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Dürr Partnership Expands Market Access for EV Batteries

The Dürr Group and Osaka-based firm Techno Smart have partnered to increase EV battery production efficiency. The Dürr Group is also expanding its small-factor battery production tech business and contributing to EV production across multiple departments.
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A rendering of a battery-production line
As production scales up on EVs, Dürr predicts successful battery manufacturers will use all-in-one packages that include both cutting-edge technology for coating and drying electrodes and proven systems for solvent recovery. Photo Credit: The Dürr Group

Dürr (Southfield, Mich.) is positioning itself as a key production technology manufacturer in the electric vehicle (EV) market by expanding its market access to battery manufacturers through a partnership with Techno Smart (Osaka, Japan), a leading manufacturer of coating systems. In particular, Dürr will combine Techno Smart’s technology for coating and drying electrodes with its own proven systems for solvent recovery to enhance production efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, which are key for EV production.

Dürr’s Efficient Battery-Manufacturing Technologies

With the acquisition of the US Company Megtec/Universal in 2018, Dürr expanded its portfolio with important competencies in battery manufacturing technology. Dürr Megtec’s coating, drying and solvent recovery systems offer solutions for three essential steps in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Dürr Megtec is part of Dürr’s Clean Technology Systems division.

In the coating process, manufacturers apply anode or cathode active material to both sides of a metal foil as a thin slurry. The drying process then creates a solid composite material. Within the lithium-ion battery cell, the active material stores the energy while the metal foil dissipates the current. Dürr  technologies allow for recovery of solvents used in the manufacturing process.

A photo of Dürr Megtec's lithium-ion electrode battery coating system
Dürr Megtec offers a unique system for coating lithium-ion electrodes in batteries, simultaneously coating both sides of the base material. Photo Credit: The Dürr Group

Dürr Megtec developed a coating process for simultaneous, efficient two-sided coating. Slot-dies coat both sides of the electrode foil directly, with a horizontal air floatation dryer immediately drying them. This process leads to a smaller overall manufacturing footprint and a higher cost efficiency.

With its simultaneous two-sided coating solution for battery electrodes, Dürr says it has thrived in niche segments. The company benefits from the growing demand for small-format lithium-ion batteries in hearing aids, headphones and other mobile electrical devices, and receiving a major contract in the first half of 2020.

Techno Smart Offers Solutions for the Automotive Sector

While Dürr is succeeding in its niche markets, the largest growth market for battery manufacturing is in EVs. For the large amounts of electrodes required for EV batteries, Techno Smart offers a highly efficient, proven and robust process. A slot die applies the slurry to the first side of the metal foil base material over a backing roller before operators immediately dry it. Operators then turn over the dried foil and repeat the process.

“We’ve combined our market-leading drying and solvent recovery technologies with the proven coating solutions of Techno Smart to create a unique portfolio in the market for EV batteries,” Dr. Daniel Schmitt, CEO of Dürr’s Clean Technology Systems division, says.

EV Production in Other Departments

The Dürr Group’s portfolio includes not only solutions for coating but also gluing technology for battery modules and coolant filling systems for batteries. Moreover, Dürr is supplying painting, final assembly and testing systems for EVs.

With an order intake of just under €400 million, production technology for EVs already accounted for 22% of Dürr’s order volume in the automotive business last year. The growth trend is continuing in 2020, particularly due to the strong demand in China. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Dürr significantly increased incoming orders in the EV business through the first half of 2020.

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