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Maxwell expands ultracap line with standard packs, modules

Posted: 10 Dec 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:d cell? boostcap? ultracapacitor? maxwell technologies?

Expanding its line of standard battery-sized D cell BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors, Maxwell Technologies Inc. introduced a new family of fully-integrated 15V BOOSTCAP packs and modules for back-up or pulse power in a wide range of automotive, consumer and industrial applications. Key benefits of the new devices include faster prototyping, shorter time-to-market and lower manufacturing costs.

The BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors have a 10-year life expectancy, deliver more than 500,000 discharge/recharge cycles and are resistant against reverse polarity, said the company. The cylindrical 300F BCAP0350 cells, each rated at 2.5V, are constructed of aluminum. They feature a round, double-ended design measuring 61.5(L)-by-33(OD)mm, similar to EN 60086-2 and EN 60285 sizes, and weigh only 60g.

Designed for plug-and-play integration, the new 15V BOOSTCAP BCAP0350 packs and modules, each comprised of six cells in series, incorporate active or passive cell balancing and pack-to-pack or module-to-module balancing. The 15V packs are enclosed in lightweight shrink-wrap plastic packaging, while the modules are enclosed in a rugged aluminum chassis. Target applications include automotive subsystems, rail system power, windmill pitch control systems, wireless transmissions and fuel cell bridge power. Richard Smith, Maxwell's EVP of strategic business development, said the new packs and modules give system designers "plug-and-play" 15V building blocks that can supplement or replace 12V batteries in electronic systems with varying voltage and current requirements.

Smith said the primary application target is the automotive industry, which looks for easy to use, plug-and-play products. These modules are being designed into high-end vehicles where energy and power are required for short periods of time, particularly as electrical loads to the system continue to increase with the addition of new comfort and control features.

Customers can put these packs and modules into their systems without having to buy several cells or figuring out what types of circuits they need to use and how to integrate them into their systems, Smith said. The devices are easy to understand and easy to implement, he added.

It also speeds up system development time and reduces manufacturing costs. "By adopting the industry standard D cell form factor for our 350-farad BCAP0350, Maxwell was able to reduce cell manufacturing cost by about 50 percent, and we are passing those savings along to our original equipment manufacturer customers," Smith said.

By using standardization, high-volume manufacturing and some of Maxwell's own techniques for developing materials and manufacturing processes, cost has decreased by a factor of ten over what it was a couple of years ago, Smith said. "As we continue to go down the cost curve with volume, the price points that we guarantee to our long term strategic customers make this a very competitive product versus any battery for short term power," he said.

Several additional 15V to 50V ultracapacitor packs and modules are under development for other applications ranging from fuel cells to automotive subsystems and hybrid vehicle drive trains.

The 15V BOOSTCAP BCAP0350 packs are priced at $127, and modules are priced at $200, in quantities of one to 15 units.

- Gina Roos

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