Jong-Hyun Lim, CEO
With sustainability as the key driver, the world is witnessing a significant shift in the overall share of global energy spending towards clean energy technologies. A prime example of that is electrical vehicles—which account for almost 30 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in most countries—offer ideal opportunities for the broader introduction of renewables to the transport sector. As the number of electric vehicles (EV) increases, it creates new demand for electricity that can be fulfilled through renewables.
The electric vehicle market in Asia-Pacific is the largest in China, Korea, and Japan. As many developed countries are starting to regulate automobiles that use internal combustion engines (ICE), the electric vehicle market is expected to grow at a higher CAGR during the forecast period from 2017 to 2023. As a result, the market size of the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow from USD 15 million in 2019 to USD 163 million in 2027 at a CAGR of 41.2 percent.
Supporting the transition into a greener future is A-PRO. This company develops and manufactures core equipment for the activation process, which is critical in secondary battery production by utilizing power conversion circuit technology, battery inspection technology, and other software technologies. “Our goal is to become a leading company in the future energy solution business based on expertise and knowledge over the past decades,” states Jong-Hyun Lim, CEO of A-PRO.
Being an Eco-friendly Energy Company
Since its inception in 2000, achieving the highest level of power conversion technology becomes the foundation for A-PRO’s growth. Today, the company has entered into the secondary battery industry through bidirectional power conversion circuit technology after going through the growth period in the components industry and the preparation period in the LCD inspection equipment industry.
Located in Gyeonggi Province in Korea, A-PRO has a diverse product portfolio, from rechargeable Li-ion battery manufacturing equipment to integrated solutions for battery applications such as electric vehicles and e-mobility based on power conversion and control measurement technology. In addition, the company is currently working toward building charging stations for electric vehicles by utilizing its technologies such as Fast/Quick Charging Technology (shorter charging time: up to 10 mins), OBC (On-Board Charger), and LDC (Low Voltage DC-DC Converter).
The reason why power conversion circuit technology is needed in activation process equipment: Small batteries which are used in cell phones, laptops, among others, have little energy, so there is no need for energy regeneration. However, the batteries used in electric vehicles and ESSs are more significant, so it is necessary to regenerate the energy stored in the battery.
To meet this demand, circuit technology plays a significant role by converting power in both directions. A-PRO has expertise in bidirectional power conversion circuit technology for secondary battery including precise inspection technology and software technology. In addition, A-PRO is preparing to provide a solution that can diagnose battery life and condition while charging by using its own technology and algorithms.
Unique Value Proposition
As a key partner of the world’s best Secondary Battery Manufacturer, A-PRO develops products locally in a few key countries and sells them through their global sales network. The company is known for producing better quality devices based on the optimized, integrated solutions for customers by considering product performance, material, cycle duration, simulation, verification, supply network, and cost. A-PRO’s core competencies include state-of-the-art technology based on power conversion, software, control, measurement, and machine mechanism. Another reason why A-PRO becomes the “go-to” partner for customers is because of its customization based on the environment and specifications. The company also has a great reputation for automation technology based on the smart manufacturing system. The main competitive advantage of A-PRO is that it has excellent research and development capabilities with nearly half of the total workforce. To maximize the expertise and performance of the R&D workforce, the new R&D center was built in Si-hwa MTV district of Gyeonggi-do, Korea in March 2021. (approx. 64,000 ft2).
Our goal is to become a leading company in the future energy solution business based on expertise and knowledge over the past decades
In consideration of the energy industry's social, economic and environmental aspects, A-PRO has selected the high-efficiency lithium-ion solution business that has great potential for future growth as its strategic business area. To meet the energy industry's needs, A-PRO has partnered with world-class lithium-ion manufacturers and is continuously expanding the business.
A Strategy for Continued Success
First of all, A-PRO has developed power semiconductor devices based on gallium nitride (GaN) by establishing a semiconductor business division since 2018. The chip design is now completed, and the foundry is being developed. In July of last year, A-PRO SEMICON was spun off from A-PRO and established at Korea Photonics Technology Institute in Gwangju, Korea. Once the power semiconductor device development is completed, it will be applied to A-PRO’s charging/discharging equipment first. Using these latest devices to the equipment means that A-PRO equipment will be more competitive than other competitive equipments.
Secondly, A-PRO is preparing a project to develop a technology to diagnose used batteries using the battery inspection and measurement technology that A-PRO currently has. The batteries used in electric vehicles vary depending on the size of the vehicle, but 500 batteries for pouch cells and 8,000 batteries for cylindrical cells. A large number of batteries that are installed in this way will not fail at the same time. However, it is necessary to inspect the quality of the modules or packs that have returned as defective. A-PRO is planning to develop a technology that can diagnose good or bad batteries for used batteries. Also, the reusable battery after diagnosis can be reassembled and used according to the application. This project will be a new business opportunity for A-PRO. The AI technology through deep-learning is applied to this, and various algorithms are being developed through data collection of battery aging factors. Using these algorithms can diagnose the battery condition faster than the current method is in used. Also, this project is expected to meet the eco-friendly trend that is being planned around the world. Therefore, A-PRO is continuously working on the diagnostic technology for used batteries.
All in all, A-PRO is always striving for new business opportunities with various customers. Furthermore, as the technology of A-PRO is already recognized by the world’s No.1 manufacturer, A-PRO expects to be successful in business with other domestic and foreign customers in the near future.