Leading manufacturer of custom battery packs, Alexander Battery Technologies, stands stronger than ever on the dawn of its 40th anniversary 

Global custom battery pack manufacturer, Alexander Battery Technologies, has opened an exciting new chapter in the last five years. Under new leadership, the company has broken into new markets, expanded its manufacturing capability, and broadened the horizons of brand awareness. As Chief Executive Officer, Mark Rutherford, begins: “There’s been lots of updates here since the pandemic. Throughout 2020, we supported several businesses with breathing apparatus and medical equipment. Right in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, we went from doing 5000 batteries a month to around 50,000 for some of our bigger customers. It was a time of significant acceleration for the business, we jumped from roughly £12 million in turnover to over £60 million in just three or four months. 

“After that, everything calmed down and began to level out. We used to have a US facility, which we shut down because we realized we could do everything that we needed from our base in the UK. There was also a change in management. I took over operations with two business partners by my side. Once we got accustomed to daily operations, we came up with a full five-year strategic plan.

“The starting point was a strategy for bringing in new customers from across Europe. We decided to hire a brand-new sales and marketing team. We specifically brought people on board who had experience in the battery industry, as they immediately knew how to grow the brand and increase people’s awareness. 

“Now, Alexander Battery Technologies is coming up to its 40th anniversary. Despite our long lineage, not many people knew who we were. We had strong partnerships with established customers, big OEMs and such, but other than that people weren’t as aware of us as we’d have liked. We were the battery industry’s best kept secret. 

“Coming out of the pandemic, we had a lot of momentum. We wanted to put that to good use, and the number one priority was building brand awareness. Alongside the new marketing team, we booked lots of industry events and shows to really get our name out there. It was a hugely successful strategy, which launched us into several exciting new projects.” 

To level up its operations, Alexander Battery Technologies has invested in new, state-of-the-art facilities. “The Battery Technology Centre was opened around this time last year. Part of our strategy has been building out our facilities, to extend our capabilities and allow the business to deal with extremely high voltage applications. This has opened us up to customers in the EV and off-road vehicle market. 

“My belief is that if I’m trying to sell something to a customer, it must be visible to them. So, even though we didn’t have existing customer interest, it was important to demonstrate our capability. We’ve been showing off our abilities to new markets for two or three years now. Big customers know we can manage high voltage applications and scale quickly to meet their demands. The pandemic, while difficult in a lot of ways, also helped us prove our capability when it came to managing increased capacity. 

“With greater capacity and capability, comes increased demands on design. That’s where the Battery Technology Centre comes in. We have 12 state-of-the-art labs here, all of which are equipped with fire resistant material and round the clock CCTV. 

“Five of these labs are really high-powered applications. The other seven can do mid-range applications, which really increases our capability. The other half of the building is used for manufacturing. We added considerable production space onto the facility so that our team could work on bigger packs. Some of the packs we work on are considerable in size, and require lots of space, equipment, and attention to manufacture correctly – the Battery Technology Centre lets us do it with ease,” Mark enthuses. 

The company has also extended its manufacturing capabilities, with industry-leading laser-welding technology. “Our laser welding machines are the first of their kind, using the latest designs from market leading engineers. We’ve got the EV Flex model, which increases the flexibility of our manufacturing process tenfold. We can do layers of welding on pretty much any application, meaning it can be adapted for use in almost any sector. 

“This is important as it ensures our manufacturing capabilities aren’t geared toward any one specific industry. We’ve invested in technology that will give us as much breadth as possible,” Mark affirms. 

Planning for the future is about more than the best tech, as Mark and his team are well aware. “Lots of new products are becoming electrified and batteries are very popular now. It’s a new market, and we’re learning as we go. To help create the industry experts of the future, we’ve recently kicked off an apprenticeship program. The program is designed to help us generate talent in house. By the end of this year, each department has set a target to bring in at least one apprentice. The idea is to show them the inner workings of the entire organization, put them through university, and set them up for an exciting career. 

“Young people often don’t know how interesting this work can be, so we’ve partnered with schools and colleges to help increase awareness and bring in new talent. Our apprenticeships don’t just offer job opportunities, we support university education and provide professional qualifications. I’m very proud that we can give young people this kind of opportunity,” details Mark. 

This new chapter for Alexander Battery Technologies is far from over. The team has big plans for the remainder of the year, as Mark concludes: “In 2024, you can expect to see some news about us moving into different sectors. Electric vehicle technology will no doubt be a huge part of that diversification process. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to offer some European manufacturing capabilities in the next 12 months or so, with the goal of expanding our manufacturing footprint even more in the long term. Ultimately, we just want to be closer to our customers, and support them in whatever way we can.”