Author Archives: n8pwoods

  1. Powering the Future of 5G

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    When a natural disaster strikes, the impact on the affected communities is devastating. As global temperatures continue to rise, the frequency of severe storms, fires, and other severe weather events are accepted realities rather than catastrophic outliers. These disasters serve as the ultimate stress test for existing infrastructures and often reveal startling weaknesses. In a world increasingly powered by 5G, the need for reliable electrical grid systems is crucial for powering every day and providing backup for unexpected days. Few would argue against the need for more robust backups for telecom networks, but the “how” presents a challenge. Lithium-ion Phosphate (LFP or LiFePO4) batteries are proving to be one of the critical components in answering this challenge.

    Responding to Exponential Growth in Power Consumption

    The evolution of various communication infrastructures such as 5G, Public Wi-Fi and Edge Networks is causing power consumption to increase exponentially. For instance, the electricity consumed by a base station of a 5G network is about three times that of a 4G base station. The increase in consumption demands a robust backup battery solution to support the network while also being sensitive to cost and green energy considerations. 

    The telecom industry of the future needs to be Lean, Green, and Keen

    Lean

    • Optimize the total cost of ownership
    • Reduce deployment costs
    • Reduce energy cost of running mobile networks
    • Pole mount solutions that are less bulky

    Green 

    • Reduce site visits
    • Reduce the energy consumption of running mobile networks

    Keen

    • Accelerate the deployment of infrastructure
    • Increase cycle life
    • Reduce charge time
    • Increase voltage to overcome voltage drops in the cables
    • Wider operating temperature range
    • Access premium Real Estate

    Considering Lithium vs Lead-Acid

    Lithium batteries are smaller and lighter than lead-acid batteries. Furthermore, they demonstrate higher energy density, higher availability, longer service life, more cycle times and reduced TCO. Excell Battery has a range of battery solutions to service the network expansion, for example, the Rack Mount 4.8kW System. Some technical challenges require a higher voltage to handle voltage drops over lines, and Excell’s battery solutions also take this into account.

    Advantages of Lithium-Ion Batteries

    The Benefits of LiFePo4 Battery Systems
    The Benefits of LiFePo4 Battery Systems

    LiFePo4 (or LFP) battery systems have a much lower total cost of ownership than traditional lead-acid (Pb) batteries, leading to enhanced competitiveness and increased profitability. These batteries are increasingly replacing lead-acid batteries in telecom networks as they provide higher energy density.

    With the signal ranges in 5G networks running shorter than those in 4G networks, the rollout will require more base stations to provide coverage, particularly in cities, requiring more backup power. LFPs aren’t just smaller and lighter than lead-acid batteries. They also boast higher energy density, higher availability, longer service life and will continue to perform for many more charge/discharge cycles. 

    High power density generates a 70% smaller footprint than lead-acid batteries. LFP is currently one of the safest cathode materials for lithium batteries, making LiFePo4 batteries the best choice for various scenarios.

    LFP modules with Criterion Smart Battery technology integrated into the system to allow for remote monitoring and management. LFPs coupled with smart site management controls improve site resiliency and can cut operating expenses by up to 80%, offering a crucial advantage that will become the industry standard as energy and operating costs continue to rise.

    Have more questions? Our design team at Excell Battery is ready to assist with developing your power solution.

    Speak to a Specialist

  2. What is an ISO 13485 Certification and Why Do You Need It?

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    The ISO 13485 standard specifies requirements that manufacturers need to follow to ensure Quality Management Systems (QMS) meet regulatory guidelines for medical devices. 

    The ISO 13485 certification was created by the International Organization for Standardization, which sets standards for commercial, industrial, and proprietary standards for businesses around the world. 

    In countries like the US and Canada, ISO 13485 certification is mandatory for battery manufacturers of batteries that power medical devices. The standard covers every aspect of battery production. 

    Battery packs, for example, must be designed to ensure the safe and reliable function of the end application. Safety, reliability, uniformity, timely delivery and traceability of components are key requirements for any battery pack, and these requirements are emphasized in the ISO 13485 standard.

    Supply chain disruptions are unacceptable in the medical device field. So it is critical to choose components that allow the battery provider to meet product ship target dates. 

    Along with the battery design, management of design files, validation and verification of both the battery and processes, record keeping, cleanliness, and retention of documentation files are all critical to a manufacturer’s ability to produce a medical battery and maintain their ISO 13485 certification.

