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  • Axion Power Concentrator 83: Beginning March 30, 2012, Bangwhiz's Article, Selling The PbC Battery - It's Not Easy Being Green! 133 comments
    Mar 30, 2012 3:56 PM | about stocks: AXPW

    These instablogs and the people who maintain them have no relationship whatsoever to Axion Power International other than possibly being shareholders and/or interested potential investors. To our direct knowledge no person with a current relationship to Axion Power International participates or follows the activities in these instablogs.

    With that out of the way ...

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    A gem of an article by Bangwhiz:

    Selling The PbC Battery - It's Not Easy Being Green!

    There are two important facts about the Axion PbC battery stockholders need to understand. First, it is not a commodity product like bananas or standard lead acid batteries. Its different. Secondly, being different engineers have to design new systems versus whatever they've done before if they are to benefit from its unique performance characteristics. That means change, and like the Eagles sang in their song Sad Cafe, "But things in this life change very slowly, if they ever change at all."

    People and organizations resist change unless they are either forced by some outside pressure, or the benefits to them are so great it is sufficient motivation alone. In the case of the PbC battery two organizations, Norfolk Southern and BMW, were drawn to the PbC battery because they had a problem the PbC might solve for them. Conventional commodity lead acid batteries were not up to the demands of stop start automobiles or battery powered electric locomotives. They were embracing and seeking change.

    Inventors have been waving magic beans in front of engineers eyes forever and often those magic beans lose their magic very quickly when engineers attempt to put them to practical use. Consequently, engineers are inherently skeptical of anything new until it has proven itself truly useful and reliable.

    Because the PbC battery has different electrical and performance characteristics engineers at a fork lift manufacturer, auto company, railroad, or any other company will need to design and build new electrical and or mechanical subsystems specifically engineered for the PbC battery before they can benefit from the PbC 's magic beans.

    BMW and Norfolk Southern possessed a strong enough interest in the PbC to commit to the time and money required to conduct preliminary test and evaluation programs followed by conceptual system designs, then building actual prototype systems made specifically for the PbC. That has been followed by more test and evaluation of the prototype systems and perhaps modifications to the prototypes leading to a final design. This activity would be coupled with trade off studies of any final PbC system design versus all the other possible solutions including detailed cost benefit number crunching studies. The engineers design and develop, the bean counters rule.

    Because of any non-disclosure agreements Axion has signed we do not know the status of most of the ongoing potential customer development programs for the PbC battery. Big organizations are big because they haven't made any big mistakes. It is an inherent slow process demanding patience from Axion and its stockholders. No one is more anxious to sell the the PbC battery and produce millions of PbC electrodes for the lead acid industry than Axion's management. It is just going to take the time it takes and not a minute less.

    Axion does have one product not subject to so much trial and tribulation - the PowerCube ranging in size from the mini-cube to 20MWs. You could almost write a design spec and purchase order on the back of a napkin. 10 MWs standby power for 30 minutes. Some have suggested Axion create some sample PowerCubes and give them to prestigious customers to try free of charge. You just "plug" them in. Not hardly. You need to run the power into and out of the PowerCube and that means site specific power distribution systems, building permits and construction. The installation may need to be fixed inside a building with all the design and construction that entails versus sitting outside in a trailer.

    I'm not an engineer so I am not going to try and describe what all a customer has to do to utilize a PowerCube, but it is going to be a lot more than "just plugging it in." Axion Power Concentrator commentator, DRich, who is an engineer, said, "I don't know if this covers it, but even in grid applications, 'samples' aren't all that practical. Even though the batteries are the same, it is easy to assume that is where 'sameness' ends. Each business will have a different power use profile and thus the inverters/transformers will be different almost every time. The BMS and/or the software may need to be tailored to each power profile. There is considerable cost in engineering associated with those 'samples'."

    Anyone who wants to buy whatever size PowerCube they want for all its benefits will need the services of an electrical engineering firm, or an in-house electrical engineering staff, to integrate the PowerCube into their facility. Then there are all the software control issues that will need to be sorted out for the specific customer's power usage profile. It isn't rocket science, but it is involved and takes time and money to accomplish. There is no free lunch. For my money I would rather Axion Power Director of Marketing, Vani Dantam, just sell someone a PowerCube than probably spend the same amount of time and money trying to convince a prospect to take one for free.

    An Axion Power sales rep can't just waltz into a E-Bike or forklift or UPS manufacturer and say, "We've got a special on PbC's today, 3 for the price of 2." Think about how many people in a prospective customer have to agree that building anything using the PbC - a product they've never seen or used before, with nothing sitting around they can just drop it into and then turn it on - is worth their time, money and effort?

    I have a lot of major account sales experience. I've been Vice President of Sales for a hardware design, development and prototype engineering company. I've been Manager of Business Development for a nuclear engineering firm. Most of the time when you go through the door of a large company representing a new product or service it is just like pushing in the side of a sponge, the minute you leave everything pops back out just like it was before. Nothing has changed. If you are lucky maybe whomever you talked to talks to their boss, who then talks to his boss, etc etc.

    When they want you they call you. Until then, you are just whistling Dixie. Then after they call you it isn't a done deal. Everybody up the line has to confirm the decision. The numbers have to work, the details have to mesh, the timing has to be right - and on top of that they have to like and respect you and your organization. They have to be true believers.

    So when you are screaming for Axion Power CEO, Thomas Granville, to just sell or give away Powercubes or PbC's, you need to understand the complexity of doing so, and the time required to achieve an actual sale. Engineers are methodical, cautious professionals who have their careers at risk every time they draw a line or circle. They are not going to endorse anything until they are certain of the cost and benefits.

    About a year ago I made a bold statement that I would like to get on the phone and sell PbC's on straight commission. I said I might starve for a while but I would eventually find somebody who would buy some PbC's. John Petersen said "I wish it were so simple." He was right and I was over reaching a bit. I just didn't realize the complexity involved in selling the PbC because it is different from existing commodity lead acid batteries.

    I fully recognize the sales and marketing issues now, and if you haven't thought about it before perhaps this article will lead you to further contemplation on the subject. I still wouldn't mind selling the PbC, but I would pack a lot bigger back pack full of food before I picked up the phone. I would also plan on it taking one or more years of work before I might get a sale. Its just a tough business being green if you are a frog, or selling a PbC battery nobody has ever used before.

    ####
    Hearty gratitude to Bangwhiz on behalf of the Axion Power Concentrator series!

    ####

    During the past seven months the Axion Power Concentrators have organically grown into a vast trove of information all things Axion Power related, all things battery related, all things Energy Storage Sector related.

    Between now and 15 years from now, the global expenditure on energy in every way energy is created, delivered, conserved and used will be in the trillions of dollars.

    Derived from well over 12,000 Axion Power Concentrator comments comes to us a compendium archive created by APC commentator Bangwhiz. In short here is what it is, and does:

    The Axion Power Concentrator Web Sites is a complete easy-to-use online archive of all the information contained in the entire Axion Power Concentrator series from day one; including reports, articles, comments and posted links.

    It also contains a "New to Axion" section for people who are new to Axion and want a good starting point for their own due diligence. The site is updated daily as new links are posted to current comment threads. Links are posted by topic and can also be found using the "Search This Site" tab.

    The Comment Search Feature on the homepage is great for finding a comment you want to read again that would normally be lost in all the thousands of past comments. Simply search using a good key word or phrase, or any Google search term modifier, such as AND etc.

    New Feature: You can now search all past comments or just the past 3 months.

    Complimenting the Axion Power Concentrator Web Site is the Axion Power Wikispaces Web Site, "A repository of information about Axion Power International, Inc. and PbC® battery technology" created by APC commentator WDD. It is an excellent ongoing notebook aggregation of Axion Power facts.

    Want to ask, or have someone ask, Axion Power leadership a question during the forthcoming late March 2012 conference call? The following link led by Bangwhiz is where you can write your question, maybe have it discussed and expanded upon before the conference call.

    http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/667879-bangwhiz/279411-axion-power-2011-q4-march-conference-call-questions-list?source=kizur

    Jlyleluce has created a nice table comparing and summarizing some of the critical performance attributes of standard and PbC batteries. It clearly demonstrates why the PbC will be the perferred choice in many applications requiring long-lived stable high charge acceptance rates. It has been slightly reformatted for display purposes.

    (click to enlarge)
    Comparison of Batteries for Stop/Start Application

    481086 and Siliconhillbilly posted comments that seemed to be appropriate for inclusion here (thanks to FocalPoint Analytics for suggesting this) because they help bring some clarity to the fact that Axion's product is really not "just another battery".

