On December 2nd 2014, ABC Nightly News featured coverage on how lithium ion batteries can pose a fire risk on passenger airplanes. There are multiple documented cases of explosions resulting in airplane crashes that have been traced back to transportation of lithium ion batteries and the use of lithium ion batteries in aviation electronics. As reported in the telecast, The FAA found back in 2010 that lithium ion batteries are highly flammable and capable of self-igniting. Although aviation regulations have been established to prevent the potentially life-threatening transportation and use of lithium ion batteries there still remains major concerns over the adherence to federal regulations as well as concerns of regulations established by the international community.
According to material data safety sheets, lithium ion based battery chemistries are more hazardous and volatile than alternative battery chemistries. As reported in the feature on the ABC Nightly News with Brian Williams, lithium ion batteries can be explosive in conditions of short circuiting, overheating and when a manufacturer’s defect is present in the battery. Lithium Ion batteries are actually used in products in our everyday lives like laptops, tablets and cell phones. As with any potentially hazards or combustible compound the quantity of the compound present and the environmental conditions it's being used in can create a more hazardous situation.
In terms of JACO's Material Safety Standards, we have set a policy to use lithium iron (not ion) based technologies in all of our power systems. Lithium Iron is a safer battery chemistry in terms of combustion and therefore it does not carry the potential hazards that a lithium ion based power system may present. In addition lithium iron based technologies are less of physical hazard should they come in contact with a person's eyes, respiratory tract and skin. Powered Mobile Carts utilize power systems to run computer systems and peripheral devices such as monitors, printers, barcode scanners and many more devices. Today's mobile cart users are mostly commonly deployed in healthcare settings that are looking for anywhere from 8-12 hours of mobile use before recharge. This 8-12 hours is also referred to in the industry as "full-shift runtimes" which refers to a nurse work shift to complete patient rounds.
In order to achieve full shift runtimes mobile computer cart manufacturers have to make use of powerful batteries that have the capacity to power the devices for a substantial amount of time. The selection of a mobile cart power system should always account for end users' and patients' safety first before all other factors are considered. At, JACO we have always made user safety our primary concern and our use of lithium iron based battery chemistries in all of our lithium based solution is a great example of our engineering philosophy.
For more information on this subject please download our whitepaper 5 Key Reasons Why Your Mobile Cart should be Powered by Lithium Iron Phosphate - Not Lithium Ion