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Battery Lab accelerates EV battery validation

23rd May 2023
Mick Elliott

National Instruments has launched a Software-Defined Battery Lab solution on the first day of NIConnect in Austin, Texas (May 23-24).

Designed for electric vehicle battery validation labs, the new offering covers the entire, sustainable battery lifecycle from research and development to validation, production, second-life, and remanufacturing.

The Software-Defined Battery Lab solution supports EV manufacturers and battery suppliers in tackling the pressing challenges of time-to-market, cost, and battery performance.

NI’s offering prioritises an open, software-connected approach to enable flexible, automated, and intelligent test strategies from an individual battery validation workbench to global lab deployment.

The Software-Defined Battery Lab draws parallels from the concept of Software-Defined Vehicles, which is revolutionising how engineering teams bring vehicles to market and continuously improve their performance.

“We’re in the nascent stages of the battery revolution,” said Drita Roggenbuck, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Transportation Business Unit at NI. “Companies are faced with driving down battery costs, improving performance, innovating endlessly, and scaling. At a time when new vehicle programs are as short as ever, and battery validation and production must scale immediately and continuously through the end of the decade, NI’s Software-Defined Battery Lab offers the step function change needed to improve time to market and battery performance through test systems and test insights.”

Unlike fragmented or closed-vendor approaches to battery testing, NI’s solution allows battery manufacturers to own their test strategy to maximise capital investment reuse, allow test customisation, and establish vendor independence.

“As we challenge established supply chains, it’s critical that we own our test strategy. Owning our test strategy enables us to quickly implement the features we need so we’re not held back by technology limitations,” said Henrik Rudelius, Director, Validation and Simulation, Battery Systems at Northvolt. “We must make sure we can implement the features to get the data we need and make fact-based decisions. That openness accelerates the product know-how of our battery systems. The validation test data we get from NI systems enables our engineering teams to learn more about our batteries and find ways to improve them even after they’re in the field.”

The key components of the solution encompass a comprehensive set of software, instrumentation, and services needed to build out robust testing and data management capabilities, including:

Battery Test Development and Execution Software:Battery Test Software powered by PAtools streamlines testing processes and helps users to interpret and act on accurate and reliable test results. NI’s Battery Test Softwareprovides proven battery testing capabilities out-of-the-box while also allowing customization and extensibility through LabVIEW and other common test software.

Lab System and Data Management Software: The newly announced NI SystemLink Enterprise software is a scalable enterprise solution for managing labs, improving test operations, and analysing test results to extract meaningful insights from test and measurement data. It offers lab management functionality including:

  • Test request tracking and scheduling
  • Tester status, utilisation, and health monitoring
  • Test software management and deployment
  • Battery data aggregation, visualisation, and analytics

Battery Cycler Offering and Third Party Integration: NI’s extensive battery cycler portfolio offers high-performance, easy-to-use, safe, and reliable solutions needed for any phase of battery development. NI’s newest cycler, HPS-17000, provides up to 150 kW power and is ideal for testing in a fast-paced lab environment that needs to be scaled and easily serviced. NI’s open software allows integration with third party cyclers to increase development efficiency and enable reuse.

Battery Measurement and Control System: The NI battery measurement and control hardware is built on NI’s software-connected, modular hardware platforms. These systems can be quickly reconfigured and customised to meet rapidly changing test requirements, including integration with third-party components. The real-time operating system provides deterministic operation, while built-in timing and synchronisation allows to easily scale up channel and measurement capabilities.

Global Engineering Integration and Support: NI’s global presence of engineering services and extensive partner network ensures local support and solution delivery to meet a wide range of application requirements.

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