Armor markets two types of products: the thin Thermal Transfer film meant for printing on packaging and labels, as well as remanufactured ink jet and laser cartridges. Along with the first sales of the En' SafeTM current collectors, Armor has officially given the green light to this new activity focusing on energy storage. This responds to the growing need of greater energy independence by users in a more and more mobile world; a concrete solution for improving the safety and performance of batteries, thus augmenting smartphone, laptop or electric vehicles and tramway capacities.
"En' Safe™ signals a historical innovation for Armor. Today, we are launching a new activity which responds to the challenges surrounding energy transition. With current collector films for batteries, Armor now possesses three pillars of development and is expecting commercialisation for versatile and thin organic photovoltaic films to begin in 2016", explains Hubert de Boisredon, CEO of Armor Group.
The En' Safe TM current collector, a high-tech product, a strategic battery component
Expectations of battery manufacturers and their clients were very high. Most of us are familiar with our laptop battery lasting half as long after two years, our mobile phone battery overheating or perhaps electric vehicles being restricted to a 100km range. En' SafeTM provides manufacturers with a concrete solution: a completely new current collector which gives added security, greater performance and longer service life for Lithium-ion batteries and Ultracapacitors. It is the know-how of Armor in the high-precision coating of thin layers upon ultra-thin substrates that has enabled us to develop this innovative solution which is the first of its kind on the market. En' SafeTM is made of ultra-thin aluminium or copper foils coated with a special high-tech film designed to protect from chemical attacks, reduce electrical internal resistance and improve adherence.
A new activity, a driver of growth for Armor Group
Armor targets two global markets which are experiencing significant growth and in serious need of solutions: Lithium-ion battery components (20% annual growth) and Ultracapacitors (30% annual growth). Lithium-ion batteries, given their heightened energy density, have given way to new applications (laptops, electric vehicles, etc.). Ultracapacitors, for example, allow for braking energy to be regenerated instead of it being lost. It is worth noting one of the features of this market: every battery manufacturer develops its own electrochemistry and manufacturing process. Armor subscribes to this approach and, unlike its competitors, adapts its product to the needs of each client: an En' SafeTM current collector specific to each and every client, designed for large-scale manufacturing.
Armor started developing this new offer in 2009 with primary client feedback being extremely positive; thus, the decision to invest in a brand new dedicated production plant was made in 2013. All in all, Armor has invested 15M€ in this new activity. Looking forward to 2020, around thirty new recruits shall be hired with turnover aimed at 30M€.
Armor remains faithful to its commitment towards energy transition
This new activity is part of Armor's third pillar, Armor Sustainable Energy, dedicated to concrete solutions which favour sustainable development and energy transition. It brings together around thirty individuals, most of whom are engineers, two being Doctors of Chemistry and Processes.
In continuing to move forward, Armor is happy to announce its partnership with IMN (the Jean Rouxel Institute of Materials, Nantes) to create the joint laboratory DEFIERTM, leading the way in researching the fields of energy storage and organic photovoltaic films. Armor and IMN have already won the 'LabCom' call for projects, orchestrated and co-funded by the National Research Agency (ANR). The DEFIERtm laboratory brings together IMN researchers (graduates from CNRS and the University of Nantes) and Armor teams. Five Innovation and Research themes have already been identified: pre-coated current collectors for batteries and Ultracapacitors, metallic electrodes by dry deposition processes, photo-batteries, transparent electrodes and organic batteries. The shared objective is clear: to push science forwards while developing products which allow Armor and IMN to play a key role in energy transition.
"By innovating concrete energy transition solutions, Amor plans to contribute to the development of research and cutting-edge 'Made in France' technology with the ambition of being exported throughout the world, as is the case today for the Thermal Transfer printing ribbons", explains Hubert de Boisredon.