System solutions to ensure safe marriage for high-voltage batteries - Foreign object detection and early recognition of overheated surfaces during the installation process can avoid risk of injury, property damage and production standstills


Waldkirch, November 2023 – at the SPS 2023 (November 14 – 16, Hall 7A, Booth 340), SICK presented the Foreign Object Detection System (FOS) and Static Hotspot Detection System (SHD) – two system solutions designed to minimize process errors and fire hazards during the installation of high-voltage batteries. While the battery is installed in the chassis – a process also known as marriage – the FOS uses laser triangulation to run a precise, contact-free check on the battery’s surface, ensuring it is free of foreign objects. By doing so, it can detect e.g. tools, screws, nuts or other objects that could damage the battery in the course of installation – and reliably avoid the risk of resultant short-circuits or fires in electric vehicles or production facilities. The SHD achieves the same effect: minimizing fire hazards. Its infrared cameras allow it to detect overheated areas on battery surfaces, a telltale sign of thermal runaway. This ensures that potential fire and explosion hazards are detected as early as possible – and dependably avoids damages, loss of material, and plant downtimes.

Given the potential fire hazards in connection with high-voltage batteries, electric vehicle manufacturers place great value on ensuring process reliability for their manufacture, handling, storage and installation. At more and more plants, SICK’s system solutions FOS and SHD are helping them do so.

FOS: Using high-resolution 3D imaging to reliably detect even the smallest foreign objects

The Foreign Object Detection System (FOS) is a quality inspection system, which, in addition to living up to its namesake, can determine the position and quality of components, sealant bead and crash pads. It consists of a scalable system head with Ranger cameras from SICK, a SICK laser sensor used to trigger the measuring processes, and a SICK Sensor Integration Machine for recording, analyzing and archiving the data gathered. Thanks to this design, the system can be easily adapted to different battery sizes and application scenarios. Mounted above the up to 2,400-mm-wide field of view, the cameras scan the surface – unaffected by background light or shadows – at speeds of up to 350 mm/s. The laser, optics, scanning fields and testing regions can all be individually selected to guarantee optimum detection reliability. With the aid of relative motion – depending on the application, the FOS Portal or the high-voltage battery moves – the remission of the battery’s top side is used to create a 3D image of its surface. During scanning, the FOS automatically compensates for the positioning and height tolerance for the battery. In this way, foreign objects of any form, color and remittance – and as small as 4 mm x 4 mm x 3 mm – can be detected with high process reliability, even on complex surfaces with difficult structures and textures, e.g. the metal foils used to coat some high-voltage batteries. As a result, damage and fire hazards are reliably avoided. Optionally, further functions – like checking for the presence of specific parts, e.g. screws in assembly holes, or checking for glue or sealant bead – can be integrated in the FOS. Thanks to the SICK AppSpace, customer-specific requirements can also be included. The broad range of integration options makes the detection system especially flexible.

SHD: Reliably detecting “thermal runaways” and overheated battery surfaces

SICK’s Static Hotspot Detection System (SHD) is used to avoid fire hazards that can arise during the manufacture, handling, storage and installation of high-voltage batteries. These can be caused by mechanical, electrical or thermal overloads, as well as short-circuits in individual cells, which produce intense heat within or on the surface of the battery. Thanks to the SHD, these overheated areas can be detected early on. Infrared thermal imaging cameras mounted on a frame measure the surface temperature of high-voltage batteries. If they detect any hotspots – where the predefined maximum allowable temperature is exceeded – they use targeted alerts to immediately remove the battery from the process and transport it to a secure area. This ensures the early detection of potential fire hazards – and reduces the risk of injury, property damage and production standstills. The data and thermal images gathered during hotspot detection can be used to record, analyze and document overheating incidents. The SHD can be easily and flexibly integrated into other systems – including the FOS. Characterized by low operating and maintenance costs, it can be flexibly employed in the battery industry: in the manufacture of battery cells, modules and packs, in production-related battery intralogistics, and in recycling applications.

SICK is one of the world’s leading solutions providers for sensor-based applications in the industrial sector. Founded in 1946 by Dr.-Ing. e. h. Erwin Sick, the company with headquarters in Waldkirch, Breisgau near Freiburg ranks among the technological market leaders. With more than 50 subsidiaries and equity investments as well as numerous agencies, SICK maintains a presence around the globe. SICK has almost 12,000 employees worldwide and generated a group revenue of around EUR 2.2 billion in the 2022 fiscal year. Additional information about SICK is available at


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