Recently, the Hay Think team saw trucks driving out of the factory area of ZZCR Ceramic Technology Corporation. These zirconia ceramic microspheres will be sent to companies such as Tesla, BYD, CATL, etc. for use as grinding media and separator materials for positive and negative electrode materials of lithium batteries.
Zirconia grinding beads are made from fine zirconia powder as the main raw material and rare earth yttrium oxide as the auxiliary material, which are mixed, ground, formed, and sintered. As a grinding medium, it is widely used as a positive and negative electrode material, separator material, and conductive agent for new energy lithium batteries.
For 8 consecutive years, China has been the world's largest market for electric vehicles and power batteries, accounting for over 50% of the global market share. Continuously improving the battery's endurance and safety performance has become a common goal pursued by enterprises in the new energy industry chain. This requires the manufacturing process of batteries to start from the raw materials, and stricter control should be exercised over the grinding process of key materials.
The lithium compounds used in lithium batteries have specific particle size distribution requirements, so it is necessary to use ultrafine lithium powder to improve battery performance, including higher usable capacity, longer service life, faster charging rate, higher efficiency, consistent discharge rate, and reduced size and weight.
Zirconia grinding beads are resistant to acid, alkali, salt corrosion, high temperature, non-conductive, non magnetic, and non polluting materials. They are more resistant to impact than other ceramic grinding media, and do not shatter during high-speed operation. They have unparalleled advantages in solving the grinding problem of key materials in lithium batteries.
But for a long time, these products relied on imports from the United States and Japan.
In 2010, the research and development team of ZZCR began to invest in the research and development of zirconia beads. At that time, zirconia beads with diameters ranging from 0.3 mm to 0.4 mm were commonly used in the grinding of lithium batteries in China. However, in 2013, the ZZCR technical team successfully developed ultra-fine zirconia beads with a diameter of 0.1 mm, breaking the particle size limit of domestic zirconia beads and achieving international quality standards.
In 2019, the research and development of silicon nitride ceramic products with better performance was successful. ZZCR was the first enterprise in China to develop silicon nitride micro beads, and has the ability to process and produce silicon nitride ceramic structural components, which can meet the production needs of more high-end products.
Famous new energy companies such as BYD, Tesla, and Ningde Times have all used ZZCR ceramic microspheres, and even some well-known Japanese companies purchase ultrafine ceramic microspheres from ZZCR.
As of now, ZZCR's micro bead products have a market share of up to 40% in China and 13% in the international market.