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Old 26th May 2015, 18:53   #16
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

This is a fantastic 5* report, S2!!! & Rehaan!

Thanks to you guys, now we know what goes into the manufacturing of these ubiquitous & heavy cuboids that power up IC-engined automobiles, and also provide temporary back-up power for so many homes & small establishments.

I guess the two biggest brands in the Indian automobile battery scene are the Exide-SF Sonic pair and Amaron.

Other well known names like Tata Green, Panasonic, Amco Yuasa, Prestolite, Bosch etc. don't seem to be as strong (in terms of marketshare) as the top two. They neither have the widespread market reach and brand awareness of Exide (incl. SF Sonic) and Amaron, nor can they compete in terms of price with the smaller manufacturers occupying the budget end of the replacement market. The smaller local manufacturers are increasingly facing a threat to their marketshare from cheaper batteries made by the big brands (such as Amaron Black & Amaron Fresh).

While I thoroughly appreciate the importance of lead-acid batteries in our daily lives and the high percentage of recycling in this industry, I do hope that these lead-acid batteries would soon be replaced by safer, more efficient and more modern technology. Lead is not a metal that I would want to deal with on an everyday basis.

I sometimes wonder if certain powerful international vested interests are quietly working behind the scenes to deliberately hold back or slow down technological advancement in the field of electrical energy storage.

Last edited by RSR : 26th May 2015 at 19:00.
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Old 26th May 2015, 19:18   #17
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Frankly speaking, I never knew battery is so much complicated.
One more thing. It is mentioned that battery buybacks are done by dealers on basis of weight of old battery by dealers.
But I replaced my batteries twice and instead of checking the weight of battery, the dealer asked me regarding the purchasing date of battery. After knowing age of battery,the dealer would just pronounce the price I would be getting of old battery being returned.

Last edited by MSC : 26th May 2015 at 19:19.
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Old 26th May 2015, 20:21   #18
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Excellent information guys and thank you for taking pains and providing so much detailing and show the way the automated process works . Out of curiosity , Do we know 1) How are the batteries that do not meet QA treated and 2) Do they manage recycling within the same plant or the lead is smelted elsewhere and resent as ingots and used in the raw material ?
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Old 26th May 2015, 22:18   #19
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

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Originally Posted by MSC View Post
Frankly speaking, I never knew battery is so much complicated.
One more thing. It is mentioned that battery buybacks are done by dealers on basis of weight of old battery by dealers.
But I replaced my batteries twice and instead of checking the weight of battery, the dealer asked me regarding the purchasing date of battery. After knowing age of battery,the dealer would just pronounce the price I would be getting of old battery being returned.
If he is an authorised Exide dealer, he has a buy back price list provided by the company for each type of battery that he buys back. This price has nothing to do with the date of manufacture of the battery. It is entirely based on the lead content of the battery.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the repurchased batteries get into unscrupulous hands (usually unauthorised dealers) and are reconditioned and sold in the second hand market, instead of being scrapped and smelted as per law. This type of dealers would probably pay a price based on the condition/age of the battery. Strictly speaking it is entirely illegal. If you care for the environment please don't encourage these practices. Of course most individual customers are not aware of all these intricacies and complexities. If reported Exide (or any organised sector player) will certainly take action against such dealers.
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Old 27th May 2015, 00:02   #20
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Thanks Saumil and Rehaan for such a detailed report! One thing which I didn't understand: is the pasting done on both negative and positive grid? Here the paste I'm referring to is Red Lead + Litharge.

Then, as you said in your first post, lead oxide paste is only applied to cathode. So what is this? What is the difference in use of these two pastes?

-Bhargav
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Old 27th May 2015, 01:19   #21
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Very interesting and informative information. Thanks S2!!! and Rehaan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
Several electric forklifts silently went about their duties. Would have loved to drive one of these rear wheel steering machines:
Attachment 1365729
Forklift is really a versatile machine on the shop floor. I have driven 2-3 ton payload electric machines and also 10-12 ton payload diesel giants. BTW, it would be interesting to know that the rear steering for the forklifts is not a near-perfect steering like our cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSR View Post
Lead is not a metal that I would want to deal with on an everyday basis.
Well said RSR. In the battery industry, effluent treatment and discharge is of utmost importance. The industries need to manage the balance of the environment, statutory compliance, human hazard exposure and cost.
We know where this balance is tilted in developing nations and we users too are a party to it.

Think of the men in the battery factory dealing with lead everyday; and the people unknowingly suffering from the traces of lead in the groundwater. . . Here I remember the following suggestion in a New Car Predelivery Inspection Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMG View Post
Enjoy your car, but don't forget to donate something to a good
charity, there are many people around rather less fortunate people than you.
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Old 27th May 2015, 07:52   #22
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

What an awesome thread on detailing the making of a battery. Quite complex I must say.

The plant seems quite an old manufacturing facility, from the looks of the equipment and how it is maintained.

Like other members, I also noticed that few staff were not using gloves -- for example acid removal process & water wash area.

I am assuming that this plant would have heavy water & electricity consumption. Any inputs they shared on how they treat water before use in plant & how they discharge it and free it from any acids. Any in house captive plants for electricity generation etc?

