Monday, 3 December 2012

Staffordshire based battery manufacturer charges ahead

~ Accutronics wins Award for Innovation in Products and Processes at the Manufacturing Excellence Awards ~

Accutronics, the Midlands-based battery specialist has won the heavily contested Lombard Award for Innovation in Products and Processes at the Manufacturing Excellence Awards. The company was handed the trophy by Michael Portillo, the former Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister, at a ceremony held at The Dorchester in London on November 27, 2012.


This prestigious award recognises Accutronics’ exceptional performance in areas such as research and development strategies, product innovation and manufacturing. The accolade is an acknowledgement of the company’s success, having transformed itself under new ownership, into a profitable multi-million pound turnover British-owned business in just three years.

An expert in the design, development and manufacture of rechargeable batteries for high performance electronic devices, Accutronics’ smart batteries offer advanced functionality and features such as charge control, fuel gauging and device communication.

One of Accutronics’ products, the Intelligent Power Vault (IPV) is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to innovation and lean manufacturing practices. IPV is a unique multi-battery power source which is ideal for powering medical and industrial devices. The innovative modular design of the IPV provides flexibility and scalability and permits transportation without the costs normally associated with large Lithium Ion batteries.

The Intelligent Power Vault also provides a wealth of vital battery data to its host equipment from its USB and serial interfaces, ensuring that information about remaining runtime is reported accurately and efficiently.

“This is the first year we have entered the Manufacturing Excellence Awards so we were not sure what to expect and actually taking home the trophy is a great confidence boost for us as a manufacturer,” enthused Rob Phillips, managing director of Accutronics. “Furthermore, the rigorous MX application and assessment process gave us a bird’s eye view of our business strategy and provided very valuable benchmarking feedback.

“These past three years have been incredibly exciting for us and no efforts were spared when it came to research, product development and improving manufacturing processes,” Phillips continued. “I am proud that we bucked the trend and brought manufacturing and engineering back from China to the UK, which is no mean feat in the current economic climate,” he concluded.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Battery manufacturer appoints PRINCE2 specialist

Paul Heyes
~ Former Marconi executive will streamline project execution ~

Accutronics, the UK-based battery design, development and manufacturing company, has appointed Paul Heyes as project manager. Paul joined Accutronics in May from Marconi where he worked for 14 years, developing a wealth of experience.


Heyes’ background is in railways and highways infrastructure management. He was involved for two and a half years on the West Coast main line, a £90 million job, as a project manager reporting to the project director. Marconi based its project management on the PRINCE2 (PRojects PRINCE2 is a de facto standard developed and used extensively by the UK government and is widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. It embodies established and proven best practice in project management.

“My goal is to put processes in place based on PRINCE2 to improve project management within the design function at Accutronics,” explained Heyes. “Specifically I’m looking at issues like communications, cost control and project scheduling. Here design activity may last 12-18 months, but we design products that go into a ten year product life cycle, so sustainability is crucial.”

Heyes’ appointment is a key element of Accutronics’ growth plans because of the increasing number of projects being initiated by the company. The appointment will free up engineering staff from project management tasks, and allow them to focus on efficient management.

“It is all about planning, expediting, coordination and control,” Heyes adds. “Marconi was a huge organisation. This meant my project management role involved using subordinates to take action on my behalf. At Accutronics, I will be the only one doing that; it’s a much more hands-on approach. This is entirely appropriate for the size of the organisation.

“Accutronics is a good fit for me and has much more of a family feel to it than Marconi. People here tend to stay for a long time, which reflects the positive working environment. It’s a nice place to work,” concludes Heyes.

Accutronics delivers smart battery technology to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) worldwide, in a range of industries, including military, medical, industrial and portable electronics applications, so Heyes’ experience will prove to be invaluable. Accutronics offers whole of life support for OEMs and design consultants who demand a high level of technical and commercial expertise. The company’s smart batteries offer advanced functionality and performance and features such as charge control, fuel gauging and device communication.

A father of two, Paul lives in Stafford and is a keen cyclist in training. He has plans to retrace a route he travelled with his brother in his youth, which runs from St Helens to Shrewsbury, covering a distance of about 60 miles.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Three days to Electronica

It is now only three days until the start of Electronika 2012 in Munich, Germany. The Accutronics team will be in Hall B2, stand 353 showing our 'Accupro' custom batteries & chargers, the wide range of Inspired Energy standard smart batteries, chargers & accessories and the new Entellion range of innovative power products which include our credit card batteries and the all new Intelligent Power Vault multi battery power solution.

Hall B2 is where it all happens if you need a battery or power supply solution so please visit us and see how Accutronics can help you, your products and your company succeed.


Intelligent Power Vault (536Wh version shown)


We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Neil

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

What Accutronics really does in portable electronics

Whether it is a POS (Point of Sale) machine used in a restaurant or high-tech night-vision goggles, portable electronics have invaded every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Engineers, scientists, restaurant staff, delivery operatives and Doctors all use portable electronic equipment that keeps the world turning. The common denominator in all of these devices is the requirement for a safe and reliable battery system. 

POS machines need reliable batteries
The research and development team at Accutronics is dedicated to developing and manufacturing the rechargeable batteries that allow professional people to measure, calculate, interrogate, sample, monitor or communicate in the way their jobs demand.

OEMs around the world, in a variety of industry sectors, rely on Accutronics to produce their batteries on time and within the specified budget.

This is made possible by integrating fuel gauging electronics, active protection circuits and careful cell balancing into our batteries. Providing customers with state of the art battery functionality is the focus of all our efforts.

A key requirement for all portable electronics is that they be easy to use, lightweight and, depending on where they are used, robust. In the defence sector for instance, when military operatives on duty have to transport this crucial equipment on their person they simply can’t afford to be overloaded. Accutronics provides the batteries that power this equipment and helps ensure that they will not weigh down the troops.

Moreover, where soldiers have to carry radio equipment, transmitters, lighting or vision systems, robustness becomes an additional imperative. Accutronics’ batteries are designed to withstand the cold nights in the mountains, as well as the hot days of patrolling thought the desserts.

Powering mission critical equipment, as well as handheld devices used by delivery drivers or restaurant staff, is ultimately a matter of flexibility and ingenuity. Accutronics’ designers are used to taking every detail into account when creating the prototypes for our batteries. By continually re-focussing on the purpose of the end technology and concentrating our technical understanding, we have always endeavoured to support our customers in achieving their objectives.