    • 481086: Tim, FPA, I'm having a hard time seeing how/why the PbC would be superior to AGM as a simple starting (or SLI) battery... to my mind, that's not really PbC's strength. AGM is doing that duty just fine at lower cost than PbC. Unless you're talking hotel loads and hanging out for extended times at PSOC I don't see how PbC is compelling there. It's more an energy exchange device rather than an energy storage device. Cranking once or twice a day is a waste of its talents (because it does carry that small but not insignificant price premium). It's rather a new type of device that only makes real sense for applications that are going to cycle it *hard* through a range of intermediate PSOCs such as the uber-demanding hybrid locomotive app. And IMHO those are indeed the very applications that are still under intense development to some extent. The PbC is going to be an invaluable WORKHORSE there... *in the right applications*---again, ones optimized especially for PbC's unique and powerful strengths, but I think for just about every other pedestrian Lead-Acid application it's either an awkward fit or it's overkill. And I think simple engine starting is an application in that category. To use an aviation analogy, there's a good reason you don't see turbojet engines on crop-dusters. It would be dumb. And not even that sexy. You'd only burn beau-coup gas, risk FOD damage with every pass, all but cook the stuff you're trying to spray, and probably crash anyway. All I'm saying is choose the right tool for the job. PbC is a new and different tool. The jobs that will use it best are still figuring it out. A ramble here I know, but the PbC is not just simply a better battery, it's a different animal altogether.
    • Siliconhillbilly: >FPA: The PbC is partly a capacitor. To extract the maximum energy from it you need to discharge it from Vpeak to 1/2 Vpeak.

      A standard lead acid battery with double lead electrodes will release 80-90% of it's stored energy with about a 15% drop in terminal voltage. That is, the conventional LA battery appears to be almost a constant voltage source thru much of it's energy discharge cycle.

      This means the two batteries are quite different from an engineering and application viewpoint. That said, the PbC is unbeatable in applications optimized for its characteristics.

      Frequent shallow to medium State of Charge cycles are a prime example. The capacitor (non-chemical) portion of the PbC accepts frequent cycling with essentially no degradation. This makes it ideal for SS auto systems and regenerative braking that require very high charge rate and cycle life from a battery.

      Some of the delay we are seeing is the time it takes the application engineers to wed the PbC to their specific application. It's a learning experience for the technical people who have never seen anything like the PbC before. But they will figure it out. Hopefully in not too many more months.

    ####

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    Disclosure: I am long OTCQB:AXPW.

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Comments (134)
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  • Axion Power Host
    , contributor
    Comments (508) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » *************************
    *************************
    Iterating H. T. Love's reminder about BangWhiz's excellent compendium of questions for the conference call. Hi PDF is here.

     

    http://bit.ly/H29wtk

     

    *************************
    *************************
    30 Mar 2012, 03:59 PM Reply Like
  • Axion Power Host
    , contributor
    Comments (508) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Last comment in previous concentrator by CoryM

     

    =======================
    Demand Response Virtual Summit next Thursday, April 5.
    I see both Viridity and Axion will be speaking...

     

    http://bit.ly/HohqzW

     

    Speakers include:

     

    - Kelly R. Smith,Demand Management Services, Johnson Controls
    - John P. Hughes, Vice President-Technical Affairs, Electricity Consumers Resource Council
    - Patty Solberg, Director of Product Marketing, Powerit Solutions
    - Ahmad Faruqui, Principal, The Brattle Group
    - Audrey Zibelman, President and CEO, Viridity Energy
    - Christina Haslund, Senior Product Manager, Itron
    - John McLean, Industry Solution Executive, Ventyx, an ABB Company
    - John Steinberg, EVP and Co-founder, EcoFactor
    - Enders Dickinson, Director of R&D, Axion Power International
    =======================
    30 Mar 2012, 04:07 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    Dickinson's session abstract:

     

    http://bit.ly/H2x8Lw

     

    Viridity's:

     

    http://bit.ly/HqDvfK
    30 Mar 2012, 04:20 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    The Form 10-K is up on the SEC's website.

     

    http://1.usa.gov/H4DZpo

     

    I'll review it tomorrow.
    30 Mar 2012, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    http://bit.ly/H3rwWi First link to 10K summary!
    30 Mar 2012, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • Deamiter
    , contributor
    Comments (164) | Send Message
     
    First fail?
    30 Mar 2012, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    Annual Report out now!

     

    http://1.usa.gov/H0yF4X

     

    HardToLove
    30 Mar 2012, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • Articula
    , contributor
    Comments (281) | Send Message
     
    We will not begin automated production of our PbC technology until 2012.

     

    We will not be able to begin full commercial production of our PbC energy storage devices until we complete our current testing operations, our planned application evaluation, planned product development and until our second generation robotic PbC negative electrode production line is fully commissioned. We believe our path to full automated production will, at a minimum, take us into the first half of 2012. Even if our prototype development operations are successful, there can be no assurance that we will be able to establish and maintain our facilities and relationships for the manufacturing, distribution and sale of our PbC batteries and other technologies or that any future products will achieve market acceptance and be sold in sufficient quantities and at prices necessary to make them commercially successful. Even if our proposed products are commercially successful, there can be no assurance that we will realize enough revenue and gross margin from the sale of products to achieve profitability.
    30 Mar 2012, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • Articula
    , contributor
    Comments (281) | Send Message
     
    Looks like Q2-Q3 before our first production of a commercial launch
    30 Mar 2012, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Q2 is next week. If we see true commercial launch this year life will be good. ;)
    30 Mar 2012, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Articula
    , contributor
    Comments (281) | Send Message
     
    Touche, time has been flyin by!
    30 Mar 2012, 05:27 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    The thing that's important to remember is that *full commercial production* isn't an on-off switch. You start with a *buggy* production line that runs at half of its intended rate. You make some mechanical adjustments that improve the run rate to 60%. Then you make some software adjustments that move the run rate to 70%. Then you go back for another set of mechanical and software adjustments that get you to 78%.

     

    One fine day after several rounds of adjust, tweak and adjust some more, you get your line working at something better than 80% of capacity and VOILA, you can claim *full commercial production*

     

    Hearing that Axion expects that day this quarter is very positive.
    31 Mar 2012, 12:44 AM Reply Like
  • wtblanchard
    , contributor
    Comments (2435) | Send Message
     
    "We have also begun promising work with other manufacturers in the hybrid locomotive field."
    30 Mar 2012, 05:10 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    "In 2011, our automotive work incorporated new OEM partners to the ongoing mix. As more and more empirical evidence is presented with respect to the lack of merit, and/or practicality, of existing stop-start battery solutions, the potential of our PbC product gains more and more traction. The clock is running for the US and European automotive manufacturers as they seek to comply with upcoming governmental regulations and consumer expectations for increased miles per gallon." "We feel we have the best potential product for the emerging micro-hybrid (stop-start) market and therefore we have devoted considerable time and money in working with our strategic partners and prospective customers in this area."

     

    "Since our PowerCube can respond to curtailment signals in 50 milliseconds, we are looking forward to the implementation of “pay for performance” rates in 2012."

     

    "This (flooded battery order) initiative, which will continue in 2012..."

     

    Re: the 35 cents stk placement: "...at a 10% discount to market based on trailing average" Did we know that already? 10% is low, so good for us.

     

    "...will provide sufficient financial resources for current development stage operations, working capital, and capital expenditures through the first quarter of 2013."

     

    2011 rev's of $8.1 million vs $2.1 million in 2010.
    30 Mar 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    Mr Investor: I also liked reading the 50 millisecond response time.
    30 Mar 2012, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    I look forward to TG's color commentary on Monday.

     

    The approach to the stock is unchanged, IMO--you just don't know when big news will hit, so you get in and wait, as long as progress is being made.
    30 Mar 2012, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    Yeah, last we had heard was 250 ms. I wonder if it's apples and oranges? Power packs (batteries) 50 ms and adding in the signaling, inverters, ... bumps the total latency to 250 ms.

     

    I'll bet that's where the difference is.

     

    HardToLove
    30 Mar 2012, 06:25 PM Reply Like
  • Deamiter
    , contributor
    Comments (164) | Send Message
     
    Could they really claim the "Power Cube" could respond in 50ms (from the quote above) if they were referencing only PbC batteries?

     

    I know it's really easy to mix up the units and really easy to lie (even accidentally) but I haven't seen Axion Power fudging numbers like that in the past. I suspect that the earlier numbers were just very conservative and that user experiences will vary (as always) based on the details of the installation.
    30 Mar 2012, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • D-inv
    , contributor
    Comments (4293) | Send Message
     
    Could be wrong, but IIRC, the 250ms response figure we saw before was given with respect to the PowerCube, not the PbC battery. We also were presented with specs on the Princeton power inverter built in to PowerCube systems and those specs included a 250ms response time. Shorter than 250ms response times for the PbC have been mentioned before by TG in interviews.
    30 Mar 2012, 09:00 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    It would be interesting to know why the difference, but really not important in the real world I think - 50 ms or 250 ms is fast enough to meet any grid needs I would think.

