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Murata neutralises the mercury “ticking time bomb”

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Murata describes itself as the premier brand for watch batteries and this month, in conversation with WatchPro, the brand explains how quality, precision and reputation are all key elements for the manufacturers when implementing a battery into their creations:

Fashionable, stylish, sporty, branding: for most consumers, these features are on their mind when choosing their timepiece. Accuracy and safety don’t factor into these considerations – we take it for granted.

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When selecting the watch battery brand to power their watches, watch and watch movement manufacturers want to make sure that the battery they embed in their watch will bring them peace of mind. Indeed, they need to make sure the quality of the battery they choose will back-up their quality reputation.

Can you imagine the negative impact on their brand image that they have been building up year after year in case something wrong happens because of the battery? Whichever part of the inside of the watch is making the trouble, for the end user the whole watch would be under question and this might lead to damaging the reputation of the watch, but also to the brand itself…

For peace of mind, movement and watch manufacturers across the globe trust in the quality of Murata watch batteries.

Murata’s commitment on to quality and innovation is why Murata is the only battery manufacturer to supply the four major watch movement makers.

As a result, Murata supply 40% of the world market – so nearly half of the watches you see are powered by Murata watch batteries.

The watch companies that care about reliability and environment keep on using Murata batteries time after time, enabling Murata to benefit from a high reputation as a watch battery producer.

More than 40 years engineering and production experience

This high quality reputation is the result of more than 40 years battery manufacturing experience, with more than 10 billion batteries produced.

During its more than 40 years’ experience in the production of watch batteries, the factory has developed a strong technical know-how to produce a more reliable battery.

Indeed, thanks to intensive R&D efforts, R&D team could develop a unique manufacturing process for strong anti-leakage performance and the button batteries have superior anti-leakage performance thanks to its unique sealing material and technology. Optimization of the gasket shape results in the reduction of leakage risks during long-term storage.

Neutralising the ticking time bomb: eliminating mercury from watch batteries

Committed to innovation and to a cleaner and greener world, engineers contributed to the advancement of the society, breaking through major technical barriers by being able to produce the 1st mercury free watch battery in the world. Indeed only 16 years ago, it was impossible to manufacture mercury-free batteries, which meant that all watches contained the toxic chemical.

Mercury has traditionally been included in button cell batteries used to power a wide range of devices that need long battery life, such as watches. It helps prevent the build-up of internal gases, which could cause the battery to break and leak. However, there are several environmental and health & safety concerns associated with it.

Unless disposed of properly, the batteries end up in a landfill site or get incinerated, allowing the mercury to escape into the environment. This is a problem because mercury is a Persistent, Bioaccumalative, Toxic substance (PBT); it stays in the environment for a long time, moving between air and soil in different forms. From there, it enters animals, such as fish, and eventually, the human food chain.

Having this in mind, the industry had a lot to gain by eliminating mercury from batteries. Yet, for a long time, it was thought to be impossible to achieve. That’s why the introduction of the first mercury-free battery in 2004 was nothing short of a miracle.

The discovery was enabled by decades of research by scientists at Murata’s ISO9001/ISO14001 approved micro battery factory in Japan. Acquired from Sony in 2017, the factory has been focused on developing silver oxide battery technology since the late 70s.

Mass production of mercury-free batteries began in 2005 and, 10 years later, the European Commission banned the use of any mercury in all button cell batteries from 1st October 2015, acknowledging in a 2012 report that “Mercury (Hg) and most of its compounds are highly toxic to humans, ecosystems and wildlife”.

Since 2005, Murata’s factory has produced over four billion units. This translates to over 3,200 kilos of mercury saved – all of which could have ended up polluting the environment. The invention of the mercury-free battery was honoured by the Japanese Government with the Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award.

The amount of mercury saved is significant because Murata is the manufacturer with the highest market share in watch batteries. Through this innovation, Murata has enabled many watch manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their products.

In the UK, Murata is distributed by Condor Group:

Condor Group Limited, Condor House, 700 Great Cambridge Road, Enfield, EN1 3EA

Telephone: +44(0)20 8370 4300 Email: sales@condorgrp.com

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