In this new Ilika video, I got the chance to get out of the office and spend the afternoon with my friends and colleagues at the Stereax® Development Line. This equipment produces Ilika’s solid state batteries and is situated in the Applied Composite Materials Facilities of the University of Southampton, UK.
I talked to Miklos and Stephen who clarified the various production steps, from wafer and mask preparation, to evaporation and sputtering of the various thin film layers composing the batteries, and transfer between these several steps using a fully automated robotic system. In fact, the various technologies, and the type of equipment used, are not very different to the those used in the MEMS or semiconductor industry. Only a little smaller.
As you may have noticed, production of these batteries does not require any high-level clean room, since transfer of wafers between the various steps can be carried out either inside the vacuum chambers, through buffer lines, or using gas tight vessels. Dust reduction is important of course but since our features are at the micro-meter scale, less stringent requirements are needed than for parts of the semiconductor industry that produce devices with features at the nano-scale level.
Whilst the Southampton Development Line is capable of manufacturing about a thousand Stereax® M250 or P180 batteries per year, it is mainly for internal development and customer evaluation. Ilika is also talking to equipment vendors and manufacturers to scale up this technology for high volume production. Use cases in the medical sector, for example, require many millions of batteries per year, and per product, which can be produced by utilising equipment with higher throughput.
If you have any further questions about this technology, please do not hesitate to contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org