     

    HardT0Love
    31 Mar 2012, 08:09 AM Reply Like
  • mds5375
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    Agreed. Probably only because (in the future) any potential competitor's electronic management system would probably also be in the 50 ms range.
    IMHO - The electronics isn't the choke point, it's the battery response time - and Axion's is (at this point) best by an order of magnitude.
    31 Mar 2012, 08:20 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    My bet is that the PowerCube responds within 50 ms but by the time you include the communications loop the effective time is 250 ms.
    31 Mar 2012, 10:04 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >JP ... Throw into that comm loss component the time it takes to convert DC to AC by charging & collapsing the magnetic field in the inverter and some other electronic losses which depends on the type of AC being sent out. It's too boring to go into but 250 ms quite respectable. The only place I 'know' would think this is too slow would be a semiconductor fab (there may be others) but most people & machines & signage wouldn't even notice the flicker.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    I'm always happy to leave the three sigma applications to somebody else if I can just have the center of the bell curve.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    In TG's recent interview I believe he emphasized speed of response in the recent Pay-For-Performance FERC ruling change and noted that the power required to correct a frequency error increases geometrically with the magnitude of that error. Thus correcting the error soonest is key. Sounds to me like a 1/20th second response time capability is likely to be highly valued.
    31 Mar 2012, 03:36 PM Reply Like
  • wtblanchard
    , contributor
    Comments (2435) | Send Message
     
    Don't quite understand the last statement here:

     

    "We completed our initial work on a $1.0 million grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 2011. This project was aimed at developing a product for the Navy and Marine Corps silent watch program and their assault vehicle program. This program provided us with valuable information that we can utilize across the spectrum of our products. We have billed $1.0 million and collected all monies less a 1% service fee as of December 31, 2011 and expect to collect the balance in the first half of 2012. "

     

    Balance?
    30 Mar 2012, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Further down I thought I saw something like $40K remaining collectible in 2012... may not have been the same thing though..
    30 Mar 2012, 05:37 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (2305) | Send Message
     
    The silent watch program is intriguing. As I mentioned on the CC question blog this morning, I can find little further information about Axion's involvement in a web search.

     

    Can anyone else provide more information about what exactly Axion has been working on with this grant?

     

    Are they developing mini powercubes that can be incorporated into a humvee or trailered behind one? Or are they building PbC batteries to specific DOD needs to retrofit into a stealth humvee or reconnaissance vehicle?

     

    It seems like an application with great potential for a lucrative contract. Do we know if there may be a follow up grant or continued relationship with this DOD program?
    1 Apr 2012, 01:24 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    The contract you're referring to was a Congressional earmark that Axion and Rep. Altmire of PA announced in October 2008. It was supposed to be a multi-year development project with goals that were not publicly released.

     

    Many military development projects, particularly earmark projects, have been cut in budget negotiations. We have not heard whether the contract will be extended for a second or third year, but given the contract's history I'm not holding my breath. I'm certainly not expecting the Navy to publicly release detailed technical data on defense related development projects.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • Articula
    , contributor
    Comments (281) | Send Message
     
    Invoice vs collect are two different things, they are waiting to get the cash in the door.
    30 Mar 2012, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    I liked the four fold increase in year over year revenues.

     

    I didn't like seeing that another round of financing may be neccessary early next year.

     

    I liked that the report states several large PbC strings have been sold to Norfolk, and that other RRs have shown interest.

     

    I didn't like that there are still some bugs in making the carbon sheeting I reported about on July 20, 2011.

     

    I liked that there is still ongoing interests from many OEMs.

     

    I very much liked reading that we're merely months away from potential commercialization of the PbC.

     

    Generalized Summary: We're not quite out of the valley of death just yet, but it appears we're getting very close.
    30 Mar 2012, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    It ain't soup quite yet, but it's smellin' like it. And gettin' stronger. Dang. Little comfort now but sure lots a stomach growlin'...
    30 Mar 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • anthlj
    , contributor
    Comments (228) | Send Message
     
    The 'Results of Operations' section is virtually identical to that found in the Q4 2011 filing.
    They have moved one date, for establishing marketing agreements for certain niches, from Q4 11 to sometime in 2012.

     

    Axion must be what drying paint watches.
    30 Mar 2012, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    "Axion must be what drying paint watches"

     

    LoL!

     

    Don't gripe or I'll introduce you to biopharma. You want to see long development time-lines? Let the government jump in and require multiple stages of approvals. If the government was required to approve the PbC, it would take an additional 3-5 years and cost $2.5K per battery.

     

    HardToLove
    30 Mar 2012, 06:30 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    "Axion must be what drying paint watches"

     

    That may qualify as the best one-liner ever.
    31 Mar 2012, 12:49 AM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2113) | Send Message
     
    "We and others believe that the fastest, and least expensive, method of reducing CO2 emissions from an internal combustion engine vehicle is to equip the vehicle with stop-start technology. Simply put, in stop-start, every time the vehicle comes to rest the engine shuts off. When the operator takes their foot off the brake and re-engages, the engine comes back on. CO2 emission reductions, and the “hand in hand” fuel savings, are directly proportional to the time the engine is at rest. But, while the engine is off, there is still an ancillary load in the car that must be powered (headlights, heater/air conditioning, radio, power brakes, windshield wipers, door locks, dash board lights, power windows, etc.). The car battery will have to power this load, and it will have to do so without charge from the alternator, or integrated starter generator, because the engine is at rest. Several battery technologies can be utilized - expensive lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, supercapacitors in various forms and combinations, but these solutions all add 4 figures + to the cost when the necessary ancillary equipment, required by these chemistries, is included in the equation. Prospective solutions in the form of conventional lead-acid batteries would cost a few hundred dollars but lead-acid batteries, in flooded, VRLA or AGM constructs, do not allow the vehicle to fully function as required. This is true because the lead-acid battery develops poor charge acceptance early in its life cycle resulting in extended charge time requirements between stop-start events. The result is a charging event that takes minutes during which time the vehicle engine cannot shut off and therefore does not reduce CO2 emissions, and increase mpg, in conformance with government regulations. The solution offered by our PbC technology combines low cost, with a fast rate of charge acceptance and achieves the specified stop-start performance that is needed to comply with CO2 emissions regulations, while improving miles per gallon. We feel we have the best potential product for the emerging micro-hybrid (stop-start) market and therefore we have devoted considerable time and money in working with our strategic partners and prospective customers in this area."

     

    These statements are basically laying out the challenge to the auto industry. You have a problem. We have a solution. We are ready to produce for your 2013 model year. You need us for the 2013 model year.

     

    It is incredible when you consider the size of the market. It is what we all know to be true. If we can make it in large quantities, they will come and buy it.

     

    Same with utilities. A much larger market. And we have a very fast response time that was just awarded a raise for being fast. When PowerCube orders appear they won't be in small quantities.

     

    The small house mini-cube. I don't see it happening. But there again I don't get the size of the market.
    Final thought:
    I sure don't want to be out of this stock when the first big order hits.
    30 Mar 2012, 09:31 PM Reply Like
  • Lafferty
    , contributor
    Comments (253) | Send Message
     
    From the 10-K: "Demonstration projects: When we have developed and bench tested our commercial prototype PbC devices for a particular target market, we will negotiate additional demonstration projects for each of the intended applications. In some of the larger projects we may partner with a larger battery manufacturer in order to provide the required quantity of PbC devices. Our goal is to document and validate the superior performance of our products in real-world applications" (p. 9).

     

    Anyone else as surprised as I am that they would be talking of the possibility of partnerships with larger battery manufacturers even for the demonstration stage?
    What demonstration projects might be of such size as to overwhelm their in-house capacities?
    How does this fit with their often-stated intention "to use our Clover Lane facility until we reach our maximum capacity, after which we plan to pursue strategic relationships with other battery manufacturers that are willing to manufacture co-branded commercial PbC products"? (this is in fact repeated again in the commercial production section just after the first quote I gave above, p. 9.)
    30 Mar 2012, 11:15 PM Reply Like
  • LT
    , contributor
    Comments (5682) | Send Message
     
    This could be many things but the most logical is that for a big order and no background history, the buyer wants it to come from an established company....this has been mentioned before. It is easier for the customer to deal with an established company & maybe one they already do business with.
    30 Mar 2012, 11:56 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Disclosure documents are very difficult to write because you have to cover all the bases with particular emphasis on possible negative outcomes. I've always told clients that their SEC filings are the best possible insurance because the undisclosed risks are the ones that get you in trouble. I can imagine any number of situations where a first tier manufacturer like an automaker might say "when the time comes for us to use your technology in our products, we will require that you partner with somebody who's big enough to be a supplier for us.

     

    In 2010, Peugeot decided to use the Continental-Maxwell system in their diesel micro hybrids. Peugeot's vendor contract is with Continental, not Maxwell.
    31 Mar 2012, 01:01 AM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1782) | Send Message
     
    Hi all. One think I didn't like about the 10-K is that they basically said over and over that they expect there to be multiple infringements on their PbC patents and, since they don't have a lot of money, they basically are telling their competition that they can't afford to sue them if they try to infringe. Not the most uplifting thought. They just get to the point that they can smell a commercial product, and now they expect others to try and steal it left and right and Axion can't afford layers to stop them. Jeez!
    30 Mar 2012, 11:23 PM Reply Like
  • LT
    , contributor
    Comments (5682) | Send Message
     
    Labtech It is a legitimate point that I have mentioned...and the time line is against AXPW if they can't push this thing to mkt. faster. The tech is good, we know that, but it's just a matter of time until the competition figures a loophole around it is the biggest threat.
    30 Mar 2012, 11:58 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Once upon a time in the '60s my father and his partner owned the US patent for the one-gallon blow molded plastic milk jug with an integral handle. Dad's partner was the scion of the Lykes family fortune (steel and shipping). The patent ended up with so many infringers that even a mega-fortune wasn't enough to protect it because there were no other barriers to entry.

