Laser welding facilitates order from e-mobility industry

April 9, 2015
Manz Automation has received an order for a pilot system in which an innovative laser welding process will be used for manufacturing lithium-ion battery systems.

Reutlingen, Germany - German engineering company Manz Automation has received a strategically important order from a US-based e-mobility company for a pilot system in which an innovative laser welding process will be used for manufacturing lithium-ion battery systems. With the help of this procedure, the quality and performance of the batteries can be further increased—at reduced production costs.

Manz notes that while the order volume for this system is only in the six-figure range, the company sees outstanding opportunities for significant follow-up orders in the coming years once the new process has been successfully qualified for series production.

The sustained lowering of production costs, in particular, will be critical for the success of e-mobility. With the newly developed process for the electrical connection of the individual battery cells into a battery system through laser welding, the interdisciplinary laser team at Manz developed a new welding process in which the mixing of melts is almost entirely eliminated: laser welding in overlap configuration via high-frequency local modulation, or "wobbling." With wobbling, the depth and width of weld seams are configured independently of each other in the micrometer range. This secures flexibility in the application, which is just what is needed in welding bimetallic connections, gas-tight battery boxes, and highly reflective copper materials. Seams produced in this way have a very high resistance without brittle intermetallic phases.

The new welding method can be used with the same beam source and beam guide for all these application scenarios; i.e., geometries of Li-ion batteries. Bimetals, aluminum, copper, or steel—no problem: all required parameters can be set for the relevant task. Even spot welds are possible, with up to 3500 welds/s.

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