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
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.
Manufacturers should be aware that products containing dangerous goods like lithium batteries must be shipped within the guidelines of multiple regulations. Individual countries’ transportation regulations such as the USDOT, Transport Canada, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) all regulate the transport of lithium batteries.
Transporting lithium batteries can be dangerous if not packaged and handled safely because they present both chemical and electrical hazards. The UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Sixth Revised Edition, SubSection 38.3 was created to ensure safe transportation of batteries. Frequently known as UN 38.3, these recommendations are enforced by all regulatory bodies and must be followed when shipping lithium batteries.
The Hazards of Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries may pose significant hazards if mishandled or abused. Consequently, safety practices must be followed when packaging and handling lithium batteries for transport. Abusive conditions can cause lithium batteries to catch fire, leak corrosive liquids, or explode in certain situations.
To help explain the various hazards that may occur if batteries are mishandled, Excell Battery has made our Safety Training Course available online for free.
The Steps to Follow
As outlined in the above regulations, several things must be in place before a business is allowed to ship lithium batteries. These include:
All persons involved in preparing, packaging, and completing paperwork must be formally trained in these procedures before offering batteries for transport. Specific training requirements are outlined in the UN 38.3, but they generally include the following:
General awareness/familiarization training of regulations
Function-specific training on shipping lithium batteries
Lithium battery safety
Security awareness training
Many training organizations and companies offer this type of training either online or in person.
Lithium batteries must be tested safe for transport in accordance with UN 38.3. A variety of tests is performed, from altitude to forced discharge, to ensure the batteries can be transported safely. For more information, review theUS DOT/IATA lithium battery testing requirements.
Performance tested shipping containers must be tested in accordance with the above regulations. These boxes must contain the proper UN marking in order to be used for shipping lithium batteries. In addition, labeling of boxes (Class 9, Cargo Aircraft Only if applicable) must be properly applied to the packaging.
HAZMAT Bill of Ladings, Airway Bills, and other Dangerous Goods paperwork, such as a Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods, must be completed before lithium batteries are offered for transport. Failure to comply can result in costly delays, the shipment being rejected by carriers, or even fines for failure to follow the proper paperwork requirement.
About Excell Battery
Excell Battery has a proven track record of manufacturing safe, reliable battery solutions for over 35 years. When it comes to shipping safety and regulations, it’s important to have a professional team partnering with you to ensure the safety of your product. Contact us today and let us help you bring your product to the world!
The USA leads the world in the medical device market. However, there are many that make it difficult for design engineers to choose the right battery for their portable medical devices.
Original equipment manufacturers must address issues as many rely on portable, battery-powered devices. Some of the variables include battery chemistry, long term effects of aging, and battery replacement. All are concerns that continue to perplex many medical device manufacturers.
Several medical devices, usually powered by AC power, rely occasionally on their on-board battery as back-up power. A back-up battery often only receives a shallow discharge before being charged. Back-up batteries must use the appropriate battery chemistry for this type of use.
Device manufacturers must select a battery with internal resistance that is appropriate for the load over the lifetime of the battery. If the battery has a high internal resistance, then the voltage drop can be severe causing the battery to heat up, and it can also quickly reach the device’s cut-off voltage earlier then desired. Critical medical devices, like Ventilators, can require significant amounts of power leading to a drop in voltage if the appropriate battery design and chemistry is not selected. The result of this is a reduction in total run-time, and the device not operating as originally specified.
Battery aging in medical devices is an important topic for manufacturers. Some devices are in constant use, while others are on standby, which poses a challenge for aging estimates. Additionally, batteries react differently under different conditions. Most batteries perform very well at room temperature, and batteries have a longer life if not placed under stress. Fuel gauging can be used with smart batteries to display the remaining life of the battery, but the accuracy can be a challenge. Smart batteries need calibration, through cycling, to maintain accuracy.
Medical device manufacturers need to make users aware of symptoms of an aged battery and when to replace it. Manufacturers should provide information on the point which capacity has degraded to the point that a battery should be replaced. In addition to assuring sufficient battery capacity reserve, device manufacturers must also plan for a worst-case scenario so that batteries are never depleted in critical applications. Device requirements vary per application. Therefore, tighter operational requirements may necessitate the need for the battery to be replaced sooner than would be required in less demanding applications where a potential failure can be tolerated.
Our factories in North America remain open and operational and are positioned to respond fast to OEM requirements. Excell manufacturing facilities are operating at normal production levels and will continue to operate as needed to support our customers.
