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Global battery manufacturer invests for further growth

Posted on 15 Apr 2024 and read 630 times
Global battery manufacturer invests for further growthAlexander Battery Technologies production line working

Global battery manufacturer Alexander Battery Technologies (ABT), based in Peterlee, is to create new jobs and invest heavily in its UK and overseas sites as it embarks on an ambitious growth strategy to meet rising worldwide demand for its products.

The company, which designs and manufactures customised rechargeable battery packs for a range of industries, has enjoyed strong growth in the last 12 months with turnover rising to £18 million for 2023. Since embarking on a five-year growth plan, ABT has seen revenues rise by around 30% during the last year. Now, in its 40th anniversary year, the company has higher ambitions to achieve a £100 million annual sales target within the next four years.

With 50% of sales in the USA and around 47% in Europe, the company wants to grow exports while also significantly boosting sales across the European Union (EU) and the UK. Later this year the company will unveil details of a new manufacturing operation in Europe.

During 2023, the company secured several big contracts and broke into new markets, most notably the growing e-mobility sector; and secured a project for a battery pack for an on-highway electric motorbike. Elsewhere, ABT won a project in the military sector for an unmanned support vehicle that works alongside military personnel, carrying heavy equipment and support gear. This demanding project requires a large 70kg battery pack with a voltage of around 120V.

The international company operates in key sectors including robotics, telecommunications and e-mobility. It operates an advanced high-voltage battery testing and validation laboratory at its Battery Technology Centre, as well as its ‘state of the art’ logistics facility in the UK. However elsewhere, ABT is steadily building its sales and service operation, opening a new location in Frankfurt last year.

Alexander Battery TechnologiesThe German office enables the company to offer technical consultancy tailored to the needs of regional customers. This office puts ABT in a strong position to satisfy fast-growing demand in Europe for lithium batteries in the e-mobility, robotics, medical, and wearable/portable devices markets.

Alex Stapleton, chief commercial officer at ABT, said: “The business invested heavily during 2023, to set us up for growth in the coming years. We concluded the complete design and build of our Battery Technology Centre, providing 12 dedicated laboratories for new battery development projects. These bring important capabilities of engaging in up to 12 different projects in parallel, for projects up to 800V and over 100kW. The Battery Technology Centre also added much needed office space, as well as extra production floorspace to further future-proof the flexibility of our UK site.”

Additional equipment will go into this building in 2024, including a bespoke test-rig for battery testing, which can be adapted for a wide range of projects and applications, such as high voltage requirements.

In the middle of 2023, ABT invested in IPG Photonic’s very latest battery laser welding machinery, the EV Flex. This new laser welder is currently being installed within the Peterlee factory, which once in full production will represent an investment of more than £500,000. The EV Flex provides the technical platform to deliver large packs to meet the standards required for automotive on-highway vehicles and similar high voltage applications.

A new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, representing a further investment of around £500,000, has only recently gone live as well. Mr Stapleton added: “This critical system upgrade will enable the business to digitalise and automate all the world-class controls in manufacturing, enhancing the level of available detail to meet automotive standards where needed.”

During 2024, the company is investing in additional certifications for the business, such as ISO27001 (Cyber Security), ISO45001 (Health & Safety), ISO/TS 16949 (Automotive) and ISO14001 (Environmental).