Leak Testing Critical in EV Manufacturing

Leak Testing Critical in EV Manufacturing

Since batteries are the most costly part of EVs, leak testing throughout EV manufacturing is necessary to assure battery performance and safety.

 

The Traction Battery

 Just as the combustion engine is the powerhouse of classic automobiles, the traction battery can be considered the same for electric vehicles (EVs). The electrolyte-filled battery cell is the smallest manufacturing unit in the traction battery. Three types of battery cells are frequently used in the industry that includes the round cells, prismatic cells, and pouch cells.

The individual cells are grouped into battery modules which are combined to form battery packs. The battery packs are jointly placed in a single housing at the end of the manufacturing process. Leak testing is important at every stage of the process.

 

Leak Testing throughout EV manufacturing 

Below are the steps involved in battery installation in electric vehicles and the corresponding leak testing steps needed for each step.

Leak Testing Throughout EV manufacturing

Test methods for battery cells

To ensure an extended service life, very low leak rates must be maintained. This level of low leak rate allowance is possible with precise leak testing techniques like vacuum leak testing, burst leak testing, and accumulation chamber leaking testing.

Leak tightness of battery modules and packs and housings

Usually, battery modules and battery packs are cooled using a water-glycol mixture or refrigerant from the AC system of the vehicle. If there isn’t sufficient leak proofing, the cooling medium can leak and cause short circuits. Because battery packs housings, protect the battery cells and models, the housings must meet the IP 67 and IP-69K ingress protection standards.

Leak testing cooling components

The service life and operational safety of an EV battery depend on reliable cooling because batteries heat up during charging or driving mode. Modern batteries use passive air cooling and active liquid cooling using refrigerants. The refrigerant is routed in a cooling circuit around the cells to remove maximum heat from the circuit. If leaks are present, refrigerants can leak in the cells, causing short circuits.

Electric drive motor

The electric drive motors used in EVs also must be leak proof because they are frequently exposed to rainwater or water jets during cleaning. Leak testing ensures that neither water enters the motor from the outside nor the water inside the cooling jacket escapes into the motor. The motor housings are tested in accordance with the IP 67 and IP 69 standards. 

In addition, modern electric motors are using a water-glycol mixture for active water cooling that ensures the optimum motor temperature. The cooling jacket must be leak tested to avoid water penetration into the electrical components of the engine. Similarly, a loss of coolant can occur if it seeps out of the cooling circuit.

To find out how Zaxis can help you leak test your EV batteries, contact us.

 

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EV Battery Vehicle

EV batteries pack in vehicle

Leak Testing Critical in EV Manufacturing

Variable Metering Pumps are vital to EV Battery Production

Batteries are a costly and critical part of electric vehicles (EVs)

With batteries making up roughly 40% of the total cost of an electric vehicle and their role in determining range and performance, batteries are the most critical and expensive component of the electric vehicle. The importance of batteries, particularly lithium-ion, in EVs is driving the demand for improved performance and quality in EV battery production.

Highly accurate metering pumps are necessary to guarantee quality production of Lithium-Ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular type of batteries used in electric vehicles.  They contain combinations of special materials such as oxidized nickel, cobalt, and manganese (NCM for short).  The combination of these materials determines the service life, energy density, and the number of charge cycles in a battery. The preparation of these materials requires the mixing of various solutions in precise quantities. The reactions must be carried out within a specific time frame, at specified temperatures, and under stable conditions. The process must be strictly controlled to determine the purity of lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese. Using smart high-end metering pumps in this process ensures the dispensing of exact quantities of these materials and guarantees repeatability of the process with precision.

Multiple stages of EV battery manufacturing require precise metering pumps

During various stages of battery production, high-end metering pumps with ethernet capability allow for real time digital feedback and control throughout the manufacturing process.  This ensures the dispensing of correct quantities of materials at specific times. First, pumps meter soluble liquid metal mixed with nickel, cobalt, and manganese elements into a solution to meet a precise predetermined total NCM ion concentration. Fluoride is then metered to remove impurities having calcium and magnesium ions. Next, pumps are used to meter the solutions of nickel, cobalt, and manganese into a reactor. Then to ensure stable carbonate or hydroxide, pumps are used to meter quantities of NaOH and ammonia solutions. Later, metering pumps are used frequently used in battery testing or quality assurance applications to ensure they meet EV industry standards.  All these steps require state-of-the-art metering pump technology capable of handling a variety of chemical agents and executing precise dispensing of fluids.

