Our battery-powered world

International Standards and testing help keep batteries safe and reliable

By Antoinette Price

Many items we use on a daily basis require battery power, such as tablets, laptops, medical devices, toothbrushes, gaming hardware or power tools.  They enable our ever-increasing mobility - batteries power e-bikes, the starter, lights, and ignition systems of electric and fuel powered vehicle engines, and they start the engines or auxiliary power units of planes.

Rechargeable batteries power many portable devices

Where would we be without them?

A report by Freedonia Group, a US industry research firm, forecasts the global battery demand to rise 7,7% per year to USD 120 billion in 2019. The report says that secondary or rechargeable batteries will outpace throw-away types, and the fastest growing products will be rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

These figures have been greatly impacted by the increased demand for portable devices, such as smartphones and wearable products including smart watches, fitness trackers, smart eyewear, smart clothing, medical devices, headphones, hearing aids and electronic watches to name a few.

Find out more about battery technology and its applications in the April 2016 e-tech article Fun with chemistry.

Charging up safely

IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, plays an important role when it comes to certifying batteries. The IECEE CB Scheme, through its registered Certification Body Testing Laboratories (CBTLs) and National Certification Bodies (NCBs), tests and certifies batteries against IEC International Standards developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 21: Secondary cells and batteries.

These International Standards cover all secondary cells and batteries, irrespective of type and chemistries (i.e. lithium-ion, lead-acid, nickel-based) or application (i.e. portable, stationary, traction, electric vehicles or aircraft). They comprise all aspects such as safety, performance and dimensions, and labelling.

Some examples of IEC International Standards for batteries:

  • IEC 60086 series for primary batteries covers dimensions, nomenclature, terminal configurations, markings, test methods, typical performance, safety and environmental aspects, for batteries used in many portable devices
  • IEC 60952 series for testing performance and other aspects of aircraft batteries
  • IEC 61982 series for testing performance and endurance of batteries for electric road vehicles
Rechargeable_batteries Rechargeable batteries power many portable devices
laptop2 Thanks to batteries we can work on the move
Ingenio_pacemaker_org Batteries used in wearable medical devices improve people's lives