Battery industry veteran and M.I.T. graduate Herb Kaewert founded Stored Energy Systems® (SENS) in 1971. He located the company in the heart of Silicon Valley, amidst a vibrant high technology culture. Kaewert had previously founded Alkaline Batteries Corporation (ALCAD). He grew ALCAD* to be one of the leading suppliers of NiCd batteries in the U.S., ultimately selling the company to the Chloride Group (U.K.)
Through his years of experience with industrial batteries, Kaewert recognized the inherent sensitivity of batteries to a variety of factors such as temperature, shelf life, overcharging, and undercharging. He also saw that there were no commercially available battery chargers that took these factors into account. His conviction that he could increase the reliability and useful life of batteries through better charger technology led him to found SENS. He proved to be correct.
SENS built chargers that automatically adapted charging characteristics to suit the exact needs of the batteries. Numerous customers experienced radical increases in battery life (as much as 10x in harsh environments) and found that their total costs and risk of battery failure went down significantly. The company grew based on this principle and built an impressive list of customers including Bechtel, Pennsylvania Power & Light, Exxon Mobil, El Paso Energy and AT&T. Since that time SENS has held true to the early principles in which Kaewert believed. For example, nearly all of the 100’s of thousands of chargers SENS has shipped have included automatic temperature compensation as a standard feature.
In 1991, to accommodate needs for expansion, Herb and his son Bill moved the company to its current location in Longmont, Colorado. There, Bill took over day-to-day operations of the company. While the Longmont site had significant room for expansion, Bill believed that SENS growth and quality objectives could best be met by adopting a philosophy and process improvement approach called “Lean”, pioneered by Toyota Motor Company. The Lean philosophy of continuous improvement places responsibility for improvement on the people who know the processes best. Lean has paid off in significant benefits for the company and its customers. SENS lead times are the fastest in the industry, even though every product is built to customer order. Quality and reliability are extremely high, with some models demonstrating 1 million hours mean time between failures (MTBF). At the same time, Lean has enabled SENS to keep prices low through the development of close relationships with suppliers and by carrying very low levels of inventory. SENS is now adopting Lean principles throughout the company to further improve quality and responsiveness to customer needs in all aspects of the business.
Since 1991, the company has expanded more than ten fold. To help lead this growth, Herb’s son Doug, formerly a senior executive at Sun Microsystems, joined the company in 2006. Under the leadership of the Kaewert brothers, SENS has continued to innovate in product development along the principles Herb established early on. Most recently, the company has developed the EnerGenius® IQ, SENS’ microprocessor-controlled DC power supply / charger with integrated battery monitoring and an embedded “battery expert” system and the MicroGenius® 150, a rugged engine start charger that automatically adapts to provide the best possible charging each individual charging cycle.
SENS is now the leading supplier of high reliability DC power supplies / chargers to the standby and emergency generator (Gen Set) market. It is a major and rapidly growing supplier to the utility, oil & gas, and process control markets. Key customers include General Electric, Caterpillar, numerous electric utilities, and manufacturers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
*Alcad is a trademark of Saft Groupe S.A.