VRI is in charge of building batteries for the blackbox of airplanes

VRI is in charge of building batteries for the blackbox of airplanes The company from Ellwagen specializes in batteries within the field of mobile applications.

ELLWANGEN ­‐ The company VRI produces batteries particularly for blood pressure monitors, infusion pumps, and portable operating tables, as well as battery stacks for the black box in the aircraft of Airbus. They develop and manufacture batteries for mobile applications within the industry.

The state of Baden­‐Wurttemberg and the EU support the company with funding from the so-­ called program "Spitze auf dem Land" regarding its innovativeness in this field. The grant mainly subsidizes investment in buildings, machinery and equipment. VRI greatly welcomes the investment due to its recent event of fire destroying storage and production space of the company.

The new building is planned to be bigger and will be located on the old site of Neunheim in the Wilhelm­‐Maybach­‐Straße. It is said to be twice as large as before. Next to the office wing, which remained spared after the event of the fire, used to be the production hall and storage. The new building will have two floors, with warehouse and production separately on the ground floor, and research and development on the first floor. This new area will play a bigger role in the future, says Jan Hetzel who is development engineer at VRI and in charge of the public relation department.

In the past, VRI has predominantly produced on attorney and for customers with individual system solutions. Meanwhile, research and sales contribute up to 50 percent of the business  volume. Hetzel sees great potential in the market of energy storage devices for home usage. The demand for batteries is likely to boom similarly to the one of laptops and e-‐bikes. Anyone who has already photovoltaic system on the roof and does not store the energy completely requires an accumulator in order to save the electricity that can then be used in the evening for light, heat or other electronic devices.

There is a technology change taken place, says Hetzel. Until previously, lead-acid batteries were in use that lasted three to five years. However, VRI and other manufacturers rely on lithium-­ion batteries instead. They are smaller, lighter and last longer - but are more expensive. Hetzel works on a solution where few but larger cells are connected together to form a battery. In comparison to many small cells this requires fewer connections and is therefore less prone to errors. VRI won’t produce the cells themselves. Instead the company works with partner companies such as Varta receiving prototypes of the new cells from Far East. Nevertheless, the individual systems remain important for the company’s clients. Thus, a manufacturer is currently searching for a suitable battery that is used for a fingerprint scanner. It is likely to be used for the elections in Africa in order to prevent tampering. The challenges are with regard to its temperatures: if they are either too high or too low, batteries tend to be become weak. However, the fingerprint scanner needs to function reliably regardless of the heat.

The company is expected to move in around autumn.
According to Hetzl, VRI does not only refines the individual cells to battery systems (or so-­‐ called packs) but also produces the necessary monitoring and control technology for the charger. This requires in addition to research and development, a mechanical workshop, software, testing, and most importantly all facilities that are needed to meet national and international safety regulations. Each battery pack of lithium -­‐ion cells counts as a hazardous substance.

As long as the new building is not yet available, VRI operates in the former Imtech Building in Dr. Adolf-­‐Schneider-­‐Strasse 7. It is quiet small, deplores Hetzel while hoping at the same time that the construction work of the new building starts in the spring allowing the company to move around September or October.

Source: schwaebische.de