Electrochem Solutions, Inc. is a world leader in the design and manufacture of customized total power solutions, including rechargeable and non-rechargeable battery packs, chargers, docking stations and power supplies. A subsidiary of Greatbatch Inc., Electrochem was born from the lithium battery invented for the implantable pacemaker by founder, Wilson Greatbatch. Today, Electrochem is known for providing safe and reliable products which are used across a range of critical applications in the portable medical, energy, military, and environmental markets.
Medical device applications are the ultimate test of reliability and performance–because failure is not an option when human lives are on the line. That’s why Electrochem is the trusted partner of major medical original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide. Through the development of innovative products and our strategic acquisitions including Micro Power Electronics in 2011, Electrochem has created the broadest and most reliable portfolio of power solutions available today.
Working in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, our highly skilled engineers provide consultation, design, development and testing for an array of medical device applications, specializing in cell and battery pack configurations for rechargeable and non-rechargeable power solutions using a variety of chemistries.
Our solutions are used in a variety of portable medical applications where failure is not an option, including:
- Infusion Pumps
- Oxygen Concentrators
- Ultrasound Devices
- Portable X-ray Systems
- Surgical Instruments
- Pulse Oximetry Devices
- Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)
- Auto CPR Devices
- Electrocardiograms (ECGs)
- Handheld Surgical Tools
- Multi-parameter Monitors
- Critical Care Monitors
- Powered Orthotics and Prosthetics Devices
- Wound & Bone Healing
- Portable Suction
- CPAP and BiPAP Machines
- Powered Surgical Instruments
- Portable Nebulizers
- Ultrasound Devices
- Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumps
- Diagnostic Tools
Our power solutions are designed for optimal use by medical professionals in the most critical settings including:
- Surgical Suites
- Emergency Rooms
Vital Power for Portable Medical Devices
Electrochem’s expertise in customized power and technology solutions for the medical market can be traced back to 1962, when founder Wilson Greatbatch invented the world’s first lithium cell for the implantable pacemaker. Today, Electrochem enjoys a well-deserved reputation for superior performance, superlative quality and unmatched reliability.
With a diverse portfolio of cells in various sizes, temperature ranges and rate capabilities, our team can design a custom battery pack that meets the unique needs of your portable power application. Our focus is designing solutions for long term, zero-defect performance.
Electrochem offers custom rechargeable medical batteries based on all commercially available chemistries. As OEMs strive to differentiate in competitive markets, Electrochem has increasingly addressed our customers' needs with the highest performance Li-ion chemistry. Choosing the optimal cell can contribute to the success or failure of a product in the field and requires extensive knowledge of the performance profile of the cells under consideration. The first step in ensuring a proper battery choice is to fully describe the "real world usage profile" of the device. Then, a choice can be made among the leading cell chemistries listed below. Three cell chemistries that dominate are, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Li-ion and Li-polymer.
- NiMH batteries have an average energy density of 200 Wh/L, and deliver 500 duty cycles
- Li-ion battery characteristics include 1000 duty cycles per lifetime, higher load currents, and an average energy density of 500 Wh/L
- Li-polymer cells have similar specifications to Li-ion, but they feature a semi-rigid and thin form factor
Electrochem offers medical OEM customers a high-performance solution with a customized, but most importantly, safe battery system that is resistant to dangerous malfunctions. Electrochem's customized battery pack technology and specialized manufacturing processes produce the safest and most reliable Li-ion solutions. The following features and processes accompany these designs:
- Safest, high quality Li-ion cells from tier one cell suppliers
- Testing incoming cells for electrical performance
- Thermal Protection Circuit (TPC) to prevent over-heating
- Protection circuit that prevents over-voltage, over-current, and under-voltage
- Support for the release of vented gasses
- Electrical tests include continuous charge, over-discharge, over-charge, and short-circuit tests
- Mechanical tests include shock, vibration, altitude, thermal exposure, and mould stress
For the most demanding medical requirements, Electrochem offers additional safety precautions such as:
- Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) of the battery system design or manufacturing process
- Redundant protection circuit to ensure device operation
- Authentication of the battery pack to eliminate the use of after-market alternatives
- Cell balancing for packs with high number of cells in series
- Plastics with fire resistant additives
Electrochem's advanced SMART medical battery packs communicate status to the portable device via an integrated circuit in the battery pack. This information might include: type, model number, manufacturer, characteristics, discharge rate, predicted remaining capacity, almost-discharged alarm, temperature and voltage. Electrochem's partners provide the most advanced fuel gauging that calculates changes in impedance caused by battery age, temperature and cycle patterns to predict remaining run-time within 99% accuracy throughout the entire life of the battery. It maximizes system run-time by enabling use of the full chemical capacity available in the battery pack. Communication is delivered to the portable device via a communication bus (such as SMBus, I2C, or HDQ), and delivered to the user with LEDs.