If you want to discuss the development of batteries for any type of portable electronic device, please contact our sales and customer service team on +44 (0) 1782 566688 to discuss your requirements.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 26 October 2012

Newly appointed direct sales and marketing manager subscribes to better for all life philosophy

Michele Windsor
Midlands based battery manufacturer Accutronics has appointed Michele Windsor as direct sales and marketing manager. In her new role, Windsor will focus on building the e-commerce functionality of the company’s website and marketing the company’s products across Europe.

Accutronics delivers smart battery technology to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) worldwide, to a range of industries, including military, medical, industrial and portable electronics applications.

The company offers ‘whole of life’ support for OEMs and design consultants who demand a high level of technical and commercial expertise. The smart batteries offer advanced functionality and performance and features such as charge control, fuel gauging and device communication.

With twelve years of experience in direct marketing and sales at hand-held radio distributor CS Electronics, Michele will make use of her broad sales experience in her new role at Accutronics. Her responsibilities will include in-house marketing, website content management, customer relations management and event organisation.

“The intricacy of the activities going on in the Accutronics factory is amazing,” enthused Michele. “Unfortunately, many people don’t realise the level of technological innovation that goes into the manufacture of smart batteries. My aim is to further raise awareness about their benefits in anything from life saving medical applications to military equipment. I am a firm believer in the better for all life philosophy, so my work here fits in perfectly with that school of thought,” she concluded.

“Having worked in almost all areas of the electronics industry, Michele boasts a great deal of knowledge in manufacturing processes and technologies,” explained Rob Phillips, Accutronics’ managing director. “Her role is a varied one, but I am confident that her expertise can bring value to our current projects such as re-branding and advertising our Inspired Energy range of products,” he said. 

Passionate about exercising and extreme sports, Michelle adores skiing, water boarding, skydive and acrobatic flights.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

NH2034 - The New Eight Cell Lithium Ion Smart Battery from Inspired Energy

Accutronics, the sole distributor of Inspired Energy Standard Smart Batteries, Chargers and Accessories is proud to announce the launch of a new battery from Inspired Energy - the NH2034.

This new battery has a slender profile and is ideal when you need a 14.4V platform to power your next generation of portable products without consuming large amounts of space.




The first variant to launch has the suffix 'HD31' - meaning that it is high discharge capable (8Amps) and uses the latest (3.1Ah) 18650 Lithium ion cells. The eight cells are configured in a four series, two parallel configuration (14.4V / 6.2Ah) which means you get a massive 89.3Wh of stored energy. 2013 will see the introduction of a 'HD34' variant which will take the stored energy close to 100Wh.

Of course, being a standard smart battery from Inspired Energy the NH2054HD31 will fit into any of the standard desktop chargers such as the CH4000 or CH5050. The smart battery functionality means that it is the battery itself that determines the charging voltage and current required from the charger - making smart charging safer and more efficient than traditional 'dumb' charger controlled operation.

The smart battery interface on the NH2054HD31 also allows your equipement to obtain useful data such 'runtime to empty', 'device name', 'voltage', 'average current', serial number, and 'manufacture date'.

The NH2054HD31 can be customised to suit particular customer needs - just contact us to discuss.

Neil

Monday, 22 October 2012

Batteries for military applications – powering the mission

The modern, mobile military requires completely autonomous and highly reliable battery power for electronic equipment, as do back office military and defence applications. Furthermore, the demand for increased lifespan, improved energy density and more power only increases as advanced technology allows the military and defence sectors to deploy increasingly complex equipment. 

Mission critical equipment
Accutronics’ batteries directly support the armed forces, powering mission-critical equipment such as radios, lights and night-vision goggles. They can also be found everywhere from covert airfield-landing lights and rugged portable computers to server back-up where they provide high performance and reliable power in the harshest of environments.

Our products are designed to withstand harsh conditions and provide for the highest levels of demand, whilst features such as ‘locked in design’ prevent unauthorised product changes, ensuring high levels of safety. Furthermore, our products are manufactured in the UK guaranteeing a stable and dependable supply to customers.

“One key issue in design for the defence and military sector is the weight of the end product,” explained Neil Oliver, Accutronics’ senior technical marketing manager. “It’s a fact that the weight of a typical infantry backpack has increased massively since WWII and this is largely due to the increased use of technology in the field. As a result, using intelligent design engineering to reduce the weight impact of a device is very important. Lithium-ion technology, for instance, allows for increased portability by ensuring the battery is light weight.” 

Range is also a key issue, which is why Accutronics ensures that every design features a long operating life and no voltage delay, so that the device springs into action when required, even if it’s been inactive for some time.

Smart battery for defence applications
“It goes without saying that safety is also an important factor in our designs,” continued Oliver. “It’s for this reason that testing and compliance are top priorities throughout the design process, even if time constraints are an issue.”

The impact of innovative battery design doesn’t only benefit those on the front line. By powering a range of hand-held electronic devices, it delivers benefits to people in a range of roles including scientists, engineers, restaurant staff and delivery drivers. The benefits that light weight, dependable batteries can bring to field hospitals, for example, are immeasurable.

We believe that Accutronics’ focus on end-user benefit makes a tangible difference to our customers, including those in the defence and security. Reliable, robust and secure battery solutions are essential to power the mission.

First image courtesy of Surachai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Meet Accutronics at Compamed

The Accutronics team will be in Dusseldorf, Germany for the Compamed exhibiton between the 14th and 16th of November 2012. - Hall 8b stand F30

You will be able to see the new Intelligent Power Vault which is our multi battery Lithium Ion Power System for medical and industrial applications. This is a revolutionary new device which has already got people talking!



In addition to the Intelligent Power Vault we will also be displaying our CC2300 and CC3800 credit card batteries which give OEMs a pre-engineered choice of battery when designing small handheld electronic devices.



The wide range of Inspired Energy standard smart batteries, chargers and accessories will be on display and all covered in our brand new 2013 catalogue. Did you know that there are now 79 batteries in the Inspired Energy range? No other battery company on the planet offers such a wide range of off-the-shelf smart batteries to the professional market.



Of course we will also be showing a wide range of custom battery packs and chargers that we have developed for our many OEM customers, there are some new designs to show off which are truly fantastic!



Who will be at Compamed from Accutronics? - Well it will be Rob Phillips, Mark Edlin, Michele Windsor and Gareth Hancox. If you want to come and see us then please drop me an email or just feel free to drop onto the stand.