    Careful selection of critical components is a primary consideration early in the design cycle, with a goal to ensure alternates are available where feasible. Cells, ICs, FETs, fuses and connectors need to be selected with care to ensure that risk of supply chain disruption or product re-qualification does not occur within the product’s lifetime. 

    Our battery manufacturing experts at Excell are fully trained and certified to meet the ISO 13485 standard. We have over 35 years of experience as a leading OEM supplier for medical equipment, utilities, industrial and handheld instrumentation, oil & gas, LEVs (light electric vehicles), and other advanced applications and extreme environments.

     

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  3. Safe, Reliable Batteries: That’s the Excell Guarantee

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    The ISO 13485 certification standard was created by the International Organization for Standardization, which creates and promotes standards for commercial, industrial, and proprietary for businesses around the world. 

    This standard was created to support medical device manufacturers, to ensure that their Quality Management Systems (QMS) meet regulatory requirements. The current version of the standard is ISO 13485:2016, and there have been three editions since its creation in 1996.

    ISO 13485 ensures the consistent design, development, production, installation, and delivery of medical devices that are safe for their intended purpose. Manufacturers and regulators in the US, Canada and the European Union recognize the ISO 13485 standard.  Qualified and mature battery pack manufacturers have the expertise, experience, and proven supply chains to meet the requirements of the ISO 13485 standard. For over 35 years, Excell Battery has been a leading OEM supplier for medical equipment, utilities, industrial and handheld instrumentation, oil & gas, LEVs (light electric vehicles), and other advanced applications and extreme environments. 

    Batteries can fade over time, and that fade can cause adverse effects on the performance of devices. But good pack design practices that emphasize longevity over performance can mitigate battery fade. We provide full-lifecycle custom battery design from engineering development and standards certification, to volume production and recycling. We deliver a broad range of battery solutions that integrate our smart battery technology and custom mechanical design capability, with cells from our top global partners.

     

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  4. Mitigating Risks Created by Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Issues

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    Equipment OEMs are facing shortages in Lithium-Ion batteries and other components

    The global supply chain has been disrupted by multiple factors that are unravelling. This disruption is driven from multiple directions, including the surge in EV demand, disruption in shipping, trade imbalances, backlog in new product design and manufacturing due to COVID-related shutdowns.

    As automakers continue to grapple with a semiconductor shortage, some experts say the next supply chain crisis for the US could involve lithium-ion batteries. China is far ahead of the US regarding the manufacturing of Li-ion batteries and therefore can support the demand from the supply chain. 

    As companies like GMFord and a slew of start-ups ramp up their electric vehicle ambitions, current battery production in the US won’t keep up with demand. Existing global cell suppliers are shifting their production toward the EV market and constraining other industries’ cell supply.

    Dealing with component product challenges

    In addition to the lack of manufacturing of Li-ion batteries in North America, the lack of production of anode and cathode material is solely dependent on producers overseas. To navigate the shortages, the US must begin mining from raw materials from within the US. Another option is recycling batteries, but at the moment, this is not a cost-effective option. The only solution is for our current administration to push for additional cell manufacturing here in North America.

    Additionally, the surge in the EV market also places strain on the component market, creating a shortage in critical components that support custom battery packs. The surging demand for new automobiles has prompted an industry-wide semiconductor production shortage. Since then, the situation has been exacerbated by a shortage of raw materials used in making components. Consequently, motor vehicle production has become severely disrupted, and component procurement has become more expensive. 

    Because of the shortage’s multi-sector impact, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should expect across-the-board pricing volatility, extended lead times, and stock-outs in the near future. This is only going to become worse before improving. The big question is, how do you de-risk your supply chain?

    How we’re managing supply issues

    To stay ahead of the forthcoming shortages, at Excell Battery, we are working closely with our customers and suppliers to understand the demand/supply equations over the next few years. Furthermore, developing a risk mitigation strategy includes stocking programs and risk buys to ensure that our customers receive their products when needed. 

    As we understand the ongoing threat of shortages in both batteries and components, we will continually adjust as the market evolves and changes. Please contact us for more information on how we’re managing our supply chain to meet our customers’ production requirements.

    Speak to a Specialist

  5. A Battery Buyer’s Guide: Tips for Buying Quality Battery Packs and Cells

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    When a battery company is talking about a battery pack, they are referring to a collection of cells electrically connected in an array enclosed inside a housing of some kind with a connector and a circuit board attached.

    Most battery companies would agree that this is a battery pack.   

    Visualize a power tool battery pack, which is basically a black box with LEDs and electrical contacts attached. If you were to take a battery pack apart, you would find inside a collection of single cells connected together. A cell is a single electrochemical unit, which when connected to other cells, forms the battery pack.  

