In 2019, Southwest Electronic Energy (SWE) was acquired by Ultralife Corporation. We sat down with SWE’s VP of Sales Leon Adams to learn more about the company and its products and to see how the acquisition has benefited the company so far.
55 years in the business
"Southwest Electronic Energy was founded in 1964 and started life as a retailer of electrical components and industrial switches.
What began as a small family business flourished and, in the 1980s, SWE entered the measurement while drilling downhole battery business based on customer demand. As this business grew, SWE added inventions in Lithium-ion battery management systems. Growth also led to the purchase of a 65,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility for R&D and ISO 9001 certified battery manufacturing.
Located near Houston, Texas, this facility allowed SWE to begin developing custom batteries for most of the top oil and gas service companies, as well as technical clients as prestigious as NASA."
The secret is in the service and Lithium technology
When asked why he believes SWE flourished, Leon attributes it to their focus on service, quality and reliability, and partly to technology leadership in Lithium and Lithium-ion battery technology in the reliable packs the company designs and builds.
"This service and quality focus, while delivering high technology chemistry battery solutions, allows us to serve the needs of service companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) customers in the oil and gas, subsea and oceanographic, military and remote operations industries."
Turning the tide in subsea power
"In recent years, one of our main industries of focus has been subsea and oceanographic. Five years ago, we changed the game in subsea by introducing the SeaSafe pressure tolerant Lithium-ion batteries. A few years later, we introduced an improved SeaSafe II battery pack, which is easy to install in a pressure balanced oil-filled (PBOF) case; a smaller, lighter, safer and lower cost case than a pressure vessel. In response to industry demand to eliminate the PBOF case, and for further improved ease of use, we developed and introduced the SeaSafe Direct, which can be placed directly into the water, not requiring any case, be it PBOF or pressure vessel.
The level of built-in, autonomous safety and intelligence in these batteries is very new to the subsea world. Due to the growing importance of condition-based monitoring, these smart batteries have been designed to relay vital status and safety information from our patented, integrated, user-friendly battery management system (BMS) to the customer application or tool."
Continuing the legacy of innovation
As Leon reflects on the innovative products manufactured by Southwest Electronic Energy to-date, he becomes very optimistic about the future as part of Ultralife Corporation, noting that SWE has a history of innovation that has allowed the company to grow to serve many varied, challenging battery applications; from deep underground to deep subsea. This commitment to research and development is echoed by Ultralife Corporation. In the six months since the acquisition, SWE are sharing lessons learned and benefiting from the engineering knowledge and best practices of Ultralife’s battery experts in the military, medical, safety and security and industrial markets.
Combining the two organisations has gone pretty smoothly; aided by the fact that both SWE and Ultralife Corporation produce highly engineered, differentiated products that serve mission-critical applications.