Saft laid the foundation stone of its new electrolyte workshop at Poitiers with a ceremony that took place this week.
Joining Lenny Cypel, General Manager at Saft’s Poitiers site and Bertrand de la Noue, Saft Chief Financial Officer, were the guests of honor: Alain Claeys, President of Grand Poitiers and Poitiers’ Mayor; Bernard Uthurry, Vice-President in charge of economic development of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and Cécile Geneste, Chef de Cabinet at the Préfecture de la Vienne.
Lenny Cypel, said: “Saft’s electrolyte is a key differentiator that sets our lithium cells apart from the competition. The new workshop will provide a vital boost in capacity to Saft and provide an even faster response to customer demands. It will also give us the room for further expansion as well as enabling the development of new electrolyte technologies.”
Saft’s electrolyte, produced in-house to a closely-guarded recipe, is a critical factor in the performance, reliability and long life of the primary lithium cells it supplies to customers worldwide. One major range was actually developed in Poitiers in the 1960s.
Currently, the site produces around 500 tons of electrolyte a year. The construction of the new 1,800 square meter (19,400 square feet) workshop planned for mid-2020 will double the annual production capacity to 1,000 tons. The electrolyte produced by Saft's sites in Germany and Israel to supply Saft's sites in China and England will be produced in Poitiers once the new workshop is operational.
This project represents an investment of €9 million out of a total of €20 million planned over the next three years in Poitiers. The electrolyte production processes will benefit from the latest technology developments in terms of automation, worker safety and environmental impact. Saft opened the 35,000 square meter (377,000 square feet) Poitiers site in 1964.
With 660 employees (90 hired in 2018), it is a global leader in the research, design and production of hightechnology primary and rechargeable lithium cells and batteries for civil electronics and space and defense markets. It achieved total sales in 2018 of €127 million.