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A new in-line measurement and control system will help manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries scale operations and maintain quality, according to Thermo Fisher Scientific. The company announced Thursday its Thermo Scientific LInspector system designed to detect defects in battery electrode coatings, electrode calendering, and separator films during the manufacturing process. This new system also can help reduce waste and improve battery quality, the company said.

Phillip van de Werken, vice president and general manager of the materials and minerals business at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a press release that the company wants to help battery manufacturing customers improve analytical precision from the lab to the production line.

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Tam Nguyen, senior gauging product line manager at Thermo Fisher, said in a press release that lithium-ion battery manufacturers need to be able to detect tiny defects in their products, such as the thickness and coating uniformity of battery electrodes during the production process.

“In addition to exceptional precision and control, the LInspector measurement and control system has intelligent instrument performance monitoring with secure data archival and full traceability of product defects,” Nguyen said. “These innovations will enable battery manufacturers to improve their product quality and prevent defective batteries from reaching cars, clean energy storage systems and consumer electronics.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s new platform combines sensor accuracy and reporting capabilities to provide single source, end-to-end solution to improve the safety, consistency and efficiency of lithium-ion batteries, according to the company.

Market trends in lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are best known for powering smart phones. As more countries turn to electric vehicles, the pressure is on battery manufacturers to support this massive energy transition. President Joe Biden announced in January that the federal government will shift its 645,000 vehicles to an all-electric fleet, according to the Washington Post. New York announced in December 2020 that the state would start divesting holdings in gas and oil in its employee pension fund, according to an article in the New York Times.

FN Media Group took a look at trends in this space to understand the current landscape among lithium-ion battery makers. GreenPower Motor Company has been leading the electric car movement and manufacturing affordable battery-electric busses and trucks for 10 years.

The commentary also highlighted QuantumScape as another company to keep an eye on. The company is still in early stages of development of a solid-state lithium battery. Solid-state batteries last longer than lithium-ion batteries, which could make a huge difference in the longevity of electric cars. According to QuantumScape, solid-state lithium batteries would charge faster, reduce safety risks and lower manufacturing costs as compared to lithium-ion batteries.