Beginning with its initial release in , the IEC family of standards has enabled international harmonization of safety testing for small-format cells and batteries. Since then, the standard has seen a major revision in and, most recently, a very significant change in This article will detail those latest changes and their impact on compliance activities. Figure 1: Evolution of the IEC battery standard. The scope of the first and second editions of the standard encompassed both nickel and lithium battery chemistries.
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Beginning with its initial release in , the IEC family of standards has enabled international harmonization of safety testing for small-format cells and batteries.
Since then, the standard has seen a major revision in and, most recently, a very significant change in This article will detail those latest changes and their impact on compliance activities. Figure 1: Evolution of the IEC battery standard. The scope of the first and second editions of the standard encompassed both nickel and lithium battery chemistries.
Back in when the standard made its debut, this was certainly appropriate as both nickel and lithium had significant shares of the rechargeable cell and battery market. As technology moved forward, secondary lithium options in the form of lithium-ion and lithium-polymer overtook both nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal-hydride in most portable applications.
Additionally, the economics of the situation had changed with the cost of lithium coming down dramatically as volumes increased. In recognition of this fact, the latest version of the IEC standard was split into two distinct parts. Part 1 covers nickel chemistries and Part 2 focuses on lithium. It is expected that IEC will likely see few if any changes going forward. Note that the split of the standard along chemistry lines is but the first step in a much longer narrative of change.
Although the focus of the article is on lithium testing, it is appropriate to note the few changes that have been made to IEC the standard that addresses nickel-based batteries. In addition to internal renumbering with the removal of lithium testing, the standard reflects the following changes and additions:. Changes to the lithium cell and battery requirements in IEC are considerably more extensive.
As a starting point, many of the definitions have been modified or appended for clarification. Significant examples include:. Not all the changes to the standard represent a tightening of requirements. This can be seen in section 5. The section was expanded and reorganized to include many more specific design aspects for consideration.
Section 5. Requirements to the actual testing are best characterized as both substantial and important. They represent lessons learned from both the execution of the testing as well as the associated compliance actions resulting from the testing.
Specific new or modified requirements include:. Although more extensive in some respects than its predecessor, its requirements provide both clarifications and improvements to the world of internationally-harmonized cell and battery testing. It is expected that associated national deviations to the standard as well as related updates to independent national standards will see releases in the coming year. As always, this situation remains fluid with significant variation amongst countries, so frequent consultation with your test provider is highly recommended to help ensure positive compliance outcomes.
John C. Copeland is co-owner and technical manager for Energy Assurance LLC, an independent, fully-accredited cell and battery test laboratory. His career has included various positions in quality engineering, reliability engineering, failure analysis, project management, supplier assessment, and quality management in the electronics and portable energy sectors. He can be reached at johncopland energy-assurance.
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Globally-Harmonized Battery Safety Standards
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