Sustainable values and the world digitalization have led to increasing demand of batteries globally. The batteries won’t be just lead batteries as used to be for a century. Instead of that there are used several different other metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel which can be found from different places in the world. The same metals exist also in Nordic ground which has created a good business potential for the local companies in refining them further.
Manufacturing (refining) process of battery raw materials is complex and multiphase. This means that the footprint area of the battery production facility will be rather large. Manufacturing cost efficiency demand means that you can’t accept whatever height for the building either, so the plant layout will consist of multiple materials lifting up stages rather than utilizing straightforward “gravity flow” idea. Respectively this will have an effect on process and selected dosing equipment for instance, specifically the increased number of needed parallel equipment.
Manufacturing process includes several process stages and the materials in different phases can be oxides, hydroxides, some dry loose materials, moist granulates and moist flakes etc. This raw materials’ physical handling properties variation combined to the usage of “weighed screws” as well as various integrated rotary and gravimetric feeder / pneumatic conveying systems and/or other rather complex methods to dose and control such demanding rawmaterials really sets high technology and performance edge for equipment suppliers selection.
It is important to emphasize such dosing systems and particularly, the complexity related in the required dosing and feeding accuracy topped with process system’s dynamic requirements that material handling equipment must comply. E.g. very well fluidized bulk materials, coarse granules and adhesive flakes are problematic ones and require demanding volumetric feeding properties from the feeding / dosing equipment itself. One must keep in mind that battery raw materials refining process consists mainly of continuous dosing and feeding applications rather than “batch type” which means that the used dosing equipment need to fulfill both stabile volumetric and accurate gravimetric performance at the same time. This also substantially complicates the process control system software and hardware design.
The processed (dosed / mixed and otherwise treated) raw materials “internal end product” is intermediately stored in big bags or containers etc. within the battery manufacturing facility. This includes various weighing, dosing and feeding applications such as big bag filling / unloading equipment and various materials level measuring systems related to internal material logistic flow monitoring and control systems. Same logistic weighing / feeding systems you can find from the very beginning of the battery initial raw materials receiving section before the actual refining process discussed here above.
The author of the article is Kari Saarinen, Vice President of Technology and Engineering
Vice President, Technology and Engineering
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