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Q&A – Accutronics Discusses How a New Range of Batteries Aimed Specifically at Medical Device OEMs are Set to Make Waves in the Medical Market

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This autumn Accutronics is set to vitalise the medical market when it launches a new range of rechargeable smart batteries.

The medical market is undergoing rapid evolution with the likes of portability and freedom from AC power taking centre stage for doctors and emergency services.

Accutronics specialises in the design, development and manufacture of smart batteries and has developed the Entellion CMX series of Lithium ion smart batteries and chargers specifically for medical device OEMs following extensive research and discussion with customers and hospitals.

Q. What makes these batteries different from others currently on the market?

A. The CMX series launch brings together high voltage, high power and smart battery functionality in a package that exceeds the strict regulatory requirements for batteries used in medical devices. The medical device market is experiencing rapid growth and the CMX series offers tremendous opportunities for OEMs developing devices for life critical applications.

Rechargeable batteries are usually required in portable and transportable medical equipment, either to power the equipment directly or to provide a back-up power source. As many hi-tech medical devices such as acute ventilators and anaesthesia workstations free themselves from the confines of mains electricity there is growing demand for rechargeable batteries with high power capability that can safely and reliably deliver energy to these devices. Medical original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have long looked to battery companies to provide the answers, but have often been let down by a lack of understanding of requirements; this may be due to increasing regulatory framework, demanding development schedules or the need for products to be truly innovative at a time when medical OEMs are under pressure to reduce costs and increase the value in products they sell.

This is why Accutronics has developed the Entellion CMX series of Lithium ion batteries and chargers. CMX Series batteries are targeted at transportable medical devices which require reliable high rate portable power and are available off-the shelf or easily customised to meet a particular OEM requirements.

Q. What makes Lithium ion the best solution?

A. Lithium ion has a proven track record in providing safe, reliable power to devices we use in our everyday lives and is now used to power everything from smart phones to electric cars. The technology provides high energy density, excellent safety, low self-discharge and outstanding cycle life.

Q. What versions will be available?

A. We have designed both 14.4V and 28.8V products across three different mechanical packages. There are also different models depending on if the customer needs the highest energy capacity, the highest discharge power or a mix of both. All CMX batteries are coloured ‘traffic white’ to complement the medical environment.

Q. Will regulatory certification come as standard?

A. Yes, we have ensured CMX batteries comply with regulatory certifications necessary for use in medical devices. In terms of safety they meet the requirements of both UL2054 (2nd edition) and IEC62133:2012 (2nd edition), the latter being a mandatory requirement for medical devices certified to IEC60601-1 (3rd edition). All CMX series batteries meet the latest transportation test requirements (UN ST/SG/AC.10.11 Rev5 Section 38.3) which is mandatory for the transportation of Lithium ion batteries. All have an energy rating less than 100W hours, which means they’re easily offered for transport whether shipped by road, sea, air or rail.

Q. Can they be customised?

A. Yes, CMX series batteries are available either off-the-shelf with the Accutronics Entellion branding or they can be easily customised to meet the specific needs of OEMs. Customisation options include product labelling, case colour and software set-up. Custom versions of CMX batteries can also be programmed to include a unique ‘authentication key’ which allows OEM devices to interrogate their customised battery to determine if it is a valid part, enabling batteries not deemed valid to be rejected by the host device. SHA-1 authentication helps OEMs protect their aftermarket sales revenue and prevent fraudulent warranty claims as result of non-approved batteries.

Q. Are they protected against over-charge and over-discharge?

A. Yes, product safety is paramount and Accutronics follows industry best practise when implementing battery protection systems. All CMX batteries feature ‘nested’ active and passive protection to ensure they remain totally safe during transportation, storage and use. The protection systems include protection against over-charge, over-discharge, over-current, short circuit and over-temperature.

Q. Why are they called ‘smart’ batteries?

A. Each CMX battery constantly tracks its own capacity whether it is being charged, discharged or stored. The battery fuel gauge uses correction factors to adjust for changes in temperature, charge rate and discharge rate together with further modifications as the battery ages. CMX series batteries predict their capacity to within 1% meaning OEMs can provide users with a device runtime figure they can trust. CMX batteries are intended to be integrated into medical devices as part of a smart power management system. In such a system the battery, smart charger and the host device communicate with each other to maximise product safety, efficiency and performance. Host medical systems that use smart battery technology can provide accurate, meaningful runtime information to users – of vital importance in a medical environment where power failure is not an option.

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