All posts by Master Account

CBTL Scope Expansion

Energy Assurance expands CBTL Scope to Include IEC 60086-4 4th Edition

 

Battery testingEnergy Assurance was recently granted an expansion to our CBTL scope to include IEC 60086-4, 4th edition.  Our scope already included the 3rd edition of IEC 60086-4, as well as IEC 62133, both 1st and 2nd editions, and IEC 62281 2nd edition.  CB reports to either the 3rd or 4th edition can be completed in coordination with our NCB, Underwriters Laboratories.  With a scope that covers the safety of primary Lithium cells and batteries, the standards test program is very similar to the primary battery and cell level testing required by the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.  Energy Assurance is committed to providing our customers with access to certifications and testing to the latest domestic and international standards for both primary and secondary small portable batteries. This latest revision of the IEC 60086-4 standard was released in September of 2014 and includes minor revisions from the 3rd edition.  View our full scope here.

 

The CB Scheme is an international program created by the International Electrotechnical Commission for Electrical Equipment (IECEE) for the acceptance of product safety test results among participating laboratories and certification organizations around the world.  A CB Testing Laboratory (CBTL) is a laboratory recognized in the CB Scheme to conduct testing and issue CB Test Reports in one or more product categories under the responsibility of its associated NCB(s). CBTLs may operate in the Scheme for different NCBs with which they are associated however when employed by multiple NCBs a determined category, i.e. OFF, can only be operated with one NCB. A National Certification Body (NCB) is a certification organization that grants nationally recognized conformity certificates to electrical products each CBTL is associated with an NCB, Energy Assurance is associated with Underwriters Laboratories as our NCB for battery testing and certification (BATT).

 

 

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UL 62133

John Copeland-Vice President and COO

John Copeland-Vice President and COO

A Review of America’s First Step Towards the Harmonization of Portable Battery Standards: UL 62133 – John Copeland, Vice President and COO of Energy Assurance LLC completed a presentation as well as an article on this topic.  The presentation was given in August at the Battery Power 2015 show in Denver.  The article appeared in Battery Power Magazine and can be accessed at this link.  UL 62133 was released in January 2015, and it the first attempt at harmonization of the US battery standards with the existing IEC 62133, second edition.  As a new edition of IEC 62133 is expected in the next 1-2 years, additional changes to the UL 62133 standard are expected to follow.

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BIS Dates Extended

BIS Dates Extended for Battery Registration

BIS Extension not the end of concerns in IndiaThe original deadline to have a battery submitted to BIS for compulsory registration was August 13, 2015.  As of August 7, 2015, that deadline was formally extended to December 1, 2015.  Although this seems like a good extension, this is still a tight time line for anyone that has not started the process of testing and registering their products in India yet.  There are currently only a handful of labs accredited to perform the testing in accordance with BIS16406 in India and until recently, cell suppliers were not engaged in obtaining BIS Registration on their products.  As the cell suppliers have entered the registration process, they have taken a crowded field of labs and added a full complement of testing to them.  Additionally, there are a total of 6 product categories with mandatory testing and registration for India.  Cycle time for testing a single battery pack in India and completing the report preparation have been taking over 2 months from the date samples are received in India for testing.  If you consider that the new date for registration to start is only a little over 3 months out, this could still be a problem for anyone that has not started the testing process yet. (more…)

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GB 31241 tests

GB 31241 Tests

 

GB 31241 will become a mandatory standard for China on August 1, 2015 and to date there is not an official English translation available.  Since the compliance to the standard can currently be self-declared without any third party certification or in country testing, there are many concerns for customers  evaluating their products.  Looking specifically at the GB 31241 tests, we know that they are not harmonized with any other standards globally.

There are Chinese versions of the standard as well as unofficial translations available.  The translations can be pretty tough to understand in some sections, but Annex C of the standard does a very nice job of laying out the GB 31241 test sequence in a fairly easy to understand manner.  First note is that this standard is only applicable to batteries and cells for use in portable electronic equipment that do not weigh more than 18kg.  The testing is required at both the cell and battery level.  If there is no evidence of compliance of the cell when the battery is tested, then the cell will additionally have to be tested.  Additionally, there are a number of tests of the safety circuit that differ based on if the protection is provided in the battery itself or in the host device.  Annex C of the standard provides a flow chart to help determine when each set of tests is to be performed.  The GB 31241 tests are contained in 6 sections within the standard.  Section 6 is Electrical Safety Testing of Cells, Section 7 is Environmental Tests for Cells, Section 8 is Environmental Tests for Batteries, Section 9 is Electrical Safety Tests for Batteries, Section 10 is Safety Requirements for Battery Protection Circuits and Section 11 is Safety Requirements for System Protection Circuits. (more…)

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UL 1642 revision released

On June 23, 2015, UL released a revision to UL 1642, the Standard for Lithium Batteries.  This standard is the standard that is applied to Lithium Ion cells for obtaining a UL Recognition.  The UL 1642 revision is a very modest update that affects only the Impact Test.

