EaglePicher Invests $10 Million in Lithium-Ion Production and R&D Facility

September 13, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

EaglePicher Technologies, LLC and the city of Joplin, Missouri, announced the construction of a new 24,000 sq. ft. facility located in the Crossroads Industrial Park in Joplin. EaglePicher will use the new building for the development and production of Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) cells and batteries for U.S. Military critical applications.

"Li-Ion technology is known to provide higher energy levels and longer cycle life at a low weight and in smaller volumes than lead-acid, nickel- cadmium (Ni-Cd), or nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries," said Steve Westfall, President and CEO of EaglePicher Technologies. "Currently there are few Li-Ion battery manufacturers in the U.S."

Li-Ion technology has tremendous growth potential in military and transportation industries as well as the medical and portable device industry. The initial focus will be on Li-Ion military batteries for land, sea, air, space and special operations. "EaglePicher Technologies has a history of producing high quality, reliable and mission successful technology for the U.S. Government. In fact we also announced today one billion hours in space with our nickel-hydrogen batteries and cells with one hundred percent mission success. This new facility and new chemistry will help us continue this type of accomplishment and commitment," said Westfall.

The new facility will include dry and clean rooms fabricated by Scientific Climate Systems, Inc. for critical process steps with dedicated air handling systems for each process. It will also have a full diagnostic laboratory on-site, paperless tracking of all cell and battery build and performance data, PLC capability and bar coding for all process steps. EaglePicher Technologies is investing over $10 million in the new facility. EaglePicher Technologies, the city of Joplin and the Joplin Business Industrial Development Corp. have been working together for several months on the design, safety and security features of the new building. Construction will be completed on or before December 29, 2006 and product production is expected to begin by the fourth quarter of 2007.

EaglePicher expects up to 100 new high tech employees in the facility within 3 to 5 years. The new building will be built to maximize lean manufacturing and to minimize contamination risk. Internationally known independent laboratories will perform cell performance certification and environmental qualification. The new building will also feature state-of-the-art security features.