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Battery monitoring system is a device that is directly connected to the lead acid and nickel cadmium battery systems. It records and transfers battery performance data till the end of the battery life. Likewise, it analyzes and supervises battery parameters 24/7 providing invaluable data of every second and generates reports which help in preventing battery deterioration and unplanned power interruptions. The major goal of battery monitoring system is:

  • Informing users about the present condition of the battery bank.
  • Inspecting the health of each individual battery
  • Checking failure states  of batteries and notifying the users
  • Updating the net charge existing in battery bank and backup time.

Applications:

  • Data Centers
  • Telecommunications
  • Government & Military
  • Utilities & Remote sites
  • Automotive
    • Passenger cars
    • Heavy Vehicles

How Battery Monitoring System Works

Monitoring sensors are attached to each of the batteries. The sensor measures individual battery cell voltage charging and discharging current. These data are transferred to monitoring system controller.

Monitoring system controller is where the data are stored and then trended with the battery monitoring software. The software translates data into readable performance data. The controller alerts the user with alarm warnings via email and/or cell phone texts. The softwareallows user to access battery measurement data and historical data quickly and easily for trending analysis which can be viewed in PC. Identifying problems, performing predictive analysis, and generating simple and clear reports become easy with the help of the battery monitoring software.

Importance of Battery Monitoring

Battery monitoring is essential to any industry that relies on batteries to provide backup power. Usage of battery monitoring will eliminate the risk of the system failure.
Some of the reasons why battery monitoring is critical:

  • Monitoring helps in avoiding costly downtime and protects the business from loss.
  • It increases the life span of the battery.
  • It reduces the maintenance replacement cost.
  • It saves time as the battery data will be remotely available and can be monitored, thus enabling identifying potential faults at cell level and battery level.
  • Informed decisions can be taken using the data generated by the battery monitoring system.
  • It helps to maintain security.

In summary, in an environment where the frequency of power disruptions is high, to be in a safe zone a reliable backup battery system is a must.

Battery Monitoring Market Drivers

Demand for battery monitoring in Data centers

Today battery monitoring system has become a necessity to any data center. It is extremely important for a data center to keep their service running and even a momentary power failure will lead to great financial losses affecting the company’s reputation. Increasing numbers of data centers are becoming aware about how installing a battery monitoring system can reduce the power failure risk. Therefore, to keep their business up and to be in a safer zone the demand for battery monitoring in data center is growing.

Global need for battery monitoring in telecommunications

As the usage of telecom devices grow, it is likely the need for providing continuous service shall also increases. If a company fails to provide continuous service, the customers are likely to seek out an alternative service provider.

The major setback for a telecommunication industry and its customers is to face a loss of backup power. This will not only cause a financial loss but will also decrease the employee productivity. So being aware that their system needs a sound monitoring, many telecommunication industries have considered a battery monitoring system.

IEEE and NERC Recommended Practices for monitoring

North American Electric Reliability Corporation & Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers are two are the largest organization. NERC’s mission is to ensure reliability and security of the bulk power system.  Whereas IEEE is the technical profession organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.  With the practices recommended by IEEE and NERC on monitoring system, customers will be more willing to invest in the monitoring system

IEEE standard number and their meaning

1491-2005: IEEE guide for selecting and using the battery monitoring equipment in stationary applications.
1188-2005: IEEE recommended practice for maintenance, testing and replacement of VRLA batteries for stationary applications.
450- 2010: IEEE recommended practice for maintenance testing and replacement of VRLA batteries for stationary applications.
(Source: http://www.batterydaq.com/resources/nerc-prc-005-battery-maintenance-requirement)

NERC PRC -005: It needs utilities which consumes, documents and implement programs for the protection system which affect bulk electronic system. Batteries such as VLA, VRLA, and NiCad are needed to be monitored, certified and tested to meet PRC-005-2 compliance.
(Source: http://www.eepowersolutions.com/products/nerc-battery-monitoring-system-prc-005-2-compliance)

Reduce maintenance and replacement costs

The time consumed for maintaining the batteries, small telephone offices or power company substation is at least 25 hours a year, according to IEEE standards. This time consumption can be reduced up to 3 times by using battery monitoring system.

