Analysis

Batteries company plans major manufacturing extension

4th February 2015
Mick Elliott

To meet the rapidly growing demand for intelligent lithium-ion storage solutions in a wide variety of sizes in the future, BMZ is investing 45 million euro by 2020 in the extension of it’s development and manufacturing capacities at the company’s headquarters in Karlstein near Aschaffenburg. The first two of a total of six new production, laboratory and office buildings are to go into operation in 2015.

Over 4,200 different customer-specific lithium-ion batteries with intelligent system controls have been developed for around 1,300 customers from all over the world in the company’s laboratories in Karlstein, and the company’s head start in system and manufacturing expertise has been consistently and constantly extended. It spent 14 million euro on research and development last year alone.

The company’s success is also reflected in their current figures. In 2014, the company, which was founded in 1994, achieved a turnover of some 300 million euro as the largest independent European lithium-ion battery system developer and manufacturer with more than

1,200 employees worldwide. The 500 million euro threshold is expected to be broken in 2020 at the latest.

In order to create the necessary production capacities the company, which also has its own assembly facilities in China, Poland and the USA, wants to continue to invest heavily above all in the industrial base in Germany in the coming years.

“Apart from the most modern equipment and a well-functioning infrastructure, what a high-tech company like BMZ needs above all, is highly motivated and well-qualified staff. As a manufacturer of especially high-quality and long-lasting rechargeable battery systems, we will continue to expand not only our development, but also our manufacturing activities in Germany, presumed we find sufficient employees in Germany”, explains the successful company head during the official ground-breaking ceremony for the new company headquarters on the “Zeche Gustav” industrial estate in Karlstein.

Several demand needs-oriented construction stages are planned for the realisation of this major project, which is worth some 45 million euros and will successively quadruple the area available in Germany in the coming years from the current 12,000 m² to 55,000 m². In the first construction phase, two halls each with an area of around 4,500 m² for production, logistics and office space will be built.

Two further halls each 4,500 m² in size with highly flexibly deployable production lines, a new administration building and 1,400m² of additional laboratory space are to follow by the end of 2020 at the latest, depending on the trend in demand for lithium-ion batteries.

“If everything goes according to plan, up to 1,500 BMZ employees in Karlstein alone can then produce up to 80 million lithium-ion batteries of various sizes with a total storage capacity of around 5 GWh annually. We decided on this modular concept because it means we can minimise the investment risks and still react flexibly to future market developments”, explains Sven Bauer, general manager BMZ.

A number of guests from politics, government and industry attended the ground-breaking ceremony including Dr. Ulrich Reuter, head of Aschaffenburg District Authority, Winfried Bruder, mayor of the municipality of Karlstein, Andrea Lindholz and Peter Winter, both members of the German parliament, and Michael Hennemann, head of project development/real estate at RWE Power.

Winfried Bruder emphasised the economic significance of a dynamic high-tech company like BMZ for the entire region. “It is especially pleasing that up to 1,500 new jobs are being created on the site of the old Zeche Gustav coal mine, which was founded in 1906. This means that a site with a century-old tradition of energy provision is finally being filled with life again.”

Ready to roll: The official ground-breaking ceremony gives the starting signal for construction of the new BMZ headquarters on the “Zeche Gustav” industrial estate in Karlstein (l. to r.): Michael Hennemann (Head of Project Development/Real Estate RWE Power), Aschaffenburg’s District Administrator Dr. Ulrich Reuter, Sven Bauer (General Manager BMZ GmbH), Member of the German Parliament Andrea Lindholz, Thomas Orth (M&P Planning Office – responsible site manager), Winfried Bruder (mayor of the municipality of Karlstein), Member of the German Parliament Peter Winter, Peter Körfer (General Manager, List Bau Rhein-Main), Marco Schütz (General Manager, List Bau Rhein-Main) and Danial Fabbiano (BMZ Works Manager).

 

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