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5 tips and tricks on battery safety

battery safety bx3
Moritz

From phones to toothbrushes, cordless hammer drills to angle grinders, lithium-ion batteries are everywhere. With the technology now so commonplace, it is easy to overlook its vulnerabilities. The newest air shipping requirements are a hint that they require special handling, as with more power density means more application opportunities, but also higher risks in case of misuse and lack of care.

Here’s five tips and tricks on lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery safety from Moritz, our Cordless Product Manager, that can help you to boost productivity and lifespan of your batteries - when handled correctly, Li-Ion batteries are safe. 

1) Most of the time, Li-Ion accidents are caused by misuse and lack of care

It’s fair to say, misuse and lack of adequate care are the most common causes of Li-Ion accidents. For example, using batteries as hammers, using incompatible devices and carrying out modifications. This is just one example caused by lack of care, others can vary from a worst case scenario such as if the temperature and pressure in one or more Li-Ion cells go out of control and surge beyond the levels that the cell package can withstand, the pack can leak hazardous chemicals and release toxic smoke. In the worst case, it can vent with flames.


A modified battery pack will potentially end up with damaged cells and electronics.

2) Temperature is paramount for Li-ion batteries

Temperature is an important factor when it comes to battery packs. In general, lithium technology can safely operate between -20 and 60 degrees - for users' peace of mind, built-in electronics and software prevent professional cordless systems from working in unsafe thermal conditions. However, the batteries  don’t tolerate high temperatures well and can result in lost capacity and performance when used or stored at 60 degrees and above.


→ The optimal temperature bandwidth is between 10 ° and 30 °.

3) Use certified compatible devices when charging batteries

For battery chemistry, the process of charging and discharging is stressful. However, the intensity of such stress depends on several conditions, including temperature, tool and charger type, and the applications they’re used for. First and foremost, using certified compatible tools and chargers, that essentially exchange information with the battery and stop or adjust energy transfer when needed, is the best practice to avoid unintended consequences.  Also, it’s recommended to regularly inspect your battery packs and avoid charging or discharging if any damage is visible!

→ Use certified compatible tools and chargers to avoid unintended consequences.

 

4) Keep batteries detached from tools and chargers

If it becomes unusually hot while being used or charged, you could disconnect the battery pack from the tool immediately. Then, it’s essential to let it cool down, away from flammable surfaces. Luckily, no specific concerns should arise regarding partial charging and discharging, as LI-Ion batteries are very versatile and do not suffer from ‘memory effects’ (The battery memory effect is a reduction in the longevity of a rechargeable battery's charge, due to incomplete discharge in previous uses.). However, a battery kept in a state of full charge ages quickly, so it’s best to use it relatively soon after a full charge.

→  Regularly inspect batteries and avoid charging or discharging if visible damage is found.

5) Maintain batteries by keeping dust and debris off them

Proper maintenance not only helps prevent accidents, but also ensures stronger performance and battery life over time. Fundamentally, it’s all about keeping the battery clean, with special attention to the venting slots and the contacts on the interface, to allow for battery cooling and prevent spontaneous short circuits. Don’t forget that periodic cleaning should be carried out without any liquids or compressed air, as electronic components might be compromised and dust could be pushed into the battery housing.

 → To remove dust and debris, a dry soft brush or a dry rag are the preferable options.

It’s clear that Li-ion technology offers numerous advantages: more energy density, slow self-discharge rate, virtually no “memory effect”. However, higher energy also means higher potential for hazards if not properly controlled. While Hilti battery systems incorporate internal protection mechanisms, proper handling by the user is also critical to minimise issues with all Li-ion batteries.

Our batteries are the heart of your cordless tool park, and that’s why battery safety is paramount to increase your productivity and mobility with your cordless tools. So whether you are looking to drill concrete with the TE 6-A22 rotary hammer, fasten cables and conduits to floors with the  BX3-ME nailer or screw anchors into concrete with the  SIW 6-AT impact wrench – we can support all trades to help you get the job done.

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