     

    The barriers to entry in Axion's domain are massive. We knew what we wanted the carbon electrode assembly to look like in 2003. The heavy lifting for the next seven years was figuring out how to make the individual components, optimize their performance as a system and reduce costs to a point where the product makes economic sense. If you take a PbC electrode assembly and dissect it, you won't know much more than we knew in 2003 and making copies will require that you go back to step one and repeat the entire process. Once you've repeated the process and made a clone, you'll have to prove that your clone has comparable performance. Until you start selling your clone, Axion won't be able to bring an infringement suit.

     

    The patent issues are terribly complex because things like paste additives are probably not covered by the Axion patents but things like the Ultrabattery may well be covered. Competitors will always be out there nibbling around the edges, but they'll be years behind on the development curve and most likely a couple levels down on the performance curve because there isn't a lot of room to reverse engineer by *adding aloe vera* to the mix and calling it novel.

     

    I believe Axion's core patent position is very strong, but when I was the lawyer writing a disclosure documents I was brutal. Setting the way back machine to early 2004, the patent risk paragraph I wrote said:

     

    "In general, the level of protection afforded by a patent is directly proportional to the ability of the patent owner to protect and enforce his rights through legal action. Since our financial resources are limited, and patent litigation can be both expensive and time consuming, there can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully prosecute an infringement claim in the event that a competitor develops a technology or introduces a product that infringes on one or more of our patents or patent applications. There can be no assurance that our competitors will not independently develop other technologies that render our proposed products obsolete. In general, we believe the best protection of our proprietary technology will come from market position, technical innovation, speed-to-market and product performance. There is no assurance that we will realize any benefit from our intellectual property rights."
    31 Mar 2012, 01:21 AM Reply Like
  • Stilldazed
    , contributor
    Comments (2151) | Send Message
     
    JP,
    Thanks for maintaining a realistic approach in your explanations. It makes it easier to assess the risks and rewards during this time of being so close to being viable and yet seemingly so far. Patience may be a virtue, but it is a hard won virtue that many people do not possess in our times of TV conclusions in an hour or so.
    31 Mar 2012, 01:45 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    A little over eight years ago I started a cross-country journey that began in Toronto and was supposed to end up in Disneyland if Axion could figure out how to make a commercial product out of a very exciting *science-fair battery prototype* that charged an order of magnitude faster and lasted an order of magnitude longer than other lead-acid batteries. At the time we all believed the journey would be far shorter and far easier than it has been.

     

    I don't know whether to cringe or laugh when I read what I wrote in early 2004 about anticipated timing.

     

    "Alpha evaluation . We have designed a full sized “alpha evaluation cell” that can be efficiently produced in our Vaughan facility . Over the next 30 to 60 days we plan to begin fabrication of evaluation cells to support our planned alpha evaluation program. Initially, we will focus on producing individual E 3 Cells, but as our alpha evaluation program progresses we plan to fabricate increasingly complex multi-cell batteries. Over the next few months, we expect to produce approximately 500 alpha evaluation cells.

     

    ***

     

    Beta testing . If our alpha evaluation yields favorable results , we intend to implement a two-stage beta testing program that we believe will require up to 18 months. We believe our preliminary beta testing will require between three and six months to complete and include the following tasks:

     

    ***

     

    Anticipated testing costs . We believe our alpha evaluation and preliminary beta testing can be conducted using our existing facilities and resources. The budgeted cost of our alpha evaluation is approximately $1.5 million and the anticipated cost of our preliminary beta testing is approximately $2.5 million. Our second stage beta testing activities will be considerably more expensive and require an investment of approximately $10 million. We do not presently have sufficient financial resources to pay the anticipated costs of our planned alpha evaluation and beta testing programs. We believe, however, that financing opportunities will become available as our alpha evaluation and beta testing progress, particularly if the intermediate results we obtain are favorable.

     

    Commercial rollout . We do not have a well-defined strategy for the commercial rollout and production of our proposed E 3 Cell batteries. We may decide to build our own production facilities and develop our own distribution capacities, or we may decide to enter into partnerships, joint ventures and other arrangements with existing battery manufacturers who have excess production and distribution capabilities. There is no assurance that we will be able to establish the necessary manufacturing facilities when needed, or effectively manage the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of a new class of battery product."

     

    See pages 11 and 12 of Axion's first Form 10-K - http://1.usa.gov/HvbtyN

     

    With the latest 10-K I'm seeing road signs that say "Welcome to Orange County." The kids in the back seat are asking "Are we there yet?" and I'm just sitting back and smiling.
    31 Mar 2012, 02:36 AM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2113) | Send Message
     
    I have never looked at the original 10k.
    Thanks for the history lesson, again. It shows how little anyone knew about the difficulty in making a carbon based negative electrode.

     

    Sounds so simple. Take carbon, put inside machine, out comes an electrode.
    31 Mar 2012, 06:32 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    In my experience nobody ever understands how difficult or expensive a project will be. My standard spiel to new client's is that no matter what they're planning to do, it will take twice as long and cost twice as much if everything goes smoothly. Things rarely go smoothly.

     

    I've often wondered whether we would have started down the path in the fall of 2003 if we'd known that it would take eight years and $70 million to get to a product launch.

     

    From what I can see today it was time and money well spent, but I still wonder if we would have rolled the dice if we understood the magnitude of the bet.
    31 Mar 2012, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • LT
    , contributor
    Comments (5682) | Send Message
     
    I seriously doubt it knowing what you know today. The tech is still good and worth the cost long term....but it has been a lot of pain for the early investors and it isn't over yet.

     

    Monday could change things quickly...I hope
    31 Mar 2012, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    As somebody who's spent his entire professional life writing doom, gloom, risk and despair, I thought the Form 10-K was very positive. All would be securities lawyers get a DNA transplant coming out of law school that makes it almost impossible to write sentences like the ones Maya quoted in Concentrator 82 without using the word *however* and the phrase *there can be no assurance.* If the Form 10-K is an indicator, the conference call should be fun.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:07 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    While the we may feel like that vulture that just wants to kill something we should remember that if Axion had stuck to that original timeline to commercialization none of us would be here - we wouldn't be Axion investors, we wouldn't be on this blog, we wouldn't be Axionistas.

     

    I expect to be the beneficiary of the longer timeline for commercialization of the PbC.

     

    D
    31 Mar 2012, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    One comfort though is that beyond the patents themselves, some protection, in the form of time, is provided by the fact that they would have to go through the learning to manufacture the stuff. That takes time and expense, in and of itself.

     

    Meanwhile, Axion should be continuing to grow relationships, sales, expertise, additional patents, ...

     

    By the time someone infringed successfully Axion might be strong enough, financially and otherwise, to prevent the successful theft and sale of our IP stuff.

     

    HardToLove
    31 Mar 2012, 01:22 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    An eight year head-start is a very long time.
    31 Mar 2012, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • User462699
    , contributor
    Comments (120) | Send Message
     
    I want an E ticket ride Dad - the $0.40 to $10.00 one in 18 months will be fine.
    31 Mar 2012, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Isn't this the point where Dad generally smiles and says, "The last time we put you on a ride like that you barfed all over your sister. Let's think about taking it a bit easier this time son."
    31 Mar 2012, 03:30 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    The wheel of time grinds everything. And we are all grist for the mill. But if you wanna bake bread, and break bread, you just gotta wait for the flour...
    31 Mar 2012, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • Pztrick44
    , contributor
    Comments (83) | Send Message
     
    No bad news is... on target. :)

     

    ...still patiently watching Axion watching the paint dry.
    31 Mar 2012, 12:46 AM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    It should be no surprise that an additional capital raise is coming. It is also worth remembering that an 11 line PbC electrode manufacturing facility was estimated at 50M dollars. You can't be a billion dollar company with the capital of an 8M in sales company. Axion will be raising capital for the forseeable future. I don't consider that a negative, I consider it a necessary reality. I am not concerned about capital raises, I am concerned about sales.

     

    I would bet that if Axion perfects the electrode production line, starts gaining traction in market acceptance and scores any significant sales success with its target markets the company will become an acquisition target - but not until it starts selling the PbC in quantity.

     

    The success or failure of our investment in Axion boils down to sales. Everything else is just noise.
    31 Mar 2012, 10:57 AM Reply Like
  • LT
    , contributor
    Comments (5682) | Send Message
     
    You said it very well and that is exactly what I have been trying to convey, however in not as good of words as you. As these goals are met, we start to move higher. These should be in the cc call monday too....these are the 3 most important questions TG could answer...as you said the rest is just noise.

     

    "I would bet that if Axion perfects the electrode production line, starts gaining traction in market acceptance and scores any significant sales success with its target markets the company will become an acquisition target - but not until it starts selling the PbC in quantity."
    31 Mar 2012, 11:26 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    As long as the next round of investors pays more per share than I did I'll not complain.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:38 AM Reply Like
  • thotdoc
    , contributor
    Comments (1868) | Send Message
     
    FCEL is a year or two ahead of AXPW, They recently needed $$ to build production to meet their 1/3 billion dollar backlog of orders. When they went out for $$ they sold 40MM shares for the 60MM they needed. It did not hurt the share holders much. There is a difference between selling shares to survive and selling shares to build production facilities.

     

    The stock sales put a solid floor on the stock and made it possible to begin to trade in addition to holding a core position.
    31 Mar 2012, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • thotdoc
    , contributor
    Comments (1868) | Send Message
     
    I'm going through this with SIRI. When I bought scads at .36, and more at .60, and more at 1.25, I had dreams of $5-10/share. SIRI may go for $2.60-2.90 to Liberty. It feels like I've made $10.00 per hour given all the hours I put into following and keeping up with SIRI.