    The best visualization for a cell is the commonly available AA cells that are used in a TV remote or in a flashlight. Much confusion in the battery world occurs when the terms battery, battery pack, battery cell and cell are used incorrectly.

    Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s best to consult an expert on how to navigate the battery market.

    Here are our top tips for buying quality battery packs. 

    1. Always use cells and batteries from well-known reputable firms, with a known fixed address and as many certifications as possible. Battery companies with certified battery packs (UL, IEC, PSE, ATEX, etc.) typically have higher build qualities. Very inexpensive cells and batteries purchased on the internet from companies with no certifications are problematic and can result in a catastrophic event.  
    2. Be aware that counterfeit batteries exist all over the internet, and many are of very poor quality.
    3. Always determine a battery’s operating window and warn customers to only use it inside its operating window. Batteries used outside their operating window can lead to catastrophic failure.
    4. Always use components suited to the intended application. Connectors designed to function for low currents should not be used for high current applications. Connectors designed as single-use connectors should not be used in an application where many plug-ins and pull-out cycles will occur.
    5. Use a hard case enclosure. Hard case enclosed battery packs are generally more robust and resilient and maintain more consistent ‘form and fit’ characteristics.
    6. For rechargeable battery packs, always choose a high-quality charging system that is correctly matched to the battery type. A low-quality or mismatched charging system can lead to as many problems as low-quality cells.
    7. Do not be in a rush to have your product designed and made. High-quality designs take time.
    8. Finally, always leave time in your schedule for testing and validation. Untested, unvalidated battery packs inevitably lead to customer returns and complaints.          

    Have more questions? Our design team at Excell Battery is ready to assist with developing your power solution.

    Speak to a Specialist

  6. Which Battery Pack is Best for Your Application?

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    First, determine your application needs

    High-quality battery packs start from a consideration of what the battery pack is going to power. The first thing to look at is estimating the power requirements of the application.

    First, figure out what voltage your application will work well at, then estimate how much current the application will draw during typical, peak, and resting periods. Applications powered by a battery pack will function best when the battery pack voltage under load is above a critical limit, usually the dropout voltage of the application’s power supply. This limit varies depending on the nature of the application and the power draw.  

    Higher voltage battery packs typically result in an application running smoother and with fewer problems due to increased voltage overhead and reduced currents for the same power delivery. Applications that have higher or spiky power draws can result in battery pack voltages falling below the applications working voltage and result in unexpected shutdowns, brownouts or even over-heat conditions.  

    The nature of the application’s power draw will govern the size and type of battery pack you will need. The power draw of the application when it’s in rest mode needs to be considered as well. Some circuitry types draw a significant amount of current during rest mode, which can result in a battery pack being shut down or depleted, even if the battery pack has never been used. An awareness of the rest mode current of the battery is needed to ensure the pack will be operational when you need it.

    Which battery chemistry works best?

    The next item to consider is the nature of the environment the battery pack is going to function in. Hot or cold, wet or dry, inside or outside.  

    Batteries tend to function best in a warm, dry atmosphere, but an application could demand that the battery pack function at temperatures down to -30C or above 60C, underwater or in a total vacuum. A battery pack that is being used exclusively indoors will have much different design requirements than one that needs to function outdoors or in variable environmental conditions.  

    Maritime conditions, down-hole oilfield applications or even battery packs designed for use in space or on other planets have special design requirements that are best considered as early as possible in the design phase.

    At this stage, a consideration of the cell chemistry to be used in the battery pack should now be considered. There are many types of cell chemistries, generally separated into two categories: Primary (non-rechargeable) and Secondary (rechargeable). The dominant primary battery chemistries are alkaline and lithium.

    Alkaline cells come in many shapes and sizes and are one of the lowest-cost battery types.  They are also robust and very safe. Alkaline cells lack energy density, capacity and voltage compared to the other dominant chemistry, the lithium metal primary.  

    Lithium metal primary cells have the highest energy density of all battery types commonly in use and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are somewhat less safe than their alkaline counterparts and are also expensive in comparison.  

