© Pixabay Electronics Production | February 13, 2019
ZAF Energy Systems Lands Strategic Investment from Wirtz Mfg
Wirtz Manufacturing has made a strategic investment in battery developer ZAF Energy Systems Inc. that will expand ZAF’s manufacturing capacity to thousands of batteries per month at its Joplin, Missouri facility.
The added capacity created by the investment of a full production line will allow ZAF to meet the growing global customer demand for its rechargeable nickel-zinc (NiZn) batteries. The change will also allow licensing and joint venture (JV) partners to validate the quality and throughput of the technology for commercially-scaled factories that are expected to begin buildouts in 2019. Wirtz Manufacturing CEO John Wirtz said, “We became very excited in partnering with ZAF when we experimented with the ZAF electrodes and found that we could produce plates at similar production rates as lead-acid technology after seeing the performance improvements and cost savings being delivered by nickel-zinc battery technologies, and we are proud to invest in ZAF to bring its next-generation technology to the marketplace.” NiZn batteries have potential uses in a wide range of applications including, automotive, heavy trucking, remote telecom, and renewable energy, and they are poised to disrupt the USD 50 billion conventional lead-acid battery market with their ability to provide twice the storage capacity and three times the power of legacy lead-acid batteries in a smaller, lighter package. The investment by Wirtz follows a USD 600,000 investment commitment ZAF received last year from Missouri’s Department of Economic Development Fund. Both injections of funds are being used by the company to hire employees, expand production, and forge strategic partnerships. This additional production capability will enable ZAF to accelerate licensing and joint venture negotiations and commercialize its NiZn batteries on a global scale. ZAF was incorporated in 2011 and has locations in Northwestern Montana and Southwest Missouri and employs approximately 50 people. Wirtz Manufacturing is a fourth-generation, family-owned company with four manufacturing centers around the globe and headquarters in Port Huron, Michigan.