     

    I really don't want this one to be sold. I'd like to ride it for years. But, that's just me. JP, I understand you have a lot of $$ in this and you want to be made whole.
    31 Mar 2012, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    The long-term core still owns a huge chunk of Axion's stock and at this point I think we'd all be pretty upset if somebody tried to take us out for less than what we consider fair value for our time and effort. If the price gets to a couple digits to the left of the decimal point there might be some takers in the old guard. Anything less wouldn't be worth the time, money and effort.
    31 Mar 2012, 01:56 PM Reply Like
  • eggwis
    , contributor
    Comments (769) | Send Message
     
    BW,

     

    While I'm inclined to agree with you about becoming an acquisition target, I have to say that it would break my heart to have that happen. I know you're not supposed to get emotional about stocks, but this story is really hard to not get attached to. They've been struggling for so long, and they just keep trudging along in silence while everyone else has their marketing/hype machines in high gear. AXPW just keeps their nose to the grindstone, scoring one little win after another; the tortoise and the hare kinda thing, Samson and Goliath. It's a great story.

     

    In addition to the story, I've really become quite fond of the integrity of management team, or at least my perception thereof. I've found a level of comfort and low anxiety that I wouldn't have in a similar stock with different management. Gettin' gobbled up means all of that goes away.

     

    On the other hand, if I could walk away from the deal making 7 figures, I bet I could become very fond of the new management *very* quickly. :-)
    3 Apr 2012, 03:10 AM Reply Like
  • eggwis
    , contributor
    Comments (769) | Send Message
     
    Now *THAT* is music to my ears JP!
    3 Apr 2012, 03:12 AM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    Eventually, it will all be about sales. Until then, however, other news can be very valuable to the stk price. Such as, "GM and Axion to present together at the upcoming conference", or "Union Pacific initiates testing program of Axion's rail solution." All these noise items can so nicely tee-up the ball that a birdie becomes almost inevitable.

     

    Regarding acquisition potential and investing, it would be nice but it's Plan B or C. When it does happen, it can be powerful, though. Coinstar, for example, bought it's first stake in Redbox in 11/05 for $20mil for 48% (= 416k per 1%), when Redbox had only 400 DVD kiosks. A little over 2 years later they paid a reported $160mil for the then-remaining 45% (= $3,556k per 1%), or 8.5x as much per share. Not a perfect anaolgy, of course, but both DVD kiosks and the PbC are new uses for old stuff, and both can ramp sales quickly, once meaningful sales begin at all.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:35 AM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    If I could name one noise event other than sales announcements that would please me the most it would be naming a manufacturing partner, and anyone other than XIDE. Another major company making a public announcement of initiating a testing program would certainly help.

     

    You are quite correct, there are other events besides sales that could move the needle. Thanks for pointing that out to me.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:56 AM Reply Like
  • LT
    , contributor
    Comments (5682) | Send Message
     
    AMEN
    31 Mar 2012, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    BW, you net things out well, I suppose because of your sales background. My few years in sales taught me the value of "making it easy for them to say yes". i.e., excellent preperation. When I did it well, the prospect just about asked ME for the order. lol
    31 Mar 2012, 12:34 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    I think TG used great judgment to raise just the right amount this last round. He bought a solid year's worth of time to work with, while minimizing the long-term pain. This year, the year that he just bought, is truly going to be the culmination. The relationships with NS and BMW are getting heavy on the vine, and each should decidedly break one way or the other this year. And we know which direction is the more likely. Similarly with PowerCube. If no one's bought anymore of them a year from now that will be astounding. Add in the potential development of other auto oem's, rosewater, and oil rigs, and absent some global disaster, it's truly hard to imagine how any capital raise in 2013 doesn't go off at a *much* more favorable price than what we've just experienced...
    31 Mar 2012, 03:57 PM Reply Like
  • thotdoc
    , contributor
    Comments (1868) | Send Message
     
    I have never read an annual report for a developmental company that was this positive.

     

    It's a wonder that some larger players are not taking large positions.

     

    My wife read the report and said buy more shares. She has ever even been interested in hearing about any company's story before. She is a Hospice RN with little interest in the market, but really sees and likes this story.
    31 Mar 2012, 04:23 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    I was 28 when I graduated from law school because I worked my way through undergrad and graduate school while supporting a wife and child. Those years behind a table saw taught me a lot of lessons that my classmates had yet to learn. Like me, Axion had to fight hammer and tong to get to a product despite the odds. Now I understand how my Father felt at my graduation. The team in New Castle has always kept its head down and its mouth shut while it did the grunt work. When the customers finally start talking everybody will listen. Till then the only listeners will be folks who've been willing to do the work to wade through my deathless prose and climb their own walls of worry.
    31 Mar 2012, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >thotdoc .. It would be nice if the company could generate market interest of a quarter of that shown by the pro/con enthusiasm in JP's articles and/or a trading interest of even half the volume of the comment stream.

     

    The only thing of concern in the 10K to me was that the quality & volume of the electrode carbon is still not up to snuff. This is the core of the product.
    31 Mar 2012, 04:37 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    I think there's some uncertainty as to exactly what they mean because on page 6 and 19 when speaking of the NSC effort they state "To date the data from all battery system testing confirms PbC batteries are performing as anticipated".

     

    And their complaint "... We need to improve the performance of our commercial prototypes" makes me wonder what the shortfall is. Consistent quality of manufacturing? Failure to hit the theoretical maximum in some area?

     

    I would've missed this entirely if jlyleluce hadn't made me aware of it as I just skimmed a lot of that as being the normal "boilerplate" "we can die a thousand ways" warnings.

     

    I believe this is a question that should be addressed in the CC. Maybe it's been fixed since that report is "as we were 3 months in the past".

     

    HardToLove
    31 Mar 2012, 04:50 PM Reply Like
  • Edmund Metcalfe
    , contributor
    Comments (2476) | Send Message
     
    In a possible answer to the concerns of DRich, the pertinent statements from the 10K:
    "During 2010, we continued to improve and utilize the new prototype line which, together with certain manual processes, allowed us to manufacture our PbC negative electrodes for sale and for use in ongoing prototype testing. We then incorporated our knowledge and experience into the design of a second generation automated robotic line. There were two main challenges we needed to address in order to be able to ready our product for commercial production quantities – (i) implementation of improved quality control; and (ii) increase in target quantity production levels. We began discussions with a major “design and equipment manufacture” firm early in 2010 which, in the summer of 2010, led to a design and build contract for a robotic carbon electrode manufacturing line. The complete new line was delivered to us in 2011 and was put in place at our Green Ridge Road facility in New Castle, PA. We anticipate that the carbon electrode component of our PbC batteries for our various planned PowerCubeTM projects, for our hybrid locomotive Norfolk Southern project, for our automotive strategic partners and for testing on various other customer oriented projects will all be manufactured with robotic precision on this second generation line. We also continue to identify further improvements to the new line which will be incorporated into the next generation."

     

    "Our upgrade and replacement of battery manufacturing equipment, begun in 2010, was completed in 2011 and included the installation of a new automatic paste mixer and a fixed orifice pasting line that will improve the quality and dimensional tolerances of battery plates. In addition, the assembly operation added an automatic stacker that will provide the precise wrap and alignment of absorbed glass matt separator that is needed for the production of our premium PbC products. 2011 also saw us complete the modernization of our second lead-acid production line; the rebuild of five casting machines; the addition of new welding equipment; and a 35% expansion of our formation area."

     

    I would also like to hear more about the progress on both manufacturing quality and quantity. This has been a caveat for quite some time in many statements.
    31 Mar 2012, 05:06 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >H.T.Love ... I doubt the carbon sheet is a problem that has been fixed in the past 3 months. It has been an ever improving problem on its way to solution .... forever. It is the stickiest problem in the whole project development process I've seen. Now I don't know if all the other problems were viewed as more critical, daunting, time consuming, capital intensive or what but this is,I think, the one roadblock to commercialization and I wouldn't expect a direct answer in the CC with any detail.
    31 Mar 2012, 05:07 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Risk factor disclosure is ALWAYS written to be negative without ANY qualifying language. That particular risk factor exists in one form or another for every development stage company because there's no such thing as a company that doesn't need to improve product performance.

     

    The last version of that risk factor I wrote said "We need to improve the performance of our Laboratory Prototypes. Our Laboratory Prototypes do not satisfy all our performance expectations and we need to improve various aspects of our e3 Supercell technology before we can begin production of Application Prototypes. In particular, we need to increase the energy density of our Laboratory Prototypes and further refine our electrochemistry. There is no assurance that we will be able to resolve the known technical issues. Future testing of our existing Laboratory Prototypes and our proposed Application Prototypes may reveal additional technical issues that are not currently recognized as obstacles. If we cannot improve the performance of our Laboratory Prototypes in a timely manner, we may be forced to redesign or delay the production of Application Prototypes, reconsider our plans to introduce Pilot e3 Supercell power systems or abandon our product development efforts altogether."

