1. Can you tell us a little bit about what ALT Technologies does?
Almost 400 employees work at sites in the Netherlands, Romania, China, USA and Mexico. More than 25 employees work in R&D. In 2022, we shipped nearly 680 million items. Just-in-time delivery of products and proximity to the customer are important in our market. Therefore we are present on different continents.
2. What is the connection between ALT Technologies and airbags?
ALT Technologies has been producing special covers to protect the function of airbags for decades. As a result, we grew along with the number of airbags used in cars. When the first airbags were introduced in the 1970s, there were only one or two installed in cars. Today, there are up to seven airbags in every vehicle. As a result, all major Tier 1 manufacturers in the automotive industry now use our products. Despite modern driver assistance systems and car-to-x communication, the airbag remains the means of choice to protect vehicle occupants.
3. How is automotive production currently changing and what does this mean for ALT Technologies?
In this day and age, there is one major goal: to reduce CO2 emissions. High-performance electric vehicles will replace combustion vehicles very quickly. Electromobility and autonomous driving are therefore young growth markets. These types of vehicles have a high demand for electronics and sensor technology.
As a result, the market for electronic components is changing. In 1980, electronic components accounted for only 10 percent of the manufacturing costs of a car. The forecast for 2030 is 50 percent. This means that even today, and even more so in the future, an increasing number of electronic components will have to be safeguarded.
The market therefore primarily needs products for the safety of electronics. This applies not only to components such as batteries, but also to all other electronic parts in vehicles. Demand is increasing rapidly in the direction of electronics protection and shielding, RFID tags and sensor technology.
4. How do you assess the future expansion of e-mobility?
The market for e-cars or vehicles with hybrid drives will develop rapidly. After 2035, only passenger cars that do not run on diesel or gasoline may be newly registered in the European Union. We have thus made a commitment within the EU. In addition, there will be a certain percentage of hydrogen- powered vehicles, especially for the 'heavy commercial vehicles' sector.
The European automotive industry must now quickly bring affordable and performance-oriented electric vehicles to the market in order to retain market share.
5. What does the growing e-automotive industry mean for ALT Technologies?
We have been supplying the automotive industry with innovative safety products for decades. Today, ALT Technologies is already in the midst of further developing and manufacturing products specifically for electric vehicles. This includes printed electronics for standard battery management systems and die-cut lightweight electronics for high-voltage applications which we customize with highly conductive materials, to be affixed with highly conductive glues.
6. Let's move on to the products. The topic of 'adhesives' is a long-standing core competence of ALT Technologies, right?
Absolutely! We have adhesives for different substrate materials. It is important that the labels or covers are durable, hold up well on rough surfaces, can be removed without leaving residue, cover a high temperature range and are also as emission-free as possible, for example. Even though a label looks simple, there is a lot of technology behind it.
And in terms of sustainability, many OEM's want recyclable materials to be used in the label so that there is a lower carbon footprint. And, as already mentioned, we have enormous expertise with adhesives in EV battery cells. Conductivity is very important there and we offer a large range of conductive glues.
7. ALT Technologies sometimes also handles the final assembly of products. Why?
In some cases, our labels have to be integrated into the early production process of the component. This depends on the specific functionality. It is efficient if we not only supply the label or the cover, but also place it on the component right away. In the end, we deliver the finished component. Other products are not applied until after production. The end customers then implement this process in their own factory.
In many cases, the OEM suppliers involve us in development and planning at an early stage so that we can pool our expertise. The end result is a product developed specifically for the customer's requirements.
8. What is ALT Technologies' stance on sustainability?
We are currently developing products that can be printed and therefore require less material and cost. These printed electronics could be used to replace conventional heaters and battery management system wire harnesses for example.To save weight and volume, we also see a trend to move more to flexible and thin (film or textile) products. This to replace rigid, hard plastic components (housings) used today. By replacing a molded plastic component towards a sustianable foil will be a double win. This is a big plus, because in the future the CO2 footprint will become an increasingly decisive factor.
9. Printed electronics and conductive ink solutions are a new line of business for ALT Technologies. Which components can be replaced by printed electronics?
First and foremost, it's about traditional wiring, which can be replaced to a certain extent by flexible printed electronics.
Instead of buttons, printed slide bars could also be used on touchscreens. In some cars, it is already possible to control the volume, the roof or even the temperature via a sliding bar. Behind the sliding bar is a capacitive touch foil. This functionality can be printed. For example, weight measurement sensors in the passenger seat can also be printed.