Li-Ion affords hot swap for transport regulations

21st October 2015
Caroline Hayes


For where reliability and safety are paramount, namely medical and industrial applications, Accutronics has developed the Intelligent Power Vault to allow critical equipment to run continuously without mains supply.

Although Li-Ion is the default choice for powering portable electronic devices because of longer run-times and lower weight than NiCad, Ni-MH and lead acid, the transportation of Li-Ion batteries by air, sea and road is heavily regulated. Batteries must pass mandatory transportation tests before shipping. Once tested, batteries must be packed in accordance with strict packaging and paperwork requirements and limitations are placed on the number and weight of batteries shipped. Batteries with energy in excess of 100Wh have additional restrictions placed upon them which increases transport costs.

To address these issues, the company has produced an off-the-shelf, modular battery system that draws energy from removable, sub-100Wh Li-Ion smart batteries and feeds them through a central controller. This allows an energy system with less than 100Wh to be manufactured yet still comply with transportation regulations. Up to eight batteries can be built into one system, providing over 700Wh.

The Intelligent Power Vault uses multiple Li-ion smart batteries to provide rechargeable battery power to a range of devices. The hot-swappable smart battery technology stores energy and its modular nature reduces shipping limitations.

There is a control module on the exterior and slots for between two and eight battery modules. Each module is a compact 86.4Wh rechargeable Li-Ion battery, called the VR420. Special brackets for mounting in a 19inch rack are available for units configured with eight batteries.

The loading system allows batteries to be easily removed for transportation without the need for tools. Once taken out of the rack, the individual batteries can be shipped with the Intelligent Power Vault under a UN packing instruction that allows the shipment of Li-Ion batteries with less than 100Wh with equipment.

The complete power management device weighs less than 8kg, which the company claims is two and a half times lighter than an equivalent lead acid battery. It can also be used in automated laboratory equipment where power failure cannot be tolerated. Other applications include 3D dental scanners, communications equipment and embedded computing devices, such as industrial PCs and robotic back-up.




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