Booming industries tend to work through some growing pains as they hurry to meet new and changing demands, and battery manufacturing is no exception. With energy storage needs at an all-time high and new battery cell manufacturers pouring into the market, subpar battery cells can make their way into a supply chain and end up causing problems in otherwise high-quality consumer products. If you need to be certain that your batteries are high-quality and will meet your expectations for performance and longevity, a qualified battery testing lab can conduct a battery design review. This process provides insight into how your batteries are constructed and how they will perform in use.
How is a battery design review performed?
In our battery labs, the process starts when we receive samples of the cells or batteries in question from the client. If we are asked to review a battery pack, we begin by evaluating how the cells are arranged and connected: checking for strong connections, proper welding, appropriate placement, and good cell protection and insulation. We can also compare the cells’ arrangement with the circuit to assess the risk of over-discharge that could cause copper dissolution.
For batteries, we investigate the circuit board to ensure all the components are functioning properly. We will note whether the circuit has protections like overcurrent/over voltage protection and if those protections are working appropriately. We look at the general quality of the circuit to see if it presents any safety concerns or performance issues.
At the individual cell level, we use X-ray, CT scanning, or a combination of both to examine electrode alignment, tab structure and placement, and overall design quality, noting any anomalies and indicating their severity. We then perform a cell teardown and use our decades of experience to find any performance or safety issues.
In combination with the design review, we can conduct abuse and performance testing to offer more information on the product’s performance under a variety of conditions. A comprehensive test plan that covers many facets of design, safety, and performance arms you with the data to create more reliable products.
What value does a design review provide?
A battery design review provides a wealth of information that can help you stay ahead of your competition, exceed customer expectations, ensure safety, protect your brand, and save money. A few of the most prevalent concerns a design review can address are:
Avoiding counterfeits - Counterfeiting has become more prevalent as the battery industry has become more profitable. Even reputable companies with good quality control can be fooled by sophisticated counterfeiters or resellers who take used brand-name cells out of old products to resell.
Quality checking a new supplier - Many new suppliers are entering the battery market, and without an established reputation, it can be difficult to know how their batteries will perform. If you are evaluating a new potential supplier, a design review can give you a thorough, unbiased impression of a battery’s quality.
Benchmarking against competitors - As part of a design review, a battery lab can provide a comparison between your battery or cell and others already on the market. This may give you the information you need to choose a better supplier, or simply help you understand where your product sits in the market so you can make appropriate advertising and pricing decisions.
Finding the root cause of a known problem - If you have a concern about how your battery is performing, a design review can identify the cause and allow you to make changes, find a new supplier, or adjust product recommendations to keep end users safe and satisfied.
If you think a battery design review will benefit your product and your company, contact the experts at Element to get more information and to ask any questions you may have. Element has the largest battery testing capacity in North America, and employs the industry’s top battery testing experts, offering the right combination of education and hands-on experience to support all your battery testing needs quickly, accurately, and thoroughly. We have the tools and knowledge to test a wide range of chemistries and novel designs, including silicon, solid state, gel electrolyte, li-ion, alkaline, and nickel metal hydride.
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