Saft to supply more than a million primary lithium cells to power Hydrometer’s automated meter reading modules


Paris, March 19, 2007 – Saft, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end batteries for professional applications, has been awarded a contract by Hydrometer, a world leading manufacturer of metering devices, to supply more than a million primary lithium cells to power its automated meter reading (AMR) Hydro-Radio modules and Sharky BR773 heat meters.

The Saft lithium cells will provide the AMRs and meters with a reliable, maintenance free, ‘fit and forget’ source of autonomous power over a 12-year service life.

The contract, to be fulfilled during 2007, includes one million AA-size LS14500 cells with a nominal 2.45 Ah capacity, together with a smaller number of A-size LS17500 and C-size LS26500 cells.

Hydrometer AMR modules provide a short-range radio communication link that enables various electricity, gas, water and heat meters, such as its well known Sharky range, to be read, billed and monitored with maximum accuracy, minimum effort and without the need to gain access to premises.

The AMR modules are usually ‘read’ by hand-held terminals. However, the latest development is the drive-by method, in which the data is received by a GPRS mobile receiver in a reading vehicle.

The Saft Group is the world leader in batteries for meters and AMRs. It has used field and laboratory data collected over more than 30 years to develop a unique life time model that enables the expected life of primary cells in this demanding application to be predicted accurately by considering the specific utilization profile. Data used by this model includes base current, pulse currents, cut-off voltage and temperature range.

Calculated results are combined with results from bench tests, which sometime require years to conduct, to produce the most accurate life prediction. Hydrometer required cells with a high level of reliability and reproducible performance. For the AA size, a base current of a few microamps was specified with pulses of around 10 milliamps for a few milliseconds and a cut-off voltage of 2, 5 V.

The Saft model showed that its LS series lithium-thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2) cells would meet the various levels of required performance at a cost-effective price and, crucially, would comfortably exceed the required 12-year life, even at extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C up to +70°C. Li-SOCl2 technology Saft LS series Li-SOCl2 cylindrical cells offer a nominal 3.6 V, feature a bobbin construction and are high-pulse optimized and UL (Underwriters Laboratories) recognised.

The cells are non-pressurised at room temperature, feature a non-flammable electrolyte, corrosion-proof hermetically sealed stainless steel containers and incorporate safety vents and fuses. Furthermore, Saft LS cells have a low self-discharge rate – less than one per cent after one year of storage at +20°C.

Saft is supplying Hydrometer with primary lithium cells with tabs for ease of integration into Hydrometer’s electronic boards. They will be fitted to AMRs for utility customers all over the world. About Saft Saft (Euronext : Saft) is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry.

Saft batteries are used in high performance applications such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defence. Saft is the world’s leading manufacturer of nickel-cadmium batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets.

The group is also the European leader for specialised advanced technologies for the defence and space industries. With approximately 3,900 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 18 countries. Its 18 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide.

" For more information, visit Saft at Press contacts: Antoine Brenier, Saft Specialty Battery Group Tel: +33 1 49 93 19 18 Jill Ledger, Saft Communications Director Tel: + 33 1 49 93 17 77;