensive, it’s slow and most importantly, prone to cracking. That said, it is quite nice in terms of distortion control, but in every other way, manufacturers struggle with it.
Commonly referred to as MIG/MAG welding as well. This is the most forgiving process but it’s not as productive as others as it’s generally limited to 1m/min travel speeds, not the least to mention that due to the heat inputs to the base material, distortion tends to be an issue. But more often than not it’s unavoidable at least in some parts of the housing.
Hybrid Laser Welding
This process has somehow been adopted by a number of manufacturers as it produces welds in excess of 3m/min travel speeds but it comes at a cost; yes, it’s fast but in battery housing applications quality is essential and repair rates in excess of 10% are not uncommon. The spot size diameter makes tooling and fit up critical as well.
Hot Wire Laser
Aluminum is such a good electrical and heat conductor that typical hot wire laser systems simply don’t run hot enough to achieve any type of benefit in production so this process is rarely used. That said…this is where it gets interesting with a new process:
Precision Power Laser
Technically this is a hot wire laser process. But here, a truly hot wire is run that is double, triple or more the heat of traditional systems. Travel speeds in excess of 3m/min are possible and coupled with a large laser beam spot size, which makes the process fast, flexible, repeatable, high quality and very low distortion. You can find more information below: https://promotions.lincolnelectriceurope.com/precision-power-laser/
Lincoln Electric, the world’s largest welding, cutting and automation company has been in business for 128 years. They’ve achieved this by focusing on solving end user customers production challenges and Precision Power Laser is an excellent example of combining welding equipment, filler metal and automation technologies to create a game changer in an industry that continues to boom.
What are your experiences with battery housing production techniques?