Battery monitoring system Easy to install and to use

From access of easy you-tube tutorials to the customer care department, companies provide an ease of installation to the customer willing to set up the battery monitoring system. With easy installation and usage battery monitoring also gives an added benefit of 24/7 monitoring of the battery system. Not only the battery monitoring system monitors the battery 24/7 it also gives the alarm notifications to the service team for the quick response in case of any potential battery failure.

Unpredictable nature of batteries

Batteries, in nature are, very unpredictable in terms of durability. Almost 3% of new batteries will fail even during the warranty period. In such cases, any industry depending on a battery will always want their batteries to be monitored so that they will know the exact time to replace it

Battery monitoring system challenges

Although there are various benefits of battery monitoring, it seems that there are still some limitations that are affecting the growth of the battery monitoring companies. These include:

  • Customers not being able to differentiate between monitoring system and UPS/battery charger
    Due to lack of customer awareness, customers assume that the function of both monitoring system and UPS/battery charger is the same. However this might be challenging to the battery monitoring companies.
  • Growing number of battery monitoring companies

As the number of the battery monitoring companies grows, the challenges also grow.

  • If the market becomes more competitive customers will have bigger pool of substitute products to choose from, effectively lowering the product prices.
  • As more battery monitoring companies enter the market it is likely to impact the market share of leading companies thus resulting in a fragmented market. Therefore the tier 1 companies will have to be aggressive in penetrating the market to increase or maintain their market share.
  • New entrants may enter the market and introduce to disruptive technology that will affect the existing norms.

 

  • Volatile nature of  lead acid batteries is a growing concern

It is a known fact that lead acid batteries are very volatile in nature. Some of the draw backs of lead acid batteries make the work of battery monitoring system very challenging. Some of the draw backs are:

  • The battery freezes at low discharge level
  • Leakage of the sulfuric acid
  • Loss of water in the electrolyte (Gassing).

Battery monitoring market

Battery monitoring market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5-10% during the period of 2017-2022. This industry is proving to be very profitable because of the high demand of the battery monitoring system in this demanding world of technology.
With new inventions every day, the need of technology backup is growing. So to meet the demand of the consumers and a quality service, battery monitoring companies are all set to make their system even more reliable .The monitoring system has been used extensively in almost every industry: utility, telecommunications and financial industries.
Competitions are expected to increase with more reliable products and standards. The international players are estimated to grow by partnering with local players.

The key players include:

  • BTECH
  • Cell watch
  • Vertiv
  • Power shield
  • Battery DAQ
  • Canara

Key battery monitoring companies, their applications and their services

Figure 1: Applications of Vertiv battery monitoring system, products and services they provide.

Figure 2: Applications of BTECH battery monitoring system, products and services they provide.

Figure 3: Applications of Cellwatch battery monitoring system, products and services they provide.

Figure 4: Applications of Power Shield battery monitoring system. Products and services they provide.

Figure 5: Applications of CANARA battery monitoring system, products and services they provide.

Figure 6: Applications of Battery DAQ battery monitoring system, products and services they provide

Conclusions

In today’s world it has become obvious that battery performance cannot be taken for granted. The cost of battery failures makes the battery monitoring system an integral part, especially in large data center applications where even a temporary power cut to the computers results in million dollars of loss. Hence, there is no doubt that installing monitoring system brings a sense of security.
Battery monitoring companies are making their system even more reliable with:

  • Improved Quality Service
  • Better service capability
  • Better Monitoring system

As critical applications rely more on batteries, for backup power they will need to monitor their batteries. Therefore the demand for batteries will increase the demand of the battery monitoring system as well.

About Frost & Sullivan

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