Stored energy solutions provider EnerSys has acquired the remaining 49.5% stake in its Indian JV company Energy Leader Batteries India.
The Shanghai Environmental Protection Industry Association and Shanghai Service Federation have announced they are seeking ways to regulate the disposal of automotive batteries, according to the Shanghai Daily. The batteries, which include those used in cars and electric bikes, are generally lead-acid storage batteries.
Johnson Controls has acquired a 90% share of Colombian battery supplier MAC. JCI has been working with MAC since 2011 when they began a joint venture to produce and sell lead-acid batteries for the Central and South American markets.
Details of the financial terms have not been disclosed but will further strengthen JCI’s position in the continent.
The Indian central pollution control board (CPCB) has told lead-acid battery manufacturers to set up collection points, individually or jointly, for used batteries from consumers or dealers.
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The US auto-industry is recovering and shipments of new and replacement automotive batteries are rising accordingly. Vehicle sales for August 2013 were 17% higher than a previous year, at 16.1 million.
Reports from auto-makers of strong car and truck sales in August indicate the market is recovering, which has lead to a rise in the price of lead.
Shipments of new and replacement batteries in the US rose to 10.5 million units over 12 months, up 2.2% on the previous year. Battery Council International (BCI) cites new car sales as the driving force behind increased sales. Total year-to-date sales show the continuing growth, with replacement battery sales up 7% on the previous year.
Increased demand is raising the premium on the price of lead in the US to up to US$0.15 above the London Metal Exchange rate, twice the figure of a year ago.
Battery giant EnerSys has introduced a service-reporting tool called the Service Activity Report Management (SARM) system, which allows the company to maintain a full service profile and audit trail for its complete range of Hawker batteries and chargers for motive power applications.
Information logged on to the system during installation and service visits can be analysed to prepare detailed reports and identify maintenance trends. The SARM system gives EnerSys insight into the maintenance of its Hawker batteries and chargers in the material handling and motive power markets. It collects and records service-related information that can be made available to customers who require verification of compliance with procedures and maintenance for key performance indicator reports.
Data relating to a battery or charger is entered into SARM at commissioning and at maintenance or service sessions using unique product details to provide a complete profile of the product’s service history. The system can be accessed online to allow field engineers to update information form any location.
Chinese lead-acid battery producers’ average operating rate at rose to a year-high of 61.16% of capacity, according to the latest survey conducted by Shanghai Metals Market (SMM).
SMM said the rate rose by 4.16% in July. The average operating rate at motive battery producers saw an increase of 6.43% from June to 54.32%, thanks to increases in lead-acid battery prices.
Prices for 48V 12AH batteries rose in July to RMB 400/set ($64.84), up RMB 100/set, or 33%, from June. In addition, 48V 20AH battery prices rose RMB 80/set, or 16% from June, to RMB 580/set.
The average operating rate at ignition battery producers rose 3.14% from June to 60.48%. However, demand from other end consumers remains sluggish, said SMM.
Data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed that China’s automobile output fell in July by 5.43% to 1.58 million vehicles, while motorcycle output fell by 3.96% to 1.89 million mt. Exports of ignition batteries were also down 5% from June to 1.61 million units.
The average operating rate at backup battery producers rose by 3.99% points to 70.39%, with demand in China and overseas both up during July. Exports of UPS and communication batteries were also pushed up by stronger demand, with backup batteries exported totalling 10.89 million units in July, up 6% from June.
Encell has shipped the first of its nickel-iron (NiFe) batteries, which have greater durability than lead-acid over deep discharge cycling to make them a contender for micro-grid applications.
The 12V, 160Ah Atlas 160 NiFe batteries are rechargeable and have a charging life of 20 years.
The batteries are intended as an alternative to VRLA in the grid installations that require standby power that can withstand frequent charging cycles including deep-discharging.
Often the life of VRLAs is greatly reduced by such a cycling pattern: at 20% discharge, typically VRLAs last over 5 000 cycles but at 80% discharge this is reduced to just over 500 cycles. Comparably, the Encell Atlas 160 NiFe cycle life under similar deep-discharge operating environments approaches 9 000 cycles. The nickel-iron batteries operate up to 100oC and can be stored up to 60oC.
Hammond Group, Inc. (HGI), owner of Hammond Expanders and Hammond Oxides, has announced a new family of next generation battery additives and expanders formulated specifically for advanced lead-acid batteries.
“Lead-acid chemistry is facing new challenges from the evolving energy demands of automotive and industrial batteries. Hammond’s goal is to bring value-generating solutions”, said Ed Klavin, President and COO of Hammond Oxides.
One of the first product introductions is a new, proprietary expander formulated to meet the specific demands of idle stop-start and micro-hybrid applications.
The traditional expander blends using carbon black, lignosulfonate and barium sulphate, have not been fully sufficient to meet the demands of dynamic charge acceptance. The new expander blend uses a significantly higher amount of advanced carbons in the mix to achieve desired performance characteristics.
Achim Lulsdorf, Vice President of Product Development at Hammond Group, said: “It could not just be any carbon, we established that a highly structured conductive carbon with certain surface properties works best. It helps to form a conductive matrix in the dense sulphate layers to break it up and allow the current to pass.”
HGI will use the Asian Battery Conference in Singapore to announce the fourth quarter 2013 start-up of a new, tetrabasic lead sulphate (TTBLS) plant in Selangor, Malaysia where Hammond now produces expanders and specialty oxides. Sold under the trade name SureCure, small additions of Hammond’s TTBLS can significantly improve battery capacity and cycle life with improved plate consistency; equal performance at lower cost may be realised as less positive active material is required.
“We are installing TTBLS production in Malaysia to serve growing demand in the Asian market. Hammond will offer our customers new additive solutions to improve battery performance and reduce material cost”, said Sudhir Patel, CEO and President of Hammond Group, Inc.
Johnson Controls has announced Alex Molinaroli is to be the company’s President and CEO from October 1st.
Molinaroli, who has been with the company since 1983, will also serve as Chairman of the Board from January 1st 2014, when Stephen Roell will step down.
The new President has said he wants to lessen the company’s business in car parts such as seats, dashboard displays, roof liners and other components. Instead he wants the company to be seen as a multi-industry company by getting into climate-control equipment and systems for hospitals, schools, offices and commercial buildings.
The auto battery business will however remain; the company has announced it is to supply Chevy with AGM batteries for the 2014 Malibu car.
JCI’s battery will go into the stop-start engine marking the first time Chevy has equipped a car with the fuel-saving technology as standard.