     

    In SEC filings, specific textual disclosure on a topic "To date the data from all battery system testing confirms PbC batteries are performing as anticipated" trumps generic risk disclosure that "We need to improve the performance of our commercial prototypes."
    31 Mar 2012, 05:07 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    JP: "In SEC filings, the specific textual disclosure about NS "To date the data from all battery system testing confirms PbC batteries are performing as anticipated" trumps the generic risk disclosure that "We need to improve the performance of our commercial prototypes".

     

    I think you just made me less uncertain.

     

    Thassa good spaghetti!

     

    HardToLove
    31 Mar 2012, 05:14 PM Reply Like
  • Lafferty
    , contributor
    Comments (253) | Send Message
     
    From the 10-K: "The PbC battery production is limited at this time by our inability to make the carbon electrodes in large numbers and with full automated quality control" (p. 7).
    I would like to think of their warnings as merely generic risk disclosure, but I'm not yet convinced that I should read this sort of statement that way. Isn't the lack of full automated quality control at this stage in the game a legitimate worry?
    31 Mar 2012, 09:57 PM Reply Like
  • Stefan Moroney
    , contributor
    Comments (2662) | Send Message
     
    Lafferty, you make a good point considering this was an issue that I remember first being discussed when Maya started these Concentraters last summer .... Is this a legitimate issue that we should be concerned about?

     

    I hope that this will be addressed on the CC.
    31 Mar 2012, 11:03 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Risk factors in disclosure documents change very slowly because companies and their lawyers are reluctant to delete them until an issue has been locked down and put to bed. A single electrode line is never sufficient to "make carbon electrodes in *large numbers* and with full automated quality control." When you're still adjusting, tweaking and adjusting again to get the line running the way you want it to, that's just another reason to effectively say *we're not where we want to be yet.*

     

    The key to reading a Form 10-K is to remember that detailed and specific textual discussion trumps the risk factors.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:26 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1899) | Send Message
     
    In regards to the carbon sheeting/carbon electrodes in large numbers etc.: In my mind a manufacturing company trying to produce a commercial product will always be working toward tightening quality control standards. There are companies that have been manufacturing products for years and still run into batches of a product not coming out to spec or QC issues. The less this happens the more profitable the company will become, so I expect a manufacturing company to *always* be working on QC to improve their process. A good line from the 10-K that is a little more specific in where they are with the manufacturing process and where they are going is this one:

     

    "We anticipate that the carbon electrode component of our PbC batteries for our various planned PowerCube TM projects, for our hybrid locomotive Norfolk Southern project, for our automotive strategic partners and for testing on various other customer oriented projects will all be manufactured with *robotic precision* on this *second generation* line. We also continue to identify further improvements to the new line which will be incorporated into the *next generation*."
    1 Apr 2012, 07:58 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >jakurtz ... I have to agree that a company that is complacent with their manufacturing is asking for disaster because s#!@ happens. I also appreciate John's cautionary assessment that risk factor disclosure is ALWAYS conservative with a negative bias. I read a 10K for more than the specifics of past events but to get a management feeling going forward. As long as the past is acceptable, looking forward is what an investor is interested in. I'm a big fan of the technology and quite pleased with the progress made over the years I've been following Axion so I kind of apologize for being a rabble rouser and questioning where the company stands in respect to its business model.

     

    I'm really enthused that the battery is living up to (probably exceeding) all expectations. I get the "feeling" reading the 10K that Axion is ready & able to go into production for such things as Norfolk Southern and the PowerCube. The limiting factor is that they are able to accomplish this to the limits of New Castle. This is amazing progress as compared to where they were just 2 or 3 years ago, with an eye toward top tier customer needs, considering the "shoe-string" budget they manage so well, but Axion is not ready to expand to satellite facilities for partnership manufacturing at scale to satisfy quantities required by a sector like automotive represented by reliance on a GEN 3 line finalization & the couched language of carbon electrode & sheeting in volume to make this possible. Everything is ready to rock & roll as long as it is directly under the wing. This is great news to a point and I'm one of those impatient souls that really is interested in seeing if the business model can work and watching for pitfalls along the way, which is almost as interesting as the battery itself.

     

    I guess it is the blessing and the curse of being discovered by top tier customers like BMW & NS early on before development was truly complete, a low budget and my unenlightened expectations. Again apologies for being a doubting Thomas.
    1 Apr 2012, 10:17 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    I was shocked when the first tier came to New Castle because we always thought we'd have to start at the bottom of the food chain and fight our way up. We planned to make a product, sell it to lower tier players, learn how to make it better, sell some more, and repeat the process until we reached that glorious point where somebody in the first tier would give us the time of day. Nobody thought we'd have the biggest buyers in the world knocking on the door before we had a salable product.

     

    The problem, of course, is that our plan contemplated a gradual maturation with a lot of learning by doing. The first tier wants nothing to do with that plan and is requiring Axion to mature at an incredible pace. It's a battery industry analog to the *Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei* Since the boys have survived three years without getting their eyes plucked out I suspect they've gotten very lean and very mean.
    1 Apr 2012, 10:37 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    >DRich: "I've been following Axion so I kind of apologize for being a rabble rouser and questioning where the company stands in respect to its business model"

     

    and "I guess it is the blessing and the curse of being discovered by top tier customers like BMW & NS early on before development was truly complete, a low budget and my unenlightened expectations. Again apologies for being a doubting Thomas".

     

    IMHO, you have no cause for apology or regret. To make the best investing decisions, pros and cons must be aired so that we don't become victims of confirmation bias.

     

    A spirited, but respectful, back-and-forth on issues raised should always be welcome, IMO.

     

    The hardest part for all, IMO being human, is to leave our baggage at the door so that we don't castigate each other for (re)raising points that are germane.

     

    As new souls enter the arena it's not always possible for them to read and comprehend all that has gone before. (Re)raising such issues furthers their decision-making process.

     

    Of course, "beating of dead horses" is how its sometime viewed, but that's a natural consequence of the disparity among participants in knowledge and length of participation in the concentrators.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    1 Apr 2012, 11:32 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1899) | Send Message
     
    I agree the Gen 3 line will probably come around the same time there is a design win or first contract.

     

    For me the next nine months, even six months are absolutely pivotal to Axion's future (when has a month not been pivotal, these guys have been under the gun for at least four years). In my mind it is essential that management demonstrates a clear path to commercial viability at least 2-3 months before the next raise. I think management knows this and that is why they went out and got Dantam and a comptroller. In this vein you have every right to be looking with a microscope at the manufacturing progression.

     

    The other dynamic I look at that can help Axion beyond sales and concrete progress is the willing sellers pool. Of course, good news can dry up that pool like a hot summer day, but so can stockholders that are confident in the companies prospects and management over the long term as well as absent dinosaur holders. (we have been waiting for this dynamic for a long time, so perhaps, it is mythical, we can only wait and see)

     

    Axion's other saving grace (if sales are not in the near future) is that they have no debt. I can not see a catastrophic situation that would cause most of us and its other individual stockholders to sell the stock down to much less than what it is now. When holders factor in the worth of their patents, their plant, their AGM and lead acid production capabilities, one should easily be able to see $40M-$50M worth. This is why I was also happy to read in the 10K that their lead acid contract from last year is continuing this year. It is good for cash burn and working capital.

     

    I hope the cc will give us a good gauge on where they think they will be over the next several months in regard to PbC sales and design wins. Again, in my book, everything is coming to a head and it is all up to management. The battery and technology is what it is at this point, the question becomes if after a decade of work and determination can management make the company tick.

     

    (Oh, btw... I wish there were more doubting thomas's, rational ones are good for the blog in my book.)
    1 Apr 2012, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    The idea that *something has to happen for the stock price to move* is widely accepted as gospel, but diametrically opposed to my experience. News items have a transitory impact on stock prices while supply and demand inflections are permanent. I can show you a series of home run news items for Axion that bumped the price temporarily but had no lasting impact including:

     

    An April 2009 partnership with Exide
    An August 2009 ARRA battery manufacturing grant
    A June 2010 announcement of a relationship with NS
    A September 2010 announcement of a relationship with BMW
    A November 2011 announcement of the PowerCube

     

    Each of these news items was massive. Collectively they weren't enough to overcome a bad supply and demand dynamic. The long term chart says it all.

     

    In 33 years of practice the major lasting moves I've seen in stock prices seem to happen for no apparent reason and are only recognizable in the rear-view mirror. I've reached the conclusion that it's all an issue of supply and demand because nothing else explains what I've seen time and time again.

     

    I know it runs contrary to *common sense,* but mark my words. The shift will come when you least expect it and for no obvious reason.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:05 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    I think the "major shift" will come when someone or some entity wants to buy millions of shares, rather than someone or some entity wanting to sell millions of shares.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Exactly! The price flatlined in February because instead of being relieved by the elimination of an existential threat, people were pissed off about the offering price and then started obsessing over the earnings call. Volume collapsed from 12 million shares in January to 9.1 million shares in February to 4 million shares in March. As long as demand stays low the price will probably wallow. When buyers return to the field after a couple months on the fences it will get interesting indeed.

