There's a lot of electrical, mechanical, and chemical considerations when it comes to developing a custom battery pack. In addition to deciding on the cell chemistry, a customer also must know how the battery pack may perform in various environmental conditions related to the application. They want to know the shelf life of the battery, the charge/discharge rates, and any possible hazards that could occur when the battery pack is in use.
Consumers use battery packs for devices used in diverse environments. While the ideal device would experience cool temperatures without drastic temperature changes and be free from corrosion, chemicals, water, shocks, and vibrations, this setup is not always the case. Some devices used in chemical manufacturing processes may experience chemical exposure. Other devices used outdoors may have to deal with harsh temperatures and an abundance of moisture.
The appeal of lithium-based batteries for products has grown immensely. They provide high amounts of power while being light enough for portable devices. However, the battery chemistry is considered unstable, as it requires a battery management system to monitor the pack's temperatures, State of Health (SoH), State of Charge (SoC), and other factors. If the battery should experience a short or thermal runaway, it could cause the pack to catch fire or explode.
At the conclusion of our webinar, Dealing With Component Shortages That Impact Battery Packs Designs, we had several questions submitted to our presenter, Randy Ibrahim, Battery Development Consultant at Epec. We have compiled these questions into a readable format on our blog.
Designing a custom battery pack for your application requires figuring out the power specifications. Yet there are several other considerations that dictate the type of battery chemistry to use. In addition to the current, capacity (amp-hours), size requirements, cell configuration, and the number of cells for the battery pack within the application, the voltage must also be determined.
Manufacturing custom battery packs requires comprehensive input from the customer. A customer offers details regarding the application, the power requirements of the battery, and the type of shelf life for the battery pack. The customer also expects battery testing to occur at the end of production to ensure quality and that the battery will work for the application.
Creating a custom battery pack requires understanding the basics of how much energy density the application needs, how to recharge the battery pack, and the shelf-life of the battery. When a customer looks for a customized solution, they are concerned about the development costs. Usually, these development costs are factored into the final price of the product that will be sold to end-users.
When talking about custom battery packs for portable devices, the most common type mentioned has been lithium-based chemistries. Lithium-based batteries provide high-energy density and a light weight for applications, making them suitable for portable electronics that require long battery life to perform high-speed functions.
It is common to explore different power supply options when designing your applications. However, one that often gets neglected is the differences between the types of battery cells in your portable applications. There are a lot of similarities between battery cells, but also very many differences that make certain cells more efficient than others when it comes to application.
The last 18 months have been some of the most challenging that many of us have had to deal with both personally and professionally. It has often felt like we were riding waves, coming closer to things getting a little more normal, only to have them change radically. Looking forward to the next 18 months, I don’t see those changes getting any easier for us or our industry.