The System-Level Approach to Design
We take a “systems” view approach in our designs – recognizing that the battery, charger and host device are closely coupled and interdependent. Each entity is carefully designed to meet very demanding performance requirements – safety, charger functions, and communications. The accessories that make up the portable power system never stand alone; in fact, they must work perfectly together to drive overall performance and value experience of the end user.
Designing battery packs and chargers requires a multi-discipline integration of the individual complex electronic & mechanical elements assuring system level design solutions in a collaborative environment.
iTECH’s in-house Engineering team is comprised all of the essential disciplines:
- Test development
- Engineering technicians
- Sustaining engineering
For every project, we assemble team members from each of these disciplines to ensure that we are delivering designs that are not only innovative in solving your challenges, but also completely manufacturable in the real world.
iTECH’s customer-focused, team-based approach to program management is central to our New Product Introduction (NPI) process. Program Management provides the foundation for concise, goal-specific objectives developed around the program milestones to deliver you product.
Our project teams include a Project Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Test Engineer, Quality Engineer and a Material Planning Coordinator. Project teams are chartered with the integration of the individual complex electronic & mechanical elements in a collaborative development process.
The iTECH Advantage
- Collaborative exchanges and communication
- Program milestones
- Project action list tracking communications, changes and commitments
- Smooth transition from prototype to pilot build through to production
New Product Introduction
iTECH’s New Product Introduction (NPI) process provides rigorous disciplines throughout engineering development and product release.
- Product requirements
- Design approach
- Product design
- System design review
- Schematic creation
- Constraints review
- Board design & layout
- Mechanical design review
- Production test development
- Design deliverables
- Constraints drawing
- Board layout
- PFMEA / DFMEA
- DVT – Design verification testing
- Control plans
- Process development / manufacturing aids
- Environmental, safety & regulatory certifications
- Test programming & test fixtures
- IOPQ and PPAP
- Sustaining – product life cycle
- Sustaining engineering
- BOM EOL surveillance
Extensive Qualification & Test
Quality and reliability of the battery pack design starts with proper cell selection. Ensuring the battery pack is well matched to the host equipment is often overlooked or not given sufficient priority until performance and/or supply problems occur. Proper cell selection is key and requires much more than checking dimensions and capacity. Designers need to consider loading, environment, shelf life, and a number of other factors specific to the application.
A new cell selection undergoes a qualification process. This includes testing of both cell and battery packs and evaluating their performance over 300 cycles.
Key parameters of the tests include:
- Cell impedance is checked at the beginning of test and every 25 cycles for variations or indications of degradation.
- Mechanical dimensions are benchmarked on new cells, then inspected after 300 cycles for swell.
- Cell capacity is monitored over the 300 cycle sequence over multiple cells for consistent capacity fade.
Based upon the cell selection other battery pack design considerations are required.
- For prismatic and pouch cells, cell swelling must be factored into the battery pack mechanical design.
- Safety circuit.
- Pack mechanical integrity in consideration of the environmental requirements.
DVT testing can include internal testing, as well as external laboratory testing. The tests can consist of some or all of the following:
- Environmental Conditions
- Specification Adherence
- Preliminary Safety Agency Tests
- Preliminary Electromagnetic Interference and Susceptibility Tests
- Performance under adverse operating conditions
- Fault mode tests
- Other tests to be determined, as required
- Tests will, at a minimum, correspond to and address, all points specified in the Product Specification.
Test strategy determination is based on a number of factors. Product technology, component selection, product criticality, and product complexity are just a few factors that must be considered when developing a test strategy. By reviewing relevant characteristics of a product, key test requirements are derived. Then the most appropriate test method can be implemented to insure complete test coverage.
Knowledge and experience provide our engineers with insight for applying the right design criteria to meet both your product performance criteria and the required regulatory approvals.
iTECH works directly with local third-party test labs to obtain a broad variety of safety, EMC and environmental certifications for our customers’ products as needed.
Key Certifications include:
- UL1642 / UL2054, UL913, CB
- IEC 60950
- UN DoT
Emissions – FCC / CE
- EN 55022 / EN 55011 / EN 55024
- EN 6100-4
- IEC 6068-2
- IP 54/67
Engineering The Impossible
You can think of iTECH as your extended engineering arm, with a laser focus on developing electrical and mechanical designs for the most demanding battery and charging applications. We are highly experienced with designing products that comply with safety and environmental requirements while delivering exceptional battery performance.
With over a decade of expertise in technological innovation for portable power – smart batteries, chargers and docking stations – we are adept in the integration of individual complex electronic and mechanical elements to ensure that you are getting the most reliable solutions in system level design.
- Battery and charger designs in Li-Ion, LiFPO4 and Li-Pouch
- Cell selection and qualification testing
- Electronics and circuit board design
- Electrical and software/firmware design including – safety circuits, fuel gauges, serial communications buses (SMBus, I2C, Ethernet, USB, Serial) battery authentication, cell balancing.
- Mechanical and industrial design of plastic – including the management of the mold tooling process and approvals.
- Environmental, safety & regulatory compliance testing – shock & vibration, temperature, humidity, water ingress, ESD, EMC, Safety, UN38.3