Despite the current market uncertainty caused by the raw materials crisis and ongoing geopolitical instability, Flash Battery’s main objective over the next two years is to continue growing and innovating, thanks also to our international partnerships.
It is no easy task to navigate through the present uncertainties, which obscure a market on both European and international levels (we might even say global) that nevertheless expresses a liveliness and confidence that was missing well before the pandemic. Today with the raw materials crisis, procurement problems, and geopolitical upheavals, it can be difficult to steer a safe course for your company. However, it is also true that we have emerged from the pandemic with the possibility of gleaning, from what seemed simply a disaster, a series of unexpected (undreamed-of?) advantages.
Despite the increased cost of raw materials and energy, 2021 still closed with growth, both globally and as regards our sector. The thrust towards electrification is ever stronger, a process now revealed to be even more necessary since the end of February, when the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis made Europe alarmingly aware of how dependence on fossil fuels (oil and gas in particular) is no longer sustainable.
Certainly the transition towards clean and renewable energy will not be quick or easy. But today we can already ask ourselves, who would have thought that Italy could become the third largest manufacturer of renewables in Europe? Hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal power provide more than a third of national requirements for electrical energy today (in July 2021, according to the monthly report from Terna, national energy demand was 30.3 TWh, of which 11.4 TWh was generated by renewable sources, increased by 470 GWh compared to the same month in 2020). This is certainly a positive and encouraging trend, experienced by numerous companies.
Among these is Flash Battery, who closed 2021 “with excellent results, starting from a growth of 25% compared to 2020, and including numerous new projects initiated over the last 12 months” confirmed Marco Righi, founder and CEO of our lithium battery manufacturing company. “These results offer us very positive prospects over the next two or three years, a period during which we aim to finalise a number of new products developed in collaboration with various new OEM customers,” concludes Righi. Italy remains a foundation market for Flash Battery, thanks to the presence of numerous manufacturers in diverse sectors (agricultural, automotive, industrial, lifting, and building) who look to the electrification of their product lines with ever greater interest. “It isn’t that foreign markets are smaller,” continues Marco Righi. “The results achieved outside of Italy have been impressive to say the least, considering that abroad the number of sectors and applications involved in the transition towards electrical power are effectively countless.”
The start and progression of 2022
“The year started a bit slowly, hindered by problems of procuring raw materials, which were worse than in 2021,” explains Righi. “This situation creates problems both for maintaining quality and for delivery times, leading inevitably to increased costs. Guaranteeing supply deadlines and battery quality standards [editor’s note: due to the raw materials crisis, for some components we had to refer to new suppliers whose products had to be checked and tested in order to be sure of keeping up our quality standards, in very time consuming procedures] will be the priorities for Flash Battery this year, while we still forecast closing 2022 with a growth similar to that of 2021.”
The crucial factors
Sustaining a growth of 30% year after year requires a well orchestrated and extremely flexible development plan, capable of adapting to possible unknowns, and in particular able to quickly seize development opportunities. “We constantly analyse the various markets to identify new and potential development segments,” observes Righi. “This is synchronized with the internal growth of the company, which involves not only the R&D department but the entire organization, from commercial strategy to expansion of our team of collaborators. Abroad this takes shape mainly in strategic partnerships with competent operators who have a significant market knowledge and presence”. This strategy has already produced some obvious successes: today Flash Battery is present in Benelux, Spain, France, and Germany through partners who support us in the search for new customers and take care of customer support in the respective territories. Considering again the two year period of 2022 – 2023, Flash Battery will be investing in the expansion of our own production capacity with the construction of new automated assembly lines. As regards new products, there will certainly be plenty of novelties at Bauma, with some already being revealed over the course of the year.
Partnerships already underway
From France …
In July 2020 Flash Battery established their first important international partnership, signing a multi-year collaboration agreement (including reciprocal exclusive rights) with Efa France, a company specialized in supplying electrification solutions for industrial vehicles in which Flash Battery’s lithium sector know-how is an essential element. “The decision to become partners with Flash Battery was natural.
The union of EFA’s know-how in electrical integration and motorization with Flash Battery’s innovative lithium batteries will help us carry our customers further ahead. Their innovative technology and ability to deliver ‘turnkey’ products satisfies the particular needs of our customers,” stated Benoît Beaumont, CEO of Efa France.
“In Efa France we have found the ideal partner for strengthening our presence on a market, like that of France, that is particularly sensitive to the theme of electrification, but also very demanding as regards quality and the reliability of products, systems, and support, which in our case is provided constantly and remotely, for each individual battery. A thorough knowledge of this market, so receptive to lithium applications and rapidly expanding in the ground support equipment, construction, and agricultural sectors, is one of Efa France’s major strong points. They have always distinguished themselves for their capacity to interact with customers, providing absolute excellence in speed and technical skill, while being distributors for the most advanced electrification technologies in Europe,” concluded Marco Righi.
… to Germany
In June 2021 a partnership was signed between Flash Battery and ATECH GmbH, a Bavarian company with long-standing experience in the field of powertrains for battery powered electrical industrial vehicles. This led to the establishment of a system integrator capable of providing turnkey electrical powertrain solutions for the most varied sectors, including goods handling, industrial manufacturing, agriculture, building, light and heavy electrical vehicles, nautical vehicles, industrial robotics, and PLE.
“The collaboration agreement with Flash Battery means we can count on top quality, highly customized products that integrate perfectly with the items we offer on today’s market (inverters, battery chargers, electric motors, DC meters, transmission reduction gears, etc.),” stated Anton Eberharter, CTO and Managing Director of ATECH GmbH. “Starting from today we will be able to better respond to the electrification demands of our customers with more complex powertrain solutions. Together we can provide even more customized and above all complete solutions, allowing us to reinforce our role as system integrators.”
“Together we are addressing mainly Germany, Austria, and Switzerland,” underlined Marco Righi, “markets in which small and medium-sized companies, as well as big operators, are ever more oriented towards having a single powertrain system reference company.”
Finally, the third strategic partnership is with the system integrator Q-tronic BV, based in Holland. Thanks to Q-tronic, Flash Battery can approach the Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourg markets. Upon the signing of the agreement, Marcel Doppenberg, Managing Director of Q-Tronic, declared: “Flash Battery is very important for us. They will enable us to combine the innovative and exclusive lithium battery technology of Flash Battery with our experience in this field. This means that together we will be able to provide a complete powertrain system of extremely high quality, and create new systems and implementations designed precisely for the needs of our customers.”