Samsung SDI is looking to reduce its reliance on Japanese suppliers of lithium ion battery separators (LiBS) to prep for more restrictions by Japan against exports to South Korea, according to industry watchers on Aug. 14. During this process, SDI also hopes to cut costs and improve battery quality, they said.
One key partner for this is South Korea’s W-Scope, whose suppliers will help Samsung SDI prepare for orders from new electric vehicle plants in China’s Xian.
Up until last year, Asahi Kasei and Toray had been supplying most of the EV LiBS for Samsung SDI.
Samsung SDI has been in talks with W-Scope even before Japan limited the exports of key semiconductor and display materials to South Korea last month.
High quality separators are an absolute necessity for cutting costs and improving battery energy density. In that regard, W-Scope has successfully developed heat-resistant separators that can withstand heat of over 200℃. Prices aren’t bad either, with the uncoated bare film priced at under $1 per square meter. For ceramic coated film, it’s around $1.
For W-Scope, partnering with Samsung SDI will help boost its sales. The local supplier had to recently slash its earnings forecast this year to 34.2 billion won of deficit from the earlier projected profit of 3.4 billion won. This is mostly because China is exporting less batteries to the US on account of the ongoing US-China trade row.
W-Scope is also bogged down by R&D and other expenses. The firm is currently investing 80 billion won into a space of just over 190,000 square meters located in the Megapolis industrial cluster in Chungju to expand production lines.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.