Battery cells are central components of electric vehicles. It is important for automotive OEM to utilize high quality battery cells to ensure high performance and safety of their vehicles. This results in the high demand for quality control measures and inspection methods in battery cell manufacturing. Particular relevant features of battery cells are welds for the internal electrical contact. Failures of these welds are often the cause for battery defects in the field and scrap during production. Consequently, there is a strong need to evaluate all welds during manufacturing. However, there is no established method which allows a quick, comprehensive, and cheap inline measurement of the weld quality. This paper presents a new eddy current based method for non-destructive testing of seam welds as well as a machine learning approach for its validation. A deep learning model has been trained on eddy current measurements to predict results from a reference inspection method, in this case computer tomography. The results prove that eddy current measurements can be used to replicate data acquired by computer tomography which means that eddy current measurements could be a suitable candidate for non-destructive 100% inline inspection.
More general, this study demonstrates how machine learning may help to get deeper insights into measurement results and to validate new non-destructive testing techniques whose detailed features are yet unknown. The presented evaluation method enables understanding the capabilities and the limits of a new technique and to extract hidden features from the data. Furthermore, the usage of machine learning allows to perform these evaluations on artificial product samples with specific defects and features, which avoids the costly production physical samples.