Wave cutter for limiting distortion that causes wrinkles during lithium-ion battery electrode press operations.

Youth Engineering Co.,Ltd.

Company website

1-6-22 Shinden-cho, Niihama, Ehime 792-0003

TEL (0897) 33-5730 FAX (0897) 37-3630

Certified products and technology
① Roll-to-roll compact vacuum coating equipment ② Wave cutter for lithium-ion battery electrode
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Youth Engineering Co. ,Ltd. was founded in 1970. With its roots as a design office involved in designing piping for chemical plants, Youth Engineering has since shifted to a manufacturer covering device contract work and production as it sought to find ways to add value as a machining company. The company was engaged in the maintenance of production lines of semiconductor factory in the 1990s. It became involved in production equipment requiring high quality with liquid crystal panels and environment-related equipment in the 2000s. The clean room-equipped Kuroshima Factory was completed in 2005, and the company has established a system that allows assembly and testing in-house. Today it covers commissioned manufacturing and sales of electronic equipment including processing devices, FA equipment and software, and has also developed a documentation business for creating manuals using 3D videos.

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The key strength of Youth Engineering is with its design and manufacturing expertise for machinery and electronics. President Keizo Ikeda explains: "Discussing things with users over and over means you gain an understanding of industry marketing and targeting, even if you lack any specific knowhow." The company has analyzed market sectors well and expanded its business by applying its superior technical capabilities in areas where there is demand from users. Expanding business provides an opportunity to build on developmental capabilities and knowhow even further. It has been taking a proactive stance in joint research with major manufacturers and working with companies that have the required knowledge, all to increase its own technical capabilities.

One of the products that was launched after carefully examining the market was the "roll-to-roll type vacuum deposition apparatus" to form a thin film continuously on a film base. Plasma is discharged in a vacuum state, and the molecular-level metallic material adheres to the film base forming a thin film. "Devices that require substantial development costs are generally in the realm of major manufacturers," says President Ikeda. Youth Engineering gained a foothold in the market segment by development a commercial version for laboratories.

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There is also increased focus on the "Wave cutter for lithium-ion battery electrode." The battery electrode production process involves coating activated powder substances onto metal foil and then drying, followed by a roll press to increase density. The challenge is with the difference in pressure applied by the press in coated sections and uncoated sections. This causes wrinkles and reduces the production yield. The Wave cutter is a device that uses a laser to cut out a wave shape across uncoated sections. Cutting these sections out prevents uneven pressures from being applied, which limits wrinkling when being pressed. The use of a laser creates a much smoother cut surface compared to using similar die cutter, and there is also no cutting dust generated and machining is fast. Youth Engineering opened an office in Sendai in May 2017. The office is staffed by former employees of major electronics manufacturers who specialize in processes for manufacturing lithium batteries. The Wave cutter is an idea that was born from the Sendai office. President Ikeda explained: "It is difficult to fully develop new, unfamiliar technologies by yourself. The key is finding the most skilled people to work with."

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Youth Engineering is not only focusing on materials segments that benefit from Japanese expertise, but from 2019 is also planning to launch a developmental business in the electronics field. It has set its sights on expanding internationally, and is currently in the process of hiring more foreigners. Closer to home, President Ikeda is also focused on its "roots in Niihama." The majority of engineers currently working at the company are from Niihama. While there is no way to avoid the shrinking Japanese market, it is keeping an eye out for opportunities to demonstrate the Niihama manufacturing spirit while weighing up the ratio of business in Japan and overseas.

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