ION Energy teams for battery management in electric excavator

March 27, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
ION Energy teams for battery management in electric excavator
ION Energy is working with Polish battery maker Wamtechnik on a cloud-connected battery management system for an electric excavator. 

Battery management and intelligence systems provider ION Energy, has teamed up with European battery maker Wamtechnik to develop a system for an electric excavator. 

Wamtechnik, based in Poland, is a European leader the design and production of dedicated rechargeable and non-rechargeable battery packs for industrial applications. It is aiming to develop and deploy a range of compact electric construction equipment that would operate in subzero temperatures (below -20°C), based on cloud-based battery management system technology from ION Energy.

The 48V, 456Ah lithium ion battery pack in the excavator uses ten parallel modules of a 14S16P cell configuration to achieve the rated energy capacity. ION Energy worked with a smart battery management system provider on a highly scalable and reliable Master-Slave architecture for batteries manufactured by Wamtechnik. The battery giants configured a battery pack with variants of different energy capacity that would work on all of them without depending on hardware and software customization. 

To solve the problem of accelerated battery life degradation caused by the extremely cold temperatures as low as -20°C that lead to lithium plating, ION developed and implemented the control of a unique Wamtechnik thermal management system that manages the safe operation of a Li-Ion Battery at temperatures as low as -40°C, where an excavator is expected to function. The system powers up the heaters using onboard chargers and brings up the battery to an optimum temperature before its activation.

The deal covers a minimum business of $1m for the BMS partner in 2020 that would increase to $15 million in the upcoming years.

To tackle Wamtechnik's master-slave architecture challenge, ION implemented the daisy chain formation method on its existing FS-LT BMS. This was followed by a transition to the FS-XT BMS, designed for High Voltage battery systems that better suit the needs of automotive applications. The BMS supports insulation monitoring, system interlock monitoring, contactor weld detection and system communication with isolated CAN. 

Next: Cloud-based battery management

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