Li-ion Protection Circuits also known as Battery Management System (BMS), service a vital function for the safe and efficient operation of any Li-ion, Li-Poly or Iron Phosphate battery pack. The key building blocks of a Li-ion pack are a good quality cell and a good quality BMS.
A standard BMS will protect the pack against Over Charge, Over Discharge and External Short Circuit. These board features serve the purpose of protecting the battery pack from reaching an unsafe condition, which also protects the user.
At its most basic level a protection circuit can be thought of as a fuse. This means the Discharge Profile of a device must be considered when choosing the protection circuit as well as the cell. Important load numbers to consider…
Peak Current Duration
Time Between Peak Current
Continuous Current and Peak Current can be the obvious discharge rates to factor but just as important are the Peak Current Duration and Time Between Peak Current. Understanding all four and consulting the BMS data sheet are vital steps in a battery pack design process. If Peak Current Duration and/ or Time Between Peak are beyond the ‘Over Current’ limits, the load must now be treated as Continuous Current. This may require a different BMS to be selected.
Charge and Discharge Shut Off
As BMS safety features are intended to protect the cells, the board must not be used for operational control of a device. Charge and Discharge Shut Off must be controlled by the equipment the battery pack is part of. Should the device shut off fail the battery pack BMS acts as a last line of defense.
More complex protection circuits can also be incorporated with a Fuel Gauge (FG), allowing battery life to be read either by the equipment it is used in or displayed for the user. Programming is required for Fuel Gauge boards also known as Learning Cycles. This ensures the BMS operates within the exact intended limits of the customers device. Excell creates this program based on customer supplied info and the programming is part of our assembly and QC process.
Excell Battery’s Engineering Team designed our library of stock BMS boards which allows us to cover a vast array of projects with quick turn solutions. However, we also design custom boards when required for specific projects. All our designs incorporate 10k NTC and Redundant Fuse. The latter adds an extra layer of protection but is also a requirement to pass certifications such as UL2054 and IEC62133.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, along with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requires that all lithium cells and batteries be tested for safety prior to being offered for transportation. The test criteria are listed in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Sixth Revised Edition, Sub Section 38.3. These criteria are frequently known as UN 38.3.
The test criteria specify that tests be performed on all lithium cells and battery packs, and they must be completed prior to the first shipment. These tests need only be performed once. All cell types shall be subjected to tests T.1 to T.6 and T.8. All non-rechargeable battery types shall be subjected to tests T.1 to T.5, and all rechargeable battery types shall be subjected to tests T.1 to T.5 and T.7. The test criteria specify the number of cells and batteries that must be tested.
Each tested cell or battery must contain a Lithium Battery Test Summary to be eligible for shipment. It is also required that manufactures and distributors make available the test summary using a standardized set of elements. More information about the Lithium Battery Test Summary can be found at:
When Excell Battery is involved in the design of a lithium battery, a discussion of the UN 38.3 test requirements will occur with the customer to ensure compliance with shipping regulations. In many cases, a Test Summary can be issued based on the similarity to another tested battery. UN 38.3 specifies that cells or batteries be subjected to the tests if the new design differs from a tested type by:
A change of more than 0.1 g or 20% by mass, whichever is greater, to the cathode, to the anode, or to the electrolyte;
For rechargeable cells and batteries, a change in nominal energy in Watt-hours of more than 20% or an increase in nominal voltage of more than 20%; or
A change that would materially affect the test results,
Helping to Save Testing Costs
To attempt to save design cost, Excell Battery will discuss with the customer whether a battery Test Summary can be issued for a new battery based on similarity to a previously tested type.
UN 38.3 specifies the procedures to be followed to ensure safety of lithium batteries for transport. Additional regulations by the US DOT, Transport Canada, IATA, ICAO, IMDG (and others) cover the transport of lithium cells and batteries, and specific training requirements, that must be followed by all shippers of lithium batteries.
Whether on the production floor or out in the elements, you need equipment that you can rely on. The products you use and the brands you trust need to be able to handle the drops, spills, and mishaps of a tough environment. While your handheld device has been rated to meet the challenges of your industrial application, how does your battery pack hold up?
