Microporous, the developer and manufacturer of separators for lead-acid batteries, has made four new additions to its engineering and manufacturing teams.
The appointments — Roger Calloway as site manager of the Piney Flats, facility in Tennessee; Matt Smith and Doug Lopez as process engineers; and John Daugherty as maintenance manager — reinvigorate a team that had been depleted during Microporous’ period of ownership by Polypore International.
Microporous has filled more than 20 technical positions since the firm became independent of Polypore and, for the moment, completes the senior line-up, Jean-Luc Koch chief executive of the company told Batteries International.
Microporous, following a divestiture order from the US Federal Trade Commission, was bought from Polypore by Seven Mile Capital Partners in December 2013 and returned to become a fully independent company. Microporous had been acquired by Daramic (part of Polypore) in 2008.
The appointments come at an important time in the development of Microporous which is poised to try and become the third dominant player in the lead acid battery separator market. The present market is dominated by Daramic — which recently became part of South Korean firm Asahi Kasei when its parent Polypore was acquired — and Entek International.
“We are finalizing the installation of our third production line in Feistritz, Austria,” says Koch. “It should be finished by the end of the year at which point, our global annual capacity will reach 25 million m2 of industrial separators and 60 million m2 of automotive separators. This is a third greater than where we started at the end of 2013 and a major requirement by our customer base.”
One customer requirement for Microporous is the ability to deliver its separators in large volumes. The extra production line suggests that greater sales will become easier to make. “We are delighted to continue growing with our long-term partners and now will be able to honour additional supply requests that we receive from all parts of the world,” says Koch.
Koch also says that its research facility at its Tennessee headquarters is also poised to showcase further advances enabling deeper cycling for batteries at partial state of charge.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Roger, Doug, Matt and John aboard during this exciting period of growth for our company,” says Koch. “They are each recognized as best in their field. Their combined 75 years of experience in PE separator manufacturing is a very rare asset in our industry.”
Microporous vice president of operations Peter Gaugl says that “Producing the highest quality products requires constant improvement and strengthening of highly complex manufacturing processes, which, when combined with demanding productivity requirements, necessitates deep expertise and constant focus of the entire operations group.”