Mechanical Options for Medical Batteries
Like its host device, medical battery packs are designed with mechanics that are adapted for the specific environment in which it will be used. Electrochem provides custom battery packs that are assembled in plastic shrink wrap and fully enclosed in the portable device. For user replaceable batteries, the best choice is a battery pack with a hard plastic enclosure. Electrochem provides enclosures that meet the needs of the most demanding environments while augmenting your product's aesthetics and industrial design. Typical plastic choices include PolyCarbonate (PC), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), PC/ABS blends, Nylon, or Acrylic. Plastic enclosures will be sealed with ultrasonic welding for ease of manufacture and cost savings, but Electrochem also offers the option of glue or screws for the most robust seals. The electrical connector is selected to be the most compatible with your device such as Molex, Tyco, Mill-Max pogo-pins or Samtec PCB headers. A custom battery pack offers the best physical integration with your portable device, in addition to the highest electrical performance.
Sterilization of Medical Battery Packs
Electrochem is proud to offer medical battery packs, specially designed for the surgical tool market that can withstand various sterilization techniques without disabling performance degradation. We can design battery packs to withstand the most common sterilization techniques including autoclave for rechargeable batteries and gamma sterilization for disposable batteries. These medical batteries allow a portable surgical tool manufacturer to offer the run time and power to complete major surgeries.
Electrochem offers custom battery chargers and docking stations for medical devices. As a complete power system solution provider, Electrochem has the fundamental battery chemistry knowledge that is the keystone of charger design. This allows us to design and manufacture a charger that will seamlessly integrate with the battery pack for exceptional ease of use and maximum energy delivery with a minimum charge time. Electrochem maintains a catalogue of in-house reference designs for use in configuring individual battery charger solutions. Our high efficiency chargers can be either a circuit board embedded in your device or a stand-alone charger in a configuration that best suites the usage model of the medical device.
Electrochem has experience designing medical battery chargers for the following devices:
- Defibrillators (AED)
- Patient monitoring equipment
- Surgical tools (saws, drills, reamers)
- Multi-parameter monitors
- Critical care monitors
- Glucose monitors
- Infusion pumps
- Enteral pumps
In order for an end user to take full advantage of a portable device, it must be charged quickly and remain in a high state of readiness. Multi-bay battery chargers are the best way to keep the most demanding users up and running through multiple shifts, and our customer can optimize charge time according to the battery chemistry and the current available to the system. Electrochem routinely designs chargers with the number of bays ranging from one to eight. Our multi-bay chargers employ our unique microcontroller based charging system and are available with the following features:
- Configurable LCD or LED status indicators for various battery conditions
- AC or DC inputs
- Battery management features including battery conditioning and gas gage calibration
- Battery health and status-of-charge indication
- Power management and conditional charging
- Fast charge regimens
- Custom enclosures that are rugged and have industrial design consistency with the device
- Custom electrical contacts and battery latching schemes
- Custom configurations such as vehicular-mount or desktop versions
- Relevant safety and EMC certifications
Electrochem offers stand-alone single-bay chargers in addition to the larger multi-bay chargers. These units offer many of the same features as the multi-bay chargers, such as a customer defined charge time, custom plastic, and LED status indicators. Many medical device manufacturers require both single and multi-bay chargers for the same device because of different usage models. We can design custom chargers that are easily applied to numerous configurations.
Mobile and desktop docking solutions offer features beyond those expected of other chargers. Docking cradles provide the user with a repository for the portable device when it is not in active use. Our docking stations can be designed to be mechanically robust for the most demanding office or surgical environments.
Microcontroller Based Charging
Our software controlled microcontroller architectures have the advantages of flexibility and efficiency while low parts count minimize cost. The microcontroller performs multiple duties, including, pulse width modulation control for the charge bays, multi-channel control, user interface control, system communications and logic functions based on dynamic input and output power conditions. Integration of all blocks of the power subsystem into one module yields lower cost and smaller size with less heat, fewer interconnects and superior Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) performance.
Smart Battery Chargers
Electrochem develops battery chargers with varying degrees of intelligence. Smart battery chargers are instructed through the SMBus (or I2C or HDQ bus) by a smart battery pack as to the voltage and current required by the pack. Smart battery chargers allow the battery pack to dictate the charge termination, however, they still have timers to limit each charging phase. The degree of intelligence embedded within smart chargers includes:
- Level 2 smart battery charger is a slave device. A smart battery transmits voltage and current instructions, and sets the appropriate values.
- Level 3 smart battery charger can initiate commands to the smart battery. The smart battery charger suggests charging voltages and currents, and can request charge initiation due to a system change such as the presence of an AC current or some other event.