See you in Germany!

Neil Oliver


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Meet Accutronics at Electronica

The Accutronics team will be in Munich, Germany for the Electronica exhibiton between the 13th and 16th of November 2012. - Hall B2, stand 353.

You will be able to see the new Intelligent Power Vault which is our multi battery Lithium Ion Power System for medical and industrial applications. This is a revolutionary new device which has already got people talking!



In addition to the Intelligent Power Vault we will also be displaying our CC2300 and CC3800 credit card batteries which give OEMs a pre-engineered choice of battery when designing small handheld electronic devices.



The wide range of Inspired Energy standard smart batteries, chargers and accessories will be on display and all covered in our brand new 2013 catalogue. Did you know that there are now 79 batteries in the Inspired Energy range? No other battery company on the planet offers such a wide range of off-the-shelf smart batteries to the professional market.



Of course we will also be showing a wide range of custom battery packs and chargers that we have developed for our many OEM customers, there are some new designs to show off which are truly fantastic!



Who will be at Electronica from Accutronics? - Well it will be myself, Gareth Morgan, Andrew Pugh and Mike Allen. If you want to come and see us then please drop me an email or just feel free to drop onto the stand.

See you in Germany!

Neil Oliver


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Präsentation eines Multi-Lithiumionen-Akkusystems für medizinische und industrielle Anwendungen auf der Electronica 2012

Accutronics, ein britisches Unternehmen, das Akkus entwirft, entwickelt und herstellt, wird das Intelligent Power Vault™, ein Multi-Lithiumionen-Akkusystem für medizinische und industrielle Anwendungen, auf der Electronica 2012 in München vorstellen. Sie finden das Unternehmen in Halle B2 an Stand 353 auf der Messe, die vom 13. bis 16. November 2012 stattfindet.

Accutronics wird auch seine kompakten, kreditkartengroßen Akkus und die Inspired-Energy-Akkureihe, die standardmäßige intelligente Akkus, Ladegeräte und Zubehörteile umfasst, ausstellen. Beispiele der kundenspezifischen Spezialbatterien und Ladegeräte, die das Unternehmen für OEMs in den Bereichen Medizin, Verteidigung und tragbare Elektronik herstellt, werden ebenfalls am Stand zu sehen sein.

Intelligent Power VaultTM (IPV) ist ein neues Akkussystem, das zur Stromversorgung von Geräten im medizinischen und industriellen Bereich verwendet werden kann, wo eine hohe Energiedichte, Zuverlässigkeit und Funktionalität wichtige Anforderungen sind.

Das in Konfigurationen von 126 Wh bis 1,42 kWh erhältliche IPV bezieht die Leistung aus mehreren intelligenten 63-Wh- oder 89-Wh-VR420-Lithiumionen-Akkus, die in das innovative Rack-System des IPV eingesetzt werden. Das Akkusystem liefert je nach Kundenwunsch entweder nicht stabilisierten oder geregelten Gleichstrom.

Das IPV liefert auch eine Vielzahl wichtiger Akkudaten an Host-Ausrüstung über seine USB- und seriellen Schnittstellen. Damit ist sichergestellt, dass Daten wie die verbleibende Laufzeit genau und effizient gemeldet werden.

Die kreditkartengroßen Akkus von Accutronics verfügen über ein aktives elektronisches Schutzsystem, das eine Überladung, übermäßige Entladung sowie Kurzschlüsse verhindert. Sie erfüllen international anerkannte Sicherheits- und Transportstandards. Sowohl das IPV als auch die kreditkartengroßen Akkus fallen nicht unter die Gefahrgutverordnung, so dass ein kostengünstiger und einfacher Transport möglich ist.

Das Intelligent Power Vault VR420 und die kreditkartengroßen Akkus sind Beispiele von Produkten, die Accutronics als Standardlösungen liefern kann. „Das reduziert den mit der Entwicklung und den vorgeschriebenen Tests verbundenen Zeit- und Kostenaufwand, so dass Kunden ihre Geräte schneller auf den Markt bringen können,“ erklärt Neil Oliver, Technical Marketing Manager.

Für Kunden, die eine völlig maßgeschneiderte Akkulösung benötigen, stellt Accutronics eine breite Palette von Akkus aus, die für weltweit führende Geräte-OEMs entwickelt wurden.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Batteries & Fuel Cells Seminar

Accutronics has again partnered with Shmuel De-Leon Energy to provide a two day 'Batteries and Fuel Cells' training seminar on the 9th and 10th of April 2013. Mr De-Leon is a world expert on both batteries and fuel cells and will travel from Israel specifically to deliver this seminar, which had previously been delivered in Europe and the USA. The seminar will be held at the Best Western Moat House hotel in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.



The seminar provides a comprehensive review of current and future electrochemical energy sources. It covers cells and raw material selection, design, manufacturing, testing, safety, transportation and disposal of energy sources. The seminar programme focuses on present and future needs of portable and stationary electrochemical energy sources and highlights the latest technological developments. primary, rechargeable, reserve, commercial, industrial and military batteries, fuel cells, ultra capacitor systems and their accessories.

Special focus is given to battery design and testing, which are vital tools for battery solutions. The seminar program also reviews the updated status of battery air transportation restrictions and instructs on the safe transport of batteries according to IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations.
Shmuel De-Leon is a leading international expert in the business of power sources. Prior to founding his company, Shmuel held various positions for over 20 years as a power sources, engineering and quality control team manager. Shmuel holds a BSc. in mechanical engineering from Tel-Aviv University and an MBA in quality control and reliability engineering from the Technion Institute in Haifa as well as an electronic technician's diploma. Shmuel De-Leon Energy Ltd provides unique tools for the energy sources industry, such as its energy sources database, battery and fuel cells seminars, energy source solutions, industry news weekly newsletter, and consultation services.

The price for the seminar is just £499 but we are offering an early bird discount to those who register by the 1st of March 2013 paying just £449.

For those wishing to sponsor the event we are offering packages where you can display your company products and literature for just £400 and receive a 10% discount on the seminar fee. 

Download the seminar program and registration information by visiting our website

To register for the event, arrange a hotel booking or to simply find out more please contact Melissa Whitfield on +44 (0) 1782 566688 or email melissa.whitfield@accutronics.co.uk


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Multi battery Lithium Ion system for medical and industrial applications launches at Electronica 2012

UK battery design, development and manufacturing company Accutronics is set to launch the Intelligent Power Vault™, a Lithium Ion multi-battery power system for medical and industrial applications at Electronica 2012 in Munich, Germany. The company can be found in hall B2 on stand 353 at the show, which runs from November 13-16.

