The Manufacture and Supply of Batteries and EMD
The domestic battery manufacturing industry experienced a difficult 2016 due to pressure on consumers’ disposable income, declining employment, tightening credit conditions and political developments that resulted in gradual economic decline culminating in a recession in Q2 2017. Also a factor was the increase in the number of imported batteries, a sub-sector which continued to gain market share at the expense of local production despite the increase in import duty to 15%. The majority of imported automotive batteries originate from South Korea where manufacturers enjoy government sponsored grants and incentives. This negatively impacts local manufacturers, a situation compounded by the export of scrap batteries back to the country of manufacture, raising the cost of domestically recycled lead and making local manufacturing less competitive.
The importance of R&D
Ongoing research and development and refinement of the manufacturing process by battery manufacturers ensure continuous improvement in battery production. Companies have launched new forms of portable power as new technologies have become more reliable and affordable. According to role player Metair, lead acid batteries are likely to remain integral to motor vehicles in the near future, but the trend towards hybrid vehicles and Lithium-ion batteries is accelerating. Significant research effort is dedicated worldwide to the development of several future cell chemistries which have the potential to outperform contemporary Li-ion cells.
The Manufacture and Supply of Batteries and EMD describes the current developments and trends in the sector, the growth in the energy storage market as electricity prices increase and factors that influence the success of local manufacturers. The report also profiles six companies that manufacture locally, including Solguard (Pty) Ltd t/a BlueNova, which was established in June 2015 and specialises in the development and manufacture of Energy Storage Solutions. Also profiled are companies that import batteries, including Duracell which was procured from Procter and Gamble by Berkshire Hathaway in 2016.