Iten Opens SMD Lithium Ion Microbatteries Plant in Châlons-sur-Saone

Iten, a French deep-tech nugget, wants to become an industry leader in lithium-ion microbatteries. After eight years of research and development and 200 patents filed worldwide, its technology is ready for industrial adoption and subsequent large-scale distribution.

Last October, the company managed to raise €140 million in funds: €80 million from investors such as Bpifrance under the France 2030 plan, complemented by €60 million of debt in the contracting process. On Wednesday, the company announced the opening of a second plant in Châlons-sur-Saone (71).

100 recruits every 18-24 months

The production capacity of this new site will develop in parallel with the company’s turnover. But it could eventually consist of ten production modules capable of producing just over 100 million parts a year each. “We are starting with the first module to go live in 2026 and we will move forward as the company grows,” explains Fabien Gabin, CEO of Iten.

Le Grand Chalon was chosen because of its proximity to the company’s first production site, located in Dardilly, in the Lyon area. It also met desired space and access restrictions and has the advantage of being in an industrial ecosystem with many jobs. The company, which currently has about fifty employees, is currently hiring 100 employees every 18 to 24 months.

Key component of miniaturization

In the race for miniaturization, especially of connected and interacting objects (IoT sensors, smart cards, etc.), the most common issue is energy management. Coin-cell batteries and supercapacitors are bulky components, often quite expensive… and not recyclable. The European directive also aims to ban primary button batteries by 2030. Therefore, alternative technologies must be found, and this is where Iten comes into play.

The French manufacturer’s microbatteries are fully compatible with the manufacturing processes of the electronics industry and deliver 1,000 times the power density of primary button cells at the thickness of a credit card. This breakthrough technology is very suitable for the electronics market: connected objects, autonomous sensors, smart cards, even watchmaking or bioelectronics. It would even suit the design of plug-in contact lenses. “We will be able to supply all manufacturers, even those that use the most demanding electronic components, such as medical device manufacturers whose products must be sterilized at 150 degrees,” the CEO clarifies.

Recyclable and rechargeable

They also have the advantage of being environmentally friendly: Iten Nanobatteries are free of heavy metals and are fully recyclable and rechargeable, giving them a particularly long service life. Another point to note is that the company “controls the entire production chain, from the synthesis of the nanomaterials used in their composition to the production equipment, while most battery manufacturers buy their materials from chemical wholesalers.”

“In the passive component market, the big global players are neither Chinese nor American, it’s almost Japanese exclusivity,” explains Fabien Gabin. “Therefore, our competitors are quite large Japanese manufacturers, but we differ from them in energy efficiency, ultra-miniaturization and compatibility with automated assembly processes in the electronics industry,” he adds.

Now that microbatteries are on the market, Iten is embarking on new research programs. “We are working to develop high-performance conventional batteries that can be used in mobile phones, PCs and even mobile devices.”

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