The figure below shows the stages of battery production with an electronic variable metering pump

Figure 1: Different stages of battery procution 

Zaxis Variable Metering Pumps expertly meet the needs of EV battery producers

EV battery production requires precise metering pumps to ensure quality and repeatability.  Zaxis eVmPs (electronic variable metering pumps) are specifically designed for highly precise low-volume dispensing of slurries, lubricants, and electrolytes that are used in the manufacturing of EV batteries. Furthermore, battery manufacturing lines must be flexible and able to absorb changes in the assembly lines. Manufacturers often experiment with new slurries, alloys, and mixtures to increase battery quality and output. The eVmP has a simple electronic adjustment feature specially designed for ensuring flexibility in production lines. In addition, Zaxis eVMPs have ethernet IP capability for easy digital feedback and control. With built in Ethernet IP, the pump is part of a closed feedback loop and can be digitally controlled to make precise manufacturing adjustments in real time.

The internal pump components of the eVmP are made of chemically inert, sapphire hard ceramics. The materials used in manufacturing these pumps are free from contaminants like copper, zinc, and iron that can contaminate the cathode and anode slurry. The sapphire hard ceramics used in these pumps are ideal for dispensing corrosive electrolytes and as well as viscous, abrasive slurries. Moreover, the eVmP pump heads have been designed for millions of maintenance-free cycles to ensure flexibility and longevity in the production lines.

Contact Zaxis today to find out how we can help you in your EV production. 

 

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Issac HD Leak Tester for Oil Filter Application

Issac HD Leak Tester for Oil Filter Application

Zaxis offers solutions for your Automotive Leak Testing Needs.

The automotive industry is as demanding as ever with an ever-changing global economy, competition is fierce. Zaxis is here to ensure your automotive components pass the test. Whether you are leak testing electronics, fuel injectors, transmissions, carburetors, or filters, Zaxis can provide a unique solution that fits all of your leak testing requirements. Take the image to the right for example. The image is an Isaac-HD leak tester connected to a custom Zaxis fixture designed specifically for an oil filter. The oil filter is a cast part that has a fair degree of compressive and thermal variability. Zaxis solved this customers complex testing requirements by leveraging our expertise and excellent manufacturing facilities. If you have a demanding application, choose the right partner, Zaxis, to support your leak testing needs.

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Isaac HD Multi Channel Air Leak Testing
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The Isaac HD air leak tester offers a large full-color graphic display and outstanding signal processing for unparalleled test stability and repeatability.

The Isaac HD is particularly well-suited for such air leak tests as:

To learn more about our Isaac HD air leak detector, download the Zaxis Isaac HD Datasheet or contact us to put Zaxis’ leak detection expertise to work for your business.

 

 

Contact us today to find the right solution for your needs.

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Leak Testing for IP Standards in the Automotive Industry

Leak Testing for IP Standards in the Automotive Industry

Ingress protection is a critical part of product development particularly with the increased use of  electronics in the automotive industry.  Using IP Code is a standardized way to define just how leak proof a product is without using ambiguous terms such as waterproof. The issue with using the standard tests as laid out by the IP Code is the fact that these tests are very time consuming and destructive. Using pneumatic leak testing to validate IP ratings in place of physical water tests is time saving and non-destructive.

Leak Testing for Ingress

There are many reasons, from basic product functionality to marketing, that manufacturers test their parts for ingress. In design and development processes common terms such as dust tight or waterproof are used to describe a products level of protection against ingress, however these terms are rather vague. Considerations such as a part or product function, form and even environment need to be taken into consideration.

