Exhibitor Spotlight: Michael Muzzin, Dukosi
Dukosi specialises in disruptive battery management technology. Here, we talk to Michael Muzzin, Dukosi's commercial director, about how the industry is evolving and what Dukosi is contributing to the world of battery manufacturing.
Michael Muzzin, commercial director at Dukosi, Ltd, studied engineering and, later, business at the University of Michigan before beginning his career at Ford Motor Company. He moved from the automotive OEM world to a Silicon Valley electronics company, and then to Europe with a Tier-1 supplier. He returned to the United States with ITT Automotive, but it was back to Europe with ArvinMeritor as the commercial leader of their European sales team. Muzzin moved into the automotive battery industry in 2009 with Axeon Power, and several of that team are now with Dukosi, a BMS start-up based in Scotland.
Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company's growth during the past three years?
Electric and hybrid vehicles are really moving into their own now, with every major manufacturer now involved in designing their own high-performance and unavoidably complex battery systems. The battery cell manufacturers have done a great job in recent years at increasing their performance while reducing their costs. As a result of the continued drive toward both increased performance and value for the entire system, the industry is focusing more sharply on increasing the performance of other parts of the battery system, such as the battery management system.
Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years, or are you anticipating new trends?
In the automotive industry, it's all about continuous improvement, both on the performance side, and on the value side. Battery packs are the single most costly part of an electric vehicle, and we bring added performance and reliability while reducing cost and complexity.
What are your areas of R&D focus, and what timeline do you anticipate for bringing your next new products to market? Can you tell us anything about those products?
Our technology and investment is centered around being able to communicate battery data and information wirelessly, and being able to do so at the level of individual battery cells. We are also able to electronically track and store the ‘life history’ of the cell from the moment it is made, and including repair, remanufacture, and secondary use. We can even take that information and move it beyond vehicle systems and into the cloud, providing a valuable tool for anyone who uses that cell to understand its application history.
What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?
Customers will want their electric vehicles to perform like a gasoline vehicle in terms of convenience and cost. That means more charging stations, greater vehicle range, and enhanced reliability. As the number of packs in the field increases, along with their size, we really bring our advantages to that equation with our ability to track individual cells for the life of the battery, even if the pack has been serviced, rebuilt, or gone on to a secondary life. We’re like a lifelong passport for each battery cell.
What would you say are the key challenges and opportunities currently faced by the industry?
More capacity, increased reliability, smaller size, and – of course – lower cost. It is actually welcome and useful to have common and well-understood challenges across all levels of the battery industry. On the opportunity side, the same advantages we bring to automotive also apply to other applications and customers, such as marine batteries (which use an amazingly large number of cells per ship) and grid storage, which likewise uses a large number of cells per installation site, all of which need to be kept in balance across a massively large pack.
What is your company's approach to strategic partnerships or joint ventures, and what kinds of partnerships are you most open to exploring?
As a start-up, we plan to integrate a number of key partners as we grow our business and bring our technology to high-volume production. We have a well-defined technology roadmap and we will be involving the right partners at the right stage of our business growth. We have already begun to build a number of key alliances at the cell and electronics level.
What products will you be featuring at the show this year and what response are you expecting?
We are planning to show a demonstration module using the Dukosi battery management system. Its wireless features will be clearly visible. We expect that customers will appreciate the reduction in wiring complexity, while learning more about what benefits a cell-based management system can bring to pack management technology.
Why are you exhibiting and what connections do you hope to make there?
This year's show is our global debut for our demonstrator pack. Since ours is a global industry, having a common venue for automotive battery technology in North America is key in bringing us to the market, and likewise in bringing the market to us.
Dukosi will be exhibiting at The Battery Show at booth 1619.
View the full exhibitor list here.