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How X-Ray Inspection Systems Test Lithium Batteries?

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Lithium batteries seem to be omnipresent everywhere. It’s due to the possibility of its deployment in various areas. Similarly, it’s available in all sizes and shapes. From a handy smartphone to huge electric automobiles, lithium batteries have got enormous customers.

In that case, quality plays a vital role in its long-lasting durability. What is it that determines the quality of a lithium battery? Well, to understand that, let’s go through the applications, possible risk factors, and the efficiency of the X-ray system for batteries.

Applications of Lithium batteries in Modern Society

Lithium batteries have a lengthy list of real-world applications by providing both the essentials and the luxuries of modern society with utmost security and reliability.

Here are the top applications of lithium batteries:

Electric bicycles

All this while, people used electric vehicles driven by lead-acid batteries. A normal lead-acid battery weighs more than 10 kilograms. On the other hand, the lithium-ion battery weighs just 3 kg. Hence, you can find that lead-acid batteries were consistently replaced by a lithium-ion battery. Moreover, the lithium battery is famous due to its characteristics such as safety, convenience, lightweight, and cost-effectiveness.

Electric vehicles

Pollution due to automobiles is becoming a serious issue nowadays. Its noise and exhaust gas emission are uncontrollable especially in intermediate and large-sized cities where the population is dense with a high traffic rate. This is where lithium-ion battery is ideally used in the electric vehicle industry since it is pollution-free.

Hence, Tesla revealed the Roadster, the primitive car manufacturing company, to market a lithium-driven electric vehicle in 2008. Globally, the market of lithium-ion batteries is anticipated to attain USD 100.4 billion by 2025, where nearly 50% of them will be adopted in the automobile sector.

Aerospace sector

Lithium batteries are used in the aviation sector where they can improve ground operations, calibrate the flight, supports the launch, improves productivity, and aids in night operations.

Emergency uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

A lithium battery for a UPS safeguards you from power failure and instability. Unlike a generator, a lithium battery provides instant power to run the UPS machine. As a result, critical equipment such as computers, medical technologies, and communication technology works well.

Marine performance 

Would you need to power a small motorboat or a huge yacht? The long-lasting lithium battery is capable and reliable.

Solar power storage

Even if you stay in the desert, there are days when your solar equipment requires repair. Rechargeable lithium batteries help due to their quick charging. Hence, you can increase the solar power storage.

Surveillance in remote areas

Don’t let the absence of electricity reduce your security. Since the discharge rate of lithium batteries is ten times lower than a lead-acid battery, it’s possible to secure any remote area with an alarm or surveillance system powered by a lithium battery.

Other applications

You can find the use of lithium batteries in all the easily accessible objects such as mobile phones, electronic watches, cameras, children’s toys, MP3, MP4, CD players, all types of remote control, razor knife, gun drill, etc. Similarly, the lithium battery is applied in every sector like hospitals, hotels, supermarkets, and telephone exchanges.

What are the dangers of quality problems with lithium batteries?

As the adoption of lithium batteries increase, these fire accidents are bound to increase. Do you remember a January 2019 fire break out on the Arabian sea-based COSCO Pacific? Even in April 2019, there was an explosion of a 2MW battery at an APS capacity in Arizona? This explosion has injured four firefighters. There are many such similar fire accidents due to the spontaneous combustion of lithium batteries.

Hans-Otto Schjerven, the head of the Vestfold Fire Department, said “Lithium batteries can cause fires that are difficult to extinguish and the batteries emit fire that quickly spreads.”

Moreover, the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops continues to be the talk of the town creating life-threatening incidents. Do you remember that Samsung halted their production once their battery fired? Samsung even announced the termination of the Galaxy Note 7. The Honeywell group also stopped the production and supply of two of its portable multi-gas detection devices. All these were an unprecedented debacle in the business sector. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also thinks that the safety of people, equipment, as well as the environment, are at risk from lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries always experience self-discharge where they lose their accumulated charge without joining the outward circuit. Self-discharge occurs due to chemical processes inside the cell which increase with age, usage, and increased temperature. Usually discharging energy is too low and very slight heat is only generated. If the temperature goes out of control, elevated self-discharge may cause a thermal runaway. Similarly, if there is any damage, impurities enter into the cell. An electrical short may develop followed by a sudden increase in temperature. Furthermore, the energy accumulated in the lithium battery will get emitted within few milliseconds.

Usually, a lithium battery pack comprises many cells stacked together. Hence when a thermal runaway arises, the energy released by an inefficient cell can migrate to the neighboring cell. An overall thermal instability arises as a chain reaction causing the entire lithium battery pack to destroy within seconds.

As we are aware of the danger of lithium batteries, let’s have a look at the causes of this danger:

  1. Manufacturing defects like the presence of impurities, thin separators, etc.
  2. Design flaws like damage to the separator, improper cooling system, etc.
  3. Improper use like over-charging and keeping them closer to any heat or fire zone
  4. Charger issues like the use of poorly insulated chargers
  5. Low-quality components

How does X-ray Inspection Systems guarantee the quality of lithium batteries?

Lithium batteries are the best devices for energy storage. Still the more we use lithium batteries, the more will be the chances of failure. Hence, these lithium batteries should strictly adhere to the safety and quality standards. Even a minute imperfection can become life-threatening. This is where a high-resolution X-ray inspection system is recommended to verify the quality of lithium battery cells.

The X-rays released from the X-ray source pass through the internal part of a lithium battery. This step is followed by the processing of its final image to detect the quality and quantity of the battery’s intricate defects using the software.

Since this X-ray instrument is connected with the production line, the automatic loading and unloading of the items can significantly reduce the manpower cost. It can easily detect the quality of electrical connections, internal alignments, misaligned elements, short circuits, etc.

The X-ray inspection machine can possibly check the thickness of the stainless-steel weld which helps in encasing the lithium battery. This weld should never be too thin. It should have the correct thickness. Else, it may leak and cause harm to the users.

Let’s see the list of factors checked by our X-ray inspection system to verify the quality of lithium batteries:

  • Analyze the failed battery cells through visual interpretation
  • Detect imperfections by measuring foreign material inclusions, missing material, and overhangs
  • Identify the sign of holes, voids, or any misalignment in the stacked parts.
  • Detect insulation layer, faulty assemblies, welds, fuses, broken cables, etc.
  • Measures the alignments, internal structure, and linear distances precisely
  • Checks the complete functionality of the lithium battery
  • Predicts the possibility of a short circuit
  • Improve the battery performance by correlating with the design and microstructure
  • A battery can be created by rolling the lithium sheets together. In that case, it’s not easy to detect a nick in any lithium sheet. But high-resolution X-ray equipment makes it easy.
  • Check the length, fitting, and twist of the lithium sheet

Conclusion

Remember that the lithium batteries earned a big name once when Tesla launched their Model S. It was then that the entire world took notice of the batter’s real potential. As the market for the lithium battery goes higher, it is becoming more accessible to everyone.

In that case, lithium battery manufacturers should follow a strict method to guarantee battery safety. By adopting the right diagnosis method using our X-ray inspection system, it’s possible to determine the performance and abnormality of the lithium battery. Hence, the manufacturers can take prompt action to confirm battery safety and preventing any further accidents.

This is where Uni X-ray Technology is dedicated to becoming the global market leader to increase client value with continuous modernization in technology. Our Uni X-ray Technology endeavors to develop more leading-edge products, services, and solutions in the safety sector.

As already mentioned, if the global market of lithium batteries is expected to reach USD 100.4 billion by 2025, why not we start paying proper attention to their quality and safety? Don’t let the inefficiency in quality and safety affect your business anymore!

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