18650 and 21700 Cylindrical cell sorting machine for voltage and internal resistant


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Ekuid

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Feb 19, 2022
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Hi,
my friend and I have been working for a few months on the project of a compact cell sorting machine that we will start selling soon, and now, we are starting to take pre-orders for it.

This machine has 8 independent sorting channels (one of them is for trash), has a capacity of about 1500 cells per hour, and can sort 18650 and 21700 standard cells at the same time. It measures voltage and internal resistance (1Khz AC method) with high resolution, and you can freely set sorting parameter ranges on 7 channels.

This machine is very compact, weighs about 15kg and has dimensions about 35x35x100cm and is only powered by 110/220v outlet

On the video below you can see how it works
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQTVTlFnCmA


This machine also has many safeguards against any troubles during sorting for 100% accuracy.

Price for complete machine at now is 2500$ (plus shipping price worldwide from Europe)
If you are interested, you can write to me on PM or email: Biuro@pes.rybnik.pl
 
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OffGridInTheCity

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Fun gadget! Now, if you could add a capacity testing gadget - maybe as a stage 2 add-on - then I'd be sorely tempted!
 

Ekuid

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Fun gadget! Now, if you could add a capacity testing gadget - maybe as a stage 2 add-on - then I'd be sorely tempted!
This is nice idea but I must figure out how to do this, because it's not that easy😅, but mayby soon i will have "capacity testing wall" add-on😁
 

Korishan

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Very nice machine.

But I'm very curious as to why this machine is $2500?! It doesn't seem that complex to warrant such a hefty price tag. At $250 it would be far more reasonable for what it does.

It would need to do a lot more than just sort based on voltage/IR to be worth $2500 imho. As mentioned by OffGridInTheCity, being able to do charge/discharge cycling for capacity, as well as SD cells, would be definitely welcome.

At that price, that's far higher than the Batrium BMS, and that system does a boat load of things as well as communicate with a ton and a half different inverters/chargers.
 

Oberfail

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But I'm very curious as to why this machine is $2500?! It doesn't seem that complex to warrant such a hefty price tag. At $250 it would be far more reasonable for what it does.
Likely due to the developement time & cost and wanting to make a profit. Every buisness does this.
As its also automated, it can safe human ressources for a company and it may become worth it after a couple of months of use and saves a company time. For personal use however, its rather useless at that price.
 

Ekuid

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Likely due to the developement time & cost and wanting to make a profit. Every buisness does this.
As its also automated, it can safe human ressources for a company and it may become worth it after a couple of months of use and saves a company time. For personal use however, its rather useless at that price.
Thanks Oberfail, this is exactly what it looks like. If someone wanted to buy this machine for personal use then this is not the way to go, we were targeting people or companies that work with a lot of cells and make money from these batteries.
Very nice machine.

But I'm very curious as to why this machine is $2500?! It doesn't seem that complex to warrant such a hefty price tag. At $250 it would be far more reasonable for what it does.

It would need to do a lot more than just sort based on voltage/IR to be worth $2500 imho. As mentioned by OffGridInTheCity, being able to do charge/discharge cycling for capacity, as well as SD cells, would be definitely welcome.

At that price, that's far higher than the Batrium BMS, and that system does a boat load of things as well as communicate with a ton and a half different inverters/chargers.
Thanks for your feedback, its helpfull for us.
Much more than 250$ at present we have to pay only for the materials to build this machine, without any development, costs of production, sales and warranty service.
You can see on this link for example how much this type of machine normally costs https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/battery-cell-testing-and-sorting-machine.html

The best way, for normal people, is if someone has this kind of machine and starts doing sorting services for customers for a small fee

Possible we also plan to make smaller machine for about a half that price, but only with two channels, which might be more usefull for more people
 

Oberfail

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Possible we also plan to make smaller machine for about a half that price, but only with two channels, which might be more usefull for more people
Perhaps for private use, one with 3 channels would be possible.
Trash
Still useable, but not great cells
Great cells.

I can see a usecase for this kind of machine, but due to the lack of cell availibility in my country (germany), i see none for me sadly.
 

Korishan

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due to the lack of cell availibility in my country (germany), i see none for me sadly.
Yeah, sux that that part of the world has a hard time getting cells, even when lots of them are made over there.

I agree with the 3 cell option, too.
Even could be programmed for custom ranges. That way you could go through and sort not only Trash/Meh/Great cells, but even be able to take a batch of processed cells and reprocess them with different settings to get even more granularity on the batches
 

cak

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Mar 14, 2021
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Neat. I have been thinking it would be a fun project to make a tester like this to complement the Megacell charger so I would want it to have a barcode scanner built in so it can log each cells data as well as sort. I agree with others that DIY use 3 buckets would be enough. I could see using it at several stages in my current process first during the initial voltage and IR test to sort by (Trash>80m, Regular>40, HighAmp<40) and then also using it after my self discharge resting period (Good>4.1, BGrade>4, Trash<4).
 

Ekuid

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Thank you all for your feedback,
Following your advice and the advice of others, we are starting to think about going back to the original version of our sorter.
It will be an ultra simple machine and therefore much cheaper.

This machine will only have 2 channels, so good cells and junk (because 3 and more starts to heavily complicate the whole machine), but it will have fully adjustable measuring ranges, so you can sort the first time for good cells Bgrade and Agrade into one bucket, and any bad cells will go into another bucket. And the second time you can put on the machine that mixed cells Bgrade and Agrade and sort it another time with different settings for separate Bgrade from Agrade cells. Results will be the same what with 3 chanels machine but it only took a littel bit longer

I think if you want to buy the finished machine, it will cost around $800.
That might also be a bit too much for most people, but if someone has some tools like a 3d printer and some manual skills, then we are thinking of selling for a small fee the files and instructions needed to build such a machine ourselves. I think then, the total cost of such a machine will be around $300-400.

