Is Your Line Strong Enough to Handle the Future?
Avoid coming capacity concerns in the EV battery and auto industry
- May 1, 2023
“What we’re seeing is nothing,” says Fernando Silva, Strategic Account Manager in the Automotive and Energy Division at Intralox. “This will be massive and much more important than it is even now.”
The rise in demand for electric vehicles (EVs) has been spectacular. With 2 million sold in the first quarter of 2022 alone—a 75% increase compared to 2021’s first quarter—their share of the automotive market has quadrupled since 2019.
But Silva isn’t referencing the growth of the EV market. He’s actually looking a step further, evaluating the demand that the expanding EV industry will continue to create for energy storage.
“The world is now invested in re-inventing the battery,” Silva continues.
We sat down with our experts to learn more about the energy storage trend, why it matters to the future of the EV industry, and how your operation can keep up with both.
The Rise of Energy Storage
As the EV market continues to expand, so too will demand on our electric grids. Consumers will draw more energy to charge their vehicles and—especially during peak draw times—electric grids will begin to struggle with that demand. In fact, according to an analysis by REPEAT (Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit), demand for electricity in 2030 will be 14% to 19% higher than in 2021—and 27% to 39% higher by 2035.
“There are limitations on the existing electrical grid,” Silva says. “If all cars were to turn into EVs today, it would have a hard time keeping up.”
In terms of addressing that concern and increasing the amount of energy these grids can provide, there are essentially two options for grid operators. First, utility companies could overhaul their generation, transmission, and distribution systems to increase capacity—an expensive and involved infrastructure-level project.
A second option, though, would be to relieve the grid by placing large stores of energy—charged during low-demand hours—near the applications known to draw intensive amount of electricity, such as EV charging stations.
“The best technology out there is efficiently capturing energy that can later be used when it’s needed most—or when it makes more economical sense,” Silva explains.
There are a lot of scientific explanations of energy storage out there. But to me, it means preparing for the future.Fernando Silva
Strategic Account Manager at Intralox
In essence, what Silva is describing is—as he referred to earlier—a “reinvention” of the battery into a larger, more generative resource.
“This will change the way power will be distributed, billed, and consumed,” he says. “Cities and essential businesses like hospitals will have the capacity to store large amounts of energy to use both as power backup, but also as an alternative power supply instead of drawing electricity during peak demand hours, saving them thousands of dollars while also relieving the electrical grid.
“Municipalities, countries, companies, and eventually residential homes…” he continues. “In the future, losing power or not being able to afford power will be things of the past.”
The Future of the EV Industry
While energy storage applications will be varied and their impacts far reaching, it’s no surprise that the skyrocketing EV auto and battery manufacturing industries are the ones developing the best technology for efficiently storing energy.
“EV manufacturing and energy storage go hand in hand,” Silva says. “The breakthroughs in each type of battery could be used to improve either industry.”
As a result of the shifting focus toward energy storage, Silva notices a simple trend developing: products needing conveyance in this area continue to get heavier and heavier.
“It could be heavier vehicles,” he says, “or a group of battery packs together requiring heavy-duty belts that are resistant to abrasion and high-concentration loads. Due to the very heavy and concentrated loads of some of these EVs and batteries, we’re seeing traditional technologies fail.”
To keep up and stay future flexible, the EV industry will have to respond to the demand for energy storage with:
- Conveyors that prioritize increased load capacities and throughput alongside decreased downtime and maintenance
- Partners that focus those reliable solutions into efficient layouts that minimize the number of non-essential processes.
Intralox Series 10000
“Its strength is huge,” says Steuart Turner, Product Engineer at Intralox. “It has the highest standard rated capacity of any modular plastic belting at 10,000 lb/ft (14,881 kg/m). I've seen it in the field moving large battery packs that weigh almost 100,000 lb (45,359 kg).”
But pure brute strength isn’t the sole focus of this necessary innovation. Because of its high capacity and easy maintenance, S10000 belting also virtually eliminates downtime from your operation.
“Another thing that sets S10000 apart is how easy it is to work on,” Turner continues. “I've been in several plants and a compliment we always get is how easy it is to work on our belt because of our slide locks compared to the other methods that our competitors use. Being able to easily change out modules makes a big difference.”
The S10000 belt is offered in acetal as well as Friction Top, Flat Top, or Non Skid Raised Rib options—along with several other styles and accessories—so it can be tailored to your specific application. For instance, wheel chocks are easily added to keep cars in the same position through your line.
“We also offer an electrically conductive belt module,” Turner says. “In certain EV applications, you’d need that to be able to discharge static electricity. Other times you’d want to stick with the insulated module to avoid shorting out the car or product. We offer both on the S10000.”
Like all our belts, S10000 belting also undergoes system-level testing to ensure it meets the rigorous demands for which it was built.
“We don’t just test a single module for strength,” Turner explains. “We test it as it would be in the field—sprockets, belt, everything—as a total package so that we know for sure it won’t break.”
Though it’s the strongest, most reliable belt in its class, we continue innovating and searching for ways to improve on the S10000 belt.
“We can convey some of the heaviest products out there with Series 10000,” Silva says. “And it’ll only get better as we work to stay ahead of the EV industry’s needs.”
To learn more about S10000 belting, its applications, and what it can bring to your operation, contact Intralox Customer Service.