Manufacturer boosts production of pressure compensation element

Nicola Brittain

Demand for a new pressure compensation element for EVs has led to one manufacturer tripling production in recent months.

There are now one million EV vehicles on the road in the UK, many more internationally, and the global demand looks set to increase exponentially. However, there are specific safety concerns for an EV, particularly when their batteries are exposed to water or following a crash. In short, electric car batteries require management to ensure safe performance and avoid thermal runway.

Safety standards

As most industry engineers will be aware, EVs must pass the same safety standards as internal combustion engined (ICE) cars, meaning that they are just as safe in the event of a collision. Cars are crashed and assessed by independent safety body Euro NCAP, which awards an overall safety rating for each car it tests, allowing drivers to identify the safest choice for their needs.

Component parts

EV car manufacturers, however, are looking to components manufacturers to help manage pressure within the battery to ensure safety. One component manufacturer, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, has seen enormous demand for a product called the DiAvent HighFlow in recent months, with the company claiming to have received multiple major orders from one Asian and one US automotive group. This led to the group having to triple its production capacity.

“At a time when suppliers are fiercely competing for every order, we have successfully acquired major orders for our DIAvent product family. We are particularly thrilled about a series production order from the US, which is unprecedented in DIAvent’s brief history,” says Ralf Schmid, Senior Vice President of the Special Sealing Division at FST. “In order to meet this huge demand, we have rapidly tripled our production capacities.”

DIAvent HighFlow is the only product of its kind in the industry, according to FST. It was developed to balance air pressure variations within the battery housing of an electric vehicle and to provide emergency degassing in case of thermal runaway. “Our intelligent pressure compensation elements offer car manufacturers an efficient way to enhance the safety of electric vehicles,” explains Ulrich Huth, President of Automotive Sales at FST.

“The robust sales growth reflects the outstanding market reception we have seen for the DIAvent Highflow.”

Ramping up production

The first fully automated high-tech production cell for DIAvent HighFlow was launched in Reichelsheim in Germany at the beginning of 2023 – a structurally identical twin followed in December. Due to space constraints in the location, a third DIAvent production line was opened at the company’s Berlin facility in the first half of 2024. FST launched an additional production and plans to open a fourth in early 2025 at its North American site in Shelbyville, Indiana, to fulfill the large US order as part of its commitment to dynamically adjusting its capacity to meet rapidly growing demand.

The DiAvent HighFlow

The product is an intelligent pressure compensation element that merges pressure equalisation and emergency degassing into a single unit, thereby enhancing electric vehicle battery safety.

FST produces a range of products, from the basic DIAvent light ventilation element to the DIAvent HighFlow, which integrates bidirectional pressure compensation with an emergency degassing function in one component.

The component occupies 50 to 70% less space than similar solutions and is lighter due to its innovative UL94-V0-compliant plastic housing.

The product comprising of just one part not only makes it more cost-effective than two separate units, but also simplifies installation and reduces supply chain complexity. Moreover, it supports the use of batteries with higher power density, fulfilling the demands for range, performance, and safety in battery-powered vehicles.

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