Last week, Asahi Kasei announced that it was planning to spend 30 billion yen to expand its annual battery separator production capacity by 350 million meter-square.
The new factory will be built near its existing factory in Hyuga, Miyazaki, and go live in the first half of 2023. Combined, the Japanese company will secure a production capacity of 1.9 billion meter-square per year.
This is slightly above SK IE Technology’s aim for a capacity of 1.89 billion meter-square per year, which the Korean company is planning to secure by 2023.
SK IE Technology is building new factories in china and Poland. It currently has a 530 million meter-square per year facility in Jeongeup, South Korea. By 2020, the company will secure 1.37 billion meter-square in production capacity.
The pair are expanding their facilities due to a surge in demand for separators.
Market leader Semcorpo of China currently has a capacity of 2.83 billion meter-square per year, but is expanding its capacity even further because of this surge.
Separator companies seems positioned to compete with volume while sacrificing profitability in the near future. Battery cell companies are asking for a price below US$1 per meter-square in bare film. Ceramic coated films are slightly more expensive but their asking price remains low.
Due to the rapid expansion of facilities by battery makers, it is possible that there maybe a shortage in separators in the near future, a person familiar with the matter said.