ATEX Batteries in Increasing Demand

Published: 22nd November 2011
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We've all heard about rechargeable batteries and Lithium-Ion batteries but what precisely are ATEX Batteries?

The ATEX Directive 94/9/EC was formulated to ensure that individuals who work in flammable and potentially explosive situations require additional safety measures. The battery powered instruments they use in such environments, for instance lamps, gas detectors, and air-monitoring instruments, need to meet the highest safety requirements. The batteries are often known as ATEX batteries or intrinsically safe batteries.

The ATEX safety directive identifies electronic elements that have built-in safety capabilities designed to protect people who operate under risky conditions and places the responsibility on equipment manufacturers for developing and testing their devices to make sure that it includes the many essential safety qualities.

There are several diverse technical design alternatives on offer to comply with the ATEX directive, including explosion-proof coverings, specific protection devices and encapsulation. This includes the pre-certification standard of "Intrinsically Safe" (IS) elements such as batteries that do not produce sparks and shouldn't release electrical or thermal energy that could bring about any form of reaction, even when the element is abused (for instance short circuited).

Rechargeable Li-ion, Nickel cadmium, and lithium-thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2) are examples of IS batteries. The design of the ATEX Battery or IS Battery Pack is vital and several points must be regarded as well as environmental conditions, such as life cycle, performance and weight.

For long life, Li-ion ATEX Batteries offer unrivaled nominal capacities, probably the most superior characteristic is to be able to be charged and discharged over a wide temperature range, in particular at low temperatures.

The Lithium-Ion Battery is a minimal upkeep battery, an advantage that most other technologies are not able to state. There is no memory and no regular cycling is needed to prolong the battery's life. In addition, the self-discharge is less than half compared to Ni-Cd and NiMH, resulting in the Li-ion well suited for current fuel gauge applications.

Advantages and Limitations of Lithium-Ion Batteries.

1. Advantages

a. •Comparatively low self-discharge, self-discharge is less than fifty percent that of Ni-Cd and NiMH.

b. •Reduced Maintenance, no occaisional discharge is required; no memory.

c. Excellent energy density, ability for still larger capacities.

2. Limitations

a. •Subject to aging, even if not in use, locating the battery in a temperature controlled place and at 40 percent state-of-charge minimises the aging impact.

b. •Subject to transportation laws, shipment of more substantial amounts of Lithium-Ion batteries may be subject to regulatory control. This restriction does not apply to personal carry-on batteries.

c. Needs protection circuit, protection circuit restricts voltage and current. Battery is safe if not provoked.

d. •Not fully mature, modifications in metal and chemical combinations impact battery test outcomes, particularly with some short assessment techniques.

e. •Expensive to manufacture, about 40 percent higher in price than Nickel cadmium. Better production procedures and replacement of rare metals with lessened cost solutions will most likely minimize the price.

f. •Medium discharge current.

The need for IS batteries is clear, and a great number of manufacturers are increasing their product offerings to meet the requirements of high-risk applications. Offshore oil rigs, nuclear plants and areas that deal with flammable fumes all have requirements for intrinsically safe ATEX batteries.

PMBL, a custom battery pack manufacturer, manufacture ATEX battery packs from cells by Varta, GP, Saft, Sanyo and many others.

They have years of experience with battery manufacture and can offer expert advice when designing custom ATEX Battery Packs to help ensure they fit the end application.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.pmbl.co.uk

Telephone: 0870 770 5311



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