Maxwell Technologies reported today that it has more than doubled production capacity for ultracapacitor electrode, cells and modules over the past year, and is moving forward with additional capacity expansion to satisfy rapidly increasing demand for its ultracapacitor products.
"The company has produced more than 15 million cells of all types since setting up initial high-volume production," said David Schramm, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer. "With ultracapacitor sales having grown by more than 50 percent in each of the past two years and our expectation for continuing rapid growth going forward, we need to make sure we stay a step ahead of demand."
Working with a contract assembly partner, the Company brought on line a new assembly line for its redesigned, high-volume, 350-farad "D-cell" ultracapacitor in the third quarter of 2010. Before moving D cell assembly, Maxwell had produced approximately 7 million D cells, mainly for wind turbine blade pitch mechanisms, at its Swiss production facility.
In collaboration with another contract assembly partner, the company recently completed installation of a second assembly line for its K-2 family of large cell products, and a third line is scheduled to be installed later this year. Maxwell produced its 2-millionth 3,000-farad large cell in January, and expects to deliver a third million by the end of this year. Large cells have been used mainly in hybrid transit buses for regenerative braking and torque assist, and the company is now supplying a 1,200-farad large cell to Continental AG, a global Tier 1 auto parts supplier, for a stop-start idle elimination system introduced last fall by PSA Peugeot Citroen.
A third contract manufacturer assembles Maxwell's HC family of small cell products, which range from one to 150 farads, and are used mainly in industrial electronics applications.
In December 2009, the company announced that it was expanding production capacity for its postage stamp-size, 10-farad PC-10 ultracapacitor cell to satisfy rapidly increasing demand generated by a new backup power application in solid state disk drives for enterprise computing systems. Previously, Maxwell had delivered several million PC-10s to power wireless transmitters in automated electric utility meters and other devices.
The proprietary electrode material used in all BOOSTCAP cell types is produced only in the company's San Diego facility. Electrode capacity has been doubled over the past 12 months and will be re-doubled by mid-2012. The company also is evaluating proposals from economic development agencies in several adjacent states for location of a second electrode facility it plans to outfit and bring online in the second half of 2012.
Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, Maxwell's ultracapacitor products store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 to +65C), operate reliably through one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration. Maxwell offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from one to 3,000 farads and multi-cell modules ranging from 16 to 125 volts.