Battery-powered device monitoring across the spectrum
By Jack Ward, MD of Powermode
Device monitoring – via sophisticated sensors and modern communication systems – is no longer the exclusive province of large companies with big budgets. Since the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) this concept has become readily available to everyone. This includes small business owners, farmers and home owners who rely on battery power for productivity, profit and convenience.
Based on its successful history in the standby power market, Powermode is currently marketing a solution, dubbed the Powermode Management Portal (PMP), that monitors the status and well-being of batteries that operate in cycle mode. They can be traditional lead-acid or new-generation lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries can power a range of systems from standby power solutions in homes and offices, across the spectrum to electrically-driven forklift trucks in factories and warehouses, and golf carts doing duty in a wide range of applications.
Why is battery monitoring necessary? Any battery that is regularly cycled (charged and discharged) is subject to premature failure if not serviced, supported and managed appropriately. The most effective method of ensuring the reliability and longevity of individual batteries in a battery pack (even if they are from different manufacturers) is to monitor them using sensors to gain an insight into their operating effectiveness on a 24×7 basis.
Battery performance is dependent on a number of factors. In addition to discharge depth, battery life is influenced by storage conditions, ambient temperature, battery chemistry issues and the number and duration of cycles that the battery has completed.
The PMP makes use of ground-breaking new monitoring technology developed here in SA based on the IoT principle. It gathers and records real-time information about the environment in which batteries operate, reporting to users on a wide range of critical parameters including the all-important measurement of battery power availability.
If certain benchmarks are not reached or maintained, the PMP automatically sets in motion immediate actions to mitigate the risks associated with battery failures including battery abuse.
Millions of rand are lost annually in SA in many commercial and industrial environments through unexpected battery failures. By electronically monitoring the status of the batteries in every forklift in the factory, in each golf cart needed for operation at a moment’s notice, or in any other battery-powered device and receiving advance warning of a potential failure (via sms or email), problems can be obviated and business continuity assured.
What’s more, historic data related to a battery’s status can be used to enforce a warranty. This is acknowledged as one of the more challenging tasks facing owners when dealing with a battery supplier.