When manufacturers undertake the design of a new product or a major redesign of an existing product, they are taking a certain amount of risk. What if the marketplace does not accept the new product? What if the design takes too long and the market window is missed? What if a product launch is planned, media commitments made and sales training scheduled and the product is late coming out of design?
All of these considerations must be addressed prior to beginning any project.
When products require the use of Lithium Ion Batteries, Volta Tech acts as a design partner even before prototyping is initiated. Before a CAD drawing is even begun, engineers must determine several critical factors when using rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries.
First and foremost is the amount of space (real estate) required in the product. Frequently, this is overlooked in the initial design and when actual dimensions are determined, a redesign must be initiated before even getting to the working prototype stage. The rule of thumb when determining the space needed is to aim for the energy density of 400-500 Wh/L. Assuming you already knew the battery capacity you need and voltage required for the electronics to work, along with the targeted energy density will give you the least volume needed for the battery. Or on the other hand, if you already have a space allocated for the battery, with the energy density and required voltage, you will know the maximum capacity you can cram into the battery and whether it fits your needs.
Another area of concern is heat dissipation. Will the battery area be properly vented? Will the battery be placed adjacent to heat sensitive components? Will the battery be placed near a heat generating component? The optimum operating temperature for a lithium-ion battery is 20°C (68°F) or slightly below. A higher temperature not only decreases the cycle life of a lithium-ion battery, it may also causes the battery to shut down when it reaches 60 °C (140 °F ) in the most extreme cases.
Lastly but not the least, utilizing a standard sized cell or a cell that’s been already designed when developing a prototype can very well save you a lot of money and lead time. 18650 is an industry standard cylindrical cell which measures 18mm in diameter and 65mm in height. It is the most widely used lithium cell and its application ranges from little hand held devices to large electrical cars. While it is almost always in stock, you can save 22-30 days by utilizing it in your prototype development process which is the typical manufacturing lead time of a lithium-ion battery cell. If you planned the lead time into your process and needed a prismatic battery, you can still save thousands of dollars of tooling cost by utilizing an already designed battery cell. Volta Tech has exclusive access to over 4000 models of previously designed and molded prismatic battery cells and this large pool of lithium-ion cells can surely help you find your desired battery much easier and faster .
There are still a lot of other areas to consider when it comes to battery design and its implementation into final products. Even something as simple as what connector to be used can cause delays if not planned for early on.
During this critical phase, Volta Tech will consult with the customer’s engineers to ensure all factors are considered and that the road from prototype samples through full production is as smooth as possible.
Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your next product design.