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EV Battery Production Digital Twin To Use Advanced Industrial Computed Tomography Data

Waygate Technologies,and its partners, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and PXL-ICE, are among the winners of the recent round of the Faraday Battery Challenge funding competition led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a public body sponsored by the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The consortium funding is for a feasibility study to look at ways of potentially increasing the yield and productivity of UK gigafactories with data based on advanced industrial computed tomography systems. If successful, this could eventually lead to the development of a digital twin at UKBIC.

“We are very proud to have been granted this important funding and to contribute as a strategic partner in this pioneering and important project to the UK’s development of battery technology as we ​ advance towards a net-zero future”, said Ben Linke, Vice President of Waygate Technologies.

“This funding announcement for a feasibility study is welcome news. The goal of creating a digital twin could help boost the the yield and productivity of UK gigafactories considerably,” added Russ Burke, UKBIC’s Head of Quality.

The Faraday Battery Challenge invests in research and innovation projects, & facilities in the UK to drive the growth of a strong battery business in the UK. Established in 2017, the recently extended programme aims to steer the development of battery technologies that are cost-effective, high performing, longer range, faster charging, long-lasting, safe and sustainable. The total amount of this latest funding round is 27.6 million British pounds allocated to 17 different projects.

Speeding Battery Production With Digital Twins

By creating a framework for a digital twin, quality defects can be identified, analysed and resolved much faster and more accurately than with any traditional inspection method.

One of of the largest challenges for scaling up battery cell production is the pace to achieve high quality battery cell throughput to meet the demand for Electric Vehicles (EV), as well as other applications, such as marine, aerospace, off-highway vehicles, and static energy storage. The other is the ability to increase the yield, whilst ​maintaining quality and limiting waste.

Last year, Waygate Technologies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UKBIC, the national battery industrialisation facility, to look at developing a solution that could significantly improve the yield and productivity of future battery gigafactories. Waygate Technologies and UKBIC have also partnered on the availability and use of an open access and industrial X-Ray computed tomography (CT) digital solution, which should also contribute to significantly reducing battery waste in future battery gigafactories. According to UKRI, a one percent yield improvement in a 20 GWh battery gigafactory can already save over £21 million ($26 million) a year and reduce the waste of raw materials, including rare earth minerals.

Digital Twin of EV Batteries Using Industrial Computed Tomography Data

The feasibility approach in the awarded project is intended to lead to the creation of a framework for a digital twin of UKBIC battery cell samples. It is also to explore and leverage the effectiveness of CT scanning as an advanced analytical tool. Quality defects could, should the project get the go ahead, be identified, analysed and resolved much faster and more accurately through digital twinning. This approach will enable a faster process development in the factory, and will ensure greater quality. Waygate Technologies’ ambition is to leverage the data from the inspection processes across the lifecycle of batteries, reduce waste, and ensure greater safety.

One example of AI is Waygate Technologies’, InspectionWorks, a platform built on machine learning which helps to characterise failures and quality issues without ​human intervention. This platform is agnostic to the inspection data and allows integration with factory planning systems, to provide feedback in designing a better production of battery cells.

For Waygate Technologies, the agreement seals another milestone in the business’ strategy to strengthen its leading position in battery inspection and drive innovation that aims to enhance electric vehicle safety, productivity and competitiveness for its customers.

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