Maxwell Technologies' CONDIS High-Voltage Capacitors Hit Century Mark

3/3/2004 - Soon after its founding as Condensateur Fribourg in December 1903, what is now known as the CONDIS family of high voltage (HV) capacitor products was on its way to the top – the top of the Eiffel Tower that is.

Helping to send radio waves from a wireless transmission installation atop the famous Paris landmark in 1908 was one of the earliest and highest profile commercial applications for the then-novel high-voltage capacitor technology. With the advent of the first multi-chamber circuit breakers, circa 1955, Condensateur Fribourg was once again in the forefront, working with leading circuit breaker manufacturers to develop grading capacitors.

When the company moved from Fribourg, Switzerland, to its current location in nearby Rossens, in 1975, it created the CONDIS brand name by joining the first syllables of the French words, condensateur (capacitor) and disjoncteur (circuit breaker) that described its principal products. In 1980, CONDIS introduced coupling capacitors for switchgear to reduce voltage surges produced by short distance line faults.

In 1997, CONDIS became part of Montena Components, whose other products included BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitors, which provide energy storage and power delivery solutions for transportation and industrial power applications. Then, in 2002, CONDIS became part of an even larger company when Maxwell Technologies, Inc., (Nasdaq: MXWL) San Diego, Calif., USA, acquired Montena Components.

Through that century of growth and change, one constant has been CONDIS' commitment to technological leadership and continuous product enhancement. In August 2003, just before CONDIS' 100th anniversary celebration, Maxwell announced that it had automated production and introduced enhanced versions of the CONDIS family of products in anticipation of increasing demand for high-voltage capacitor products as electric utility grids around the world are upgraded and expanded. Additionally, CONDIS announced its entry into the capacitive voltage divider (CVD) market.

By mid-2004, CONDIS will mark the beginning of its second century with the introduction of a new, Double Tightness System design to prevent oil leakage, the most common failure mechanism for products that are expect to last decades, as well as implementation of a re-designed production process that will dramatically reduce product delivery lead time.

Reflecting its long-term perspective and tradition of leadership, CONDIS management participate actively in organizations that promote professionalism, set standards and shape the industry's future direction. Etienne Savary, CONDIS' business unit manager for HV capacitors currently represents the company on four separate working groups under the auspices of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE).

“We believe that what is good for the industry will be good for CONDIS,” Savary said.

Savary estimated that CONDIS currently provides approximately 65 percent of the HV capacitors used in the electric utility switchgear market Switchgea in Europe and 90 percent in the United States.

“With our enhanced products and automated production capabilities, CONDIS is well-positioned to meet increasing demand that will be driven both by needed improvements to the grids serving North America, Europe and Asia, and by normal growth in power demand worldwide,” Savary added.

Maxwell sells reliability. We develop, manufacture and market electronic components and systems that perform reliably for the life of the applications into which they are integrated. Our BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitors and ultracapacitor-based energy storage systems uniquely address applications in transportation and consumer and industrial electronics. Our high-voltage grading and coupling capacitors are used in electric utility infrastructure and other applications involving transport, distribution and measurement of high voltage electrical energy. Our radiation-mitigated microelectronic products include power modules, memory modules and single board computers that primarily address applications in aerospace.

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