The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has transformed the way industries operate by interconnecting and leveraging data for their benefit. The widespread deployment of the IoT, technological advancements in semiconductors and electronics, increased use of cloud computing platforms and the reduction in hardware costs have all led the once slow to change industry into an era of rapid digitization. Billions of devices are now interconnected via the Cloud.
Batteries have been an integral part of this development. They are small, light, and eliminate the need for costly hard-wiring to the electrical grid —which makes them the go-to solution for remote monitoring devices. Industrial grade lithium batteries also offer a high energy density and a capacity that can yield 20 years or more in the field —often longer than the device’s life expectancy.
In this article, we’ll go through some examples —real life case studies— of the benefits of Saft’s Lithium batteries for the IIoT.
What is the IIoT and what are its applications?
The IIoT combines connectivity with the capability to virtually monitor and control almost any factory equipment or machinery, thanks to interconnected sensors, instruments, and devices.
Using advanced data collection, exchange, analysis and machine learning, these smart systems contribute to transforming operations by increasing efficiency and reliability whilst reducing reliance on human-to-machine interactions.
More efficient machines, automated production processes, and reduced machine breakdowns and maintenance costs are thus becoming a source of new growth opportunities — through savings, new revenue streams from useful data and even sometimes new business models.
It is no surprise then, that the IIoT is being widely adopted across all industries, from transportation, to energy, military, aerospace, healthcare, manufacturing, and farming.
The figures are impressive: the IIoT market is predicted to reach $124B in 2021 (Source: Forbes, i-Scoop) and to generate $4T to $11T in economic value by 2025! (Source: McKinsey Global Institute)
Batteries have been an essential asset in the development of the IIoT. But not any battery can do the job…
The IIoT utilizes a range of technology sensors such as: temperature, flow, wind, light, vibration, heat, pressure, etc. These are often deployed in remote locations or placed on moving assets that can’t be connected to the grid, necessitating a light and compact wireless power solution. This is how batteries have become an essential resource in the development of the IIoT.
But when you deal with an IIoT ecosystem that may be a critical part of the control loop, selecting the right battery is equally critical. Decisions related to safety, failure analysis and maintenance timing can only be made if the data is gathered regularly, and only if you have complete trust in the sensors and likewise, their batteries too.
Batteries intended for use in industrial operations must indeed offer complete reliability under extreme environmental conditions, resistance to vibration and harsh environments. They need to offer a long lifetime (can you imagine the cost of replacing not one, but a thousand batteries spread out on an offshore oil platform for example?) and they need to account for a number of safety tests and certifications, which can be difficult to obtain. This is why consumer grade batteries are not an option and you need to consider not just the price but the quality of the battery you choose for your application.
Saft batteries have been powering the IIoT for many years
IIoT application usually require very high energy density and high voltage, requirements that are ideally addressed by Lithium technology. Indeed, lithium batteries feature high voltage thanks to the use of lithium as anode and deliver an amount of energy per volume that can be ten times more than that of zinc-oxide batteries. Its electrolyte contains no water, allowing for use at low temperatures, and some products with specific electrolytes can sustain high and even very high temperatures.
Saft has developed a range of lithium batteries specifically intended for the IoT:
• LS, LSH and LSP cylindrical primary lithium batteries based on lithium thionyl chloride (LiSOCl2) chemistry
• LM/M cylindrical primary lithium batteries based on lithium manganese dioxide (Li-MnO2) chemistry
• Medium prismatic MP and cylindrical small VL rechargeable batteries that use lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology.
Our batteries have an exceptional reputation for reliability and long life in smart metering applications, with hundreds of millions of cells successfully deployed worldwide. Their performance enables intelligent industrial operations for transformational business outcomes. The projects speak for themselves….
Saft LS range for industrial applications
Saft LS range features high voltage (3.6V) and high specific energy. The bobbin construction of the cells makes them ideal for applications requiring low continuous or moderate pulsed currents such as metering devices. Thanks to its exceptionally low self-discharge, the LS range can offer a long lifetime (from five to 20+ years) for applications featuring a few µA base currents and periodic pulses.
Examples of such applications are SRETT’s BumbleBee sensor, a wireless monitoring IoT solution designed to measure and optimize pressure and temperature in ATEX environments. For this turnkey product, SRETT needed a long-lasting, autonomous, reliable battery solution that complied with ATEX requirements. The LS 14500 offers extremely high energy density and a low discharge rate. It complies with IEC60086-4 and IEC60079-11 safety standards, and offer enhanced resistance to moisture, corrosion, and flames. It was therefore selected for the application. Thanks to Saft LS 14500 batteries, the sensor can operate at a wide range of temperatures — certified up to T4 +60°C in ATEX environments— and guarantees performance stability over the device’s whole lifetime.
Another such ATEX solution is TWTG’s Neon Valve Sensors, that brings together sensors, mobile communication, and large system integration to create a safer, sustainable, and more productive working environment. Requirements for the battery of the device included an extended ambient temperature range of -40°C to +80°C, combined with cutting-edge, low-power engineering. A minimum of 3 years battery life was needed, to ensure reliability, and the price had to allow for market competitiveness. TWTG spent many hours testing various battery solutions before deciding on Saft’s LS 17500 cell. Saft’s specialized knowledge, ATEX compliant solutions, and experience working in TWTG’s target markets weren't the only factors that prompted them to choose us. Special requests were made to further optimize the traceability of the device’s parts —one of the key elements for ATEX / IECEx compliance requirements for TWTG’s solution. Our teams answered present and showed flexibility to respond to these requests.
