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Coating process and its viscosity for Lithium batteries

The use of lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are safe and reliable and have a wide range of applications including powering electric vehicles. The battery manufacturing process needs to be controlled and optimized in order to guarantee the quality and reliability of the product. Among the global manufacturing process, there is the electrode manufacturing step that includes a coating process. The viscosity of the components and the slurry during the coating process is particularly important. It influences the final quality, efficiency and consistency of the electrode.

A necessary control of viscosity

The viscosity of the polymer binder solution affects the performance of the coating and the ease with which powders are dispersed, as well as the power required for mixing and the speed of application for a uniform coating.

Lithium battery
EV (electric vehicle) Li-Ion battery concept. Close up view. 3d rendering.

Density and viscosity control to optimize batch processes ensures consistency, quality and significant cost savings on materials. Control and traceability of the continuous mixing process can be improved through on-line monitoring and density and viscosity measurements. Automation, supported by on-line integration enables the optimization of all processes on production lines. Battery manufacturing is also speed up to meet growing demand.

A high viscosity of the battery suspension decreases the sedimentation speed at rest and delivers a thicker electrode film at the end of the coating step/phase. But too high viscosity may also make the coating process more difficult to control, which can lead to irregular coating and variable layer density. It resultes in variable ion transfer rates and thus unpredictable battery life (and unpredictable charging cycle time).

Finding the perfect viscosity can be tricky and difficult. The solution is to monitor and controll within the appropriate ranges according to the requirements of the process. With the control of viscosity, batteries and their components are safer and more durable.

The use of viscosimeters

Viscometers are an essential part of the solution for reliable batteries.
Electrodes density has an effect on cycle performance and irreversible loss of capacity in lithium-ion batteries.

The rheological behavior of the slurry is a highly complex and one. Even within the non-Newtonian fluids, finding the right balance for an easy to apply products can be very difficult.

MIVI process viscometers provides a high sensitivity viscosity measure that will detect the smallest changes in slurry composition. When combined with the density feature it adds the indirect monitoring of the concentration. Thanks to its instantaneous and continuous measure, combined with the outputs that deliver the measures to the end-user DCS. Sofraser viscometers are a great solution for automated process control, as they are maintenance free and highly reliable.

Similar processes are also valid for solid-state batteries. They are an interesting furure alternative that are a great way to support the growing demand for electric batteries.

Lithium batteries
Lithium batteries

John Heidenreich from Inventech through our camera

John: My name is John Heidenreich and I work for Inventech Benelux from the Netherlands

Interviewer: Fr how long have you been working with Sofraser?

John: We have been officially working for Sofraser since 2004 but we started working with you since 2001

Interviewer: What’s make you proud to work with Sofraser?

John: Well, there are a lot of things that make me proud but one of them is that we can contribute to selling your products in the Netherlands and together with Sofraser we can built a good part of the economics and helping customers create and expend their businesses

A partnership with John Heidenreich since 2001

Inventech is Sofraser’s choice partner in the Netherlands since 2001 and John Heidenreich, its president, hit the road to meet Sofraser’s team on the occasion of our 50th anniversary where he attended our special event.

Over the years an extensive trust and a true partnership was built between our two companies. We are delighted of the collaboration with have and developed along the 20 years since our very first meeting.

While celebrating our jubilee, they gave us a trophy present that we gladly accepted. We hope John’s interview pictures well the mutual and smooth collaboration we built.

Inventech logo

Gianantonio Favalessa – Ital Control Meters – through our Camera

Gianantonio: I am Gianantonio Favalessa and I am working for Ital Control meters, a company located close to Milano.

Interviewer: For how long have you been working with Sofraser?

Gianantonio: Since a very long time, I guess we met for the first time more than 20 years ago. I guess 22 years now.

Interviewer: What makes you proud to work with Sofraser?