Embedded Charging Circuitry
Charging circuitry can be embedded in the medical device, commonly used in medical devices such as infusion pumps or multi-parameter monitors. Electrochem designs charging circuitry that seamlessly integrates in your medical devices, and deliver a fully qualified, reliable charger with minimal component count and flexible features. Embedded charger assemblies can be used to power the entire device as well as charge the batteries. This provides a clean, regulated DC source voltage to the main system power supply, simplifying design and lowering cost. As an integrated solution, the charger electronics can be accommodated on the same circuit board as the device electronics; this reduces design costs and valuable device real estate.
Power Supply Configurations
Electrochem provides AC/DC and DC/DC power supplies from 5 to 350 watts as an integral piece of our power solutions. Our power supplies range from external off-the-shelf wall-plugs, desktop units, or a custom internal power subsystem with an integrated charger. AC/DC converters, integrated with the micro-controlled charger, provide cost savings, fewer points of failure, and improved mobility. Electrochem offers power supplies that meet all safety and medical standards including (UL2601-1, CE marked to EN60601-1-2:2001), FCC Class B, and CISPR 11 Class B emissions standards.
IEC 60601-1 Compliance
IEC 60601-1 applies to all electrical and electronic medical devices and their accessories. The 3rd edition is in the process of being adopted by global regulatory authorities. But on a national level, regulatory affectivity dates are not harmonized across global jurisdictions. Parallel use of 2nd and 3rd edition is expected through 2012. The requirement for 3rd edition does not apply to product deployed in the field, but it applies to new products going through regulatory approvals, as well as products currently shipping that are approved via the 2nd edition. In the EU, compliance with 3rd edition will be required to maintain the CE mark.
Battery chargers, affiliated with a medical device, and used in a medical environment are classified as an electrical medical device accessory. Examples of medical devices that use standalone battery chargers include surgical tools, ventilators, digital imaging plates, or defibrillators. Medical battery chargers destined for sale in Europe must be certified to EN 60601-1 3rd edition by June of 2012. The EN 60601-1 is based on the standard IEC 60601-1: 2005, which is the general safety standard for Medical Electrical Equipment - Part 1: General Requirements for Basic Safety and Essential Performance. This standard affects medical battery chargers that have embedded power supplies or utilize external AC/DC or DC/DC power adapters.
Utilized in highly demanding applications, Electrochem’s High, Moderate and Low rate non-rechargeable cell solutions are in a class all their own. Our lithium-powered cells perform in demanding conditions when downtime could mean the loss of precious, life-saving minutes.
Our lithium cells feature the highest energy density in the industry – up to 915-watt hours per liter, or nearly three times the energy density of alkaline cells–as well as exceptional operating temperature ranges. Likewise, our protective circuitry, glass-to-metal hermetic seals, fuses and diodes are capable of withstanding high and low temperatures, sterilization, and vibration to ensure safe, strong, and reliable power even when subjected to harsh environmental conditions.
Capable of withstanding high shock and vibration environments, our protective circuitry, glass-to-metal hermetic seals, fuses and diodes guarantee safe and reliable power even when subjected to unique operating conditions.
IronWorks Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
Applications with high voltage and capacity requirements are adopting Li-ion technology because of its many advantages - especially the high energy density, small size and low weight that this technology provides. Historically, Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries have had a few superior technical traits, in addition to their extremely low cost, that have kept them leading the majority of the overall battery market. However, recent innovations in Li-ion chemistry has made it extremely competitive in markets that are weight sensitive and inconvenienced by SLA's need for frequent maintenance. Many devices have required batteries for power back-up or mobile power, and these are primed for direct Li-ion replacement of SLA. In the medical market alone, these applications include infusion pumps, ventilators, wheelchairs and workstation carts.
Newer Li-ion chemistries are optimized around the power tool and electric vehicle markets. These Fe-phosphate based cells have remarkable cycle life and current delivery capability. They are more amenable to direct use of an SLA charger and are appropriate for replacement of SLA when total cost of ownership and weight reduction are the primary objectives.
Manufacturers of mobile equipment can achieve lighter weight, longer runtime, faster charge time and longer shelf-life with the new Lithium Iron Phosphate battery technology over older SLA batteries. The state of the art, patented IronWorks battery yields a longer runtime at about half the weight of similarly rated SLA batteries. This solution is a direct replacement for SLA batteries. Maintenance time and costs are reduced, resulting in a far lower total cost of ownership over the lifetime of an IronWorks battery. In addition, this battery is based on the safest and most environmentally friendly chemistry available on the market today.
- Medical carts
- Mobile X-ray and imaging
- Motorized wheel chairs
- Emergency cots
- Zero maintenance for several years
- Fuel gauging and battery status reported via standard SMBus
- Internal cell balancing
- Direct replacement for Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery
- Compatible with SLA chargers
- Robust mechanical design
- Uncompromised safety