South Korean battery LiBS maker W-scope is committed to invest up to 80 billion won ($68.9 million) to add two extra production lines for separator film at its plant in Chungju of Chungcheong Province, industry sources said on July 1.
The reports come after W-scope added LG Chem and Samsung SDI as new clients. W-scope was chosen as the exclusive supplier for a new type of separator for batteries supplied by the two for electric vehicles. There is also talk of more investment for further expansion in the first half of next year.
The new lines are to be added at the W-scope production facilities in the Megapolis Industrial Cluster of Chungju measuring across some 198,347 square meters.
Samsung SDI has so far been partnered with Japanese companies such as Asahi Kasei and Toray, and also with Semcorp. of China. But recently, it has been keeping a distance after seeing its rival LG Chem building closer ties.
The LiBS produced at the Chungju plant are uncoated, bare film. The coating process will be applied by LG and Samsung based on their own needs. W-scope plans to build a coating facility as well to meet the demands of different clients.
The film produced by W-scope touts improved energy density, and is priced within a reasonable range, as the company handles everything from the design, production and coating.
W-scope film prices go for under $1 per square meter, while for ceramic coated film, it’s around a dollar.
“Cost-cutting has made prices critical when selecting separator firm suppliers,” said one industry watcher. “It’s crucial for the suppliers to have a coating technology that can ensure both stability and price competitiveness.”
Along with cathodes and electrolyte, separators are among the top four key battery components. Accounting for around 20% of the battery costs, it’s the most expensive element after cathodes, which accounts for 40%.
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