It is a solutions provider.
“About every month there's a situation from the field where we evaluate a need a customer has and we work with them to develop a solution,” said Jim Lichtenberg, business manager of the Ohio-based industrial battery charger manufacturer.
“It could be a small tweak of what we already have or something that becomes a new option,” he said, describing the process that lead to the new high-frequency charger called 'Atlas' that the company is releasing to a partner in the Mexico market.”
Prestolite Power will modify current technology to fit the function of what the customer needs, and with that, fill a need in the regional market as a whole, Lichtenberg said.
It is this kind of product development Prestolite Power prides itself on. A few years ago, Prestolite Power had a customer that liked a certain charger but needed a smaller footprint. Prestolite Power’s engineering team worked with the local dealer to develop a slim line product that is still used by the customer and is available to all customers today.
“It's being used by multiple organizations throughout the industry to solve similar situations,” Lichtenberg said.
This year, the company is commemorating its 100th year of operation, a milestone its leaders do not take lightly.
“It is a very proud moment,” Lichtenberg said. “We are also proud to attribute the longevity and success Prestolite Power has had to the solid relationships we have with customers and dealers.”
Tom Skul of Industrial Battery Products agreed.
100 years means “a legacy and a history that the company brings to the market and to my business,” he said, in a testimonial released by Prestolite Power.
“That gives us confidence that what we're purchasing isn't going to go away. It's been here for a long time, it's proven, it's battle-tested, and it makes a difference to us to have those qualities in our product line,” Skul said.
When the company's first battery charger was created in 1917, it was a mechanical device. It basically consisted of a motor that generated an electrical charge, according to a company release.
Over the years, that technology has developed and morphed in ways likely unimaginable a century ago.
In the last decade, Prestolite Power has continued to make chargers that are smaller and more compact, increasing the programming options for the end users.
“We actually have customers come in today who are amazed at how efficient our products are,” said Lichtenberg, who also noted many still think of industrial battery chargers as taking up a large amount of space.
Today, the company offers multiple options for material handling customers, including single shift, opportunity and ferroresonant chargers.
Working out of a 20,000-square-foot facility in Columbus, Ohio, Prestolite Power is part of the Power Systems and Instruments division of AMETEK, a $4 billion company.
AMETEK operates in 31 different countries, with about 50 percent of its sales coming from outside the United States It is highly focused on technology, solutions for industrial markets and new product development throughout its various divisions, according to Lichtenberg.
Prestolite Power operates autonomously within this system, which Lichtenberg said provides both the advantages of independence and the structure and support of a large corporation.
As Prestolite Power moves into its second century of operation, Lichtenberg said the use of data will continue to be paramount to its customers. The company has found businesses appreciate having analysis tools that allow them to see a clear picture of how batteries and chargers are being used within a facility.
“People want more power and a smaller footprint,” he said.
The business will continue to develop chargers and data analysis tools that make accessing accurate data a smooth process, according to Lichtenberg.
“We need to take the technology that we're so used to today, with which we can get so much information, and bring it into our industry to make the data access easy, user-friendly and tailored to the needs of the market,” he said.
One of Prestolite Power's most recent product advancement in development is TruBID, a charging system that accurately measures specific gravity and identifies an undercharged battery, the company press release states.
Among those developments, Prestolite Power dealers will continue to build relationships with and solutions for its customers, Lichtenberg said.
“A lot of our customers feel very confident we'll be around another 100 years,” he said.
“They can depend on us.”
Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen.