Battery manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to balance managing a complex set of processes with enhanced efficiency, improved quality, and streamlined operations. Currently battery manufacturing is a lengthy process generally involving sourcing material, slurry mixing, coating, drying, calendering, slitting, vacuum drying, fabrication (jelly roll winding or stacking), welding, packaging, electrolyte filling, formation, and aging. Partly because of the complexity, manufacturing can account for up to 25% of the cost of Lithium Ion Batteries (LIBs).1

One of the most significant challenges manufacturers face is managing the vast amount of data generated throughout the entire procurement and production line, not the least of which includes numerous process parameters that are generated within each step, potentially hundreds overall. This data, often siloed in local systems or spreadsheets captured at each process step (or in some cases even recorded on paper), becomes a bottleneck, hindering the ability to manage recalls effectively, conduct root cause analyses (RCA), correlate performance in the field, and maintain consistent quality across products.

We recently introduced Peaxy Build, which sets out to address these challenges and transform the battery manufacturing landscape by providing, in part, a “manufacturing traveler” (or digital traveler) which is a digitized Bill of Materials (BOM) that acts as a digital thread throughout the production lifecycle. This innovative approach not only enhances recall management but also provides invaluable insights into the manufacturing process with granular tracking of KPIs, enabling proactive quality control and performance optimization. For our customers, they are able to tell why a cell is defective before it finishes proceeding down the production line, saving a tremendous amount of re-work and waste and at the same time capturing up to 94% of the available data.

The current state-of-the-art battery manufacturing process, which includes three major parts: electrode preparation, cell assembly, and battery electrochemistry activation. 3

As a digitized BOM, it serves as a comprehensive guide through each stage of production, freeing up data otherwise trapped in separate systems. It thus provides near real-time visibility into the status and history of each component, enabling manufacturers to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and ensure quality control with unprecedented precision.

Battery manufacturers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to analyze their capability and output, including:

  • X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) for analyzing the chemical composition of raw materials and finished products
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) for visualizing the structure of materials at the micro and nanoscale
  • Infrared (IR) spectroscopy for detecting chemical bonds and functional groups in materials
  • Raman spectroscopy for analyzing the vibrational modes of molecules in materials
  • FTIR analysis to perform research or quality control to help optimize lithium battery alternatives (e.g., Li–S, Li–O2, Na-ion) and electrolyte formulations, or catalytic systems6

Each of these methods produces large volumes of data describing the battery’s composition, structure and performance, introducing significant challenges in managing everything. By integrating data across disparate systems (typically a larger effort than most companies can tackle on their own), the manufacturing traveler facilitates a seamless flow of information, empowering manufacturers to respond swiftly to any issues, optimize their operations, and maintain a competitive edge. Let’s take a closer look at why the “manufacturing traveler” is a game-changer for both battery and battery component manufacturing.

Centralized data for enhanced recall management

It’s difficult to forget the Chevy Bolt recall, even though it was in 2021. Combined with the recall of Hyundai models in the same year, over 200,000 vehicles were affected at a cost of over $2 billion7 (see our analysis of the recall here). One of the primary benefits of the manufacturing traveler as part of Peaxy Build is its ability to centralize data, creating a single source of truth. Digitizing the BOM this way ensures that all relevant information is accessible in real-time, across all stages of manufacturing. A major benefit of having such a centralized data approach is quick identification of affected assets during recalls, minimizing the impact on both the manufacturer and the consumer. The traveler further fortifies the recall process by enabling manufacturers to swiftly trace and isolate any issues back to their source.

A centralized data repository not only simplifies the identification of problematic components but also allows for a targeted approach to recalls, significantly reducing the scope and cost associated with such events. Battery manufacturers can thus ensure that only the affected assets are recalled, while simultaneously maintaining the integrity and trust in their brand. This level of precision and efficiency in recalls has until now been difficult to achieve.

In a giga factory setting, the data challenges are even greater from the standpoint of both the volume of data and its heterogeneous nature. Each piece of equipment can come from a different manufacturer as part of the assembly process, leading to different software interfaces and formats. An analytics solution such as Peaxy Build directly solves the challenge of the interoperability of not only battery data but the models used to characterize it. In this sense, it acts as a “universal translator” for all the various systems and data involved in a complex manufacturing process, allowing for unprecedented insights into quality and performance.

