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Matsushita Launches Mass Production Of Safer Lithium-ion Batteries

Matsushita Electric Industrial today announced that one of its subsidiaries, Matsushita Battery Industrial, has established a mass-production system for a lithium-ion battery that incorporates the technology to ensure safety. The company began shipping the industry's first 2.9 Ah high-capacity batteries in April this year and is now ready to mass-produce the products.

MBI has succeeded in improving the safety by forming a heat resistance layer (HRL) consisting of an insulating metal oxide on the surface of the electrodes. Lithium-ion batteries contain a thin polyolefin (generic name of plastic such as polyethylene and polypropylene) separator to insulate the cathode from the anode. When a separator is pierced by an electrically conductive material such as a metal particle, a short-circuit develops, causing the battery to overheat and, in the worst case, catch fire. The HRL used in the Panasonic battery, however, has better insulating and heat-resistant characteristics than polyolefin. Even if a short-circuit occurs, it will cease without causing the battery to overheat.

The HRL technology has enabled MBI to increase energy density and mass-produce safer lithium-ion batteries.

MBI has taken measures to prevent lithium-ion batteries from contaminating with electrically conductive materials by eliminating foreign substances from battery materials and creating a clean environment in the battery factory. Considering contamination with such substances, the company has adopted stronger separators and thermally stable materials. Demand for more safety and capacity, however, called for the development of a new technology. The HRL is a product of MBI's research and development of battery technology and its focus on safety as a first priority.

Matsushita holds 119 patents including pending patent applications with regard to the system.

Source: Matsushita Electric Industrial

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