Thursday, 16 July 2015

Whitepaper addresses medical battery technology

British battery manufacturer Accutronics is making available for download its latest whitepaper, which tackles the issues facing battery design, development and use in the medical and healthcare field. The intention is that it will help Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) better understand the possibilities and limitations of rechargeable battery technology in designing products for the medical sector.

The paper is free to download and aims to inform its readers on three main areas of recent battery design interest. The first is a growing phenomenon dubbed the Apple expectation. It explores the convergence of consumer and professional medical devices and how fitness and health monitoring apps designed by large consumer electronics companies such as Apple and Samsung are impacting on the professional medical industry. 

The second topic looks at digital radiography (DR) and the increasing challenge to design batteries for modern DR applications that still use analogue equipment. This second piece looks at the latest innovations in digital film processing, the essential features of smart batteries, as well as the regulatory and compliance issues of designing, manufacturing and testing medical devices for worldwide distribution. 

Finally, the paper discusses the eHealth revolution, a trend that has witnessed an explosion in the use of smartphones, fitness bands and other wearable technology to monitor acute healthcare conditions in an increasingly ageing population. The piece goes on to look at high profile hospital trials of health apps to monitor patient health, as well as the cost savings the NHS can make from earlier cancer diagnosis.

“We have seen an increasing trend towards smaller, more portable battery solutions in all industries and especially in the medical field,” said Michele Windsor, marketing manager at Accutronics. “With this shift, there has been raised concern about reliable solutions for practitioners in hospitals and other areas where the need for reliable and long-lasting batteries is essential.

“We want to alleviate concerns about battery solutions and ensure that OEMs are informed about the choices they can make so they will not have to rely on inferior, consumer grade batteries.”

To download the new whitepaper for free go to

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Analogue infrastructure needn’t hold you back

Thanks to the digital revolution, technology in both our personal and professional lives is getting smaller and more powerful. For instance, new smart watches have more computing power than the Apollo moon landing space craft! The same applies to medical equipment; hospitals are replacing bulky analogue machines with more svelte, powerful devices. However, the march of digital technology through healthcare facilities is bound by the existing infrastructure, which was developed for analogue solutions, creating unique challenges for battery equipment.
Analogue infrastructure needn’t hold you back

At Accutronics we’re seeing an increase in demand from the medical sector for thinner batteries to be used in new or updated equipment. While advanced technology is a key driver for this, another reason is the fact that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have to design machines that fit into an analogue legacy system.

For instance, in new digital x-ray machines there is only 15mm of space for a battery – the space that was set aside for photographic slides in outdated apparatus. This is because hospitals need new devices to fit into the same space as the old ones. So, development of new technology is being shaped by the infrastructure that has been established for low-tech requirements.

In addition, hospital buildings themselves contribute to space saving needs. While there are modern hospital buildings in the UK, there are also those that were built as far back as the 1800s. Mobile devices and carts have to be designed with manoeuvrability around narrow corridors in mind. Therefore, the components inside modern devices are packed tightly together, leaving no room for large battery packs.

Retrofitting or retrospectively designing systems like this creates interesting challenges when it comes to providing a suitable battery to meet both size and power requirements. It’s frustrating enough when your smartphone battery can’t keep up with your usage, but in the healthcare field interrupted power supplies can cause serious problems.

This means that Accutronics often supplies batteries with very thin section walls, as little as 0.8mm, to allow as much space as possible for the cells. Currently, the size of a battery cell can’t be reduced by all that much without losing power, so in very tight spaces you end up having to compromise the capacity of the battery by using fewer cells.

The key to success is for OEMs to consider the battery earlier in the design process. That’s why Accutronics encourages early engagement for all of its clients. While our bespoke battery solutions can be tailored to almost any situation, the earlier in the design our teams can get involved, the easier it is to ensure optimum performance for requirements.

Accutronics works with its clients to create truly outstanding battery solutions, which provide tangible end user benefits such as low weight, minimal volume and ease of use. This is often achieved via our custom battery and charger design and manufacturing service, Accupro, which integrates seamlessly into OEM device development programmes. Some of our batteries even have more advanced control systems than the Apollo 11, which was about as complex as a modern toaster. It's just our way of staying ahead of the curve!