Proactive problem-solving with real-time insights

Traditionally, manufacturers have had to wait until the final product fails testing to identify issues and defects, leading to costly delays and wasted resources. Cell-level defects typically pose a greater risk to energy storage system performance and safety than system-level issues, according to Clean Energy Associates. Common problems include lack of calibration and welding defects, as well as electrolyte leakage 5. In addition, uneven coating of the aluminum or copper substrates can compromise characteristics such as charge density, recharge time, and operational lifetime and can lead directly to safety concerns6. Real-time monitoring capabilities change the game by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the manufacturing process in order to pinpoint exactly where a problem exists as it occurs, allowing for immediate corrective action.

The traveler not only anticipates potential issues but also empowers battery manufacturers with the ability to address them proactively through real-time insights by capturing and analyzing data at every step of the manufacturing process, allowing for immediate detection and resolution of anomalies before they escalate into larger problems. This proactive stance on problem-solving minimizes downtime, enhances product reliability, and ultimately leads to a more streamlined and cost-effective manufacturing operation. With this solution, manufacturers are equipped to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that every battery meets stringent quality standards while navigating the complexities of modern battery production.

A typical LIB manufacturing workflow illustrates the different CBD and AM particle sizes, with the fully lithiated state in red and fully de-lithiated state in blue. With a manufacturing traveler as part of a battery analytics solution, manufacturers can track key process parameters at each step to quickly identify anomalies, eliminating costly rework and allowing for the retention of valuable data about the eventual manufactured cell later in its lifecycle. 4

Another benefit of collecting and threading the manufacturing data is to monitor in-line manufacturing metrics as a lead indicator of a cell’s characteristics. Leveraging the significant amount of historic data collected at key processes such as during formation, and utilizing a machine learning tool such as Peaxy Predict, algorithms can be created and updated to provide an early indication of the cell’s quality and performance. The threaded data then can be used to analyze the manufacturing process and identify key contributors to a cell’s characteristic.

Battery lifecycle and sustainability

It hardly needs pointing out that the value and importance of data collected during the manufacturing process extends well beyond the point where a cell is created. The need for a complete picture of the individual cells and the battery, from initial manufacturing to deployment and eventual retirement, is largely driving the adoption of a “battery passport” (also referred to as a “battery identity global passport”) that is supported by the Global Battery Alliance3. In addition to referencing battery chemistry and even the origin of source materials, the battery passport also includes the complete operational history such as State of Health and State of Charge, along with the total chain of custody. All of this information becomes invaluable for “second life” adopters of retired assets in redeploying them in other applications or eventual recycling.

Key takeaways

Peaxy Build is specifically tailored to meet the needs of battery manufacturers by understanding the intricacies of battery production and the importance of precision in every component. With such a capability as part of a holistic battery analytics solution, battery manufacturers can expect:

  • Improved quality control: With real-time data tracking, manufacturers can ensure that each battery cell and component meets the highest quality standards.
  • Efficient recall management: The digitized BOM provided allows for swift identification and resolution of issues, reducing the scope and cost of recalls.
  • Enhanced RCA capabilities: Peaxy Build’s detailed data analysis helps manufacturers understand the root causes of defects, leading to better prevention strategies.
  • Optimized manufacturing processes: By analyzing data across the entire production lifecycle, PLI helps manufacturers refine their processes for maximum efficiency.

Specialized battery analytics solutions like Peaxy Build offer significant advantages over generic or “home grown” analytics software when it comes to managing and optimizing battery systems. These solutions are tailored specifically for battery data, which tends to be complex and multi-dimensional. Peaxy also offers solutions that provide deeper insights into battery health, performance, and lifecycle management. With advanced algorithms designed to interpret battery-specific metrics, such as state of charge (SoC), state of health (SoH), and charge/discharge cycles, such tools can predict battery lifespan and performance degradation more accurately, all within the same system. This leads to more informed decision-making, proactive maintenance and replacement, and ultimately reduced downtime and operational costs.

4 C. Sangrós Giménez, C. Schilde, L. Froböse, A. Kwade, Energy Technol. 2020, 8, 1900180. Copyright 2021
5 More than a quarter of energy storage systems have fire detection and suppression defects: report | Utility Dive
6 How Analytical Technologies in Battery Manufacturing Can Help the Clean-Energy Economy – Identifying Threats (
7 How to Prevent Electric Dreams from Going Up in Flames: The Challenge of Battery Safety | by BatteryBits Editors | BatteryBits (Volta Foundation) | Medium