     

    My trailing 12 month volume progression through March 31st of each year goes like this:

     

    2008 – 1,119,100
    2009 – 2,310,600
    2010 – 8,676,000
    2011 – 42,343,600
    2012 – 79,967,200

     

    The short term volume trend is pretty ugly. The long term volume trend is pretty amazing.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:19 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Just want to second HTL's sentiments...
    1 Apr 2012, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • mds5375
    , contributor
    Comments (165) | Send Message
     
    John – 2 related questions (this may really only be 1 question) on the Risk Factors cited in the 10K vs. the conference call:
    I understand the need to elaborate the doom and gloom in the 10K as you pointed out. The 10K is for the period ending Dec 31, 2011 – 3 months ago.
    1) On the conference call, to what extent can Axion discuss the degree to which those risks have been mitigated in the 3 months since that time (while still keeping the lawyers happy)? Or are there still legal restrictions?
    2) Similar to the first question, to what extent can Axion talk generally about any issues/risks without getting into trouble with the legal disclosure obligations?
    (I’m not trying to trip you up, and I may not be asking the question correctly. I’m trying to get a better feel for how freely TG will be able to speak without transgressing the cautionary warnings (rightly) required by the lawyers. My question is also separate of the independent need not to upset our customers with early announcements which is a different issue).
    Thanks
    1 Apr 2012, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >JP ... I have to agree with Mayascribe [quote] ... "major shift" will come when someone or some entity wants to buy ... [quote]. I think the stock suffers from a complete lack of interest.

     

    Form 10K; page 19
    "On December 31, 2011 there were 423 holders of record for our common stock and 85,531,114 shares of our common stock outstanding"

     

    So I'm rather amazed that so few people have managed to trade so many shares.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:22 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    DR, I believe among those holders of record are the discount brokers such as Etrade and Ameritrade, who hold the stock in street name, and likely have hundreds of small Axion shareholders in their folds....
    1 Apr 2012, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >481086 ... Probably right. I was stuck in some sort of custodial arrangement through Fidelity when I first bought into Axion. I bought it but didn't really control the shares, but I didn't really care. To this day I'm fuzzy on how that worked and might have been why they regularly tried to talk me out of the holding.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:35 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    Yes. That "street name" hides the real numbers, which are "Holder of Record", IIRC.

     

    At this time that poses no risk since short interest is so small. In the future, with listing on a major exchange and better share price, all those shares held in "street name" in marginable accounts are eligible for loan out, allowing the brokers to make (somewhat) lucrative fees for lending shorters *your* shares* to bet against *your* position (or even drive share price down) for the benefit of the shorts.

     

    Naturally, you get no piece of the action.

     

    Unfortunately, for most of us small retail investors our only protection is to hold shares in a non-margineable account (conventiaonal account with no margin, IRA, etc.) or request certificates, which will cost some $ and reduce your ability to trade them.

     

    Not a problem ATM, but just be prepared mentally for the day when you will be prompted to utter "WT[expletive deleted]! Why the heck is it dropping like that"?

     

    Better mentally prepared than surprised. But that's a long way out yet.

     

    N.B. ISTR that somewhere someone once posted that we could request our shares not be loaned. I can't recall when or where and cannot, ATM, confirm or deny this.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    1 Apr 2012, 01:39 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Conference calls have a safe-harbor exemption as long as they make specific reference to the risk factors disclosed in SEC filings and the discussion in the conference call *bespeaks caution.* Companies typically try to focus on activity during the relevant reporting period, but forward-looking discussions are not uncommon.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    That particular disclosure is the number of holders with shares in physical form – e.g stock certificates. CEDE & Co., the street name for Depository Trust Company, is treated as a single shareholder for purposes of that disclosure.

     

    CEDE is the record owner of every share that's held in a brokerage account. The number of *beneficial owners* of shares held by CEDE is typically an order of magnitude greater than the number of people who hold paper certificates
    1 Apr 2012, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    Brokerage firms try to talk clients out of holding stock in certificated form because handling paper is expensive and the paper is easy to lose. Lost stock certificates can be incredibly expensive to replace.

     

    The way the DTC system works is that all brokerage firms have their shares held in street name by DTC. When shares trade hands a book entry reflects the transfer from Firm A to Firm B, and the firms internal records then allocate the shares to the individual accounts. The only information DTC has is the total number of shares owned by each brokerage firm. The only information the Company has is the total number of shares owned by DTC. There are ways to get more detail but they're cumbersome and expensive.
    1 Apr 2012, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    Ah! I think I misused "Holder of Record", as you might be suggesting. I'm used to seeing that phrase when reading dividend announcements including "payable to Holders of Record on date ...".

     

    Thanks for clearing up my error.

     

    HardToLove
    1 Apr 2012, 02:14 PM Reply Like
  • Mathieu Malecot
    , contributor
    Comments (1249) | Send Message
     
    DRich, i find your comments to be "must not miss" for the most part. i agreed with your time frame for sales too. i must say i will be pleasantly surprised should sales start coming in this year.

     

    your technical expertise and pragmatism are a benifit to current and potential investors imo.
    2 Apr 2012, 12:19 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >tragicslip et al ... For the most part ... I thank you for the kind words. I actually expect some sales this year but I'm not really expecting Customer No. 1 to show up but I'd be happy to see a design win also. I'm still in the rails leading the way frame of mind.

     

    As to my "expertise" ... I'd venture to guess there are many more here that eclipse mine.
    2 Apr 2012, 12:53 AM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    In my experience, a major factor in any stock's performance is how its sector is doing, however you want to define "sector."

     

    It was easy pick'ns in big parts of the '80s and late 90's in microcaps in general, at least those in certain obvious industries. 'Throw a dart' kind of situation. Lots 'o $ was made.

     

    More recently, we hit the Great Depression. Just about every stock caved until about March, 2009. A lot of big money had to change course/perform triage since then, ala Quercus. Many stocks have still not recovered much.

     

    Most recently, there is some 'risk back on' investing going on, although not like those old highflying days--yet. In the last 6 months, the Russell 2000 is up 36%. Very nice. BUT, the battery/green space has been getting whacked. Not helpful.

     

    If the 'risk-on' trade continues, the battery/green space's dust settles (which it eventually will, with a reevaluation of the future winners), and Axion has good news, then those three things combined can be a powerful boost to the stk price, as big money flows back in. We just might be on the threshold of some powerful forces coming together.
    2 Apr 2012, 01:58 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    MrI: I believe that the regulatory pressures JP has discussed that are coming in the near future will be an additional factor. The *requirement* that s/s actually work for the lifetime of the vehicle, as the technology finally becomes widely available at commercial scale, will add upward price pressure.

     

    Since these requirements are little affected by market action, AXPW et al may do fairly well regardless of the market action. I know it can't be totally divorced from the market, but every little bit helps.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    2 Apr 2012, 04:54 AM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3142) | Send Message
     
    Good pt., HTL. May take a little while for the regulatory lifespan requirement to hit, but the move to such a huge benefit seems inevitable. Will be just another boost to the wave, IMHO.
    2 Apr 2012, 09:21 AM Reply Like
  • eggwis
    , contributor
    Comments (769) | Send Message
     
    jak,
    "There are companies that have been manufacturing products for years and still run into batches of a product not coming out to spec or QC issues."
    ~ hmmm, does J&J come to mind for anyone?
    3 Apr 2012, 03:26 AM Reply Like
  • eggwis
    , contributor
    Comments (769) | Send Message
     
    With re: to the GEN3 line and the questions surrounding quality & quantity of production, IMO it's unreasonable to expect that these issues can really be "nailed down" and resolved until you have an order/orders for massive quantities. Until such time as the line is up and running for extended periods producing massive quantities, everything they see there is based on "simulation" and extrapolation. The final tweaks that take you to the 80% that JP referred to earlier can only happen when the line is up and running and producing en mass because as DR ( I think) said earlier, poop happens! ...and you can bet your cahoonas that it's going to happen then, when the rubber *has* to meet the road.
    3 Apr 2012, 03:42 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >JP ... I guess I should look into getting a 100 share paper stock certificate (suitable for framing) before it gets too expensive. I wonder what it would look like? The only one I have is one from my granddad for AT&T. I wonder how I'd go about that? Call Quercus? Call (Ugh) Fidelity?
    3 Apr 2012, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    In days of yore when everybody got paper, stock certificates were works of art. The certificates we used four years ago were not works of art. I have no idea whether Axion has upgraded the look and feel of their paper certificates, but it's hardly worth the trouble when the real action is in the DTC system. The only way to get a clean certificate in your name is to call Fidelity and have them peel off a hundred shares for physical delivery, which will probably take a couple weeks.
    3 Apr 2012, 10:40 AM Reply Like
  • alsobirdman
    , contributor
    Comments (431) | Send Message
     
    You guys are making me smile this weekend. Yesterday was my last day of work, for at least a while. I think I have said before on this blog that I was forced to retire because my job was outsourced to India by our British owners. At age 54 I consider myself very lucky that due to lots of hard work, long hours and a bit of luck I should be able to live my current lifestyle for the rest of my life and never work again if I choose not. Axion is one of my picks that can make things a whole lot better. I'd be thrilled to hit a couple bucks 5 years from now. Anything more will be extra gravy on my potatoes and allow a better quality scotch on the shelf.
    31 Mar 2012, 04:43 PM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2113) | Send Message
     
    Evey man has a story.
    The idea of forced retirement due to out sourcing has a pungent odor to it.
    Glad to hear you can and will survive the change. Please continue to contribute. This is an interesting group with many skills and diverse background.
    31 Mar 2012, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • jveal
    , contributor
    Comments (660) | Send Message
     
    I want to express a heart felt thanks to each one of you who contributes knowledge and clarification to this 10K report and all the news that comes out about Axion. As a relatively new active participant in the stock market, you continue to help me understand the dynamics of investing. I check the APC several times a day. I suspect there are dozens more like me who don't feel they have anything to contribute and remain quiet. I am looking forward to Monday with great expectation. Thanks for making it a more tolerable wait with your commentary about the 10K report.
    31 Mar 2012, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2113) | Send Message
     
    jveal,
    Welcome to the concentrator. Enjoy the conference call on Monday.
    Listening with some "skin in the game" always makes every word precious.
    Good to have you with us.
    31 Mar 2012, 08:42 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Hat tip to APH, who keeps the watch, and scrubs the filth, so the rest of us can sleep untroubled...
    1 Apr 2012, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    I made a comment that disappeared, perhaps with our friendly troll's demise.

