Leak Testing Leader INFICON Offers Electric Vehicle White Paper

SAN DIEGO, June 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- INFICON, one of the world's leading developers of leak-detection equipment for the auto industry, has released a white paper on the importance of leak testing electric-vehicle (EV) battery systems.

"Electric Cars: Requirements and Leak Testing Methods for Assuring Quality" notes that batteries are critical-wear parts on electric vehicles and also are potentially dangerous. The white paper will be available at INFICON's exhibit (Booth #35) at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, on June 4-7 at San Diego's Hotel del Coronado.

"The market for electric vehicles is booming," says Thomas Parker, INFICON's North American automotive sales manager. "But to maintain a positive reputation for EVs, it is critically important for automakers to not only offer extended driving ranges and short charging times, but also safe, high-quality drive technology. Leak testing is key to achieving quality throughout the production process from battery cell manufacture to vehicle assembly."

Parker points out that in today's "new age" of electromobility, most consumers are not prepared to spend significant amounts of money to replace a traction battery after a few years of use. And they definitely do not want their vehicle to catch fire.

"Auto manufacturers and suppliers need to incorporate suitable leak-detection processes into their production operations," the INFICON executive explains. "Battery-cell electrolytes must never be allowed to escape or come into contact with water or humidity. That sort of leak can create a 'thermal runaway' and cause an explosion or a fire that can reach up to 1,100 degrees Centigrade."

INFICON's white paper provides a list of five items that automakers and their suppliers should cover to assure battery safety, including:

    --  Test individual battery cells for "tightness" -  Battery cells must be
        completely air and water tight to avoid thermal incidents that could
        cause a fire or an explosion.
    --  Avoid "thermal runaway" during transportation - A single battery cell
        with an internal short circuit or leak can potentially cause a shipping
        container to explode.
    --  Require leak-test receipts on incoming batteries - An efficient
        incoming-goods test is essential to help ensure that welds between the
        cover plate and the electrode contacts are fully sealed (prismatic
        cells), catch crimped connections between cylindrical housings and
        electrodes (round cells), and find any bag-seal leaks (pouch cells).
    --  Check battery-module housings and packs for leaks - As battery cells are
        assembled into battery modules and packs, battery housings must be able
        to protect the modules and cells from water and conform to IP67 or IP69K
        protection ratings.
    --  Assure battery cooling-system quality - Cooling system leaks can cause a
        traction battery to overheat and affect its reliability and service
        life. Heat can cause the breakdown of most chemical compounds, including
        lithium-ion batteries.

INFICON's white paper summarizes EV leak testing requirements, describes appropriate leak detection methods and shows how to select the correct test methodology for specific applications. It also points out pitfalls to avoid when leak testing of electric-vehicle components.

"Testing for component leaks that might allow water to come into contact with battery-cell electrolytes at any time during the production process is especially important," Parker concludes. "Water is like Kryptonite for today's EV battery."

INFICON is one of the world's leading developers, producers and suppliers of instruments and devices for leak detection in air conditioning, refrigeration and automotive manufacturing. The company has manufacturing facilities in Europe, China and the United States, as well as sales and service offices throughout the world.

More information about INFICON automotive technology is available online at www.inficonautomotive.com.

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