German engineering company Oerlikon’s vacuum technology division, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum (OLV), has been awarded the contract for the supply of vacuum systems that will equip several production lines for a Korean producer of lithium-ion batteries. The delivery of these vacuum systems for electrode drying is expected in mid-2016.
The system combination of the dry compressing screw vacuum pump, DRYVAC DV 450C, and the proven Roots RUVAC WH2500 vacuum pump will allow the customer to optimise its production lines.
OLV says that the decisive factors for awarding the contract in its favour were its superior process capability at low operating costs as well as the services it offered.”Moreover, the smooth, interactive communication between customer, sales and application support showed our commitment,” says OLV Korea head of sales Hy Moon.
In the manufacture of battery cells, vacuum technology is used for several production steps and has high importance for the efficiency of production. Moon states that, during their entire life cycle, batteries need to maintain a high quality, thus high-performance vacuum systems are necessary in order to provide the conditions for high-quality batteries.
The company notes that, specifically with lithium cells for electric vehicles, these quality requirements are increasingly important, as the demands for volumetric storage capacity, light weight and safety are growing. Apart from electrode drying, the vacuum-assisted manufacturing steps comprise cell assembly and leak detection testing.
OLV expects further business transactions in the current year. “With this order, we position ourselves clearly in the fast-growing, attractive business field of modern energy storage for electric mobility,” says OLV CEO Dr Martin Füllenbach. “The business potential for the current year shows positive aspects, especially since the market for lithium-ion batteries is generally expected to grow at sustainable rates during the next three years.”
Füllenbach says that, owing to its extensive and excellent process and application knowledge, OLV will contribute to improved production concepts and strive to demonstrate the attractiveness of lithium-ion batteries for mass-market applications owing to a greater range per charge cycle and lower production costs.Meanwhile,
Oerlikon announced in November that it had signed an agreement to sell its OLV business to global industrial solutions supplier Atlas Copco. The transaction is based on an enterprise value of $525-million and is expected to close by mid-2016, subject to regulatory merger approvals in a number of countries and the standard closing conditions.
Oerlikon said the divestment was in line with its strategic agenda to focus on streamlining its portfolio with the objective of further developing the company’s best-in-class businesses. The divestment marks the thirteenth strategic transaction for the group since 2010, and will allow it to further allocate resources and management attention to its strategic growth areas.