The ATEX Directive 94/9/EC was formulated to ensure that individuals who are employed in flammable and potentially explosive situations take more safety precautions. The battery powered equipment they use in these types of environments, such as lamps, gas detectors, and air-monitoring devices, have to meet the highest safety standards. The batteries are often known as ATEX batteries or intrinsically safe batteries.
The ATEX safety directive identifies electric components that have built-in safety qualities formulated to protect people who are employed under dangerous conditions and places the responsibility on appliance manufacturers for developing and testing their devices to ensure that it incorporates the many necessary safety qualities.
There are numerous different technical design selections available to comply with the ATEX directive, such as explosion-proof enclosures, specific protection devices and encapsulation. This includes the pre-certification standard of 'Intrinsically Safe' (IS) components such as batteries that do not produce sparks and should not release electrical or thermal energy that could result in any form of reaction, even if the component is abused (for example short circuited).
Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, NiCd, and lithium-thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2) are examples of IS batteries. The development of the ATEX Battery or Intrinsically safe Battery Pack is crucial and a great number of aspects must be considered in addition to environmental conditions, such as life cycle, performance and weight.
For long life, Lithium-Ion ATEX Batteries offer unrivaled nominal capacities, probably the most superior attribute is to be able to be charged and discharged over a wide temperature range, in particular at low temperatures.
The Li-ion Battery is a low upkeep battery, an advantage that most other chemistries cannot state. There is no memory and no regular cycling is required to extend the battery's life. In addition, the self-discharge is less than 50 percent compared to Nickel cadmium and Nickel metal hydride, making the Li-ion well suited for modern day fuel gauge products.
Benefits and Limitations of Lithium-Ion Batteries.
a. Comparatively low self discharge, self-discharge is less than half that of Ni-Cd and NiMH.
b. Minimal Maintenance, no occaisional discharge is required; no memory.
c. Substantial energy density, ability for yet increased capacities.
a. Subject to aging, even if not in use, storing the battery in a cool situation and at 40 percent state-of-charge minimises the aging impact.
b. Subject to transportation laws, shipment of greater quantities of Li-ion batteries may also be subject to regulatory management. This restriction does not apply to personal carry-on batteries.
c. Calls for protection circuit, protection circuit restricts voltage and current. Battery is safe if not provoked.
d. Not fully mature, adjustments in metal and chemical combinations impact battery verification results, especially with some short assessment methods.
e. Expensive to manufacture, about 40 percent higher in cost than Ni-Cd. Better manufacturing approaches and substitution of scarce metals with lessened cost selections will doubtless lower the price tag.
f. Moderate discharge current.
The need for Intrinsically safe batteries is clear, and numerous manufacturers are stepping up their product or service offerings to meet the demands of high-risk applications. Offshore oil rigs, nuclear plants and areas that handle flammable fumes all have requirements for intrinsically safe ATEX batteries.