Author Archives: Nate Woods

  1. What’s different about designing and building large format batteries?

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    “Companies that make products from golf carts and ebikes, to lawnmowers and robots – and everything in between are going Lithium” says Trent Keeney, Business Development Manager for Excell Battery.  Just like in the EV market, there are benefits for companies that require longer run time, quicker charge time, lighter weight, smaller footprint, better temperature performance, or any combination thereof.  “Our engineering team has years of experience in designing some unique large format batteries, which is where any company must start when looking to develop their own large format custom battery pack,” says Keeney.

    A large format battery normally is just what it says.  Large.  It is normally more than 24V and can be well in excess of 1 KWh.  Designing and manufacturing these types of large battery packs is not for everyone.  The engineering and manufacturing expertise required are very different from a normal, standard size battery pack.

    Manufacturing can also be totally different than smaller more hand held type assembly operations.  Automated welders or bonders popularized by the EV market can have significant automation and quality benefits as well.  However, when moving a 1,000 lb battery, unique and custom equipment is required.  “These batteries likely can’t be moved by hand, which adds another element of complexity to the manufacturing process”, says Keeney.

    At Excell we have to look at each of these opportunities uniquely because they are very different.  Building a 2 cell battery pack is entirely different than building a 1 KWh battery pack. The differences really have to be well thought out in the engineering phase in order to design and manufacture a quality product.

    Please contact us to learn more about our large format battery expertise and discuss how Excell can help you achieve your battery project goals.

  2. Battery Industry Begins Public Safety Campaign against Misuse of Li-Ion Cells in E-Cigarettes

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    This past week the AP news released an article detailing the misuse of Li-Ion cells in e-cigarettes. The article details the danger of using the “18650” cells, and how they were never intended to be used in the stand alone application like e-cigarettes.

    The article opens with:

    Leading battery manufacturers and industry trade groups have begun a nationwide consumer awareness campaign called B e-cigarette safe that cautions users of e-cigarette and vaping devices of the risks associated with the misuse of replaceable lithium-ion power cells.

    Manufacturers of these cells, commonly known as “18650” cells, never intended them to be used as stand-alone power sources in e-cigarette and vaping devices or to be handled directly by consumers as loose, replaceable power sources. Doing so may put consumers’ safety at risk.

    Read the full article here: Misuse of Li-Ion cells in E-cigarettes


  3. Re-Shoring: Is it right for your next battery project?

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    In the last 20 years many industries and companies have left North America in search of cheaper cost models in other countries.  In some cases this has caused complete industries to leave North America altogether.  As an example, the Lithium Ion battery market has most of the raw material supply chains in Asia.  “Battery pack assembly has also seen consolidation and change, but at Excell we see significant opportunities on the horizon with companies re-shoring their supply chains,” says Brian Larsen VP of Sales for Excell. “Obviously Tesla is leading the charge to change that paradigm but there are other factors at play here,” continues Larsen.

    Quality and counterfeit legitimate concerns

    “Reshoring is not only happening because the cost savings aren’t what they used to be, but also because the quality and counterfeit concerns seem to be more acute.  Many times companies don’t factor in the soft costs of going to Asia and what that can mean to the overall profitability of a product or business.  If you have engineers living on airplanes and in hotels flying back and forth to Asia, how much savings are you really realizing?” says Trent Keeney Business Development Manager for Excell. “Additionally, we all hear about the increased costs of doing business in China which are estimated to be increasing by as much as 12% per year*, as another reason companies cite for looking at North American options”.

    Return is coming

    There is anecdotal macro evidence that companies are returning to North America as well.  Boston Consulting Groups annual survey of larger companies with International manufacturing mentions the following; “In a sharp reversal, more large manufacturers that are planning to add production capacity for goods consumed in the U.S. say that they will add that capacity in the U.S. than in any other country.  Thirty-one percent of respondents to The Boston Consulting Group’s fourth annual survey of senior manufacturing executives at companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues said that their companies are most likely to add production capacity in the U.S. within five years for goods sold in the U.S., while 20% said they are most likely to add capacity in China.”

    “We believe this percentage is even higher for smaller and mid-sized companies who have experienced the challenges of getting products from Asia”, says Keeney.

    The other unknown factor to consider is the newly elected US President Donald Trump and how the political landscape may change in the coming years.  There may be incentives or disincentives which will also play a role in how quickly North American reshoring of manufacturing grows.

    Contact Excell Battery to learn more about how we can help you with your next battery, charger, or power project.

  4. Why do Lithium batteries explode?

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    We have all heard about products being designed and launched in the marketplace only to have battery quality problems.

    While the root cause may be different in a phone battery problem versus and airplane battery problem, there are two main issues that almost always are the culprit.

    A battery pack uses a Battery Management System (BMS) to ensure safe operation of the battery pack. It keeps the pack from overcharging, over discharging, temperature safeties, along with other safety features are also used depending upon the application. However, if the BMS is not thoroughly tested, and proven, corner cases can occur where in a certain scenario, a failure can occur. This will mean the BMS won’t work correctly and thereby create a potentially dangerous outcome.

    Even more ominous, is a faulty battery cell. Whether it’s a cylindrical or polymer, if the manufacturing process isn’t 100% perfect, you could introduce a faulty cell into the battery pack. A BMS cannot and will not be able to protect the battery from failure if the cell has a thermal runaway type event. “There are no brakes to stop a car once it is over the cliff,” said Trent Keeney, Business Development Manager for Excell battery, “and the same is true of a cell that has thermal runaway, the BMS cannot do its job as it normally would.”

    “At Excell we use Tier 1 battery suppliers to ensure only the best cells for our customer’s applications,” Keeney says, “and while there are cheaper cell options sometimes, sacrificing quality for price is never a good, long-term business decision.” Additionally using a proven BMS that has been in multiple applications helps avoid poor BMS design.

    At Excell we have stood behind our quality for over 30 years, contact us to learn how we can help you design in the quality your customers require.

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