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Robotic Spray Coating Process Provides Uniform Application of Conductive Coating
Process Applies Conductive Coating to Batteries, Fuel Cells, and Energy Storage Devices
PLYMOUTH, Mass.--Tech-Etch (www.tech-etch.com) has designed and developed a robotic spray coating process for applying conductive coatings to battery current collectors, fuel cells, and other energy storage devices that require low resistance coatings, the company announced recently. According to Tech-Etch Vice President Bruce McAllister, uniform application of the conductive coating is a major benefit of using the robotic spray coating process. The spray coating equipment has an articulated spray head that delivers coatings from all angles, ensuring even and complete coverage of components with very tight coating thickness tolerances.
"It sets up a very uniform coating," McAllister emphasizes. "We've been providing this service for a few months now, and the feedback we've received has been very positive. It's also a cost saving for the customer because there's less handling, less inspection, less packaging, and less fall-out from the handling."
McAllister says that the company began offering the robotic spray coating process as a convenience to its customer. Tech-Etch was already manufacturing the batteries and fuel cell plates for its customer, who had been outsourcing the coating process to another vendor. But the customer was looking to consolidate its sources and asked if Tech-Etch could provide the coating service, as well as the fabrication.
"When our customer was outsourcing this process, it was done by hand," McAllister said. "We set it up as a robotic operation, so it's automated; you can dial it in and there's little human involvement. When you do something by hand, you bring in human error. This process has all the obvious advantages of automation--namely, uniformity and better throughput. You're able to do more per hour."
Conductive coatings enhance battery performance with improved electrical contact between active materials and the current collector, resulting in longer battery life and reliable cycle life. They also provide oxidation and corrosion protection, which enables aggressive electrolytes and provides extended shelf life by reducing leakage and self-discharge.
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