Kitplus Magazine

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ACQUISITION Ask the experts: Batteries 1. What steps has the battery industry taken to make their products more environmentally friendly? Is there any more that can be done? In our industry, the best way to tackle any environmental issues is to focus on the efficiency of the battery. Maximum product life is part of the design philosophy of Anton/ Bauer. By designing for maximum performance, durability, and serviceability for upgrades, the carbon footprint of our products is reduced. A major component of this philosophy is designing chargers which are multi battery chemistry tolerant and allow for upgrades. As new cell technologies emerge, improved charge algorithms are developed, which not only improve capacity, but battery cycle life as well. And, with upgradeable chargers already existing in the field, new software can be easily implemented to fully leverage battery advances. One area that has an environmental impact is the disposal of batteries, and manufacturers of the higher quality products have helped to reduce this. Many of the less expensive batteries have a life expectancy of just six months, rather than the better manufactured versions which last between two and five years. In the long term, there is a far bigger effect on the environment from the disposing of and recycling of the less efficient batteries. 2. How important is battery safety to both users and manufacturers? What measures is Anton/ Bauer taking to ensure battery safety? In battery design, the topic of safety is paramount. For manufacturers like ourselves, safety is our highest priority and the design is a fundamental part of that – so our range of batteries are constructed with a focus on keeping individual cells separated from one another by a minimum of 2mm. This is accomplished through the use of an individual honeycomb structure which not only isolates them, but ensures that they are less likely to be affected by a potential impact. When it comes to dissipating the actual heat, most battery cases are close to the cell pack itself which can cause issues because there isn’t enough of an airspace. We have changed the design of our battery cases to facilitate larger air volume inside. In addition, we have added a rubber 52 | KITPLUS - TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 98 FEBRUARY 2015 with Kieran Foster, Vice President product management, mobile power solutions and lighting, Anton/Bauer and Litepanels buffer system all around the cell system to work as a shock absorber should the battery be dropped or jolted. One of our latest safety features, the fuse link connector, will help to minimise the likelihood of any failures. It is placed at the end of each cell, so if there is a leak or a problem, the connector automatically breaks to stop the battery working so the problem can be properly detected. From an electrical viewpoint, our digital batteries are also extremely safe. Thermal sensors continually monitor the battery, and if a rise in temperature is detected, a switch is opened to prevent further charge or discharge. Similarly, the charge and discharge currents are continually monitored, and if too much current is flowing, the battery switches off. 3. How can batteries – specifically Lithium-ion batteries be made safer and more robust? Lithium-ion is the battery chemistry that will be powering our industry for at least the next five years. It provides the best performance available to us today, as it has a very high-energy density, is reasonably priced and, if managed and contained correctly, is perfectly safe. A high proportion of users are looking for batteries that are lighter, cheaper and more powerful. Lithium-ion chemistry enables battery manufacturers to meet these needs. The key to this reliable power source is that it is safe when used correctly, however users need to take the time to ensure that the batteries running their equipment are from a reputable vendor that puts the safety of their production first. The issue with Lithium-ion is not that it is inherently unstable, but that it burns without external oxygen. Once it is on fire, it is very difficult to put out, since most ways of extinguishing fire involve removing the external source of oxygen. Typically the anode, electrolyte and cathode are