TOKYO, April 5, 2012_ Ube Industries, Ltd. today announced that it is adding a production facility for battery separators to the Sakai Factory located in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. The move comes in response to growing demand for separators in lithium-ion batteries used in vehicles.
Ube Industries currently manufactures battery separators exclusively at the Ube Chemical Factory in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The company will launch production of battery separators at the Sakai Factory in early fiscal 2013, with plans to further expand the production capacity over time. By the end of fiscal 2014, Ube Industries will increase the total production capacity to some 200 million square meters from the two plants.
Demand for lithium-ion batteries is steadily growing today, centering on batteries for mobile phones and laptop computers. Meanwhile, demand is expected to grow significantly in the future, driven by automotive applications for lithium-ion batteries such as in hybrid and electric vehicles, and storage battery and industrial applications.
Ube Industries' battery separators are manufactured using a dry process and are widely used in today's vehicles. The addition of separator manufacturing facilities to the Sakai Factory positions Ube Industries to accommodate growing demand as well as spread risk between the two facilities. The Sakai Factory will also supply the base material for coated separator films offered by Ube Maxell, Ltd., the joint venture established in February 2011 between Ube Industries and Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
Ube Industries will leverage its two production facilities in Japan to maximize the supply framework for battery separators to accommodate future growth in demand.