Dry Room Performance Is Critical
For high volume Lithium ion battery manufacturers, the dry room is likely the most expensive single piece of 'equipment' they will ever design or install. A handful of companies became very specialized in dry room design, materials technology and the selection of supporting dehumidification equipment, controls and air distribution systems. As with any developing technology there was a steep learning curve in defining and then executing the design details. Working with lithium, mistakes can be costly. Depending on the battery chemistry used, elemental lithium can be present and will react violently when exposed to even very small amounts of moisture. The consequences of not managing moisture can be devastating - including the potential to destroy the facility and its contents. More prevalent than the "meltdowns" were battery quality issues caused by dry rooms and HVAC systems that could not maintain the consistent and precise humidity/dew point environmental conditions that are required to assure a high quality manufacturing process. Even slight variations in the humidity levels during the manufacturing process can affect the cycle life of the lithium cells and the maximum storage capacity over time.
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