UL 1642 revision to impact for pouch cells

This revision is the second recently made to the standard to clarify the implementation of specific mechanical tests as they are applied to prismatic and pouch/polymer Lithium Ion cells.  In July 2013, UL 1642 revisions were released to address crushing of these types of cells.  That revision added an exception to the crush test section to remove the narrow side crush requirement for prismatic and pouch/polymer lithium ion cells.  This latest UL 1642 revision is very similar.  The Crush Test (Section 14 of UL 1642) has been updated to include an exception for Lithium Ion systems.  The exception states that for Lithium Ion systems, pouch and prismatic cells are only to be impacted on the wide side. This eliminates the narrow side impact that had been required.

 

This UL 1642 revision is a welcome change to the standard and was strongly supported by the Standards Technical Panel.  Other Lithium Ion battery standards have varying requirements for impact testing.  The UN Manual of Tests and Criteria (UN 38.3) requires Crush Testing on prismatic and pouch cells instead of Impact Testing.  IEC 6213 Second Edition does not include any Impact testing for Li Ion cells.  You can purchase a copy of UL 1642 or the revision proposal through this link- http://www.comm-2000.com/ProductDetail.aspx?UniqueKey=23985.

 

Energy Assurance LLC is a fully accredited test lab under the Underwriters Laboratories Data Acceptance Program (DAP).  Both UL 1642 and UL 2054 are included on our scope of accreditation with UL.  We are also active members of the Standards Technical Panel for both UL 1642 and UL 2054.

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GB 31241

China GB 31241 Battery Compliance

China has always been a difficult region for product compliance with many different standards and authorities that are driving the requirements.  There are mandatory standards and voluntary standard as well as mandatory and voluntary product lists and most of the standards are not harmonized and not available in English.  Li ion batteries are no exception and there are some major changes in this area for the rest of 2015 and into 2016.

China released a new standard that applies to Li Ion batteries and cells for use in portable electronic equipment.  This will apply to Li ion batteries and cells used in electronic equipment that is not more than 18kg and can be transported by the user.  The new standard is GB 31241 and it is not harmonized with IEC 62133 first or second edition.  Also, there is currently not a commercially available English translation.

As of August 1, 2015, the standard becomes mandatory for compliance in China, however the enforcement of this requirement is still up in the air.  The reason for this is that even though the standard is required, the products covered by the standard are currently not included on the CCC mandatory products list.  This means that enforcement will be tricky and may be achieved through a few different options as long as the products are not on the mandatory CCC list.

Option 1:  Obtain a voluntary CQC mark for the product.  If you want to be able to mark your product to show compliance, you can obtain a certification to apply the CQC mark to your product based on an evaluation by CQC to the GB31241 standard.  This would show compliance of the product and allow for a mark on the product as well.  This would require in-country testing and a factory inspection associated with the certification and right to use the CQC mark on the battery.

Option 2:  Obtain a GB 31241 test report from a Chinese accredited test lab.  This would be a report only and there would be no associated mark or certification that would be used to show compliance on the product.  Most, if not all, Chinese accredited labs are in China so the testing would likely need to be done in China, however, since there is not a mark or certification involved, there is not a need for a factory audit.

Option 3:  Provide a manufacturer’s self-declaration of compliance to GB 31241.  This can be completed by the manufacturer or through an outside test lab.  The lab would not be required to have a Chinese accreditation for the testing and there would be no mark or certification and no need for factory inspections.  The testing in this case can be done by anyone and the manufacturer is declaring compliance and taking responsibility that the testing was done properly.

All of these options are currently viable since GB 31241 is mandatory, but the products have not been added to th e mandatory product list.  However, there are a couple of unknowns that need to be considered.  First of all, since a battery is a component to an end product, the end product will have certification requirements, and it is not clear how the test labs evaluating the end products will enforce this mandatory standard.  Of the options noted above, Option 1 is the most likely to be the most accepted since it is granted by CQC and involves on-going factory inspections.  However, it is also the most cost prohibitive and time consuming to achieve.

Alternatively, if the battery manufacturer decides to self-declare, they run the risk that the end product evaluating lab will not accept a self-declaration that is provided for compliance to GB 31241, the battery manufacturer would then be in a tight spot to complete the CQC evaluation or even the Chinese accredited lab testing in a timely manner.

Another consideration is if the batteries are added to the CCC required product list at some later date.  In this case, the manufacturers’ self-declaration may have been acceptable to show GB 31241 compliance prior to the update of the CCC mandatory product list, however, once the product is added to the list, the self-declaration and even the Chinese accredited testing will no longer be considered acceptable.  The battery manufacturer will then need to go back and have it tested by the Chinese agency and have factory inspections completed for the product.  Depending on the timeline allowed for compliance, this could become an issue for currently shipping products that have been self-declaring compliance to GB 31241.