Accutronics will also showcase its compact credit card sized batteries and the Inspired Energy battery range of standard smart batteries, chargers and accessories. Also on the stand will be examples of the specialist custom batteries and chargers that the company creates for OEMs in medical, defence and portable electronics markets.

IPV to be unveiled at Electronica
Intelligent Power Vault™ (IPV) is a new battery system that can be used to power medical and industrial devices when high energy density, reliability and functionality are critical requirements.

Available in configurations between 126Wh and 1.42kWh, each IPV draws power from multiple 63Wh or 89Wh VR420 Lithium-Ion smart batteries, which are inserted into the IPV's innovative racking system. DC power is available either as raw battery voltage or regulated to suit customer requirements.

The IPV also provides a wealth of vital battery data to its host equipment via its USB and serial interfaces - ensuring that data such as remaining runtime is reported accurately and efficiently.

Accutronics’ credit card sized batteries, come with an active electronic protection system that makes them resistant to over-charging, over-discharging and short-circuit. Meeting internationally recognised standards for safety and transportation. Both the IPV and the credit cards sized are exempt from Dangerous Goods shipping regulations, minimising the cost and complexity of freighting.

The Intelligent Power Vault VR420 and credit card batteries are examples of products that Accutronics have available as standard solutions. “This reduces the time and cost associated with development and regulatory testing meaning customers get their devices to market faster,” said Neil Oliver, Technical Marketing Manager.”

For customers who require a completely bespoke battery solution, Accutronics will be showcasing a wide range of batteries developed for some of the world’s leading device OEMs.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Unhappy with your current battery technology? Find out how Accutronics can help...



Many OEMs manufacture battery powered equipment which was state-of-the-art when developed but is now seen as too heavy, not  running long enough, taking too long to charge or not being environmentally friendly. This is no surprise when you consider that OEM devices in professional markets often have an active life-cycle of up to fifteen years and spares and aftermarket support can carry on even longer.

In many circumstances the device itself may go through a mid-life refresh to update the embedded technologies on a tried and tested mechanical platform that users are familiar with. This is the ideal opportunity for the OEM to update the battery technology and provide users with real benefits that will persuade them to abandon their old device and buy a new one.

This is where Accutronics can help! We are experts in the development and manufacture of rechargeable batteries using the latest cell chemistries. We have helped numerous OEMs to upgrade existing battery designs, providing longer runtimes, ease of recycling, fuel gauging, external visual state of charge indication, lower weight, increased robustness and reduced cost.

For example, an Accutronics OEM customer had a tried and tested battery that used Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) cell technology in a medical application. We were able to increase the energy density of the battery (both gravimetrically and volumetrically) by introducing Lithium Ion (LiIon) cell technology. This change gave the end user a 40% longer device runtime which allowed them to work a whole shift without charging. Accutronics also added smart battery functionality and fuel gauging so the customer's device could communicate with the battery and provide the user with accurate runtime information. We also helped the customer upgrade their charger from a dumb constant current unit to a smart programmable charger that would charge both the new and old batteries. This customer was able to successfully re-launch their product to the market boasting 'significant battery improvements' that increased their sales and gave new life to an established device platform.

If you are considering an upgrade to a battery design or even planning a totally new product then please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Neil

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Developing thin portable electronic devices?

Sometimes your device design takes you to places where your rechargeable battery need to be THIN. So thin that traditional metal canned Lithium ion cylindrical or prismatic cells are just too thick if you are to meet the demands of your market.



This is when Lithium ion polymer cells (or laminated pouch cells to use a more accurate name) and our battery design and manufacturing expertise can provide a slender battery solution that does everything you need it to.

Lithium ion polymer cells use basically the same electrode and seperator materials as traditional Lithium ion LiCO2 cells but the rigid metal can is replaced by a metal/polymer pouch which is laminated under heat and pressure. These cells are ideal where a battery needs to be THIN. The pouch packaging and laminating techniques also allow Lithium ion polymer cells to be created with a large footprint - making them ideal for portable electronic devices where the battery needs to be embedded behind the screen of the device (for reference just walk into any apple store from London to Shanghai and pick any portable device).


Lithium Polymer Cell

Whereas embedded Lithium ion polymer batteries may be ideal for relatively short lived consumer products, professional devices still tend to use a removeable battery allowing multiple batteries to be used in a single shift or to facilitate ease of battery replacement which may occur many times over the useful life of the device.

Accutronics are experts in the development and manufacture of removable Lithium Ion polymer batteries for professional applications and have produced outstanding products for medical, security and portable electronic applications where high energy density and a slender profile are key specification parameters.

If you are developing a professional portable electronic device and think that a thin Lithium Ion Polymer battery might take your product development to places you never thought possible please contact us to discuss further.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Credit card sized rechargeable battery proves to be a hit

Accutronics, the UK based developer and manufacturer of professional battery solutions, recently launched a range of credit card sized batteries for portable applications.

Having already received a high level of interest from OEM’s and Design Consultants for use in medical devices, portable electronic equipment, diving equipment and hand held devices Accutronics are confident that the batteries will continue to be popular across a wide variety of markets sectors.

The CC2300 and CC3800 credit card batteries have been developed by Accutronics in response to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) demand for a compact rechargeable Lithium Ion battery solution that is available on a short lead time. The products feature 3.7V Lithium Ion cell technology coupled with an impedance tracking fuel gauge, active protection system and a compact connector system, all contained in a package with a footprint identical to that of a credit card.

Regulatory approval of customer devices is simplified as both batteries are CE marked and have been tested to IEC62133 (safety) and UN38.3 (transportation) standards. Both batteries are supplied with comprehensive technical back-up and a number of useful accessories which enable the OEM designer to easily integrate the battery into the device system.



“The demand for this kind of product might seem surprising, given the abundant use of Lithium ion batteries in consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers,” explained Neil Oliver, Technical Marketing Manager at Accutronics. “However, batteries designed for consumer markets do not satisfy the requirements of OEMs in the quality-driven professional electronic device sector, so we’ve created these new credit card batteries to satisfy OEM demand”.

