LG Chem announced on October 8 that it has developed and begun to manufacture non-rectangular batteries that can be bent or curved. The commercial-scale production of these flexible batteries is expected to accelerate the design innovation of IT devices alongside flexible display panels.
LG Chem is planning to manufacture three types of new batteries -- stepped, curved and cable-type batteries. The company is already manufacturing the first two and is going to begin to mass-produce the third one within a few years.
The stepped battery has a double-layered structure in which a smaller battery is placed on top of a larger one. Since it has a non-flat, three-dimensional shape, it can be used in specific types of IT devices. For example, if it is used in a device with a convex back surface, the space behind the round surface can be used to accommodate the battery.
The company has manufactured stepped batteries since July this year in its plant located in Nanjing, China, and the products have been mounted on its G2 phones shipped to non-Korean markets. “We have found that the battery capacity of the G2 equipped with a stepped battery increased by 16%, taking at least three more hours to fully discharge,” said the manufacturer, adding, “Although other companies are capable of producing similar ones by stacking two rectangular batteries, our product, which is an integrated type, is much more competitive in terms of battery capacity and the number of additional components for the connection of the batteries.”
In the meantime, the curved battery can be applied to a variety of gadgets that adopt a curved design such as smart phones, smart watches, and smart glasses. LG Chem is utilizing its own manufacturing technology called stack and folding to produce the curved batteries. The supply has started from this month.
The other the next-generation battery is a cable-type battery, which can be bent, wound, or knotted. The wire-shaped product can be put into any space and thus is especially suitable for wearable devices. “The cable-type battery is not only designed to consume little power and generate little heat even after prolonged use, but also is waterproof and thus can be used in watch bands, necklaces, etc,” a company spokesperson explained. Development has already been completed and mass production is going to be kicked off in step with the development of IT devices.
LG Chem is expecting that it will be able to increase its presence in the global battery market thanks to these new products. “A large number of global IT companies are making inquiries and orders these days,” it said. “We have come up with batteries without precedents by means of our own technologies, setting the stage for dominating the global market,” LG Chem’s Battery Business Division president Kwon Yeong-soo remarked, continuing, “We will speed up our efforts to become the global number one in the segments of electric vehicle batteries, energy storage systems, small-scale batteries, and many more.”