Friday, 8 April 2016

Best practice in battery handling

Many professional work tools are today battery powered. On the one hand the battery is considered a low-tech component that should just work. On the other hand, a battery is a complex electro-chemical component which is part of a product/system and is not allowed to fail under any circumstances if the tool supports a mission critical process.

Expected lifetime of a battery
Most chargeable batteries, no matter the manufacturer, are designed for a lifetime of 400 full charging cycles. A full charging cycle is defined as starting from a fully charged battery, discharge to an empty battery, and then recharge to 100% again. If a battery is only half-empty when charging the battery, it counts as half a charging cycle.

Benefits of using original battery and charger for your products
A product is developed and designed to be used together with a battery and a charger from the same manufacturer. The handset, its battery and the corresponding charger are considered to be one system from power supply perspective. Replacing one part of this system (i.e., the charger or the battery) will break the dependencies in the system.

Using a third-party charger may risk charging the battery with too high a current, which will stress the battery and shorten its lifetime. Using a third-party battery in the product may be a security risk if the battery is not designed and produced properly.
It is possible to find third-party batteries on the market with a higher capacity than the original battery, but it may be at a cost of reduced quality performance or a higher risk of over-heated batteries.  To take greater care of your product, always use batteries from the original manufacturer of the product.

Battery fleet management for professional customers
Professional users have higher demands for a functioning handset compared to private users. For example, when taking a phone from a charger when starting the work day, the user expects the work tool to be usable throughout the work day, every day. For a heavily used handset, the battery needs to be replaced every 6 months, which makes it necessary to have a workflow for replacing the battery efficiently. The most cost-efficient method for all professional users is to regularly replace all batteries simultaneously on site. The frequency of replacement is based on the usage pattern of the product.
Many products for professional use come with user-replaceable battery, which makes it possible to easily use the handset 24/7, and charge the battery in a separate battery pack charger. For a heavily used handset, it is recommended to purchase one spare battery for each handset to always have a fully charged battery at hand. Office users need 10-60% additional batteries to cover their need for a fully charged battery.  ICT (Information and Communication Technology) providers also usually offer services to take care of the investment a professional customer has made. Preventive maintenance once a year, a service desk to call to fix problems and repair services for products are normally the basic level required to keep an investment in top shape. Some providers also regularly replace and properly recycle the complete set of batteries as part of their service offering.

Tip - Keeping a few extra fully-charged batteries in each ward or office facility is a low price to pay, compared to the impact of a non-functioning tool which disturbs mission critical processes.

Batteries in repair flow
Between 5 and 15 per cent of all products sent in for repair are found to be fully functioning after screening. Some of these products will only need a new battery to work flawlessly again.
By keeping a few spare batteries on site it is easy to detect the problem before it is sent in for repair, and the customer avoids downtime and costs.

Ascom’s battery-powered products and corresponding services
Ascom is a Healthcare ICT provider, designing high quality products primarily for the Healthcare market. The products are designed to work flawlessly in situations where a faulty product may result in critical failure in the patient care process. Ascom provides services to keep products working in all situations, and can also assist in setting up workflows to support the primary customer processes in the most efficient way.

Ascom has over 50 years of experience designing battery-powered products for professional users in mission critical environments such as hospitals, prisons, industry and retail. We have assembled a knowledge base over the years to provide the services required for efficient battery fleet management for our customers.