Facilities and Equipment


Overview

Lithiumstart's headquarters is located in South San Francisco, in the heart of California’s vibrant high tech corridor. The headquarters houses the main Engineering group including R&D and QA functions, as well as the Sales and Finance groups. The main 9,000 sq. ft. lab facility in South San Francisco is ITAR compliant and used for military and other sensitive customer programs and all internal R&D activity. The lab is designed for rapid prototyping and features an extensive suite of tools and equipment.

High Speed Robotic Laser Welding

Lithiumstart's signature production process uses a 3 axis high speed robotic laser welding system designed in-house to allow high current capable copper and aluminum cell tab welding. The system allows for precise, consistent, strong and high reliability joints, and uses a proprietary process involving mechanical fixation, laser pulse shaping and shield gas mixes to achieve aerospace grade welds. The copper and aluminum tabs allow cells to perform to their full potential particularly in pulse power applications with high currents. Typical resistance welding technologies often allow only for nickle tab welding (which cannot sustain high currents), and are inherently less reliable due to variation in electrode wear patterns. The robotic laser system is currently deployed on three assembly lines and can complete welding on a 1kw sized cylindrical pack in less than 5 minutes. 

Other Capabilities 


  • Metal working capabilities including high power TIG, YAG laser, resistance, and pulse arc welding, along with cutting, milling and turning for fabricating engine test stands and fixtures
  • Onsite liquids storage facility for diesel, gasoline, propane, bottled gases and compressed air
  • High capacity chiller/water cooling system for lasers, load testers/dynamometers, and motors
  • Onsite fast turn PCB capability including PnP, electronics inventory stores, silk-screening stations, and reflow ovens
  • Dedicated high speed CAD workstations for design and simulation including solid modeling/analysis/rendering, schematic capture/PCB layout, and MATLAB. 
  • Extensive suite of specialized electronics, automotive, and battery diagnostic equipment including:
  • CAN protocol analyzers and digital oscilloscopes with logging
  • ECU development platforms
  • CAN simulators amd Windows based CAN analysis software
  • 100kw AC dynamometer/engine simulator with CAN control
  • Laboratory grade ammeters and temperature probes with logging capabilities
  • High power battery chargers and controllable power supplies (up to 1,000VDC, 25KW) with CAN interfaces for battery cycle testing and alternator simulation
  • Automated battery cycler and vented steel battery safety chamber for thermal testing and cycling
  • High speed digital still cameras and video recording equipment
  • BluFlex reference PCB’s, real-time operating system debuggers, compilers, and programmers