     

    When TG called shareholders after the conference call line ended prematurely he called me. I specifically asked him about the carbon sheeting issue. His comment to me was that they were in good shape on that unless they got an order for more than 400,000. Unfortunately I didn't ask him to qualify the 400K as to batteries or electrodes, but I assumed he meant batteries. Even if it were electrodes that would be at least 100K batteries.
    1 Apr 2012, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Bang, I thought it was like 30 electrodes per 12V PbC (5 per cell) or 32 electrodes per 16V PbC (at 4 per cell).... so 400K electrodes is more like 12,000 batteries maybe, not 100K... thinking you just added or missed a zero in there somewhere...
    1 Apr 2012, 12:27 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    Yeah, I blew that math, but at the time my impression was that he was referring to batteries, not electrodes. He wouldn't have suggested they were ahead of the curve on carbon sheets if it was an order larger than 12,000 batteries. He definitely gave me the impression Axion wasn't worried about the carbon sheeting issue unless it was a gigantic order.

     

    The easiest way to get clarity on the issue for anyone concerned would be to ask what size order for batteries can be met with the current carbon sheeting production capacity. Maybe another way to phrase it would be "Could you add some color on remaining issues with producing carbon sheeting feed stock and how large a PbC battery order could be filled with your current carbon sheet production capacity?"
    1 Apr 2012, 12:50 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    A six second dwell time works out to a maximum of 4,800 assemblies per line per shift. Using capacity factors of 80%, 70% and 60% for first, second and third shifts, it works out to ±11,000 electrode assemblies per day per line, or 2,750,000 electrode assemblies per year per line. Since it's unclear to me whether the Gen1 line was decommissioned or upgraded to meet Gen2 specifications, I can't carry the back of the napkin calculations much farther.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:59 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    While there has been no definitive statement about the Gen1 line, based on the cap-x spending and comments about specific upgrades to the flooded and AGM production capacity for PbC production I doubt that the Gen1 line has been upgraded. If that had been accomplished I think they would have said so in the 10K.

     

    I suppose it is also unclear whether the Gen2 line was upgraded to 6 second dwell time for all processes also. I think that required either improving the portion of the line that was running 11 seconds, or adding a second station that split the 11 second dwell time station into two identical stations.

     

    All good questions for the conference call.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:15 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    July 20 notes state, "3600 electrodes per shift". And, "Biggest challenge is carbon sheet extrusion."

     

    I was told that there was *to be* a 30 to 40% improvement soon coming, which works out pretty close to your 4800 assemblies/shift.

     

    I also witnessed an "electrostatic sticking" problem, which at the time, the tone was that the sticking issue was a minor issue.
    1 Apr 2012, 01:21 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18495) | Send Message
     
    ISTR that most electrostatic sticking issues are resolved by control of humidity and grounding at various steps. Might include such simple steps as grounded "wipers" for the material as it moves into station.

     

    HardToLove
    1 Apr 2012, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3442) | Send Message
     
    Gigantic order = high-quality problem. Yes please, I'll take two. ;)
    1 Apr 2012, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    Great, and somewhat humorous lecture about molten salt batteries given by the inventor, Ted Sadoway, from MIT:

     

    http://bit.ly/HdoPeI

     

    Hat tip to my great friend, Dr. David Sedat.
    1 Apr 2012, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    Just to help correct your typo, Maya:

     

    It's Dr. Donald Sadoway.

     

    The lecture itself is a 'TED Talk'.

     

    For those not familar with TED, they are an innumerable and fascinating series of lectures available for free online on a broad and diverse range of subjects.

     

    I describe TED talks as like Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' but for 10-20 minutes in length.

     

    And like An Inconvenient Truth they are thought provoking but one should conduct additional research if they are going to buy into the theories presented fully.

     

    The best that I ever saw was by Randy Pausch but many of them are excellent.

     

    D
    1 Apr 2012, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • SMaturin
    , contributor
    Comments (2305) | Send Message
     
    The Technology, Entertainment, and Design talks have always been weighted toward the Entertainment part.

     

    I enjoy them, but only with a margarita with a very large rimful of salt.
    1 Apr 2012, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (10664) | Send Message
     
    Hattie: Thanks for the correction.

     

    I put the vid up for those who may not grasp how a molten battery works, and for another "credible" person stating how great the future needs the grid will mandate from energy storage.

     

    I laughed at the part where "Ted" ... oops, Don, stated that there was no other cheap alternative (besides his) that doesn't use the expensive end of the periodic chart.
    1 Apr 2012, 07:19 PM Reply Like
  • Stilldazed
    , contributor
    Comments (2151) | Send Message
     
    Great corporate April fools joke about power solution.
    http://bit.ly/HD2FqM
    1 Apr 2012, 07:37 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    Good sense of humor at Tigerdirect. I have never forgotten the national uproar over the full page newspaper ads in the NY Times, Washington Post, and other major papers by Taco Bell stating they had bought the Liberty bell and renamed it "The Taco Bell." It was during Clinton's time when you could buy a night in the Lincoln Bedroom, etc. People believed it! It was incredibly good April Fool's joke. You can look it up on Wikipedia.

     

    My parents really sucked me in one year when I was a teenager. My father was working for the government in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where we lived and I came home one afternoon to see boxes every where and stuffed being packed up. I said "What's going on?" My mother said we were leaving for Bangkok the next day and everything was being packed up to ship.

     

    I left and went around town and made it a point to tell several people including my teacher at school to kiss my A$$, I was leaving. When I got home no boxes, no people packing, a perfectly orderly house. I said "where are the boxes? What is happening? Don't we have to leave tomorrow morning?" My mother looked at me with a sly grin and said "April Fools!" Boy, was I in a world of S%@!!

     

    Foreign service people are big on April's Fool jokes. The best I remember at the adult level was the guy they sent to find part of a US satellite that had supposedly landed in the jungle about 100 kilometers away before the Russians or Chinese found it. They let him wander around in the jungle for a day before springing "April's Fool" on him.
    1 Apr 2012, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1511) | Send Message
     
    The U.S. satellite story is good. It would be a lawsuit now.
    2 Apr 2012, 02:22 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
     
    As I recall Phnom Penh was not the place to be when you were a teenager in the '60s Bang. Daddy was a spook eh?
    2 Apr 2012, 02:39 AM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2250) | Send Message
     
    Good guess John. It was 56 to 60 for me. Parents sent me to military school in the states before they left since I was such an angel.
    2 Apr 2012, 09:40 AM Reply Like
  • alpha5one
    , contributor
    Comments (148) | Send Message
     
    Link to an interesting Michelle Malking article regarding A123.
    Eco-Scams Are as Easy as "A123"

     

    http://bit.ly/H809dI

     

    A snippet from the article:

     

    The Solyndra of the week is A123 Systems, an electric vehicle battery company based in Massachusetts. The firm also has battery plants in Michigan, where former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm once heralded A123 as a federal stimulus "success story." Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the company headquarters and hailed it as a "great example of how Recovery Act funding is helping American companies." In addition to nearly $300 million in Obama Recovery Act funds, Granholm kicked in another $135 million in tax credits and subsidies to bribe the company to keep jobs in her state.

     

    How's the return on government investment? This green dud will have taxpayers seeing red. A123's official company motto is "Power. Safety. Life." But the firm's reality is "Out of power. Endangering safety. Clinging to life."
    1 Apr 2012, 10:23 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4825) | Send Message
     
    >alpha5one ... How's the return on government investment???? Well, the "green" initiative was ill conceived and a blunder but more beneficial to the USA than the TRILLIONS we spent nation building during the previous administration and unfortunately carried forward.
    1 Apr 2012, 10:43 PM Reply Like
  • anthlj
    , contributor
    Comments (228) | Send Message
     
    DRich,
    Perspective is a wonderful thing, totally absent from so much of what passes as debate these days, just the way they like it to be...but this is not the forum.

     

    Let's hope for a better conference call tomorrow. Another fiasco would really reflect poorly.
    2 Apr 2012, 01:41 AM Reply Like
  • Axion Power Host
    , contributor
    Comments (508) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » 88888888888888888888
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    The CC cometh, along with a new pristine concentrator, in which we start a new round of "What's It All About Axion?".

     

    http://bit.ly/HNTW1K

     

    Oh! If you want the new concentrator, it's here.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

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    2 Apr 2012, 05:56 AM Reply Like
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