Kaitek Flash Battery – a dream come true
My name is Marco Righi, and I’m the Founder of Kaitek.
My father had a small company, where he made high-frequency battery chargers. It was founded in 1985 (the year I was born). At that time, it was a completely new technology, and its market was relatively small. This market expanded in the 2000s, which enabled the company to become the European leader in this sector, with a production of 60.000 units per year.
As I got older, my interest gradually shifted toward electronics in the pure sense of the term.
I remember clearly that my current partner Alan Pastorelli and I would modify the first version of PlayStation and build control units for controlling strobe lights in time with the music at parties.
When I was 15, I was hired by the company every summer to help out in the repair department. It was an excellent position for learning the basics of the subject.
After finishing high school, I enrolled at the university. Since I majored in economics, I had classes only three days a week, so I was hired part-time.
My job was moved to the Research and Development department. I loved the company, perhaps because I grew up inside it and had strong ties to its people. My dream was to help my father and, one day, to lead the company together.
A cold shower
In the summer of 2006, I was visiting a customer in California. I was there to develop battery chargers that would be customised to meet his needs. I remember that Saturday morning very well. I was taking a walk along the ocean at Huntington Beach, when I got a call from my father.
Right away I heard something strange in his tone of voice. I didn’t have to wait very long; my father has always been very up front, so in only a few words, he told me that he’d sold the company. At that moment, I had the feeling that all the plans I’d made in my head were coming apart, since everything revolved around the company.
I was practically born in that company, and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel it was mine any more.
When I returned from America, I decided to quit my job and get my degree as soon as possible.
After completing my university studies, I worked for a couple of years as a business specialist at a training school.
However, my passion had not faded. In my free time, I would go help a friend install alarm systems.
A new chance
In 2009, fate would have it that I went with my father to look up an old friend of his who made industrial electric vehicles, and during that visit, we saw lithium batteries from China for the first time.
Their appearance didn’t excite me at all. They were piled up in a corner of an industrial shed (and seemed pretty beat up, to say the least…). My friend said that their quality was low. The cells were not uniform and didn’t work properly.
Because of this, an idea popped into my head; given the specifications they had, if we could solve the technical problems, we could launch a major innovation that would be good for all industrial applications.
That’s when I began investigating the matter. We contacted another company that had tried these lithium cells, but had stopped using them for the same reasons.
We then did some research: we took a few cells to analyse them, open them and see how they were made. We also studied the electronics that controlled these lithium batteries, and that’s what led us to our solution.
A bright idea and the founding of Kaitek Flash Battery
We understood theoretically what the problem was. We thought everything centred on the way the electronics controlled and managed these batteries. We believed it was obsolete and harmful to the cells.
So, we got to work right away on checking our theory.
To run our tests, we bought an electric Citroen that the City of Milan was selling off for 2500 €.
I hired my “garage experimenting” friend Alan (who in the meantime had gotten a degree in electronics engineering and was working in the automotive sector), and wasted no time.
We began working on
the design of our lithium battery management system every night and every weekend.
I can’t deny that this involved a great deal of sacrifice on our part, when our friends would be going out dancing, and we were always holed up in my garage running experiments that…sometimes succeeded, and sometimes didn’t.
If I’m here to tell you about it, it’s because we perfected a system that solved our problem: succeeding in keeping the cells balanced, even in very large battery packs offering high performance.
This made us miles ahead of the competition, who were still producing traditional control systems.
In 2012, we founded and officially opened Kaitek Flash Battery Srl.
Actually, Kaitek’s only employee that year was me.
Alan was still working for another company, but our orders began coming in very quickly, because almost nobody knew how to work with lithium cells. So nobody was able to come up with effective solutions.
In fact, after we began solving the problems with lithium batteries for a number of customers, word began to spread, and our orders increased exponentially.
Kaitek Flash Battery today
With 27 employees and 7 million in turnover, Kaitek Flash Battery now serves customers in 30 countries and is still the only company in Italy that enhances its batteries with such an advanced electronic control system.
Our technological research continues, with the latest two major innovations:
• Kaitek Flash Battery Data Center: allows to check our batteries remotely and know when maintenance is required a long time before it’s actually due.
• Automatic Alert System: a system that automatically reports possible malfunctions, which enables critical situations to be prevented before they happen.