Choosing the Right Battery for Industrial Applications
Difficult working environments pose unique challenges to product design. It is important to understand that not all battery packs are created equal. One must consider the environmental pressures their products face when choosing the right battery. Some of the most common concerns for industrial applications include:
Extreme temperature ranges
Dust and debris
Damage from poor handling
Physical adjustments to the pack design can help address some of these concerns. Proper design and selection of enclosures as well as the actual assembly of the pack can make the difference between success and failure. Safety features, such as those that ensure the cells are maintained within their safe operating range may be necessary. Protection circuits are built into the pack that cut-off the electrical current when triggered by certain parameters such as current, voltage, or temperature exceeding their safety thresholds. These safety features protect the packs from potential damage, increasing battery life and maximizing function.
Not only should a good pack design help address these environmental concerns, but they can also include smart technology features that offer increased functionality. Enhanced battery packs communicate with the device, sending information such as state of charge, temperature, or voltage, helping the device to make better use of the available energy. Some features ensure proper handling of the battery pack. Cells are designed to be charged at certain voltages and within specified current ranges. If charged incorrectly, cells could become unstable and possibly vent or explode. SHA-1 encryption is a safety feature commonly found in the handheld industry. It is used to ensure that only compatible charging systems are used with the device, supporting product longevity and consumer safety.
When designing a product, it is important to consider the battery pack right from the start. By tackling this major piece in the early stages of design, you reduce the need for a redesign. Redesigns can become problematic as they increase out-of-pocket costs while simultaneously affecting your assembly lines.
Custom Battery Cost Factors
The total cost of your battery encompasses more than just the physical unit. Not all design teams are optimized to manufacture. You also need to consider additional costs that may be a result of your supply chain. This is where working with North American suppliers like Excell Battery can be a great benefit, as they often have more resources, better scheduling, and faster support. Cost factors include:
1. Design Complexity
Technology Type. Battery cells come in a wide range of sizes and chemistries. While this variety makes finding the right solution easier, it also means that there are more areas in which the design can go wrong. A good battery design will balance size, weight, and energy to best suit your industrial application.
Quality of Components. You may have heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” This stands true for the individual components that make up your battery pack. A cheaper part usually comes with lesser quality. In the world of battery packs, lesser quality means failures in the field and possibly safety risks for the consumer.
Regulatory Requirements. Batteries are subject to strict regulations as outlined. Some of these regulations are specific to transportation, while others deal with safety. Certifications build trust in the marketplace, informing consumers that they are purchasing products that will last.
Tariffs. Some goods are subject to taxes when imported from one country to another. These charges are often difficult to predict and can fluctuate at different times of the year. Manufacturers offset these costs, passing that cost onto their customers by increasing prices of battery packs.
Transportation. When we consider transportation, we are looking at the couriers that take material from point of manufacture to point of installation, which can be especially difficult when shipping lithium batteries, as they are subject to strict regulations. Batteries can pose a risk during transportation if not prepared in compliance with local and international regulations.
Lead-time. Depending on where your components are coming from and the state of the international marketplace, you might find yourself at the mercy of uncertain supplier lead-times. Long and variable lead-times make it difficult for production lines to stay on track, negatively impacting your bottom line.
Excell Battery has been providing custom battery solutions for industrial instrumentation for over 35 years. We’ve helped companies design their products early on, in order for them to consider battery requirements. This has directly resulted in their product launches happening on time, on budget, and with no product redesigns necessary. With our custom power solutions, companies have come to expect their products to last longer, run faster, and give their customers an overall better experience.
In the past, battery design was straightforward. With limited intricacies and the perception that moving teams under one roof would save money, battery design became an in-house operation. However, in today’s world of lithium-ion, design and manufacture involve more than a few cells and a thermistor. Working in partnership with the right company can actually eliminate uncertainty, reduce costs, and improve efficiency and safety.
A Look at an In-House Team
Battery design teams involve a number of moving parts. In order to have a group in-house, you need to consider onboarding engineers skilled in electrical, mechanical, and software applications. Procurement officers are necessary to evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and guarantee the quality of approved purchases. Project managers lead the team through each phase to deliver goods according to schedule. Yet, this costly investment into personnel does not ensure that the final product will perform as needed. It is not uncommon for a battery designed by an in-house team to require additional outside support before going to production. Redesigns can become problematic as they increase out-of-pocket costs while possibly shutting down your assembly lines.
Team is located in one place. Having an integrated project group can reduce the back and forth. If you run into a problem, engineering resources are right next door.
You are the industry expert. You know your application best with a thorough understanding of the global outlook, including certifications and market potential.
No non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs. With an in-house team, you no longer need to worry about third-party project fees to design, develop, and test a new product. However, should a problem arise, there may be additional cost considerations as well as project delays that may negatively influence your business.
