Is the battery you sell or specify, a potential safety hazard?

February 06, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Test house TÜV SÜD Product Service has introduced a European battery safety testing service, in France and the UK, that will enable manufacturers, importers and retailers demonstrate that their batteries meet quality, performance and safety requirements.

This introduction comes against the background of increasing concern about the numbers of lithium batteries now carried by passengers on any given commercial airline flight. The UK's safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), was recently quoted by the BBC as saying that the huge growth in people carrying lithium batteries on aircraft poses a growing fire risk.

Geoff Leach, the manager of the CAA's Dangerous Goods Office, expresses concern about cheap, aftermarket (“copycat”) batteries bought from dubious sources online, batteries that could develop a fault with dramatic consequences.

With an increasing number of safety incidents, such as batteries catching fire in electronic devices and smouldering aboard aircraft, battery safety and performance is becoming ever more critical. TÜV SÜD’s new service will help customers in Western Europe to optimise development time and maximise access to global markets by providing a full range of tests, which cover life cycle, performance, abuse, environmental, durability and transportation.

Jean-Louis Evans, Managing Director of TÜV SÜD Product Service, said: “There are thousands of battery types on the market today. We can support the battery selection process by proving their safety and performance, while meeting international safety standards and regulations, to help our customers maximise the durability, quality and market appeal of their products across the world.”

The test house can offer support across the entire spectrum of battery cells, modules and packs, both rechargeable and non-rechargeable. Tests include:

  • Life cycle testing – to verify battery life and demonstrate the quality of the product.
  • Performance testing – to demonstrate battery efficiency.
  • Abuse testing – to simulate extreme conditions and scenarios to which a battery might be subjected.
  • Environmental & durability testing – including vibration, shock, EMC, humidity and altitude tests.
  • Transport testing – to ensure that batteries can be transported safely, including the United Nations UN38.3 requirements for the safe transportation of lithium ion batteries.

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