“The crux of all of our products is the technical support that goes hand in hand with them,” explained Oliver. “We believe that our credit card batteries fill a gap in the compact battery market for a fully-supported, OEM oriented battery solution. Device design engineers need technical guidance and feedback when they specify battery products and Accutronics is one of the few companies providing that support as standard. In addition to this, our excellent quality and delivery performance complete the service package that will get the device OEM to market quickly and confidently.”

You can find out more about the Accutronics Credit Card batteries by visiting www.accutronics.co.uk, emailing sales@accutronics.co.uk or telephoning +44 (0) 1782 566688.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Research success celebrated in local Knowledge Transfer Partnership Award

Midlands based battery manufacturer Accutronics has won a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Award for an innovative research project conducted together with Aston University. The national technology and innovation programme, run by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and, led by Prabhjit Singh Chugh, operational strategy engineer, offered valuable results from research into the custom battery design processes.

Midlands based battery manufacturer, Accutronics
Pictured (left to right Dr Ming Lim, Dr. Russ  Bromley, Gareth Hancox and Dr. Doug Love.

 A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a Technology Strategy Board Programme intended to promote and support research into the development and exploitation of technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve quality of life.

“Under the terms of the scheme, Prabhjit is an employee of the University who works, to all intents and purposes, as a member of the team at Accutronics,” explained Martin May of Aston University. “His role is to present a project in partnership with the host business to attract Government funding. The University provides some supervision and mentorship, as, of course, does Accutronics. This project is one of several in the West Midlands part funded by a grant from the European Research Development Fund.”
“Accutronics has provided immense support in developing and implementing a new customer driven approach towards operational strategy development,” said Prabjit. “The KTP partnership between Aston University and Accutronics has made it possible to convert academic advancements into a practical business tool which will continuously provide benefits to the business even beyond the life of the project. Furthermore, Accutronics, an excellent host company, have supported me in developing a new approach to managing operational improvements in a very customer-driven way,” he concluded.

Prabhjit and his team also developed ways of increasing supply chain efficiency; improving the reliability of supply to customers and to reducing costs. Key achievements in the first year of the project have included the definition of operations performance targets for existing and new markets and the identification of over one hundred improvement actions in the business process. 

“The two year KTP project was aimed at developing and implementing an operational strategy, together with all necessary processes and facilities to support a growing and increasingly complex product range within Accutronics,” explained Gareth Hancox, company supervisor for the KTP Project. “It is now in its advanced stages and we’re confident it will further improve Accutronics’ reputation amongst our customers, allowing us to deliver products in accordance with challenging performance requirements.”

“The KTP programme unites academic rigour and applied thinking with the realities of practical business challenges in a very effective way.  It is part of Accutronics’ innovation programme, intended to continually bring new technology and innovative solutions to our products and processes,” enthused Rob Phillips, Accutronics’ managing director and facilitator of the KTP project.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

NJ1020HP is still trending :-)

The Inspired Energy NJ1020HP was designed many years ago when Nickel Metal Hydride batteries were the norm and Lithium ion technology was just getting off the ground. The NJ1020HP is used in Phillips M3 and M4 (M3046A) patient monitors and continues to provides outstanding performance for these devices. It continues to be extremely popular worldwide.

As the sole distributor of the wide range of inspired Energy standard smart batteries, chargers and accessories we always hold stock of the NJ1020HP here in the UK and can ship worldwide to hospitals, health authorities and medical accessory distributors. If you need a quotation then please email sales@accutronics.co.uk and we will be happy to help.  

By the way, if you don't recognise the part number NJ1020HP, then the battery is also known by the following OEM part numbers. 
  • 1420-0551
  • M3046-61302
  • 453563332751

Neil









Tuesday, 10 July 2012

NH2054 is smaller and lighter than its stablemates

The Inspired Energy NH2054 Lithium Ion Smart battery is proving to be a real star compared to other established 14.4V stablemates such as the NL2024 and NL2044.
To understand why this is, you need to go back a few years to when the NL2024 and NL2044 were introduced. They were launched with the latest 2.2Ah Lithium ion cells and with twelve of them configured in a 4 Series, 3 Parallel configuration, storing a massive 95Wh in a relatively small space.

Later, international transportation regulations were introduced that imposed a glass ceiling at 100Wh with any Lithium ion battery >100Wh having to be shipped as class 9 dangerous goods. Class 9 shipping makes transportation far more complex and expensive for manufacturers and OEMs alike and is to be avoided where possible.

The NL2024 and NL2044 were therefore limited to using 2.2Ah cells as any increase in capacity would raise them above the 100Wh limit.

However, cell capacities have increased, and cells are now available at 3.1Ah and 3.4Ah cells are coming very soon.

This has brought the Inspired Energy 8 cell models to the fore. Configured with 4 cells in series and 2 in parallel - providing 89.3Wh when using 3.1Ah cells and 97.9Wh when the 3.4Ah cells are introduced they do the same job as their older stable mates but with far more style!

What does this mean to OEMs? - Well for a start, these new eight cell batteries are around 33% lighter than the 12 cells models - they are also 32% lower in volume.  - this allows OEMS to make their products lighter and smaller - something that gives any portable device manufacture a competitive advantage.

As the sole distributor for the wide range of Inspired Energy standard smart batteries, chargers and accessories we are pleased to be offer all of the products in the range - but we know that the NH2054 is going to be the product of choice when OEMs look to design the next generation of power hungry portable equipment.

The NH2054HD31 is currently in stock at Accutronics and is ready to ship. If you need your NH2054 with a custom label or custom firmware then please talk to us about your exact requirements.

Neil

Thursday, 7 June 2012

C is for customer and customised: Prabhjit Singh’s quest for performance and quality

Prabhjit Singh’s role as operational strategy engineer at Accutronics includes business strategy study, developing operational strategy conducive to the market needs and our complex custom battery product range’s requirements, implementing the strategy and developing an evaluation system. Prabhjit’s strong technical knowledge is underpinned by a proven track record of success within supply chain management.

Prabhjit Singh at the Accutronics headquarters
What were you doing before you joined Accutronics?
I came to the UK in 2008 from Delhi, India to do an MSc in Supply Chain and Operations Management at Nottingham University Business School. I finished the degree in 2009 and worked on a few projects for various companies from December that year. For these firms, I was mainly involved in developing operational strategies to achieve their business aims, and this is what I am doing now at Accutronics.

