Written by Renate Tojner
VARTA Microbattery produces six billionth hearing-aid battery:
History will be written in Ellwangen in the next few days, when the six billionth microbattery for hearing aids rolls off the production line. VARTA Microbattery, a subsidiary of VARTA AG, has been producing hearing-aid batteries for just under 15 years. The minute zinc-air cells have diameters of just five to eleven millimeters, depending on the model. After all, they need to fit into tiny, lightweight modern-day hearing aids.
If you were to arrange all six billion batteries produced in Ellwangen since 2002 in a line, it would extend right around the Earth with batteries to spare. This analogy is highly appropriate given that VARTA Microbattery is in a globally leading market position and its batteries power hearing aids the world over. While many well-known manufacturers have disappeared from this market in recent years, VARTA Microbattery has steadily increased its market share thanks to the excellent quality of its microbatteries and the highly automated production in Ellwangen. The company owes this not least to its strong culture of innovation, with energy storage pushed to its limits on a daily basis in Ellwangen.
“The hearing-aid battery market offers great potential and is highly attractive,” says Herbert Schein, CEO of VARTA AG. “People are living longer and longer, and the use of hearing aids is becoming more widely accepted because they are getting increasingly comfortable to wear and are now barely noticeable. What’s more, younger generations already think nothing of wearing their little wireless headsets. We’ve been benefiting from this trend for years and demand for our batteries keeps on growing – clear proof of their quality,” he adds.
Some 25 million people around the world are now hearing properly again thanks to a battery from Ellwangen. And yet around three-quarters of people with hearing impairments in the United States and Europe still do not have a hearing aid. The proportion is even higher in Asia, which gives some indication of the similarly high market potential in the years ahead. Experts are predicting a significant increase in the use and acceptance of hearing aids worldwide, with sustained annual market growth of between four and five percent.
“The growth trend in the hearing-aid market is being clearly felt at our company. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microbatteries, we’ve been continually expanding our production capacities in recent years and will need to keep on doing so,” reveals Schein.
The high demand has also led to a substantial increase in VARTA AG’s workforce and sales over the past few years. Over 2,000 employees now work for the company around the world and sales have climbed to 214 million euros, growing at an annual rate of approximately ten percent in the last four years.
With a view to driving further growth, VARTA Microbattery optimizes its quality and highly automated production on an ongoing basis It does so successfully: The world’s tallest church – Ulm Minster – is located not far from Ellwangen. Its tower soars to an impressive height of 530 feet, but it would take the factory in Ellwangen less than 15 minutes to produce a stack of batteries this high.
About VARTA AG
As the parent company of the Group, VARTA AG is active in the business segments Microbatteries and Energy Storage Solutions through its operating subsidiaries VARTA Microbattery GmbH and VARTA Storage GmbH. Already an innovation leader in the microbattery sector and a market leader for hearing-aid microbatteries, VARTA Microbattery GmbH also aspires to market leadership for lithium-ion batteries. VARTA Storage GmbH focuses on the design, system integration and assembly of stationary lithium-ion energy storage systems for households and commercial applications as well as customized battery storage systems for OEM customers. The Group’s operating subsidiaries are currently active in more than 75 countries around the world, with four production and assembly facilities in Europe and Asia as well as distribution centers in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Phone: +49 7961 921-221