BTW, did you ask how come the batteries die within weeks of their warranty getting over :-)
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Old 27th May 2015, 09:20   #23
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Thanks for sharing !

All of this looks ridiculously complex at the micro level. I know a fella who got his bachelors degree in political science and now runs one of indias largest battery companies.

I really wonder how he managed to grow such a business without having much formal technical knowledge !
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Old 27th May 2015, 11:15   #24
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

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Originally Posted by D33-PAC View Post
All of this looks ridiculously complex at the micro level. I know a fella who got his bachelors degree in political science and now runs one of indias largest battery companies.
Doesn't make a difference. Elon Musk - bossman of Tesla - has a degree in economics & physics. Still, he has achieved with battery-powered cars what no one else could, and that includes 100-year old auto companies.
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Old 27th May 2015, 12:10   #25
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

A very informative read. Thank you guys for this report. Interestingly, SF also supplies (at least in the past) as an OEM to Honda. My 2012 Brio has a SF battery and since I was not sure of its performance (I've only had Exide and Amaron as OEM batteries in my previous cars), I checked with the dealer and he said that SF supplied to all Honda cars and even showed me a few other cars (Brio, Civic and City) in the stockyard that had a SF battery in them.
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Old 28th May 2015, 15:04   #26
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
BTW, did you ask how come the batteries die within weeks of their warranty getting over :-)
Apparently they put a clock inside the batteries that is programmed to stop the battery from working after the warranty period is over :-) In some batteries this clock malfunctions either way.
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Old 29th May 2015, 17:03   #27
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
I am not too impressed by the safety standards of the plant, it can be seen from some pics about people handling batteries with bare hands, no hard hat rules etc.
Yes, there were certainly some cases of bare hands. Not sure what their stance on that is.

Regarding hard-hats, i don't think that's a requirement, as this is a single-level factory with no risk of falling objects (unlike a construction site, where hard-hats would be more appropriate).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSC View Post
But I replaced my batteries twice and instead of checking the weight of battery, the dealer asked me regarding the purchasing date of battery. After knowing age of battery,the dealer would just pronounce the price I would be getting of old battery being returned.
I'm fairly sure dealers are taking advantage of customers here! We had asked for details on this buy-back scheme and were told they were on the SF Sonic website. I gave it a quick look but didn't find anything. Maybe another BHPian can...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkiran13 View Post
1) How are the batteries that do not meet QA treated
Probably sent to the scrapyard, after which the lead is recycled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkiran13 View Post
2) Do they manage recycling within the same plant or the lead is smelted elsewhere and resent as ingots and used in the raw material ?
As mentioned in the report : Exide has 2 smelting facilities in Pune and Hosur. The batteries would be sent there for recycling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
One thing which I didn't understand: is the pasting done on both negative and positive grid?
To be honest, I'm not 100% sure on this one, so don't want to give the wrong answer here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
The plant seems quite an old manufacturing facility, from the looks of the equipment and how it is maintained.
Most of it is quite a few years old, however the "Expander" machine is some new tech that they are currently using only for automobile batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
I am assuming that this plant would have heavy water & electricity consumption. Any inputs they shared on how they treat water before use in plant & how they discharge it and free it from any acids.
They did mention a lot of ISO and OHSA things. (slide shown below)

Also they were awarded silver in the 15th Annual Greentech Environment Award 2014 organised by Greentech Foundation - if that means anything to you.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
BTW, did you ask how come the batteries die within weeks of their warranty getting over :-)
On hearing they are OEMs for VW, i did bring this up, since my Vento battery died 2 years and 1 month after purchase
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Old 29th May 2015, 23:30   #28
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Thanks for this report, very informative.

I do wonder about one thing though. When I look at your pictures, the factory workers are wearing only the most rudimentary of respiratory protection. Some of the workers are wearing short sleeves etc.

Working with lead is potential lethal and work environment needs to comply with very stringent rules:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/battery_manufacturing/

http://occmed.oxfordjournals.org/con...6/369.full.pdf

http://www.kdheks.gov/ables/occupation.html

These are just a few examples. Working with lead is nasty at the best of times and can only be done safely with very strict environmental and workforce protection.

Did they say anything about how they are protecting their workforce?

Jeroen
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Old 28th July 2015, 14:18   #29
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

Fantastic level of detail and quite an impressive feat to represent such a complicated process in simpler terms. I can only imagine the level of engineering and research that goes into the actual designing and production process. Be it Vid and Suhaas's Apollo tyres thread or this one, these reports really make you appreciate the work that goes into the creation of things we take for granted.
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Old 16th April 2016, 11:39   #30
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Default Re: PICS: SF Sonic Battery Factory. Detailed report on the making of a Car Battery

I have had bad experience with 2 of my SF Sonic batteries, one in i10 and one in Karizma. Both conked out much prematurely whereas my similar Exide/Amaron always last more than 3~4 years.

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Details here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ml#post3953392 (Which is the Best Car Battery Brand?)

So I would advise my friends to stay away from SF Sonic.

Cheers...

Last edited by dkaile : 16th April 2016 at 11:43.
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