    The dominant secondary battery chemistries are Lead Acid, Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion:  

    • Lead-acid is mostly used for starting cars and in stationary applications such as computer UPS systems. Lead-acid batteries are relatively inexpensive and have a high rate of recyclability. These batteries are capable of high discharge rates, however, struggle with applications that require deep discharges.
    • Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion chemistries are very long-lasting and, depending on the specific type, can offer very high currents. Nickel metal hydride cells have a lower energy density, are somewhat cheaper and safer than Lithium-Ion cells. Nickel metal hydride cells and batteries are not considered dangerous goods and can be shipped without restriction.
    • Lithium-Ion cells have much higher energy densities, are more expensive and not quite as safe. Some Lithium-Ion cells can offer current capability tens of amps or even higher in specialty cells. Lithium-ion cells, in a properly designed battery pack can have a very long shelf life on the order of years. Batteries containing Lithium-Ion cells contain protection circuitry to prevent the cells from being exposed to potentially unsafe operating conditions.

    Questions you’ll need to ask

    When it comes to picking the proper battery back, there are endless possibilities and many details to consider. 

    How many cells in series and parallel do you need? Higher numbers of cells in series offer higher working voltages and more stable application usage. Higher numbers of cells in parallel gives longer run time. What kind of enclosure do I need, a heat shrink pack or a hard plastic? What kind of connector,  a permanent mating connector or a quick-release one?  

    Reach out to one of our specialists to help you make sense of your application requirements.

    Speak to a Specialist

  7. When Long Term Deployment and Very High Pulse Capability are the Design Goals … Tadiran “PulsesPlus ™ Series Packs” rise above the crowd!

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    The Primary Lithium Thionyl-Chloride Chemistry still resides at the top of the “energy density” chart, significantly higher than all other battery chemistries on the market today. It is also “at home” and comfortable over a wide temperature operating range of -55°C to +85°C. This operating temperature range makes this chemistry a standout for applications deployed outside over long periods of time, for example, utility gas meters, remote data logging and monitoring, the industrial applications for this chemistry are endless and varied.

    When designing with this chemistry, one needs to be informed about the two different “construction types” that exist in the Lithium Thionyl-Chloride world. These two construction types are commonly known as a “Bobbin Construction” or a “Spiral Construction” Cell. In the interest of keeping this document short, the construction types are based on how the active material is placed inside the can. What is most important are the characteristics of these construction types and selecting the correct type that best fits the application. Bobbin cells allow for the highest capacity cell in a specific “can size”, however, they are rather limited in the ability to handle high current pulses. Spiral cells can easily accommodate high current pulses, however, there is a significant trade-off in capacity. A typical “D Size” Bobbin cell is rated at 19 Ah while its counterpart Spiral cell is rated around 13 Ah.

    Getting the best of both worlds, the highest energy density / Capacity, and the ability to deliver Very High Current Pulses when required, is where Tadiran delivers the ultimate solution with their “PulsesPlus ™ Series Packs”. The combination of Bobbin Cells integrated with Tadiran’s High Layer Capacitors, results in the longest field run time and pulse delivery on demand.

    About Excell Battery and Tadiran Distributors

    Excell Battery Company is unique among Tadiran Distributors … we have been certified to construct Pulses Plus Packs in our production facilities. There are limited Master Tadiran Distributors that have both the ability and the certification to design and build these types of packs at a local level … we would love to hear from you.

  8. Excell Battery Announces ISO 13485 Certification

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    (Update 2022-03-15: Note that we are now certified by Intertek)

    We’re pleased to announce that Excell Battery has received ISO 13485:2016 certification from SGS for the design and manufacture of battery packs for medical device applications. “We’re very excited to receive ISO 13485:2016 medical certification, which ensures that our full end-to-end value chain is performing at the highest standard from a safety quality perspective,” said Ian Kane, CEO of Excell Battery.

    Receiving the ISO 13485:2016 certificate is a significant milestone for Excell Battery. The achievement further confirms the safety and reliability of Excell Battery’s medical battery system design and supply for medical devices and equipment.

    See our full press release.

    About ISO 13485

    ISO 13485:2016 was written by the International Organization for Standardization to support medical device manufacturers to ensure that their Quality Management Systems (QMS) meet regulatory requirements.

    There have been three editions of the standard ISO 13485 since 1996 with ISO 13485:2016 being the most current edition. ISO 13485 is an internationally-recognized quality standard for the medical device industry and is considered a requirement for many firms offering medical device products. The certification ensures companies manufacture products that are safe for human health by establishing effective QMS.

    When creating a battery that supports medical devices, human health is the top priority. Safety, reliability, uniformity, timely delivery and traceability of components are critical requirements for any battery pack, and these requirements are emphasized in the ISO 13485 standard.

    Having the certification allows organizations to deliver top-quality medical devices that consistently meet customer and regulatory requirements while demonstrating an understanding of the medical field.

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An exceptional record of quality and service for 35+ years.