WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (PRNewswire-FirstCall) American Superconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: AMSC), a global supplier of superconductor products and power electronic systems for the electric power industry, today announced it has released the first high temperature superconductor (HTS) wires for initial production at its new manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts. The HTS wires will be fully processed under actual production conditions to provide rigorous verification of the manufacturing process.
The 355,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility is the first high volume, commercial HTS wire manufacturing plant in the world with the capacity to meet the needs of the growing HTS market. AMSC received a certificate of occupancy for the plant in December of 2001. Since that time the company has been commissioning individual pieces of equipment up to a full production run-through of the manufacturing process. When it is fully equipped, the facility will be capable of producing 20,000 kilometers (12,000 miles) of HTS wire annually.
“This release to production is a key milestone in the commissioning of our new manufacturing facility,” said Greg Yurek, chief executive officer of American Superconductor. “We’ve completed testing of the equipment and are moving to the next phase of bringing the facility on-line. As volume production ramps towards the end of the year, we will continue to drive down the price of high-performance HTS wire, which will open up broader markets for our industry- product.”
HTS wires offer compelling advantages in applications such as utility generators, ship propulsion motors and electric power cables. Because AMSC’s HTS wires conduct significantly more electricity, up to 140 times the electrical current of similar sized copper conductors, they will change the generator and motor industries through major reductions in initial and operating costs, size and weight. Similarly, HTS power cables will benefit electrical transmission networks by opening up the power bandwidth of existing rights-of-way and alleviating grid congestion.
Transforming raw HTS materials into wire involves repeated mechanical deformation processing of a metal bar, or billet — typically about three feet long and four inches in diameter — drawing it into a narrower and narrower strand until the single metal billet is transformed into a continuous wire that extends over 3 kilometers (2 miles).
“Over the coming months, results of our production tests are expected to validate the new manufacturing process and allow our engineers to continue fine-tuning equipment as we prepare to ramp-up into commercial production,” Yurek added. “We expect this work to last through the fall, with actual production line output available for commercial sale expected by year’s end.”
About American Superconductor
American Superconductor Corporation is a world leader in developing and manufacturing products using superconductor wires and power electronic converters for the electric power infrastructure. American Superconductor’s products, and those sold by electrical equipment manufacturers that incorporate its products, can dramatically increase the bandwidth and reliability of power delivery grids, reduce manufacturing and operating costs, and conserve resources used to produce electric power. Founded in 1987, the company is headquartered in Westborough, Mass. For more information, visit http://www.amsuper.com.