Information Management in Lab Environments

Feb 7, 2023

battery manufacturing battery
Information management is crucial in lab environments. Start-ups in the battery manufacturing sector, in particular, need to focus on their core competency, producing batteries. To achieve this, they build their core team around a group of engineers who work to set up and run a stable production process.

The use of digital tools is essential at this stage of battery manufacturing and many start-ups lack the necessary digital competencies to manage information effectively. For these companies it is essential to prioritise the development of competencies to ensure efficient and effective management of information in their lab environments. 

What is the issue?

In our experience from other industries, the development of digital capabilities has proven to be a decisive factor in elevating an organisation’s competitiveness within their industry. This is particularly prominent within the high-tech and battery manufacturing sectors, where complexity necessitates a mastery of digital competence. 

As digitalisation is not a central competency for nascent organisations, they are often beset by an absence of crucial information and data. To overcome this challenge, it is imperative to adopt streamlined and intuitive tools that facilitate the generation and utilisation of data, thereby expediting the maturity of production processes.  

During the early stages, there are a few considerations worth bearing in mind when facilitating effective information management: 

car battery manufacturing
information management battery lab
1. Data collection from the outset. The foundation for data-driven learning lies in the collection of data from the very beginning. The use of spreadsheets or a full-fledged Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is inadequate as they either lack sufficient complexity or exhibit excessive complexity, and are either too rigid or have overly automated data exchange capabilities. To achieve the optimal balance between flexibility and scalability, it is necessary to employ digital tools that offer a sufficient degree of latitude for experimentation while facilitating systematic data collection from these experiments. 

2. Processes not yet customer-oriented. Processes at early operational stages are not fully aligned with customer needs and should be driven by engineers and their decision making. However, many Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are order-driven, making it challenging to seamlessly fit these processes within the software framework. 

3. Connecting different people and mindsets. The process of connecting disparate individuals and mindsets through digitalisation in emerging organisations within the battery manufacturing industry can be a challenging one, presenting several potential pitfalls that must be addressed. 

In this blog post we will demonstrate strategies for successfully navigating these scenarios and further resolving issues with:
Data handling difficulties

Whilst many start-ups understand the importance of data, using it correctly is a struggle. Spreadsheets are too small for the tasks required, whilst a full MES far too large and expensive at early stages of development. 

Transparent decision processes

The development of battery cells necessitates the consideration of a high degree of variation in ingredients and formulas. Achieving an optimal balance of quality, lead time, and cost requires an in-depth understanding of the reasoning behind each decision made during the development process. To facilitate this understanding, it is crucial to have comprehensive traceability of the entire product development journey. 

Cumbersome experimentation

The success of any company, particularly those operating with limited resources, is contingent upon their ability to effectively allocate their resources. A trial-and-error approach, while valuable in generating insights, must be executed with precision and efficiency to ensure that the organisation’s precious time and resources are not wasted on futile experimentation. Effective recipe management can aid in optimising the trial-and-error process and maximise the returns on investment.

Lack of product development benchmarks

Another challenge companies face operating in a greenfield environment is navigating the vast potential of product development without the necessary context and expertise to confidently determine if they are moving in the right direction. This highlights the importance of not only identifying the most promising avenues for innovation, but also in providing the necessary guidance to effectively execute and improve on them. 


What is the solution?

Our experience working with industries such as high-tech and photovoltaics industry has underscored the importance of effective information management in enabling successful scaling at every stage of a company’s operational maturity.  

A well-structured approach to information management is essential to driving growth and reaching new heights of success. This is especially the case in industries with high levels of innovation and product evolution, such as battery manufacturing, as battery manufacturers try to limit the amount of time between development and factory production to maximise profitability. 

Using an effective Process Development Execution System, or PDES, such as XperiDesk is a fundamental part of improving the way that a company develops and transitions from lab to series production. It was specifically designed to improve project and technology planning, assist with preparation, and support the consistent tracking of experimental technology development. It provides easy and flexible access to existing knowledge and enables users to make full use of their experiences and lessons learned. Some of the specific benefits of the system include:

battery production robots
1. Providing freedom
The coherent nature of the PDES platform means that data collection and hosting are far simpler. Engineers spend less time resolving issues with the data and instead focus on making important product development and hardware adjustment decisions. The company is more efficient when experts spend their time on important tasks rather than menial data management work, as talent is put to good use.  
2. Data organisation
A PDES platform makes use of novel mapping systems that support more complex data organisation. This means that companies, especially product development teams, complete experiments and have far simpler means of accessing their information. An even further benefit is the way that companies retain data throughout their entire life cycle, providing much greater insight into operations from the company’s launch.  
3. System integration
After using data, importing and exporting information is a simple process. Transferring from an engineer-centric process to a customer-oriented one is easy, and there is no loss of data or organisational knowledge at any stage.
battery manufacturing lab

What this all means?

XperiDesk represents a transformative approach to company growth, not just a tool for maximising output from existing systems. It fundamentally alters the manner in which companies evolve and expand. 

By simplifying the way that data works and generating more effective processes, companies transition away from spending time on simple tasks towards a much more efficient way of making decisions.  

Xperidesk is a software solution that guides the development of new or improved technologies from their conception, through development and into manufacturing scale-up. It supports scale-up projects by streamlining communication, providing an end-to-end overview of the most relevant technology developments and simplifying data management throughout the scale-up journey. 

It borrows on concepts of MES but tailors them for R&D purposes. In other words, it helps development teams improve working practices throughout the product development.  

It integrates people (with different backgrounds from potentially different legal entities), data (from diverse sources), information, knowledge and business processes into one connected experience. It also provides real-time monitoring and tracking of progress and is accessible anywhere at any time, thus facilitating remote teams working together to optimise their development processes. 

In summary, Xperidesk enables the digitalisation of scale up operations, which in turn helps new players entering the battery market to scale quickly, securely and efficiently. With Xperidesk, scale up times are shortened and scale up operations become more profitable. 
Ultimately, the transition from lab to gigafactory is far simpler when taking the right PDES into use for your organisation from the start. When ramping up production, operational information can be seamlessly exported and imported into an MES to ensure smooth data and operations transition. You get to see your company achieve the level of growth that it deserves, and your customers receive your high-quality products far sooner thanks to the smoother transition to a larger organisation. 

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