Lack of knowledge of regulatory requirements. Batteries are subject to strict regulations as outlined by various agencies, including the UN, IEC, ANSI, UL, and more. Many in-house groups are not designing packs with transportation regulations, such as Dangerous Goods labeling and UN38.3, in mind. While not mandatory, safety requirements such as IEC 62133 and UL 2054 do more than provide confidence that your product will perform correctly throughout its lifecycle. These labels also build trust in the marketplace, informing consumers that they are purchasing quality products.
Not optimized for manufacturing. While a capable team may be able to reduce design costs, many companies are not equipped with the infrastructure or resources for manufacturing power supplies. When it comes to sourcing cells or other components, most are not able to traverse the battery supply chain in regards to things like tariffs and lead times. Given the global state, you could experience lead times of 60 weeks with offshore suppliers versus a matter of months with a North American supplier.
Choosing a Third-Party Battery Designer
Perhaps your experience with an in-house team did not go as planned. Quality issues and product failures often push companies to seek outside help when designing and manufacturing future battery packs. Or it might be your first time in need of a custom battery pack, and you understand you want it done right the first time. In this case, finding the right third-party battery supplier, such as Excell Battery, is key to the success of your business for several reasons.
A professional team. When you choose a battery design team like Excell Battery, who has years of experience with the whole process from technical requirements to manufacturing support, you get a team of battery experts. From the first point of contact, we become your partner, building a long-term relationship of trust and value.
More resources. North American suppliers like Excell Battery often have connections with many different cell providers, so we are more likely to find the right cell for the right application. As a local company, we can service your business needs in a timely manner. You also gain access to our knowledgeable engineering departments and the ability to work with teams who understand the regulatory requirements.
Nondisclosures. Your custom battery pack is sensitive material, and companies like Excell do not share this information. With offshore suppliers, you run the risk of your material being made public.
Take the Next Step
Generally, the best thing to do is to consult with a knowledgeable battery design team early. By consulting with a third party company before the design phase, you reduce the risk that your product may fail and require rework. Keep your product on track and on budget by involving a group like Excell Battery.
When considering your supply chain, understanding the total cost of ownership is critical in making an informed decision. Not all supply chains are equal; often, when working with offshore supply chains, you are entering into a scenario where you lose control once you’ve placed your order. In these cases, there is often an unpredictable number of variables to contend with. The inability to plan precisely for costs and procurement time when shipping lithium batteries can be too much for some companies to carry. While many problems may arise, there are three main pain points that tend to come up when working with offshore battery supply chains.
Considerations for Shipping Lithium Batteries
As part of government regulation, some goods—be they individual components or finished products—are subject to certain taxes when imported from one country to another. These tariffs are often difficult to predict and can fluctuate drastically at different times of the year depending on international relations, industry regulation, the health of the economy, and other factors. Due to the variable nature of trade policies, manufacturers offset the increase in overall costs, passing that cost onto their customers by increasing prices of battery packs. With the constant threat of imposed fees dictated by politics and economy, it can be an untenable situation for many companies.
Another area of hidden costs lies in transportation. When we consider transportation, we are looking at the couriers that take material from point of manufacture to point of installation, which can be especially difficult when shipping lithium batteries, as they are subject to strict regulations as outlined by various agencies including the UN, USDOT, Transport Canada, IATA and others. Batteries can pose a risk during transportation if not prepared in compliance with local and international regulations. To be acceptable for transport by any means, products containing lithium batteries must be tested to UN38.3 Transportation Testing Requirements. If these products are not packaged properly, they may be refused at the country of origin. In some cases when products are not clearly identified, products may not be refused until reaching customs in North America, creating serious delays that could result in substantial financial losses, halting entire production lines, and potentially closing businesses.
When dealing with offshore battery supply chains, materials ship one of two ways: by air or by sea. Both require equipment traveling long distances, but the pros and cons of the two methods differ.
Takes less time; goods arrive in a matter of days.
The schedule is more reliable.
Costs more due to plane capacity, higher fuel consumption, and increased. operational costs.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has very strict guidelines.
Much slower than air: goods arrive in weeks, possibly months.
Have to order more frequently, tying up large sums of money upfront to maintain delivery.
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code is less stringent than IATA but has a different set of requirements.