 

  • Function: Are you trying to keep particulates or liquid out or in?
  • Form: Does product have multiple parts; do they all need the same or varying levels of protection?
  • Environment: Is the product meant for indoor or outdoor use, will it be submitted to high pressure or low-pressure situations?

IP Standards and What They Mean

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has published its standard 60529, otherwise known as Ingress Protection Code (IP Code). This code is comprised of the letters IP followed by two digits (example: IPXX). The first digit of the IP Code corresponds with protection against solid ingress and ranges from 0, meaning no protection, to 6, meaning dust tight. The second digit refers to liquid ingress and ranges from 0, meaning no protection, to 9, meaning protected from powerful high temperature water jets. Either digit may be populated with an X which can mean the protection level is 0 or the protection rating is not applicable thus not tested.

1st Digit Effective Against Object Size 2nd Digit Protected Against
0 0 Not Protected
1 >50mm 1 Dripping Water
2 >12.5mm 2 Dripping Water when Tilted up to 15º
3 >2.5mm 3 Spraying Water
4 >1mm 4 Splashing Water
5 Dust Protected 5 Water Jets
6 Dust Tight 6 Powerful Water Jets
    7 Immersion up to 1m
    8 Immersion beyond 1m
    9 Steam Jet Cleaning

The most common IP rating in medical device assembly and electronics is IP67. This ensures the product is dust tight with no particulate ingress. IP67 also validates that the product can remain submerged under 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes with no water ingress.

Challenges

The standard tests as laid out by the IP Code are very time consuming and destructive, particularly when testing for liquid ingress. IP Code testing for liquid is also incredibly expensive and not ideal for large scale manufacturing. These moisture tests require specific testing environments that include precisely oriented, often high pressure, spray nozzles with rotating platforms as well as water tanks that can hold a large amount of water. The apparatus must be able to spray water at a consistent specified pressure for an extended period of time to determine the item under test’s specific ingress protection level. The test is then validated through disassembly as the item under test is physically inspected for ingress of water.

Ambiguity

Every product is different so deciding what IP rating a particular product needs and how to test it is highly specialized. Form, Function and Environment not only helps a designer determine a correlating IP rating but also how to test.

 

Product Testing Considerations:
  • Is the product’s goal to keep things in or out?
  • What pressure will the product have to face?
  • Is the product in an enclosure or is it an external component?

Pneumatic Leak Testing

An alternative to the standard physical IP Code tests is pneumatic leak testing. Air molecules are smaller than water molecules, therefore testing for the ingress of air can determine the ingress of water without directly submitting the item under test to water. Pneumatic leak tests also negate the need to disassemble the item under test for validation.

Zaxis has been using pneumatic leak testers to validate ingress protection for many years. The term leak tight is a veritable spectrum and the engineering team at Zaxis have designed tests across the entire gamut. They can help product designers and developers understand the leak tight spectrum and develop custom tests to validate for IP rating.

In order to streamline IP rating validation through the entire product development process Zaxis has designed their family of leak testers to all use the same components.  This means the benchtop leak tester used by R&D during a products design stage has the same components as the leak testers on the production floor, making validation of IP ratings simple and consistent. Test validation is critical especially when dealing with regulated standards such as IP Code.

For more information about the International Electrotechnical Commission visit there website at https://www.iec.ch/. For more information about the Zaxis family of leak testers or how to create a pneumatic leak test to IP rate your products contact sales@zaxisinc.com or call 1 (801) 264-1000.

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Zaxis Leak Tester in Action

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Zaxis Leak Tester integrated into a customer robotic application

See how one customer integrated a Zaxis leak tester into a robotic application? Zaxis leak testers are configurable, accurate and repeatable. Perfect for quality leak testing in the manufacturing process for a variety of applications.  

Speak to one of our sales engineers today about your application and how we can help ensure your production process is producing only the best.

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Here at ZAXIS we have been designing and building precision leak testing equipment for over 20 years. As a result of all those years we understand that our high-quality customers are just as important as our high-quality products. We are problem solvers at heart and for that reason we have innovated some of the world’s leading leak testing and dispensing equipment around.

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