When did you join Accutronics?
I joined the company in December 2010 with a remit to look at its business plan over the next five years and to set goals and objectives. I’m focussed on what Accutronics has to do in manufacturing, purchasing, logistics and the whole supply chain to achieve these.

What is your key role at Accutronics?

The company has a very strong focus on customer needs and more than 80% of products are customised solutions that follow an in-depth study. Our engineers develop close relationships with customers to understand their requirements and to come up with ideas of what needs to be done.

How do customised solutions benefit Accutronics and its customers?
A customised solution is a good thing but on the other hand, from the point of view of operations, it can also be a significant challenge. If you have ten customers then you have ten different products and ten manufacturing processes from one manufacturing plant - which is a complex management issue to resolve. This is the main reason why I am here: to ensure we achieve a high level of performance without compromising quality.

What are your favourite pastimes and hobbies?
Whenever I have free time, I like to take long drives to various parts of the UK. I visited Scotland recently, and I have some holidays coming up when I plan to visit Ireland.

Monday, 28 May 2012

What Accutronics really does in industry

When industrial equipment has to operate without a mains electricity supply, OEMs need to find sustainable alternatives to ensure continuation of plant activity at all times. As a consequence, the manufacturers turning to us are looking for battery solutions that will give their equipment a real power advantage over the competition.

Robots require emergency power
Power back up is a vital part of an emergency shutdown strategy in industry, especially if there are high levels of automation in the plant. Accutronics supplies batteries for applications such as industrial robots, power monitoring equipment and door entry systems. In each of these instances, the provision of emergency power in the event of a problem with the mains supply is essential as none of them can afford to be inoperable during the time between the loss of supply and the continuity provided by the diesel generator.

One simply can’t afford to have a robot moving in an uncontrolled way in the cell or a door locked in the closed position while you wait for the emergency power to kick in. In an industrial environment, batteries are crucial for the safety of operators and plant activity. If the electricity connection fails, the reliable smart batteries are there to take over with minimum disruption.

Many of our industrial projects can be used in a variety of applications, from oceanographic monitoring to vehicle emission testers and tracking systems. We understand that each of these dedicated battery designs need to provide the most cost effective solution over the lifetime of the application. 

Ahead of the market
Accutronics continually strives to stay ahead of the market in the development of intelligent battery solutions. For example, we continually improve the integration of fuel gauging electronics, active protection circuits and cell balancing into batteries to provide class leading functionality. 

Over three decades of experience in developing and manufacturing rechargeable battery solutions for OEMs worldwide has given the Accutronics team an in-depth understanding of industrial equipment requirements. This is really important because too many battery manufacturers get lost in the minutiae of following the design brief, building the battery and then shipping it to the customer.

However, at Accutronics we like to regard your project holistically, taking into account every detail which affects the running of the application. We don’t just design batteries; we offer whole of life support and advice, from discussing your ideas to implementing the customized battery into the application.

In addition, our consultants ensure that any newly designed energy solution is compliant with European, as well as industry specific regulations. Safety issues are high on our agenda and all off the shelf and customized batteries undergo thorough testing.     

If you have an industrial battery project in mind send us an email at sales@accutronics.co.uk or contact us by telephone on +44 (0) 1782 566688.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Ask Neil – frequently asked professional battery application questions

How do I select the best cell for a custom battery design?
Cell selection depends on a number of factors including cost, weight, available volume, charge time, discharge current, environmental conditions and required service life.

Battery developers have a number of cell types available to them including Nickel Cadmium, Nickel-Metal Hydride, Lithium ion and Lithium ion Polymer. In recent years it is the Lithium ion chemistries that have dominated product development due to their high energy density and reducing cost, but the older Nickel chemistries do still offer superior performance in certain applications.

Yet when designing a customised battery, cell selection needs to be regarded holistically. This means that a decision should be based on individual cell attributes that fit the design best. It is important to remember that no single cell type offers every performance attribute that might be required – there will always have to be a compromise.
What communication methods are there for batteries?
There are a number of different ways of communicating with a battery. Some manufacturers use proprietary protocols, but I believe that an open standard such as the Smart Battery System (SBS) offers the best solution for battery, charger and device manufacturers alike. Using SBS allows all of the actors to develop their own products with the knowledge that they will work seamlessly with each other. Adopting a common standard also allows for ‘chemistry independence’ where chargers that are developed now will work perfectly well with batteries that are developed in the future.

When the world demands higher energy density from its batteries, what are you doing to keep the weight of your products down?
It is a known fact that anything you add around the cells of a battery pack reduces energy density. However it is important to carefully weigh up the need for energy with the need to create a battery solution that is easy and safe to use throughout the life of the product. All components in and around the battery have to add value in some way – if this is to protect against vibration, prevent water ingress or to simply allow the battery to be latched onto the host device they must all play their part. There is little point in creating an integrated electronic protection system for the battery if this is damaged by external mechanical abuse – such a system must be protected in the same way as the cells must be protected – to ensure that safe and reliable operation is maintained under all operating conditions. The use of modern polymer materials can provide both light weight and extreme strength when used correctly. Alternatively, materials such as magnesium can provide enhanced electrical shielding for mission critical applications.

What do I need to know about battery certification?
The days in which a battery pack could be quickly assembled, reviewed by an OEM and then dropped into an application are long gone. Today, most OEM applications require their rechargeable batteries to undergo a level of regulatory testing before they can be used. IEC62133 is already a mandatory requirement of many device standards. For Lithium ion batteries there are additional testing requirements for transportation. Once testing has been done for CE marking and country or application specific testing have been completed you can see that the list of regulatory tests becomes quite long. Accutronics boasts a great deal of experience in having batteries tested to all of these standards. We manage the process seamlessly, ensuring batteries are approved on time and within budget. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Embedded Batteries? Have you got a screw loose?

This intriguing battery related story caught my eye recently. An Apple i-phone developed a fault and started emitting black smoke while onboard a commercial  aircraft and had to be doused with a fire extinguisher. The 'fault' turned out to be a rogue screw inside the phone that was left there following a screen repair made by an unauthorised repair centre. The screw was pressed into the soft packaging of the phones embedded Lithium Ion Polymer battery causing a short circuit that resulted in a rapid increase in temperature which quickly led to degradation of the battery itself. Luckily no-one was hurt on this occasion.


