TOKYO (Aug. 1, 12:20 p.m. ET) — To meet rising demand for batteries in electric cars, laptops and other devices, Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. is opening a second facility in Japan making polyolefin-based films for lithium-ion batteries.
The new plant, in Nagahama, will more than double the company's capacity for its Sepalent brand film to a total of 27 million square meters a year when it starts commercial production next year.
“This production expansion was planned to meet the rising battery demand, with almost 2.5 billion yen ($32 million) having been invested in the project,” the company said.
Tokyo-based Mitsubishi had a July 24 ceremony to mark the completion of the new factory.
In 2009, the company opened its first lithium-ion battery separator film plant in Nagahama, with a capacity of 12 million square meters a year.
Its battery film has been used in mobile phones, power tools and laptop computers. The company has also developed a high heat-resistant separator for hybrid and electric vehicles, a market where it expects significant demand growth.
The separator is a porous film that allows the proper amount of lithium ions to pass through but prevents electrical shorts caused by the cathode coming into contact with the anode, the company said.