Best Types of Batteries for Wearables; an Interview with Dr. Manfred Leimkühler from Batteries and Power Solutions.

WT | Wearable Technologies is currently working on a market assessment for batteries used in wearables. It is important to consider the chemical process, manufacturing, and charging capacity. These concepts can become a bit confusing if you do not have a PhD in Chemistry. This is why we got Dr. Leimkühler on skype to answer a few nitty questions.

What is the most common chemical used for wearables?

Lithium ion or Lithium polymer are the systems that we focus on at Batteries and Power Solutions. They differ from each other in a few ways: first of all the specific capacity is higher with Lithium Ion today especially with 18650 round cells, mainly developed by LG and Samsung with 3300 to 3400mAh. However, if you need to make a lite weight battery then the Lithium Polymer is your choice. This is because Lithium Polymer is created in a pouch casing with an extra gel polymer electrolyte. Beyond being placed in a pouch the chemical standard is very similar for ion or polymer batteries.  For wearables today mostly small LiPolymer cells or LiCoin Rechargeable cells are used.

There is talk about battery safety, what can a designer do to make a safe battery for wearable devices?

A pouch battery can be easily scratched; this can quickly lead to shorts in the device and cause a fire. Wearables are worn on the body; therefore if the device begins to malfunction the wearer will feel it get hot. However  to avoid recalling your product it is best to create a container of the pouch battery to ensure that nothing can touch it and ruin the entire system. But still the main focus stays on a lite solution which gives the comfort to the customer.

How does one get the perfect size battery? 

Most of the batteries we manufacture are custom batteries. We currently have small batteries that are used for watches and on the other bigger side we build 12 volt batteries that will be implemented for charging in a jacket. Gaining the perfect size and shape for any application is the main task at Batteries and Power Solutions.

Where is your factory?

We shipped, last year, 150 million of batteries from our partner factory in Shenzhen, China. If a new company wants to use our battery in their product we will make it at our factory and ship it to their contract manufacturer or headquarter business. We as Batteries and Power Solutions are focusing on serving the European and US market.

Wearables are small computers that are stacked with features – the more features a device has the shorter the devices battery life. When do you think batteries will have longer life cycles to preform multiple functions?

This is a topic where the wording can confuse people, for a battery life cycle is the time a battery is completely empty and needs to charge 100%. This is a not a good place for a battery to be. It is also not good to have your computer charging all the time for this can decrease your battery life cycle. A safe charged place for a battery is around 50-60% charged. In terms of the time one has their device working without needing more juice, this is your battery’s capacity. In the future, there will be an increase of specific battery capacity which will lead to higher operating times.

What is your favorite wearable?

Of course, I like a watch by one of our famous Swiss customers. This is a high end and high quality product for people with high demands.

 

Stay tuned for details from the WT Market Assessment 2016 Batteries. Big thank you to Dr. Leimkühler for taking the time to answer a few questions. WT hopes you all have learned from this interview as we have.