Industry Insights
Precision Coating for Streamlined Energy Storage Device Development April 16, 2016 | by Brian Pahl, Business Development Manager, and Robert Wildman, Technical Account Manager, Carestream Contract Manufacturing

Energy storage devices include everything from fuel cells and lithium ion batteries to grid storage and other novel technologies. Their design and construction is increasingly complex, as markets demand smaller, more powerful, lower-cost, and longer-life devices for different applications. Energy storage is an active field of research and new solutions are emerging daily.

Part of their development process involves the formulation of very precise coating materials and technologies to provide a range of functions – such as active ingredient loading, conductivity, flexibility, and others. Key capabilities for coating energy storage device components include:

  • Multi-layer coating on both sides of the web – addition of other layers in-line
  • Thickness uniformity of < 5%
  • On-site mixing of the solutions/slurries
  • Handling of thin foils
  • Lamination
  • 100% automated optical inspection

Carestream Contract Manufacturing’s precision coating, rapid prototyping and process development expertise, along with its high-speed, wide-web assets and technologies, provide exceptional qualifications for this emerging market. Product developers partnering with Carestream can expedite workflow to bring a new product concept through testing and efficient scale-up to commercial manufacturing. The concentrated knowledge, experience and equipment offered by Carestream streamline the process, saving developers a great deal of expensive trial and error.

Carestream’s work in the energy storage device market includes the formulation and application of coatings/castings for:

  • Anodes and cathodes
  • Separator membranes
  • Capacitors
  • Electrolyte layers
  • Solar frontsheets/backsheets and barrier layers
  • Active layers for solution deposited copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and organic photovoltaic (OPV) applications

Carestream typically works with energy storage device developers early in the development stage when coating construction, method and product structure can be developed and fine-tuned. Carestream’s understanding of substrate attributes and solution properties are instrumental in defining optimal coating methods.

After a coating approach has been defined, trials are usually conducted on Carestream’s series of pilot coaters. These tests generate data to guide planning for subsequent trials. Process conditions for transitioning to commercialization are identified during bench and pilot evaluations for larger-scale production. Once material selection, characterization, design, testing and prototyping are complete, the product design can be finalized and the process fully characterized.

Commonly used coating methods for energy storage devices include:

  • Stripe or pattern coating
  • Casting or coating of advanced membrane materials
  • Precision coating on thin foils, including copper and aluminum
  • Novel chemistries

Carestream’s coating capabilities for solar, fuel cell and lithium ion batteries are outlined below.

Solar Coating

Solar PhotovoltaicCarestream’s liquid atmospheric coating enables the development of solar photovoltaic backsheets and frontsheets, as well as active layers for novel approaches such as solution-deposited CIGS and OPV applications. Multi-layer tandem coaters have large ovens to ensure improved economics for thick cast coatings at production volumes. 

Fuel Cell Casting and Coating

Carestream enables efficient casting and coating of various portions of the energy storage device in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). These main fuel cell components may be coated or cast simultaneously in the same manufacturing cycle to help reduce development and manufacturing costs. Carestream offers tight thickness control, precision casting, advanced quality systems and judicious use of materials. 

Battery and Fuel CellLithium Ion Battery Coating

Carestream’s partnerships and capabilities from pilot to production enable fast prototyping and scale-up of standard and novel lithium ion battery chemistries. Carestream’s thin foil handling capability and extensive drying capacity lead to high yields and high throughput.

Carestream successfully passed the CTIA Battery Certification Program, which validates a lithium ion battery’s compliance with the IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Cellular Telephones (IEEE Std 1725™ – 2011) and the IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Multi-Cell Mobile Computing Devices (IEEE Std 1625™ – 2008).


High-tech custom coating materials are needed in manufacturing components for energy storage devices. Whether coating separator membranes, electrodes, electrolyte layers or other components, an experienced contract coater can help developers bring their energy storage device products to market, quickly and efficiently.

For additional information on Carestream Contract Manufacturing’s energy storage device coating services, contact Brian Pahl.

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