This story should act as a warning for original device manufacturers who are designing any sort of electronic device with an embedded battery. You can control your own assembly operations or audit those of your subcontractor - but what happens down the road when someone else opens up your device and and starts messing around with a screwdriver? - how well is the battery protected? Can a foreign body be introduced that could create a short circuit? Furthermore, can you even stop someone from removing the approved battery and replacing it with one they bought for $5 on the internet?

There was a time, in the not so distant past when "no user serviceable parts inside' meant you should leave your screwdriver in the draw - but in the age of the internet it is possible to Google a solution to any repair problem and then watch a HD video where a self appointed 'expert' shows you how to tear down, repair and rebuild almost anything with the use of a pen knife  and a soldering iron. When embedded batteries are concerned this raises serious safety concerns as the OEM cannot control what an end user might attempt to do to the battery, its protection circuitry or the device charge circuitry. The device may just stop working but the illegal repair could start a fire putting both property and lives at risk.

My advice for manufacturers who are designing a device containing an embedded battery is to consider what should happen to the battery when someone opens the device. I would advocate a mechanical disconnect so the battery is rendered useless if the device is opened. In this circumstance the device would have to be returned to an authorized centre for a new battery to be fitted. Manufacturers can further protect themselves by incorporating electronic authentication into their batteries and devices to protect against the use of illegal copies which can damage company reputations and aftermarket sales.

Of course embedded batteries are not the only solution for powering portable electronic devices. Removable battery solutions remain a viable option for all but the smallest of devices. Removable batteries permit the use of multiple batteries per device and do not require the device to be opened when the battery needs replacing. In a product with an extended product life cycle the use of a removable battery makes far more sense as the battery may be replaced many times during the life of the device.

Accutronics CC2300 and CC3800 are good examples of batteries for professional electronic devices where a removable solution is required. They meet all current transportation and IEC safety standards and they have been designed without screws in mind...

Neil

Monday, 2 April 2012

UK battery expert wins Small Business of the Year Award

Receiving the Sentinel trophy
Accutronics, the Midlands based battery specialist has won the Small Business of the Year Award in a regional competition organised by the British Business Awards Association. The company was awarded the trophy at a ceremony held at King’s Hall in Stoke on March 27, 2012.

This prestigious award recognises Accutronics’ exceptional performance in areas such as product innovation, new market development, strategy and management. The accolade is an acknowledgement of the company’s success, having transformed itself, under new ownership, into a profitable multi-million pound turnover British owned company in just two years.

An expert in the design, development and manufacture of rechargeable batteries for high performance electronic devices, Accutronics’ smart batteries offer advanced functionality and features such as charge control, fuel gauging and device communication.

The company exports more than 90% of its products and offers whole of life support for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and design consultants who demand a high level of technical and commercial expertise.

“Winning such a prestigious business award is a vote of confidence for any British manufacturer, particularly a young business such as Accutronics”, enthused Rob Phillips, managing director at Accutronics. “The selection process was very thorough and the questions we had to answer touched on every aspect of the business”.

“This is a great achievement for Accutronics, especially as it’s the first time we’ve put ourselves forward for an award,” continued Phillips. “We are all delighted and I am personally grateful to the dedicated and experienced individuals I work with every day,” he concluded.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Accutronics scoops Small Business of the Year Award

By Neil Oliver

In the last few months we’ve been asking all of you to keep your fingers crossed and support our entry in The Sentinel Business Awards. As Accutronics was amongst the three finalists in the Small Business of the Year category, we were invited to the awards ceremony at the impressive King’s Hall in Stoke on March 27.


Professional battery solutions
The awards dinner gala
Suited and booted, the Accutronics bunch arrived at the venue, not knowing what to expect, but beaming with anticipation. When the winner of the Small Business of the Year was announced, no one at our table could believe their ears; Accutronics name was announced! We had won our first award!

Rob Phillips accepted the trophy and thanked everybody at Accutronics for their input and dedication. “I thought the competition was well organised and that the ceremony was impressive,” said Rob. “The night reflected well on Staffordshire and the success of the businesses in the area.

“The awards are a celebration of business excellence, innovation and dynamism. There were representatives from various sectors and industries, all of whom are on top of their game and deserved to be acknowledged for their accomplishments.

“As Accutronics is only a couple of years old, receiving formal recognition from other business leaders really endorses the work we are trying to do. This will help attract new customers and reinforce the quality message, whilst also reaffirming our position as a British manufacturer.

“In all honesty I didn’t expect us to win, only because this was our first attempt. Just being shortlisted felt like a success. We’ve received a lot of attention from the media as a result and at the awards dinner, our video profile was shown to hundreds of people.

“The entire project gives everyone at Accutronics real reason to feel proud and has already impacted on all of our morale. Winning the small business of the year award is a great achievement and from now on awards will become part of our benchmarking for continuous improvement. Congratulations everybody and well done!”

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Accutronics partners with Shmuel De-Leon Energy for batteries and fuel cell seminar

Professional battery manufacturer Accutronics has partnered with Shmuel De-Leon Energy to provide a two day 'Batteries and Fuel Cells' training seminar on the 2nd and 3rd of May 2012. Mr De-Leon is a world expert on both batteries and fuel cells and is travelling over from Israel specifically to deliver this seminar, which has previously been delivered in both Europe and the USA.

The batteries and fuel cell seminar is ideal for experts and novices alike
 The Seminar will provide a comprehensive review of current and future electrochemical energy sources. It will cover cells and raw material selection, design, manufacturing, testing, safety, transportation and disposal of energy sources. The seminar programme focuses on present and future needs of portable and stationary electrochemical energy sources and highlights the latest technological developments. Primary, rechargeable, reserve, commercial, industrial and military batteries, fuel cells, ultra capacitor systems and their accessories are all discussed.

Special focus is given to battery design and testing, which are vital tools for battery solutions. The seminar program also reviews the updated status of battery air transportation restrictions and instructs on the safe transport of batteries according to IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations.

Shmuel De-Leon is a leading international expert in the business of power sources. Prior to founding his company, Shmuel held various positions for over 20 years as a power sources, engineering and quality control team manager.

Shmuel holds a BSc. in mechanical engineering from Tel-Aviv University and an MBA in quality control and reliability engineering from the Technion Institute in Haifa as well as an electronic technician's diploma. Shmuel De-Leon Energy Ltd provides unique tools for the energy sources industry, such as its energy sources database, battery and fuel cells seminars, energy source solutions, industry news weekly newsletter, and consultation services.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Heart of the matter: The real role of the battery in medical and healthcare device design

The heart of the matter: medical
At Accutronics we appreciate that, when sourcing technology for medical device design applications, it’s easy to focus on the finer technical details and lose sight of the tangible value the technology delivers.

