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Industrial Analytical Instrumentation

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Life sciences and clinical instrumentation

The heart of the medical industry

Professional battery manufacturer Accutronics will be exhibiting its extensive range of medical batteries and chargers at this year's Compamed trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, from November 14-17. The company will also be showcasing a range of products from Ultralife Corporation, a battery systems and communications specialist that acquired Accutronics earlier in 2016. Accutronics will be exhibiting from stand H18 in hall 8b.

Compamed is the world's largest medical technology (MedTech) trade show and is co-hosted with Medica each year. The international event brings together professionals, suppliers and leading manufacturers from the medical industry, attracting visitors from over 40 countries and hosting more than 750 exhibitors.

Accutronics' stand at Compamed will demonstrate the company's range of reliable and effective battery solutions for the medtech sector, addressing a number of key industry issues such as device security and the shrinking lifespan of portable medical devices. The stand will feature a number of pre-engineered smart batteries, including the CC1150 credit-card battery for handheld devices that the company launched at Compamed 2015, as well as information about Accutronics' bespoke battery services.

"We've observed a clear trend for critical medical devices becoming more compact and portable in recent years," explained Rob Phillips, sales and marketing director of Accutronics. "While this may offer convenience to practitioners, it presents a number of concerns for medical Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in regards to practical longevity and reliability.

"At Compamed 2015, we launched a solution to this in the form of our CC1150 credit card smart battery. At 54mm square and 9.5mm high, the battery is designed to fit into equipment with limited space while still offering reliable power and features such as accurate fuel gauging and an active electronic protection system. The CC1150 and its sibling products, CC2300 and CC3800 are the ideal power source for the next generation of portable or wearable medical tech.

"However, a more effective approach is for manufacturers to consult battery OEMs such as Accutronics at the design stage. This allows for the development of a bespoke solution that is engineered for optimum performance. It is this expertise that we will be demonstrating at Compamed 2016."

Accutronics will also be joined on the stand by representatives from Ultralife, who will be assisting with the range of Ultralife products also on display. These products include a number of pre-engineered solutions such as LiFePO4 lead acid replacement batteries, which are designed to provide enhanced cycle life for applications such as medical carts.  The similar charging voltage of the Ultralife LiFePO4 batteries means they can usually be transplanted into existing lead acid applications without modification.

MedTech OEMs interested in a professional battery solution from Accutronics can visit Rob Phillips and representatives from the company at stand H18 in hall 8b from November 14-17.

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Manufacturer investigates the thriving UK battery sector

Did you know that it was British chemist Joseph Swan who invented the lightbulb? While Thomas Edison frequently receives the praise for the lightbulb moment, it was Swan who first developed the incandescent bulb and lit his house with electricity. This is one of many great contributions that the UK has made to the field of science and technology, with the industry showing little signs of slowing down. Here, Michele Windsor, direct sales and marketing manager of professional battery manufacturer Accutronics, explores how the UK is still cultivating innovation -- particularly in the battery industry.

If you were to believe the fears of critics in the engineering and manufacturing sector, you would likely believe that the UK was falling behind in the technical arms race. However, this is simply not the case. The UK remains one of the world's leading countries for technology, producing the second most cited research papers in the world as well as providing a surprisingly thriving landscape for development.

We need to look no further than the battery sector to confirm this. While many countries turn their attentions to more glamorous technical fields such as robotics, it is UK original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the battery sector that are continuing to make improvements in the way we power the future effectively and efficiently.

For example, a number of promising new proposals for battery technologies, such as sodium-ion and even unlikely chemistries such as copper-foam, have emerged from the UK in recent years. This is only possible due to the quality of battery research funding that is available in the country, such as the government's Innovate UK research grant.

The Innovate UK grant has previously been awarded to a start-up battery OEM for its research into sodium-ion technologies. These batteries would be used in electric vehicles, which is a rapidly expanding market in the UK. In fact, electric vehicles currently represent 1.4 percent of all new car registrations in the country in 2016, with an average of 3,000 being sold per month between January and May 2016. This is driving a need for high performance vehicle batteries.

Of course, the humble lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery doesn't get lost in all the excitement. OEMs in the UK are working to ensure that this staple of modern power is able to keep up with the demands and challenges presented by a rapidly changing industry.

At Accutronics, for example, we identified growing concerns over battery counterfeiting compromising electronic devices and making them unreliable. To tackle this problem, we introduced secure hashing algorithm encryption, known as algorithmic security, into our batteries as well as into the medical devices they power, to ensure that fake batteries are rejected by the device.

Portable protection
Recently, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provided a £6.8 million grant to a team looking to develop next-generation lithium batteries. This was fuelled by the recent widespread uptake of portable and wearable electronics, a technology trend that has stretched from the commercial sector to professional industries such as medical technology (medtech).

The trend for portable and wearable devices was recently reflected in the NHS' new nationwide system for purchasing medical devices, including implantable defibrillators. Implantable electronics such as these present the challenge of delivering adequate battery life from a primary, non-rechargeable cell. Doctors in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) also recently highlighted this problem, arguing that the battery life of implantable medical devices (IMDs) needs to be longer to avoid the frequency of surgery currently required and to remove the subsequent risk of infection.

Careful consideration of battery chemistry, power discharge characteristics, as well as the ease of charging should be at the top of design engineers' lists when they approach a new project. Combine this with smart battery features such as accurate fuel gauging, as well as continued innovation into new materials, it is not beyond reason that UK- OEMs could be the ones to have the lightbulb moments that make the next great scientific contribution.

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Refer to page 765

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