Wednesday, 29 January 2014

British battery firm to launch modular smart battery system in the US

~ Accutronics exhibits at MedTechWorld MD&M West USA ~

UK based battery and charger design, development and manufacturing company Accutronics is set to launch its Intelligent Power Vault, a modular Lithium-Ion battery system in the USA at the MedTechWorld MD&M West show. The event is to take place on February 11-13, 2014 in the Anaheim Convention Centre in California. The Accutronics team and their range of batteries and chargers can be found in Hall E (Electronics West), on booth 337. 

The Intelligent Power Vault (IPV) is a power management device that uses multiple Lithium-Ion smart batteries to provide rechargeable battery power to a wide range of transportable medical devices. The swappable smart battery technology represents a revolutionary way of storing energy for critical applications. Modularisation offers the high energy density and flexibility of smart Lithium-Ion battery technology without shipping limitations. The Intelligent Power Vault consists of a control module and slots for up to eight batteries, allowing up to 740Wh to be stored in a single unit.

The modular battery system solves the transportation problem associated with larger Lithium ion batteries – The Intelligent Power Vault it is simple to ship across various modes of transport because its Lithium Ion batteries are rated at <100 Watt-Hours and are modular and removable. For example, when shipping by air, the Intelligent Power vault is classed as 'equipment' and can be packed along with its VR420 batteries (and up to two spares). A shipper's declaration of dangerous goods is not required and the shipper needs only limited training – this reduces transit times and save money.

The IPV has been successfully employed in a variety of high tech applications. Weighing less than 8kg, the Intelligent Power Vault with eight batteries is two and a half times lighter than an equivalent lead acid battery, making it easy for the integrator to build it into the base of a medical trolley or cart. The Intelligent Power Vault is also used in high-end automated laboratory equipment where power failure cannot be tolerated. Other applications include ortho-dental scanners, communications equipment and embedded computing devices - mainly industrial PCs and robotic backup.

The Intelligent Power Vault is part of the Accutronics ‘Entellion’ range of pre-engineered power solutions which are designed, developed and manufactured to meet the strict qualification standards that the market demands.  Entellion combines the company’s expertise in custom OEM battery products with its understanding of professional OEM requirements and market trends. The Credit Card and VR420 battery range together with the modular, Intelligent Power Vault are examples of Entellion in practice and are available off the shelf, but can be easily customised, reducing time to market.

The Accutronics team at the MD&M West booth will also illustrate the benefits of ‘Accupro’, a complete battery and charger design, engineering and manufacturing service.  Accutronics develops specific custom batteries and chargers for its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers through Accupro.  The company provides tailored solutions for professional high technology markets, such as the medical and healthcare sectors, by working with customers from the early stages of product development to create a customised solution for each individual project.

"With so much of our focus being on medical product development, the United States is a natural market for us to develop," explained Rob Phillips, managing director of Accutronics. “Our aim is to offer tailored solutions for professional high technology markets and we look forward to learning about American OEMs' requirements at this year's MD&M West," he concluded.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Future-proofing for years to come

The importance of fitting the right type of battery in certain devices is something we can’t stress enough, no matter how often we bring it up. The variety of batteries available can sometimes make it very challenging for a design engineer to choose the best option. In fact, the creativity of some battery solutions has impressed even us, here at Accutronics. For example, last month, a team from the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineering Fair created the world’s first battery made entirely of Brussels sprouts.

As charming as the Brussels sprouts battery idea is, certain devices, particularly the ones used in defence and security, or the medical and healthcare sectors, need to be future-proofed for at least a decade. One of the best ways to do that is by applying intelligent design techniques at the earliest possible stages.

Consumer devices, like mobile phones or music players rarely have a lifecycle of over 24 months. This is definitely not the case with medical devices like X-ray machines, ventilators, or patient monitoring equipment, which can go for over a decade without being redeveloped. The reason is partly related to the high cost of redesigning and testing new medical devices.

A long life span is part of the reason why design engineers need to ensure that the components of the device – including the battery - will not become obsolete during the device’s estimated lifetime. This can sometimes be the case if the design engineer decides to use as a power source a battery originally developed with a consumer use in mind.

Because of the unpredictability of consumer markets, there is no guarantee that in five or ten year’s time, that specific consumer battery solution will still be available. Furthermore, consumer battery solutions are usually less reliable and have lower levels of technical support than custom made batteries.

The challenge medical device OEMs face is finding a balance between how to use the latest battery technology, and the guarantee that device components will be available in the long term. And in this context, long term actually means up to 15 years. The solution is to work closely alongside the battery developer from the earliest stages of device design. This way, the device can be built, to the appropriate extent, around the battery or at least with its own power requirements in mind.

Leading battery developers closely monitor battery and device trends, and can offer objective advice about cell selection, ensuring the device is future-proof until its estimated end of life. Battery developers also guarantee continuous and expert levels of technical support throughout the device’s life cycle and can continue to manufacture the custom-made battery even in small numbers, when a consumer battery manufacturer wouldn’t.

Not to toot our own horn, but here at Accutronics, we are experts in designing custom battery solutions for devices that are too expensive to redevelop if the initial battery becomes obsolete. So why not drop us an email on or give us a call on 01782 566688, and we’ll advise you on what would be the best solutions for your device.