“Solid-State and Sodium-Ion Cells May Become the Next-Gen Direction for Global Battery Development”

Lead Intelligent Equipment (LEAD) from China is considered one of the worldʼs largest and most important equipment manufacturers for battery production. In an exclusive interview with Battery-News, LEAD Chairman Yanqing Wang talks about the companyʼs eventful development. The recorded interview can be seen in the video below, while an edited script of the conversation is also provided.

Battery-News: A year ago, we last met at your German facility in Naila. How has the company evolved since then?
Yanqing Wang: LEAD has invested heavily in research and development and stayed committed to technological innovation. Based on our platform strategy, we have been learning from the market and adjusted business layouts based on industry reality. In 2023, we have achieved significant breakthroughs in both R&D and its conversion to application, witnessing satisfactory results in both domestic and international markets.

Battery-News: Can you elaborate on the achievements during this year?
Wang: In terms of technology, we achieved significant breakthroughs and accomplishments last year. For lithium cells, we successfully developed the new generation of cutting and stacking machines with top performance in the industry, exceeding the current record of single-station 0.35 seconds per sheet. At the same time, we overcame several key processes of the sixth-generation cell-to-pack mass production line for a worldwide renowned OEM. In the photovoltaics sector, we led the development of XBC Stringer and 0BB Stringer. In hydrogen energy, we conducted impedance spectroscopy testing on fuel cell stacks exceeding 1,000 ampere, thereby further advancing hydrogen energy technology. In addition, we officially launched the LEADACE Intelligent Factory Solution, aiming to create efficient, intelligent, and unmanned digital factories. By introducing advanced technology and intelligent solutions, we greatly enhanced production efficiency and the intelligence level of our factories.

Battery-News: How do these breakthroughs contribute to LEADʼs performance in the battery market?
Wang: We successfully delivered several important projects in the lithium-ion cell industry, including the first 350-parts-per-million tabless 21-series cylindrical cell production line, the 150-parts-per-million 46-series cylindrical cell production line, the all-solid-state cell production line, and the blade-cell production line. Other than that, we delivered the first gigawatt-hour-level 46-series large cylindrical production line to an overseas customer. In photovoltaics, we built the industryʼs first TOPKIN benchmark production line and formed strategic partnerships with top-tier customers. In hydrogen energy, we successfully delivered a 2,000-megawatt hydrogen electrolyzer stack production line to a top-500 customer and provided the first laser patterning machine for Chinaʼs first gigawatt-level production line in perovskite industry. Moreover, we received orders for new-energy cell pack production lines from a top European sports car maker, proving that our global strategy is a success and more overseas customers have placed their trust in LEAD.

Battery-News: As you just explained, LEAD is active in the field of many new-energy markets. And you also mentioned the platform strategy. How does this approach contribute to your performance or to your competitiveness in the market of lithium-ion batteries?
Wang: In addition to lithium-ion cell intelligent equipment and photovoltaics intelligent equipment, LEAD has expanded into new sectors, including 3C Intelligent Equipment, Intelligent Logistics System, Automobile Intelligent Production Line, Hydrogen Energy Equipment, and Laser Precision Processing Equipment in recent years. After several years of development, they have all become the top players in their respective industries. The platform strategy allows us to establish numerous advantages in the competition, helping us tide over the cyclical fluctuations of a single business and build multiple drives to ensure the continuous growth of our further performance.

“By participating in projects involving lithium-ion cells, photovoltaics, hydrogen energy and others, we have built in-depth insights and gained advantages for competing in the lithium-ion cell industry.”

Yanqing Wang, Chairman/President at Lead Intelligent Equipment

Firstly, our platform strategy enables us to accumulate extensive technical and industry experience. By participating in projects involving lithium-ion cells, photovoltaics, hydrogen energy and others, we have built in-depth insights and gained advantages for competing in the lithium-ion cell industry. Secondly, the platform strategy brings opportunities for technological cross-fertilization and innovation. At the cross-point of different fields, we can combine technologies and experience from different fields to drive innovation and technology advancement. Our experience and expertise in various new-energy fields also brings more possibilities for our customers. Lastly, the platform strategy provides us with diverse market opportunities. With the increasing global demand for new-energy equipment, our diversified product portfolio allows us to explore new business opportunities and partnerships in different industries and markets. This very diversity reduces our dependence on a single market, strengthening the companyʼs risk resistance and enhancing our stability and sustainability.

Battery-News: Based on your technological background, your many years of expertise and experience in the field of battery production or in the battery market in general, what do you think is currently the most promising technology to optimize cell production?
Wang: Firstly, there is improvement in processes. By improving processes and parameters in cell manufacturing, we can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure the stability of output quality. Secondly, thereʼs potential in the introduction of intelligence and digitalization. Digital and intelligent control systems can enhance the stability and consistency of production lines, optimize production processes, and reduce human errors to improve yield rate and availability. Meanwhile, the entire production process can be visually observed in real time. Ultimately, all this will drive the optimization of each production section and improve overall efficiency. Eventually, the application of new battery technologies offer great chances. Technologies such as solid-state and sodium-ion cells, which have recently gained industry attention, may gradually become the next-gen direction for global power battery development. LEAD is currently the only company in the world that can provide a turnkey solution from cell-to-module packs with completely independent patents. We not only can provide solutions for pouch, cylindrical and prismatic cells but also lead in sodium ion, solid-state or condensed-state cells.

“The continuous innovation and upgrading of technology can improve energy conversion efficiency, extend battery life, and achieve efficient energy use.”

Yanqing Wang, Chairman/President at Lead Intelligent Equipment

Battery-News: What contributions have these innovations made to LEADʼs competitiveness and sustainability?
Wang: Firstly, continuous technological innovation and the introduction of intelligent digital manufacturing systems allow us to enhance the machine’s intelligence level. As a result, we have improved production efficiency, reduced costs, and ensured the stability of product quality. This enables us to offer competitive products and get an upper hand in the market. At the same time, we can better meet customer needs, respond quickly to market changes, and enhance competitiveness. Secondly, the continuous innovation and upgrading of technology can improve energy conversion efficiency, extend battery life, and achieve efficient energy use. This helps reduce the usersʼ energy consumption and costs, enhance product reliability and environmental friendliness, and contribute to the realization of SDGs. For LEAD, our dedication to innovation as well as research and development not only fulfills our mission of creating value for customers and seeking well-being for employees, but it also takes on social responsibility to promote global energy transformation and contribute to achieving the dual-carbon goals. Within our limited capabilities, we hope to promote the energy-saving and emission-reduction goals of customer enterprises through technological means, realizing sustainable development through the green transformation of energy supply.


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