Regardless of transportation means, there are other factors to consider. Orders must meet certain packing sizes or costs to be shipped in the first place, meaning manufacturers might have to order more than they need. Due to lead-time stretching out from vendors, producers might be unable to meet the demand from their customers and could face potential order cancellation.
3. Quality of Components
When creating a product and sourcing components, a Bill of Materials (BOM) is used to ensure that products are made to specification. Offshore suppliers are not always held to the same production standards that we see in North America and have been known to substitute with like components, yet they require payment upfront. These unapproved alternatives lower performance and may result in a shorter product lifespan, however, manufacturers are unable to hold OEM suppliers financially accountable. Once again, we see a point of financial loss and unreliable supply.
Choosing the Right Supplier
Working with other countries poses many unique challenges.
Slow response times.
Physical distance from manufacturers.
Difficulty with development and prototyping.
Costs from tariffs and transportation.
In the end, a large overhead does not guarantee a quality product. With differences in regulations and business ethics, delivery times, upfront costs, and overseas acquisition is an unreliable and potentially dangerous route to pursue. By choosing a manufacturer based in North America, the number of variables is significantly reduced, allowing you to maintain lower costs while striving for high efficiency and qualified support.
At present, the battery supply chain could best be described as overwhelmed. With an increase in the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical equipment, new companies are stepping up and putting their talents into markets they do not generally service. The increase in demand coupled with logistical difficulties has put a tremendous strain on traditional supply methods. Companies that do business with other countries, particularly in Asia, are finding that things are not business as usual. Manufacturers are waiting longer and competing more for the supplies they need from battery suppliers. OEM components are more expensive, and shipping logistics have been heavily affected by travel restrictions. With these new issues at hand, finding the right supplier can be key to ensuring successful business operations.
Making the Change to a New Battery Supplier
When you have a battery-driven product, the battery is really the heart of that device. Now more than ever, companies cannot afford failures. Customers are looking for battery pack suppliers that can provide reliable solutions with the capacity to scale quickly enough to meet demand. This means choosing an experienced supplier who has a deep understanding of the batteries themselves, as well as the ability to navigate a fluctuating supply chain.
Critical Steps You Need to Take
There could be many reasons why a company looks for a new battery supplier. In light of the current health situation, businesses are finding themselves tasked with new challenges. Perhaps your failure rate is affecting costs, as well as your reputation? Or perhaps you need to diversify your supply network to adapt to a changing global economy? It’s crucial to gain a complete understanding of your product and your needs to effectively transition an existing product to a new power solutions supplier. Here are the critical steps you’ll need to take.
Identify all critical components in your Bill of Materials (BOM) and make sure you have proper manufacturing documentation. When transitioning an existing product to a new battery supplier, it is essential to have clear product records. If a new product is in the works, a supplier who can work with you to design, produce, and test a solution will be critical to achieving success.
Understand operational requirements. Documenting and understanding your electrical and environmental needs will make transitioning much smoother. Battery suppliers can often identify areas for enhancement if they understand the larger picture.
Understand your total procurement costs. It is important to know how components or services are being purchased in order to make educated decisions regarding your supply chain.
Know your regulatory requirements. Working with a battery supplier can be complex from a regulatory perspective. Regulations change depending on product class, available markets, and geographical location. For example, if an existing product is IEC or UL certified, the manufacturer is part of that file. Moving to another manufacturer means either going through the process of recertification, which takes a considerable amount of time, or adding another manufacturer to that file. Knowing which certifications you have now or aim to have in the future can make a big difference in terms of how quickly your product will go to market.
Choose a partner that can guide you through the process. From start to finish, having an experienced power supplier can mean the difference between success and failure. Suppliers like Excell Battery, who have years of expertise with the whole process from technical requirements to software support, will help you navigate a process that can be confusing at times.
Why Excell Battery?
With over 35 years of experience, Excell Battery has been able to guide manufacturers through the entire transition. Learn more about how we can help you. Contact Us
Because Excell is a critical supplier of products to both oil and gas and medical customers, our business is considered essential during this time. Our factories in North America will remain open and operational and positioned to respond fast to OEM requirements. The following Excell manufacturing facilities are operating at normal production levels and will continue to operate as needed to support our customers.
Given the current supply chain situation, it is more important now than ever before to partner with a supplier who can provide North American manufacturing to mitigate risk. Excell will continue to provide speed and agility during these times ramping production to meet our customers requirements.
ISO 9001:2015 Certification
Exceptional record of quality and service for over 30 years and ISO 9001:2015 certification ensure that your battery packs are made right every time.