Acculon Energy

Optimizing Battery Systems Product Development: The Case for Designing for Commercialization “Under One Roof”

Learn more below about “Designing for Commercialization”, a holistic approach to product development, that allows OEMs to develop advanced battery programs to power high-performance industrial & commercial applications faster without sacrificing safety or quality. We’ll also discuss the practical & logistical challenges that impact this approach.

Contact: Betsy Barry
Communication Manager

As a concept, designing for commercialization (DFC) encompasses end-to-end product development, but the reality of DFC for advanced energy storage systems can vary greatly depending on whether everything in the product development value chain is handled “under one roof” or if different aspects of the process are outsourced via partnerships with several outside firms and companies. A nominal level of outsourcing may be unavoidable in energy storage product development, but minimizing the contracting and subcontracting channels is a strategy that will impact cost, time, and risk at every stage of the process. If vertically integrating and streamlining is possible in battery system development for powering commercial and industrial applications, the strategies offer significant advantages over alternatives in time-to-market and costs. 

This post discusses the key considerations and strategies in designing battery systems for optimal commercialization. First, let’s talk about some core aspects of DFC, and then we will conclude with a discussion of how DFC can be maximally optimized via a vertical integration lens and employing the “under one roof” production pipeline philosophy.

Cell and Material Selection

The choice of materials in battery design significantly influences the manufacturing process and the overall performance of the system. Considerations such as electrode materials, electrolytes, and separators impact factors such as energy density, cycle life, and cost–all of which are constrained by the specifications and operating conditions of the application that the energy storage system will be powering. Casing and other materials used in module architectures also require application-specific design analysis. All in all, designers of advanced energy storage systems must balance performance requirements with the ease of manufacturing and market support, as well as supply chain considerations, ensuring that cells and all chosen materials can be sourced reliably and efficiently.

Simplified and Scalable Manufacturing Processes

A crucial aspect of DFC is the streamlining of manufacturing processes as you move from prototyping to low-volume manufacturing to scaled manufacturing. Creating a prototype that ensures scalability is no easy feat. Complexity in assembly and fabrication can lead to increased production costs and potential risks. Designers should prioritize simplicity and scalability as they move from the prototyping phase to the development phase, favoring manufacturing methods that are easily automated and standardized. This approach not only reduces the likelihood of errors and pipeline “bumps in the road,” which cost time and money, but it also enhances the efficiency of large-scale production.

From Modular Design to Modular Manufacturing

Battery systems designed with modularity in mind offer several advantages in manufacturing and commercialization. Modularity allows for easier and streamlined testing, assembly, and maintenance. It allows for flexibility. Additionally, it facilitates scalability, enabling manufacturers to adapt to varying energy storage needs and application use cases. Designers should focus on creating modular architecture that can be easily replaced or upgraded, extending the lifespan and adaptability of the battery system, and providing a practical on-ramp for production.

At Acculon, we embrace the design for commercialization philosophy, & we embody the “under one roof” product development strategy.

By our estimates, we can reduce your time-to-market by half, while also creating a product development process less prone to risk & shortcuts, both of which ensure product safety & quality.

Thermal Management for Enhanced Performance and Safety

Efficient thermal management is critical in battery systems to ensure both optimal performance and safety. Overheating can lead to accelerated degradation and pose serious safety risks. DFC principles dictate that the integration of effective cooling and heating mechanisms take place during the design phase, including the use of intumescent materials designed to mitigate fire propagation (see Material Selection discussion above). This also includes the incorporation of thermal interface materials, proper heat dissipation architecture, and temperature monitoring systems. Effective and efficient battery module design entails designing for all of the system-level components, and again, this requires application-specific considerations, especially as it relates to safety standards and safety certifications (see below)

Designing for Recycling and Sustainability

As the demand for environmentally friendly products grows, battery manufacturers must prioritize sustainability in their designs. Designing batteries with recycling in mind helps reduce the environmental impact of spent batteries. This involves using materials that are easily recyclable and creating designs that simplify the disassembly process. By incorporating these principles, manufacturers contribute to the circular economy and meet evolving environmental standards.

Compliance with Safety Standards and Regulations

Manufacturers must adhere to various industry standards and regulations to ensure the safety and reliability of battery systems, and this begins by designing safety into the very architecture itself and doing so not only to meet industry safety standards but to exceed them. Simply put, a sound DFC philosophy for battery systems includes prioritizing safety at the outset. For some applications, the evolution of safety standards for achieving a UL listing and/or certification, for example, is sending OEMs back to the design drawing board in order to meet new edition guidelines in a rapidly evolving electrification landscape, especially with respect to light electric vehicles, or LEVs. Understanding and incorporating relevant standards and regulations into the design process ensures regulatory compliance and also facilitates the efficient navigation of quality assurance and certification processes. 

How does “Under One Roof” Impact DFC?

In the dynamic landscape of battery technology, the integration of Design for Commercialization principles is essential for creating efficient, reliable, and cost-effective energy storage systems. However, as we’ve discussed at a summary level, many moving parts impact the design process, which goes on to impact the testing and validation process, all of which inform the move from prototyping and low-volume manufacturing to scaled production of a viable product that will hit the market in a timely and cost-efficient manner. 

While a custom battery program may seem like the more expensive route for an OEM, there is an argument to be made to opt for a partner that offers all development phases “under one roof.” This strategy can save time in having to search for and assemble a team of different development partners, as well as creating consensus on communication processes, methods, and approaches. When one partner is managing the entire production pipeline, from start to scale, it will invariably save time, and saving time equals saving money and other valuable resources. 

At Acculon, we embrace the design for commercialization philosophy, and we embody the “under one roof” product development strategy. By our estimates, we can reduce your time-to-market by half, while also creating a product development process less prone to risk and shortcuts, both of which ensure product safety and quality. This vertical integration means that there’s no information or time lost between production phases. Our in-house battery testing lab means that there is no time lost on testing at the cell or prototype level. Our manufacturing capacity means that there will be no hiccups between design, prototyping, and full-scale production. 

A competitive product development strategy stands as the foundation for fostering innovation and success in today’s electrification landscape. By aligning design processes with commercial goals, OEMs can streamline the path from ideation to market, ensuring that products not only meet customer needs but also possess the scalability and marketability essential for commercial success. The “under one roof” approach further enhances efficiency by consolidating various development stages, encouraging cross-functional collaboration, and facilitating seamless communication. Together, these strategies pave the way for OEMs to not just create products but to strategically design and develop solutions that resonate with consumers and thrive in the marketplace.