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Battery testing for safety, performance and the environment

Vehicles, machines and tools – more and more in our society is being powered by batteries. But how do batteries cope with fluctuating temperatures and other stresses to which they are subjected? How can you be sure that you have correctly specified the performance of the batteries in your products? RISE has expertise and extensive experience in testing batteries and can help you answer these questions.

The number of electric vehicles is growing, we are cutting our lawns with robotic mowers, cleaning our homes with robot vacuums, and our power tools are cordless. The battery has become the energy solution around which we build our technology – and being able to use electricity from renewable sources has been a major driving force. 

At the same time, this places high demands on battery manufacturers to ensure that batteries can fulfil what they promise. This is where RISE comes in. RISE has particular expertise when it comes to testing performance, i.e. testing how a battery copes with various stresses and determining whether it is affected by interference from – or whether it emits – electromagnetic radiation.

– “We have plenty of resources and also work together with our research teams focusing on performance, safety and similar issues where we are at the forefront,” says Anders Nilsson, Research and Business Developer at RISE. 

Test all types of batteries

RISE can test all types of batteries, but those we test most frequently are lithium-ion batteries, a rechargeable battery type known for its output and high performance. This is the primary battery type in electric vehicles, mobile phones, computers and other widely used products. 

 – “For example, a vehicle manufacturer may want to examine the life of the battery and determine how many years is it expected to last,” explains Nilsson. “For this we conduct extended duration tests in our multichannel battery equipment with defined operating cycles at various temperatures. We measure the capacity and investigate how the battery progresses to ensure its performance does not worsen over time. These kinds of tests can run for a year.” 

Vi har väldigt många specialister på olika teknikområden

RISE has climate chambers in which the temperature can be adjusted from -70 °C to +180 °C while humidity can be regulated from 10 percent to 98 percent. 

– “We use these to ensure that the battery does not break under cold or hot conditions,” says Nilsson. “We can control the temperature and humidity simultaneously. We can test according to an industry standard for environmental resistance or beyond the standard if that is what is sought by the battery manufacturer.” 

Another test conducted focuses on ensuring that the battery can withstand vibrations and impact. 

– “For this we use electrodynamic vibrators,” explains Nilsson. “It can be compared to a gigantic loudspeaker being controlled by different frequencies in which the test object is placed. You can place an object weighing several hundred kilograms in this kind of vibrator. You then check that the product does not break and that it maintains its function and that the electronics do not break.” 

Must function with other electronics

In addition to testing performance, how the battery copes in various temperatures, and how well it withstands vibrations and impact, the battery and its constituent electronics must also undergo EMC testing. EMC stands for electromagnetic compatibility and means that the product must be able to function with other electronics in the surroundings and that it does not produce any interference that affects other products. 

– “It’s not really the battery itself that produces interference, but its control system,” says Nilsson. The electronics must not experience interference from, for example, radio transmitters or mobile phones, nor interfere with other electronics.”

To conduct EMC testing, RISE has, among other things, two large test facilities in which electric vehicles weighing up to 70 tonnes can be tested. The test labs are completely shielded from the surroundings to prevent interference from outside.

– “You then subject the product to interference using signal generators and powerful amplifiers,” says Nilsson.

RISE has extensive experience in conducting EMC testing. 

– “It’s a major part of our operations. We have numerous specialists in different technology fields who have worked here for many years.” 

Batteries and their areas of application are increasing rapidly. Owing to wide-ranging expertise, RISE can precisely match the needs of customers. 

– “We can package together different skills and forms of expertise from our other areas according to the specific needs of the customer,” concludes Anders Nilsson.

Published: 2021-03-05

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Anders Nilsson

Forsknings- och affärsutvecklare

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