Gianantonio: Well Sofraser is a perfect manufacturer for research and development and high technology instrumentation. It is perfect for our job in Italy. We normally look for the best technology and we take this technology for the Italian market. And Sofraser In this 20 years made a wonderful job with us.

More than 20 years of partnership with Gianantonio Favalessa from Ital control meters

The 50 years celebration of Sofraser’s existence was also an occasion to celebrate the many partnership Sofraser made along the way: Gianantonio Favalessa, president of Ital Control meters made the trip to Sofraser’s offices and celebrated with us the company’s jubilee.

Ital control is an historical partner of Sofraser and our distributor for the Italian market, and it all started in 2000 with Dr Luc Bellière and Gianantonio Favalessa meeting at ACHEMA.

While on site, he gave an interview for our cameras about his partnership with Sofraser and why he still works with us after two decades.   

Logo ital control meters

Debra Hall of Elementale Inc. through our camera

Debra: Hi! I am Debra Hall and I work for Elementale enterprises Inc. in the US

Interviewer: For how long have you been working with Sofraser?

Debra: I have been working with Sofraser since 2015, so that would be 7 years!

Interviewer: What’s make you proud to work with Sofraser?

Debra: I love working with Sofraser because I love working with a company that is always on the leading edge of innovation and technology. Because Sofraser and everybody that works with Sofraser is setting the trend for the next generations, and that makes me proud.

From advanced to Elementale Inc, a 7 years partnership with Debra Hall

The celebration of 50 years of existence was also an occasion to celebrate the many partnership Sofraser made along the way. Debra Hall, president of Elementale Inc. made the trip to Sofraser’s offices. She celebrated with us the company’s jubilee.

Debra Hall is a long-time partner of Sofraser. First with Advanced and today with her current company Elementale, who distributes Sofraser’s viscometer across the USA.

While on site, she gave an interview for our cameras. She talked about her partnership with Sofraser and why she still works with us after several years.  

You can watch the video right below. If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to check our LinkedIn or our Youtube page.

Debra Hall of Elementale Inc

Sofraser’s viscosity sensors robustness

Sofraser’s patented principle

Thanks to the vibrating principle, viscometer made in Sofraser are extremely reliable. They also are high quality and don’t have any moving and wear parts which means our customers can use it for years and sometimes decades maintenance-free, even used continuously.

Sofraser sometimes gets calls from clients we haven’t heard about in 10 years and sometimes more for check-in or documentation.

The practical case

And that is the story of a MIVI we manufactured in 1999 that was sent to Sweden through our distributor based there. Their viscometer is a MIVI sensor, with wetted parts in 316L SS, with its incorporated temperature probe, used in a safe area and matched with a 6002 processor. It still is operating today and we heard about it after 15 years of continuous operation.

sofraser sensor robustness
Sofraser’s robust MIVI

The application for this customer is the monitoring of a coating solution for paper. Monitoring viscosity and using the information for adjusting process conditions prevents unexpected results such as roughness or blistering.

The MIVI was still in good condition but needed a cleaning and a measuring range increase.

The customer trusted Sofraser, expertise 23 years ago and obtained fast ROI and TCO thanks to the MIVI. As a result of Sofraser maintenance, will continue to work for many years.

What are the viscometer MIVI’s advantages?

Inserting the vibrating needles in their process drastically reduced their loss and optimized their quality. The MIVI provides an instantaneous and efficient measurement of dynamic or kinematic viscosity, density, concentration, phase detection, etc.

The MIVI sensor has been eco-designed therefore is robust, repairable, and recyclable.

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Surveillance of enteric coating of pharmaceuticals and feeds

An enteric coating (delayed-release); is a barrier applied to oral medications that control where it is absorbed in the digestive tract. Most enteric coatings work by having a coated surface that is stable at a very acidic pH. Which is found in the stomach, but the enteric coating decomposes under non-acid conditions; found in the intestine and thus releases the drug.

The main applications of enteric coatings are pharmaceuticals in solid oral dosages and livestock feed.