I also know how the cell market is at the moment. In my country (Poland) we have, I think, about a 70% drop in the availability of all cells on the market, but I have a littel hope this will change quickly for the better

Let me konw what you thing about that cheap DIY sorter idea 😊
 

Oberfail

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That might also be a bit too much for most people, but if someone has some tools like a 3d printer and some manual skills, then we are thinking of selling for a small fee the files and instructions needed to build such a machine ourselves. I think then, the total cost of such a machine will be around $300-400.
To be fair, once the 3d files are out in the wild, they are going to spread. If you need to cover the cost, make those files available for free but add the needed cost to the hardware.
 

Mark Moulding

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Actually, for a commercial machine of this functionality, with a relatively limited target market, I think the $2500 price is reasonable - not cheap, but not excessive either. Any business that's making real use of this machine would probably run it several hours a day, so long-term reliability would be critical; if it fails (even if easily repairable) after a month, it won't be popular.

However, I think your concept of a two-channel machine may be the real sweet spot. Most businesses that are recycling cells probably don't have any need of the fine-grade sorting the 8-channel machine provides - they just want a simple go/no-go result. That should also put the machine more within the reach of the more heavily involved home user/hobbyist market, too.

I think that you'll probably not recoup your development costs by selling the plans and STL files - as @Oberfail pointed out, you're essentially releasing your intellectual property into the wild. I don't think that's a very good approach to take. Perhaps you could sell a kit of the custom-printed and other unique parts (such as the pre-programmed controller), along with the plans to assemble a whole machine.
~~
Mark Moulding
 
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Korishan

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Good points on both Oberfail and Mark.
While reading, I was thinking selling at least the firmware for a good price. Not sure what the hardware is, but possible that it's mostly readily available. So aside from the STL's and Instructions, the sale of the firmware could be another avenue to pursue.

So here's a few ideas, I'll leave the cost up to you. By doing any or all of these suggestions, it could increase your profit, and decrease your labor.

1) Fully Assembled 8-Channel:
* for the professional recycler/reclaimer. These would be more for those companies (with multiple employees) who are pulling packs, and needing to quickly cycle through them to find the good ones, and the reselling them on the market after further tests

2) Fully Assembled 4-Channel:
* for the smaller company who is starting out, maybe they only have 1 or 2 employees, but want to get into the market.
* for the professional hobbiests. These are the guys who love doing the work mostly for fun, and generally have a very flexible wallet, plus other skills and such

3) Parts Assembly 4-Channel:
* again, for the professional small company and professional hobbiests. This tier would be a bit cheaper. But you and your crew don't have to worry about assembly

4) Fully Assembled 2-Channel:
* Now getting more into the general hobbiest. They have random amount of time and would prefer something they can unbox, plop on the desk, and get to work asap

5) Parts Assembly 2-Channel:
* More for the lower tier hobbiest, has more time, loves tinkering and assembling, a little tighter wallet

6) STL, Firmware:
* This is for those hobbiest who are really wanting to source their components from different locations, or they may be able to slightly modify the design with their own equipment they may already have. Print their own housing/parts where needed, and make it more customizable (such as different colors, or ABS vs PLA or something else).
- Sure, once the STL is out there, it's out there. However, if you charge something like $10 for them, I think a lot of people would pay for them instead of getting them free. Especially if you add in the bonus of free upgrades/revisions when they become available; for the firmware and the STL's

I listed the above in what I would assume to be highest price to least price. With the Parts Assembly options, your crew would only need to just package them up. Save you a lot of time, and work hours.
Also, if you state that you take orders and only ship out twice a month, or every two weeks, or some other larger time frame, this would give you an idea of how many packages to get read of the various options. I don't know how many people work in this business, but the fewer you have, the more time management becomes a big deal.

Overall, I think the idea of the autosorter is a good idea. Definitely has a place in this market. And not just for the single man random hobbiest, either. But also for the professional cell recyclers who could go through 10's of thousands a month. For those people/businesses, dropping $2k on a device that could potentially cut their scanning time in half, or more, would be a big deal. Especially if it also adds in the possibility of bad cells slipping through the cracks, and now they have to resend cells out to cover the bad ones, and this is at a loss, too.
 

Mark Moulding

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I was wondering what format your firmware would be shipped in. If it's a file, like any other file, it will rapidly become shared everywhere. This is why I mentioned a pre-programmed controller; it's not easily possible to extract the firmware from a microcontroller, especially if its security fuses have been blown, so unauthorized duplication would not be possible.
~~
Mark Moulding
 

Ekuid

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I have thought through your advice.
And I think I found the best solution with this sorter.
Btw at the moment the 8 channel version kinda sucks, no one was interested in it, so I see it's probably not the right way😅.

So we start with a 2 channel machine in probably two selling options,
-First option is a fully assembled machine
-The second option is some kit of parts with different configuration of parts.
I probably can't design this machine without laser cut parts (required work surface of laser is minimum 30x60cm), so nowadays most people have problem to make such parts, because this kind of machines are not popular in private workshops.

We would like to create different types of parts kits, from the smallest containing just laser cut panels and programmed - locked PCBs (as Mark said) to the largest containing all the necessary components to build. Then we would just provide the manual and print files. Which will probably also be needed in case of failure, so someone could fix something on their own without our interference.

Of course we are also thinking about selling the files themselves, but for now we will see how the market will react to this device and maybe in the future we will start selling all the files for a small fee (as Korishan said). As oberfail mentioned, this will require copies, but I think it's not an ultra-popular device, so it won't be that problematic.

I think this will be the best way to create this device and sell it with sense
 
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