Battery Power - January/February 2013 - (Page 24)

Feature Key Elements to Assuring a Well Developed Verification Plan for Your Battery Powered Device Cindy Millsaps, President and CEO Energy Assurance Portable devices are subject to constant obsolescence in the ever changing consumer market. It seems that as soon as a new device is released there is already talk about the next big thing that will be coming out to replace it. This drives very short development cycles for these types of devices, which in turn drives the timing for the component batteries these devices will use. It forces a parallel path of development for the battery and the host device that makes implementation of an efficient verification plan critical to the on time release of the product. On time release is critical, but having a product that does what it says and is compliant with all the global regulatory requirements is also crucial. A solid internal process and a strong relationship with the customer are key to a successful product launch. Once the need for a well-developed plan is understood, the key considerations need to be identified. Effective integration of the key considerations can be difficult and understanding the roadblocks that will be faced, can help to overcome them. Finally, there are tools that are available to help. There are a number of reasons to have a verification and compliance plan, but all of them originate from the need for risk management of your project and development process. The key items at a design level are to understand how the battery performs as well as to have a solid understanding what will be required from a compliance standpoint. The typical thought process is if it is built to do what the customer wants, the compliance can be handled at the end. This can be a perilous assumption. A redesign of the battery at the end of the process to address a compliance concern can be costly and ill-received by the end device customer. First, consideration should be given to the performance of the battery with the host device. There are several key elements that should be thought about in this area including use environment, user experience and foreseeable misuse. The environment that the end device and battery will be used in can have a direct impact on performance. Most batteries will be subject to a fairly standard use environment. However, by their very nature, batteries allow products to be used in some non-standard conditions. Many battery powered devices are intended to be used outdoors, which exposes them to a much different set of conditions than an indoor use only device and battery. Consideration must be given to temperature extremes, moisture, sun exposure. If the battery will be primarily used in a vehicle, the temperature extremes can be even more pronounced and transitions more rapid. Handheld and wearable devices are easily dropped and will need to be more durable since they can be exposed to drops, impacts and crushing. Another consideration that can define the success of a device is the customer perception. This seems like more of an end device concern, but battery performance concerns, such as run time and battery life, can directly impact the customer perception of a device. Other considerations here can include the fit of the battery, the functioning of the battery with the product, or even how the battery run time is represented through the end product. Understanding customer dis-satisfiers can be very difficult because it is often a perception. At the battery level the information related to customer feedback can be difficult to obtain. It is often provided to the device manufacturer and may or may not be filtered through to the component level. In these cases, establishing a close relationship with the device manufacturer is key to obtaining this information to be able to implement the necessary improvements. One of the toughest areas to plan for is the foreseeable misuse of a battery. As the designer of the product it is difficult to see the potential faults. Some of the foreseeable misuse items can be electrical safety limits. For example, the overvoltage cut-off and maximum current limits may be well defined and these are to protect against the misuse of the battery with an unintended device. Other possible misuse situations can include water exposure of a handheld or wearable device from being dropped into water. Removal of the battery from the device due to a tight fit can become an issue. What might someone use to remove the battery in this situation? If the battery will be embedded, how might someone try to access it and what will happen if they do. In the cases of foreseeable misuse, the battery is being used outside of the expected scope, and the battery does not necessarily need to perform normally. However, consideration to safe operation is expected. In addition to the device performance concerns, the compliance of the battery, with and without the host device, is critical. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in fines, and stopping of shipments. Not understanding what will be required to comply can result in test failures and a need to complete late stage redesign and potentially delay the release of the product. Battery compliance requirements can come from many sources, and can vary based on shipping methods and even end device use. Also, understanding at what point in the design process to complete the testing to avoid delays, and minimize the need to retest based on design changes can be very important. Shipping can be one of the more challenging aspects of the when working with Lithium and Lithium Ion batteries. The global regulations can be very strict and are constantly changing. Shipping regulations can also change based on how the batteries are packaged for shipping, the shipping method and the state of design maturity. However, shipping compliance is only one piece of the compliance puzzle. Knowing the countries and regions of the world that the end product will be imported into and the sales outlets for the end product is vital. These aspects will drive a set of product and battery level testing and certification requirements. A compliance plan should correspond to the planned release of the product. Once the countries and regions and the schedule for each 24 Battery Power • January/February 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Battery Power - January/February 2013

Battery Power - January/February 2013
Table of Contents
Editor's Choice
GM, ABB Demonstrate Chevrolet Volt Battery Reuse Unit
Testing Requirements in the Electric Vehicle Industry
Nearing the Promise of the Micro-Hybrid Vehicles: Technology Improvements and New Markets
So You’ve Been Placed on Notice... Now What?
Advanced Numerical Simulation for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
High-Voltage Battery Simulator and Test Systems Critical for Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Development
Key Elements to Assuring a Well Developed Verification Plan for Your Battery Powered Device
New Products
ICs & Semiconductors
Industry News
Calendar of Events

Battery Power - January/February 2013