GB 31241 batteries

 

 

 

 

Until more details are available on how the enforcement will be handled for the end products employing batteries, the above mentioned options are all equally viable and acceptable to show compliance to GB 31241.  However, close attention will need to be paid to changes in the CCC mandatory product list, as well as the acceptance of self-declarations to the GB 31241.

 

Additional information.

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Li Ion Batteries in Japan

If you are planning to market your Li ion batteries in Japan, you will need to understand the requirements and exceptions for compliance with the Japanese Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law (also known as the DENAN Law).  Li ion cells and batteries are on the “List of Other Electrical Appliances and Materials (Category B)” under the DENAN Law.  This means these products will require a self-certification and registration on the part of the importer or manufacturer of Li Ion batteries in Japan.  The regulation applies to importers as well as manufacturers of Li Ion batteries in Japan.  Once the testing and registration is completed this allows the application of the PSE mark on the product.  The applicable mark for Li Ion products is the circular mark as shown below.

 

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Battery Power 2015 – John Copeland

Energy Assurance COO, John Copeland will be speaking at Battery Power 2015 in Denver in August.  The title of his presentation will be – “A Review of America’s First Step Towards the Harmonization of Portable Battery Standards: UL62133”.  This presentation reviews the current state of the new standard and how it compares with existing American battery standards.  Going a level deeper, we will discuss what its introduction means in regards to host-device regulatory compliance for battery-powered portable devices.  UL62133 was released in January 2015 and it is the first UL battery standard to be harmonized with the IEC standards and it is very different from the current UL standards.  So what does this mean for battery manufacturers and end device manufacturers globally?  When is it most appropriate to use UL62133?  When is it more appropriate to use UL 2054 and UL 1642?  What differences are there between UL62133 and the existing IEC62133 standard?  What other standards are harmonizing?  What is the future of UL 1642 and UL 2054?  How will UL62133 impact current certifications?  In the Battery Power 2015 presentation, John will take a look at the newest UL standard for portable rechargeable batteries and how it compares to the current standards and look at how this could impact the ever changing global regulatory field for Portable Li ion Batteries.   

Battery Power 2015 is going to be a very informative event, visit the conference program site for more information about the great topics that will be presented.

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Battery Registration for India in 2015

As we mentioned in an earlier post, India has updated their compulsory registration scheme to include batteries in the list of mandatory goods.  So what is involved in obtaining battery registration for India?  And what batteries are covered?

Secondary batteries for use in portable devices are included in the new mandatory list of products.  The most common batteries included in this category are Li ion batteries, Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and NiCd batteries.  IS16406 will be the standard applied to these cells and batteries, this is a harmonized standard with the first edition of IEC62133 (2002).  Even though the India standard is a harmonized standard, a CB report cannot be used to obtain this battery registration and samples are required to be tested in India by a certified lab.

Another interesting product type that is included in the new list of mandatory products is power banks.  These are the portable re-chargers that are available on the market to boost the charge of your portable electronic devices.  These products are batteries but are also chargers.  The battery is typically charged from a USB charger or port and then used to charge another device.  These are available in all shapes and sizes and sometimes even as part of a device that does something else where the internal battery is used to power the device and charge another device at the same time.  India standard IS 13252 is the appropriate standard, which is the standard for information technology equipment, and is harmonized with IEC60950-1.

As we mentioned in our previous post, each factory that produces the battery or power bank will be required to hold a separate registration. However, there will not be factory inspections for on-going compliance verification.  This will be done through market surveillance, although how this will be done has not yet been determined.  Registration will need to be renewed every two years and will require the support of someone in India to complete the process of registration once the testing and report preparation are completed.  There is a limited time window of 90 days to complete the registration once the report has been issued.

Compliant and registered products will need to be marked as compliant with the following information:

“Self Declaration – conforming to IS16406, R-xxxxxxx”

On the product and on the packaging.  The font size should be 12 point or 1/4th the size of the brand name, whichever is less.  The minimum font size allowed is 6 point.  The label is allowed to be screen printed, engraved or on an adhesive label if it is found to be durable.  More labeling information can be found here.

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Achieving Compliance-Small Format

John Copeland-Vice President and COO

There are always a lot of questions about achieving compliance to the appropriate safety standards for small format batteries in the US and globally.  At the Battery Power 2014 conference in Denver, John Copeland presented on this topic and covered the 3 main standards that apply to small format Li Ion batteries.  This presentation was turned into an article for the Fall edition of Battery Power Magazine and you can read it here.  Or if you would like to download a copy of the presentation you can do that here.  The article and presentation offer insight into achieving compliance to UL 2054, UN 38.3 and IEC 62133:2012 (second edition) by comparing the 3 standards in detail.

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