'Absorb the advantages of a pouch-type battery'
Samsung SDI's battery performance for EVs is expected to improve significantly.
On the 2nd, Samsung SDI began experimenting with stack (stacking) technology that stacks internal materials on a square, which is a medium and large battery manufacturing method. This structure is the same as the pouch-type batteries used by LG Chem and SK Innovation. Samsung SDI has recently constructed a pilot line in Xi'an, China, and Göd, Hungary. At the end of the test, it will be converted to a mass production line. For this purpose, orders for existing battery equipment were suspended. New process equipment is being developed with partner companies.
The new process stacks battery materials such as anode material, separator, and cathode material in a metal can such as aluminum. In the past, the battery material was rolled like a kimbap. Productivity is high because jelly roll, which is a combination of dried and rolled material, is applied all at once. However, this method may cause a swelling phenomenon in which the material is deformed by repeated charge and discharge. Because the jelly roll is round, there is space left in the corners of the square can.
The stacked type square battery can utilize 100% of the internal space. Shrinkage and swelling occur only vertically during charging and discharging. Less material deformation occurs even after a long time use. This is advantageous for controlling the volume expansion. However, productivity is lowered because notching equipment must be used to cut battery materials. Samsung SDI decided to solve the issue by using a laser instead of physically cutting the battery material.
Samsung SDI is introducing a new process to increase profitability. According to US investment bank UBS’s cost analysis of EV battery, Samsung SDI supply price per 1kWh (kWh) is about $150. It is in the worse position than LG Chem ($140) or Panasonic ($110).
Samsung SDI President Jeon Young-Hyun said in a greeting for the New Year and general shareholders' meeting, "Non-profitable growth is a house of cards. Instead of focusing on external growth, we will pursue quality-driven growth based on profitability by securing differentiated technologies that lead the market."
An industry official said, "Samsung SDI is actively contacting both domestic and Chinese companies to develop new processing equipment. We anticipate full-fledged investment to occur in the second half of this year."