We see the real value in the inherent purpose of our professional battery applications as opposed to just the technical functionality, important as that is. To highlight this we are producing a series of blog posts that look beyond the technology at the end use of our products in various industry sectors; starting with batteries for medical and healthcare device design.

The battery is a key component of the medical equipment that allows healthcare delivery to be run in a much more flexible, reliable and efficient manner. Developments in battery technology enable an increasingly supportive and patient centric service. For example, portable back-up power packs can now be used to power home-use medical ventilators, giving patients with respiratory illnesses confidence and security in their own homes.

On X-ray machines, the development of powerful, lightweight batteries has enabled portable versions to be designed. This allows X-rays to be carried out more quickly and cheaper than ever before whilst retaining the same levels of quality. These kinds of devices help medical professionals rapidly and accurately assess the needs of casualty patients.

Our products also power innovation in disease detection. Battery powered Pillcam systems (also known as capsule endoscopy) identify gastro-intestinal disease without the need for surgical procedures, making savings of time, cost and well being.

Finally, our battery and charger systems enable critically ill patients to be transported whilst remaining connected to life-saving monitors and ventilators. Patients would, quite literally, not survive the journey without this essential piece of equipment.

We see Accutronics’ future in the medical design industry as contributing to continued progress and development of the device itself using the application of ever more advanced battery technology. One of the ways we believe we can achieve this is by continually re-focussing on the purpose of the end technology, allowing us to concentrate our technical understanding on helping our customers achieve their objective.

If you want to discuss the development of batteries for the medical sector, please contact our sales and customer service team on +44 (0) 1782 566688 to discuss your requirements.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Credit card sized rechargeable battery for portable electronic devices launched at Embedded World

Accutronics, the UK based developer and manufacturer of professional battery solutions, is set to launch a range of ‘Intellion’ credit card sized batteries for portable applications at Embedded World. These new smart batteries are ideal for high-tech portable applications including tele-healthcare devices, test and measurement equipment and wearable computers. Embedded World is taking place at the NürnbergMesse GmbH, Messezentrum in Nuremberg Germany between February 28 and March 1, Hall 2, Stand 2-502.


Credit card sized batteries on show at Embedded World
The CC2300 and CC3800 credit card batteries have been developed by Accutronics in response to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) demand for a short lead time, compact and rechargeable Lithium Ion battery solution for their portable devices. The products feature 3.7V Lithium Ion cell technology coupled with an impedance tracking fuel gauge, an active protection system, and a compact connector, all contained in a package with a footprint identical to that of a credit card. Regulatory approval is simplified as both batteries are CE marked and have been tested to IEC62133 (safety) and UN38.3 (transportation) standard. Both batteries are supplied with comprehensive technical back-up and a number of useful accessories which enable the OEM designer to easily integrate the battery into the device system.

“The demand for this kind of product might seem surprising, given the abundant availability of Lithium ion batteries in consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers,” explained Neil Oliver, technical marketing manager at Accutronics. “However, consumer-market batteries do not satisfy the requirements of OEMs in the quality-driven professional electronic device sector, so we’ve created these new credit card batteries to satisfy OEM demand”.

“The crux of all of our products is the technical support that goes hand in hand with them,” explained Oliver. “We believe that our credit card batteries fill a gap in the compact battery market for a fully-supported, OEM oriented battery solution. Device design engineers need technical guidance and feedback when they specify battery products and Accutronics is one of the few companies providing that support as standard. In addition to this, our excellent quality and delivery performance complete the service package that will get the device OEM to market quickly and confidently.”

The credit card batteries are part of the ‘Intellion’ range from Accutronics. Intellion products are smart, innovative portable power products, designed to meet the emerging needs of professional OEMs and market trends.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

B is for Banks... and the search for fuel gauge Nirvana

Carl Banks with a Lithium-ion fuel gauge PCB
We’ve all been there... Just as you turn on your laptop to deliver the key presentation of your entire career, the infernal machine runs out of power and you are left with a blank screen. It’s not possible! You checked the power gauge before you left the office and it said 80% remaining!

If you work in the battery industry, you have probably already used exactly this analogy to describe the importance of accurate gauging. It’s certainly a story familiar to Carl Banks, one of Accutronics’ fuel gauging experts. 

Amongst Carl’s key responsibilities is ensuring that all of Accutronics’ batteries are configured to provide the most accurate gauging possible. 

The fuel gauge is a vital part of a professional battery solution. The more accurate it is, the better it can track capacity and the more realistic the device’s predicted run time will be. In mission critical situations, like medical devices and military equipment this can be crucial.

“Of course, there are some applications where the fuel gauge isn’t as important as it is on a medical ventilator or pair of night vision goggles,” explained Carl. “But our customers are leaders in their chosen markets and they demand precise and reliable information whether the battery is brand new or many years old. This is why we test our batteries under various usage scenarios, continually collecting the data that is needed to set-up the fuel gauge.

“The most significant environmental factor that affects fuel gauge accuracy is temperature,” Carl continued. “However, we also have to address non-environmental issues such as charge and discharge rates and cycle life. Put simply, the more the battery is used the more its capacity drops over time, and the fuel gauge must account for this behaviour.”

“We use Texas Instruments’ gauges in many of our products,” Carl went on. “The data we gather from our tests is analysed and used in the programming of the fuel gauges’ FLASH memory. The whole process can take many weeks but it ensures we achieve the best possible precision.”

Carl was keen to emphasise the importance of the ‘impedance tracking’ fuel gauge technology that Accutronics now use in most of their new smart battery developments. This technology allows the battery fuel gauge to continually make adjustments to its remaining capacity prediction - even when the battery is not being used, by measuring the battery impedance during periods of inactivity. Older ‘coulomb counting’ gauges had to ‘learn’ about a battery by establishing the top of charge and discharge limits first. As a result, a battery fuel gauge that uses impedance tracking is more accurate and can be used for longer without needing to be calibrated – this means that customers can rely on the fuel gauge information and don’t need to spend time fully charging and discharging their devices to obtain accurate information.

So, next time you’re sitting in front of a redundant laptop, wishing you had a more accurate power gauge, spare a thought for Carl and his quest for fuel gauge nirvana, which helps ensure that genuinely mission critical applications don’t suffer the same problems as your laptop.