The secret lives of batteries

Louise Smyth

Making sure you get a battery that can meet the demands of a device you’re designing is vital for performance, which is particularly crucial when designing devices for healthcare and other high pressure environments

In high pressure environments where devices are built to operate seamlessly over a  long life cycle it’s crucial that the battery is capable of providing a consistent and reliable source of energy that meets the application’s demands. Whether in a medical or military setting, an underperforming battery can have serious – and sometimes fatal – consequences.

In choosing the right battery to meet these demands OEMs can maximise performance and limit the problems encountered by the end user. Considering the points covered in the infographic will help manufacturers to select a battery with the most suitable traits and functionality to give their product advantage and a competitive edge.

Now international battery manufacturer Accutronics has created an infographic that offers guidance to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) choose the best battery for their devices. The infographic, which is available from Accutronics’ website, outlines five key points for OEMs to consider when designing a device or upgrading an existing battery.

“There are many misconceptions about the levels of functionality a battery is capable of delivering,” explains Neil Oliver, technical marketing manager at Accutronics. “All too frequently the battery is seen as an ideal power source when, in fact, there are limitations that must be understood.”

“For example the ability for a smart battery to accurately predict its own capacity is very much dependent upon the embedded fuel gauge, mapping and cell performance over a number of usage scenarios. Accurate fuel gauging is vital for many mission critical applications.”

Considering the battery early in the design process also enables the OEM to ensure a high quality of device security. Algorithmic security is one such function that manufacturers considering the five tips will be able to benefit from.

“If a life support machine doesn’t have the space to allow practitioners to hot swap batteries then a battery that allows for high energy capacity and precise measurement is absolutely essential,” Oliver said. “It would also be beneficial to consider a battery with algorithmic security, protecting against the use of cheaply manufactured counterfeit batteries which could negatively impact the device’s performance.”

The legitimacy of power sources is especially pertinent, as highlighted in the infographic, as ten percent of all electronics in the supply chain are counterfeit. Algorithmic security, which uses advanced computer cryptography to match host devices with legitimate batteries, ensures users don’t fall foul to this by alerting them if a counterfeit is detected.