Saft LSH range for industrial applications
The LSH range features a spiral construction which allows for higher pulse solicitations since this construction enhances the delivery of high current but can only be relevant to applications with a 10+ years lifetime since the delivery of high currents is done at the expense of the cells’ capacity.
Techem, a leading global energy service provider for the real estate industry, created an innovative smart reading system for utility meters, smart heat cost allocators and smoke detectors. The system monitors the device status as well as the heating and water consumption in a building thanks to wirelessly connected devices. For the applications to be enduring and efficient, Techem needed a mature and reliable technology, capable of delivering the high pulse currents required for frequent wireless data transmission, even at the end of their life. The smart meters also had to offer a life expectancy of between 5 and 10 years. After conducting a detailed modeling study based on their device’s specific consumption profile and environment, Saft LSH was chosen, an unrivalled reliable solution requiring zero maintenance. For Techem, the high level of technical support for the selection of the ideal power solution was decisive in the choice of the final provider.
For longer life applications requiring high pulse, we provide our customers with our LSP range, that combines a low self-discharge Li-SOCl2 cell technology —for a long lifetime—and a pulse helper (also called capacitor) to store charges to help increase the necessary voltage and prevent any delay in current delivery.
Our client, Rotecna equiped its Silotronic silos monitoring systems with Saft LSP Hybrid lithium batteries. The sensor uses laser technology to measure in real time —and remotely— the level of feed available in silos. The company wanted to create an IoT device, capable of sending level measurements every 2 hours, for 10 years. Being an international supplier of equipment for pig farms, the device had to be able to work in different temperature profiles. Additionally, the new device had to work at 7,5 V so the battery solution needed was 2-Cell series (2s1p) configuration (https://www.saftbatteries.com/energizing-iot/custom-pack-making-designing-your-iot-batteries-best-standards). Saft LSP 33600-20F hybrid solution allowed us to assemble this configuration 2s1p without needing to add any protection diode. They proved to be the best technical solution and the teams’ technical support was greatly appreciated by the client.
Our LM/M range of cells feature high surface-area spiral electrodes offering high power capability (up to 2 A at 20°C for A sizes) and a high capacity (up to 3 Ah for A size) at operating temperatures between - 40°C to + 85°C. This makes them a good fit for smart metering devices requiring high pulses, but also parking sensors and smart farming applications. They exhibit a lower nominal voltage of 3.0 V vs. 3.6 V for the LS range. If the electronic design of the application is allowing a cut-off voltage below 2.5 V, this range is probably one of the most economic options with a good trade-off between energy and power.
Our LM batteries were chosen by XTel, a Danish research and development company, to equip some of the components of their product, Moviot. This versatile product platform allows IoT developers to quickly design a full IoT solution and to embed it into their products. Hardware components (gateways, NFC reader and various smart sensors…) are proposed as off-the-shelf products that can then be tailored to the developers’ specific needs.
To power such a device, not knowing how or where exactly it would be used, XTel needed an adaptable solution, capable of enduring a wide range of temperatures and deployment conditions.
After performing many tests, XTel chose Saft’s LM 17500 to equip the wireless gateway, a powerful battery that offers high pulse capability for an instant connection to the network. The Gateway offers 8 to 10 years lifetime in the field, 30-40% more than it used to with competitors’ products. To date, the devices have given complete satisfaction to XTel’s customers.
Alstom Transport also chose the LM range for their mission-critical IoT predictive maintenance application. Intended for rail transports, this IoT solution offers real-time monitoring of crucial elements in high-speed trains: rotating elements, such as axle-boxes, gear-boxes, blowers, motor bearings and wheels. The device inspects trains thanks to a network of intelligent wireless sensors that capture the acceleration of rotating machines and trigger specific analysis processes according to maintenance needs. Alstom Transport needed a ruggedized solution compatible with high vibration environment and extreme temperatures, that could deliver high peak current power supplies to enable frequent data communication whilst offering a 3-year minimum battery lifetime. We designed a customized battery solution using Saft’s LM 17500 batteries that delivered on all fronts.
Last but not least, Saft medium prismatic MP and cylindrical small VL rechargeable cells are designed for demanding applications that are frequently used in industrial and critical environments. They can be charged and discharged over a wide temperature range for a high cycle count (up to 2 800 times with only a 30% capacity loss) and low maintenance. They offer unique performance in unregulated outdoor conditions or in extreme conditions, either hot or cold.
Fuji Tecom is using Saft VL 34570 xlr in their innovative water leakage detector. The “Quatro Core” LC-5000, can automatically pinpoint the location of a leak by calculating the time difference of the detected noise caused by the water leakage between several sensors.
The water leakage detector is used outdoors, in various temperature conditions so Fuji Tecom wanted a robust and wide temperature working rechargeable battery with a maximal capacity in a compact format for the sensor modules to be installed anywhere, even in the smallest of subterranean spaces. From a safety point of view, obviously the battery system had to be high quality and secure. Saft’s small cylindrical VL 34570 rechargeable cells, with their high nominal capacities coupled with long cycle-life, and their ability to be charged and discharged over a wide temperature range, especially at very low temperatures, made it the ready-made solution for Fuji Tecom.
Find out more about which battery to choose for your IoT application in our article “Which types of batteries for your IoT devices?” or head over to our Smart Battery Selector Tool for a first personalized recommendation.
Feel free to get in touch with our Applications engineers. They will happily help you to choose and tailor the perfect solution for your Industrial Internet of Things IIoT project.
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