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  Date: 15th Nov 2010

Panasonic's global dry cell battery production reaches 150 Billion

Panasonic Corporation has reported that its production of dry cell batteries has reached a global production volume of 150 billion units in October 2010, the 79th year since the company began battery production in 1931. Panasonic says the feat was achieved nine years after the company passed the 100 billion mark in 2001. Now, Panasonic is geared up to reach a total production milestone of 200 billion units in 2018, when the company celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding.

Here is the history and some facts about Panasonic’s dry cell battery operation:
Panasonic first began in-house production of dry cell batteries in 1931 to promote the wider use of its portable "Square Lamp," the first product under the National brand. In 1939, the company opened a battery factory in Shanghai, its first ever manufacturing base outside Japan. The company since set up battery plants in Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, Poland, Tanzania, Thailand, India and Indonesia and has contributed to improving lifestyles and developing industries in these countries. A cumulative overseas production volume of dry cell batteries now stands around 100 billion units.

Advances in dry cell batteries have a close association with advances in the products for which they are used. In 1954, Panasonic developed "National Hyper," the first full metal-jacket dry cell battery in Japan and based on the international standard of approx. 6.2 cm in length and 3.4 cm in diameter. This product was mainly used for torches and lamps. In 1963, the company developed the "National Hi-Top" manganese dry cell battery, which doubled the lifespan of the National Hyper. Around that time, 45 percent of the batteries sold were used in tape recorders and radios. In 1969, Panasonic developed the "Neo Hi-Top" line, which offered three times the lifespan of the National Hyper. These new batteries were used mainly in radio cassette players. Thus batteries evolved in tandem with the development of the electric appliances.

In 1995, Panasonic developed high-current alkaline batteries with significantly improved heavy-duty discharge performance. They were designed to meet the characteristics of digital equipment that started to become popular. As advances in such products brought about a need for higher current dry cell batteries, Panasonic has increasingly shifted its focus from manganese dry cell batteries to alkaline dry cell batteries.

In 2008, the company launched its "EVOLTA" alkaline battery, which was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the world's "longest lasting AA alkaline battery cell." It was the industry's first battery to have a "best-before" date of 10 years in Japan. Panasonic is continuing to bring the EVOLTA batteries to more markets worldwide.

The superior lifespan of the EVOLTA AA batteries allows Panasonic to generate the same overall amount of battery energy with around 60 percent of the total quantity of batteries, in comparison to the "Ultra Alkali" AA batteries manufactured in 1990. This means that CO2 emissions during manufacturing can be reduced by about 40 percent, a significant contribution to reducing burden on the environment.

In the manufacturing sites, Panasonic has promoted a number of initiatives to ensure green manufacturing: (1) reducing production losses; (2) optimized lighting and air conditioning; (3) efficient operation of utility equipment; (4) visualizing energy consumption and other factors; and (5) promoting the use of alternative energy sources.

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