Maxwell Technologies automates high-voltage capacitor production to reduce delivery time, increase capacity, ensure product uniformity

ROSSENS, Switzerland, May 24, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — Maxwell Technologies SA has completed automation of its production facility for CONDIS® high-voltage (HV) capacitor products, which are key components in circuit breakers and voltage transformers used in the transport and distribution of electrical energy in electric utility grids and other high-voltage installations worldwide.

Alain Riedo, general manager of Maxwell’s Swiss operations, said that the company recently completed installation of new drying ovens and impregnation and test equipment, and has implemented process improvements to streamline manufacturing, ensure product uniformity and reliability and significantly reduce order-to-delivery intervals.

“Maxwell is the leading supplier of this type of HV capacitors, with about 65 percent worldwide market share, so we see this as an investment in maintaining and extending our leadership position,” Riedo said. “In addition to reducing factory production time from four weeks to nine days, these improvements double our previous production capacity, positioning us to meet increasing worldwide demand both for expansion, replacement and modernization of existing infrastructure and new installations in developing countries.”

HV capacitors are constructed with over 100 elements consisting of aluminum foil and polypropylene-paper mixed dielectric wound in series. For optimal performance and longevity, these elements must be identical, as any variation in a single element places added load on that element, eventually causing it and the entire unit to fail. With its completely automated capacitor element assembly, Maxwell is able to ensure absolute uniformity. It is also the only HV capacitor manufacturer that performs a quality check on each individual element as it is wound, as well as testing the fully assembled final product.

CONDIS HV capacitors are impregnated with synthetic oil, and Maxwell’s improved construction system has been tested through temperature cycles. As a result CONDIS products are expected to perform reliably without maintenance for decades.

CONDIS HV products are used in Dead Tank, Live Tank (AIS), and GIS high- voltage circuit breakers. Approximately 60 percent of the electric utility grid employs circuit breakers rated at an interrupting short-circuit current of 40 kilo amperes (kA), with most of the balance rated at 63 kA. By adding a single coupling capacitor to the circuit breaker, upgrading it from 40 kA to 63 kA, the circuit receives substantially increased protection. Maxwell’s CONDIS HV capacitors also are used in some systems rated up to 80 kA in specialized applications where there is very high power generation, such as in areas of high industrial density.

In 2004, the company leveraged its HV capacitor expertise to introduce its first capacitive voltage divider (CVD) products, opening up a previously untapped market opportunity.

About Maxwell Technologies [ www.Maxwell.com ]

Maxwell is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative, cost-effective energy storage and power delivery solutions. Our CONDIS® high-voltage grading and coupling capacitors help to ensure the safety and reliability of electric utility infrastructure and other applications involving transport, distribution and measurement of high-voltage electrical energy. Our BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitor cells and multi-cell modules and POWERCACHE® backup power systems provide safe and reliable power solutions for applications in consumer and industrial electronics, transportation and telecommunications.

Our radiation-mitigated microelectronic products include power modules, memory modules and single board computers that incorporate powerful commercial silicon for superior performance and high reliability in aerospace applications.

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