The functionality of enteric coatings is, for the most part, mediated by a change in the pH of the environment; to which the enteric soluble product is exposed. Enteric polymers remain unionized (and thus insoluble) at low pH values; and begin to dissolve at pH values of about 5. 0 to 5. 5.

The choice of polymer and coating thickness are absolutely essential to control the pH solubility; profile of the enteric-coated dosage form. The quality of the film coating is absolutely essential and affects the shelf life and disintegration of enteric tablets.

viscosity in pharmaceutical industry

Control of viscosity to optimize efficiency and quality in the coating process

It is therefore essential to maintain high quality standards in the pharmaceutical industry. Each coating formulation and film-forming polymer has its maximum viscosity limit characteristic with respect to suitability for processing, which is dependent on batch size, coating equipment and process. In order to optimize efficiency and quality, it is imperative to maintain optimal viscosity throughout the coating process.

Since spraying, coating distribution and drying occur at the same time, tablet coating is a dynamic and complex process that is affected by many variables. In order to optimize efficiency and quality, it is absolutely necessary to compensate for the loss of solvent by adding a small amount of solvent from time to time during the operation in order to maintain the optimum viscosity for use through adjustments according to the conditions.

Since the early 1990s, the MIVI sensor has been integrated into multiple product developments in the biotechnology industry allowing the filing of half a dozen patents in which the Sofraser viscometer is used as a reference for the measurement of enzymatic power.

The solution goes through Sofraser’s MIVI viscometer, using the vibrating type at resonant frequency principle invented and patented by Sofraser for almost 50 years. For this type of project, the size of the needle, the active part of the viscometer, as well as its high sensitivity, offers an original and efficient solution.

Thanks to its current and or serial outputs, Sofraser’s viscometers are easily implemented in automated solvent distribution systems.

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Sofraser presentation during Achema Exhibition

At Achema Tuesday August 28th, Hall 11.0, Granat room, 14h30-14h50

Dr Philippe Burg, Sales and Applications Manager at Sofraser, will give the presentation entitled “Viscosity measurement in hygienic applications” and introduce the solutions offered by Sofraser process viscometers product range. It will be possible to meet him, after his presentation, to discuss your projects.

For any contact:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +33 2 38 85 77 12

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Sofraser winner of the CSR Challenge Trophy

Sofraser, as a member Ana Bell Group is proud to have been awarded the CSR Challenge Trophy in the environmental category.

In the early 2000s, we pioneered the Global Performance of the Young Leaders Centre (CJD) and AFNOR’s 1000NR approach.

This trophy, more than just certifications, is for us a strong signal that our commitments are consistent and that they bring real added value to the territory.

For Sofraser, more than 65% of supplies are local (nearer and/or more sustainable purchasing policy). Supplier evaluation criteria take into account remoteness and CSR commitments.

Our viscometers, which are eco-designed to be as robust as possible, reusable, fully removable and recyclable, operate 24/7 for decades, are the best ambassadors of our CSR commitment, and allow us to control manufacturing processes in order to ensure final quality and minimise materials consumed and waste.

For 15 years, our consumption has been monitored and analysed and we have taken action to save resources: installation of a geothermal system, insulation, replacement of the opening, precise monitoring of consumption by use, formation of an energy referent. Actions already taken have led to a 30% reduction in energy consumption and a 50% reduction in water consumption. We reuse cartons for packaging and never buy cushions but use shredded paper. And to limit transport-related emissions, we favour short-circuit shopping, teleworking, remote after-sales service, cycling, and we have defined a rule favouring the train over the car or plane.

CSR policies are a real challenge for the future of companies and this trophy is an opportunity to inspire other companies to embark on a strong CSR policy that brings real added value to the actions taken by the company and its teams. We believe that another business model is possible. A model of sharing values, space, skills and knowledge. At Sofraser, we believe in circularity and the virtuous circle of cooperation.