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Batteries, chargers and charging stations
Imagine what your life would be like without a battery. Quite a challenging thought, since batteries power millions of devices in daily life, which are part of an ever increasing demand for electronically driven applications.
However, the ability to store energy in a lightweight and compact manner implies a risk for lives and property.
For instance, in 2014, a major international Asian airline was forced to ground its entire fleet of new generation mid-sized airplanes after a lithium-ion battery overheated and caught fire. An electric car manufacturer also had to update one of its top model line ups after two fires from road debris damaged the vehicles’ lithium batteries.
Likewise, there have been a growing number of cases of electrical/electronic consumer products being recalled from the market, due to the overheating of lithium-ion battery packs.
Such incidents, caused by defective batteries or their systems not only have the potential to result in catastrophic accidents, they also create an anti-business sentiment in industry.
Devices that contain electronics and use or produce electricity via batteries and complementary charging systems have become an increasingly important area for regulatory development.
IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems follow the rapidly changing technology. They contribute towards ensuring interoperability and the safe functioning of batteries and hence the devices and machines they power.
IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components – covers testing and certification for safety and performance for a wide variety of home, office and industrial applications, where battery powered operations have become unobtrusive.
Batteries contain, in whatever form, chemical substances and electrical processes which may, if malfunctioning, be hazardous to lives and the environment. Causes of hazardous circumstances lie, for example, in cell short circuits, defective separators, aggregation of materials, as well as the generation of gasses during overcharging and discharging. Various disorders could potentially lead to combustion and explosions.
Manufacturers and others in the trade chain face the challenge of increasing and changing regulations and standards they must keep up with, in order to satisfy the requirements for product safety and reliability, while safeguarding global regulatory conformity.
The combined use of batteries, chargers and charging stations in various different operational states often leads to several test requirements for these, including: testing for safety, performance, component interoperability, Energy Efficiency, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), hazardous substances, chemicals and explosion safety.