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New US battery tech rises from the ashes that consumed Kodak film

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 13:51 -- Xuan Zhong

We all remember Kodak— the global photographic film company that didn’t quite see digital photography coming.

Four years after the Kodak’s bankruptcy in 2012, the company is reinventing itself with a foray into the global battery boom.

The company has announced a strategic alliance with Oregon based Polaris Battery Labs to provide a so called “go to market system” for rechargeable battery developers and product OEMs. 

The upshot, according to a company spokesman, is to get novel battery chemistries to market in a couple of years or less from prototypes.

Kodak’s involvement in the scale up of new battery chemistries comes as a consequence of its transformation of one of the largest manufacturing sites in the world —Eastman business Park Rochester New York, into an incubator for new tech companies.

Also situated on the site is the New York DNV GL’s BEST Test & Commercialization Center (BEST T&CC). “This alliance creates a new way for US-based battery manufacturers to go from very early material development activities all the way to full production,” stated Dolores Kruchten, Vice President of Kodak’s Eastman Business Park. 

“All key capabilities are here; we have laboratories and slurry preparation.  Our material analytical tools and capabilities are world-class.  We have everything in coating from the lab to pilot to full production.  Companies around the country send their batteries to the Best Test & Commercialization Center for testing.  Finally, our combined Cell Assembly capabilities include high-volume and small-scale electrode manufacturing as well as cell manufacturing volumes from 10s and 100s to 100s of thousands.

“With Polaris’ material characterization and prototyping, and Kodak’s roll-to-roll manufacturing and cell assembly capability, we can work with material developers and product OEMs to bring new advances to market very quickly and inexpensively,” Kruchten said.

“From the start, Kodak and Polaris have shared a common vision of helping developers get to market very quickly. We believe that in many cases we can now shorten the development and launch cycles to only a couple of years and possibly even less,” said Doug Morris, CEO of Polaris Laboratories, LLC.

“We are also working directly with product OEMs who want a special size or form factor for their cell, or who want to bring a unique benefit to their product via a new material."