China’s largest lithium battery materials manufacturer turned to Watson-Marlow for Bredel APEX pumps are providing optimum performance
Global battery-making demand is rising rapidly, with some projections predicting that lithium-ion energy storage requirements will increase tenfold by 2040. Much of this extra demand will be placed on China, where close to three quarters of global lithium-ion battery production may be already located.
Huayou Cobalt was founded in 2002 to specialise in the R&D and production of new energy lithium-ion battery materials and new cobalt materials. Company products include battery-grade cobalt tetroxide and high-purity battery-grade cobalt sulphate.
To help support its growth, group company Quzhou Huayou New Technology invested CNY 6.4 billion (approximately £700m) two years ago, a move that would see it become the largest lithium battery materials manufacturer in China, based around its plant in Quzhou, some 200km southwest of Shanghai
Quzhou Huayou New Technology opted for Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group’s Bredel APEX pumps to transfer a number of different liquid chemicals from raw material tanks to reaction tanks. The plant’s APEX10 (10 mm inner diameter element), which is the smallest pump in the Bredel APEX range, is handling ammonium hydroxide at relatively low flows.
Those larger pumps on site, such as two APEX28 units, are transferring nickel sulphate and sodium hydroxide, while the largest pump in the Bredel APEX range – the APEX35 – is being deployed at Quzhou Huayou New Technology to transfer liquid supernatant. Supernatant is the resulting fluid after a mixture of liquid and solid has been left to settle out, or centrifuged to provide separation.
Quzhou’s pumps run with a maximum discharge pressure of 3 bar – ideal for the APEX series and a key factor in the purchase decision over the higher pressure Bredel range.
APEX pumps’ seal-less, valve-less design are engineered for a more competitive price/performance ratio in comparison with high-pressure hose pumps, says WMFTG, and designed to suit all dosing, metering and transfer applications with unmatched flow stability from 2.8-6200 l/hr.
The Watson-Marlow team was engaged at an early stage, specifying the optimum fluid-handling solutions to suit the various applications on site. The task embraced pumps but also precision-machined hose elements.
Correct hose element selection is critical to ensure pump performance, durability and efficiency. The Bredel composite reinforced hoses were constructed from high-quality compounded rubbers fortified with four individual layers of braided nylon. Inner and outer layers are extruded and, after construction, machined to ensure critical tolerances are maintained.
At Quzhou, natural rubber hoses were identified for the APEX10 and APEX35 applications, while EPDM hoses were used with the APEX28 pumps.
The pumps are installed now on several process lines that operate on a batch production basis. When a line is running, the pumps will typically operate for 24 hours over a period of 7-10 days. Once a batch has been completed, the production line will stop until the next batch is required.
WMFTG now has many Bredel pumps serving lithium-ion battery applications in China, helping manufacturers meet ever-more demanding production schedules.