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Fast track for safer laptop batteries

IEEE wants new standard in 12 months

A revised standard for the design, manufacture and testing of lithium-ion batteries for notebooks and other mobile computing devices has been fast-tracked, and is now expected within 12 months.

The IEEE Standards Association is prioritising work to agree a standard, following the much-publicised recall of millions of Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries this year.

Sony is taking the lead to prevent such incidents occurring again. Jean Baronas, director of the Technology Standards Office at Sony Electronics, and Bill Kabele, director of Power Engineering at Dell, were elected to co-chair the Portable Computer Battery Working Group at its first meeting last month.

The group is revising the existing IEEE 1625(TM), 'IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Portable Computing', and has agreed an accelerated schedule for its efforts with a plan to complete work on the standard within 12 months.

It also defined a structure for its efforts by forming a number of subgroups, including those focusing on the cell, the pack and the system, and another to investigate all conformity assessment options and make a recommendation for the revised standard.

“We made impressive progress in our first meeting by setting an organisational structure, reaching agreement on funding, and setting a development schedule,” said David Ling, who had been the working group’s acting chair and is regulatory policy and strategy manager at HP.

The move to agree a revised standard has won wholesale industry report, the IEEE explains. “About 50 people from 30 companies attended, representing the entire global supply chain for batteries used in portable computing from cell manufacturers to OEMs, including third-party test and certification bodies,” said Kabele.

“One of the primary goals for the revised version of IEEE 1625,” says Baronas, “is to establish liaisons with key standards development organisations and stakeholders to ensure better coordination, avoid conflict, and support collaboration to improve battery standardisation globally.”

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