Sumitomo Chemical is to quadruple production of its lithium-ion secondary battery separators and become a majority stake-holder in a cathode firm.
Separator production capacity will be raised in a ‘stepwise manner’, with the initial expanded commercial-scale production coming on stream in August 2017.
The separators are marketed under the PERVIOTM brand name, at SSLM, its subsidiary in Daegu, South Korea.
The Japanese company, which supplies Panasonic, which in turn supplies Tesla, is reportedly investing 20 billion yen ($195 million) to produce enough batteries for 500,000 vehicles.
To date the company has been growing its PERVIOTM capacity through existing facilities at its Ohe Works in Niihama, Japan and a new plant built at SSLM.
Meanwhile, Sumitomo is set to buy an additional stake in Tanaka Chemical Corp., a Japanese manufacturer and trader of cathode materials for secondary batteries.
The transaction will raise Sumitomo’s stake in Tanaka Chemical to 50.1%.
Tanaka Chemical makes cathode materials for small, high-performance rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion secondary batteries and nickel-metal hydride secondary batteries, as well as secondary batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Sumitomo began a joint venture with Tanaka in 2013, then in 2015, it raised its stake in Tanaka to 14.81%.