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What is a battery?

24 May 2018

Specialist battery manufacturer Accutronics released a new whitepaper, which asks the question: what is a battery?

Consumer demand is driving innovation in battery technology in areas such as home automation, medical devices, military and robotics. As a result, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to ensure they are using the right battery for their application. 
The rapid growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) has allowed internet-connected devices fitted with sensors to change the way homeowners control functions around the home. It is also revolutionising the way that medical devices are used in hospitals, the way that equipment is developed for soldiers and the way that design engineers make the next generation of robots.
However, despite these advancements, OEMs are not always aware of how to select the right battery to power the load. The whitepaper addresses these problems; exploring areas such as battery chemistry, industry regulations, cell structure, battery design and the needs of specific markets.

"In sectors such as medical, we are seeing devices such as ventilators, infusion pumps, dialysis systems and anaesthesia machines move from mains AC power to portable battery power," explained Johnathan Celso, applications engineer at Ultralife Corporation, the parent company of Accutronics. 

"This increased need for portability in the medical sector is driving the need for high-discharge batteries that can cope with continuous charge and discharge cycles efficiently and safely. This is where new chemistries such as lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) are allowing us to create batteries that improve on traditional sealed lead acid (SLA) technology.

"Today's design engineers are under pressure to create ever-more compact devices, with more powerful features that push the limits of existing battery technology. If we are to avoid the numerous high profile battery recalls that we've witnessed in recent years, then OEMs need to reassess the batteries they specify, looking at challenges such as cell design and regulations on shipping."

The whitepaper looks at key milestones in the history of batteries, the challenges faced today — including high profile incidents of batteries on planes — and regulations such as IEC62133-2:2017. It also explores the most popular battery chemistries in use today, cell structures, and the considerations that design engineers need to make.

Design engineers that want to ensure they make the right, well-informed decision when selecting their battery can download the whitepaper for free from the Accutronics website.


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