In this article we will discuss the control and maintenance of industrial batteries and their replacement. Batteries are very important in the industry, because they are used to ensure that critical electrical equipment is always on. When we talk about the applications of these batteries, we include electrical substations (relay protection and control), UPS emergency services (telephony systems) and countless industrial applications for protection and control.
Many of the critical electrical systems are supported thanks to the batteries avoiding their failure. For this reason it is essential to prove that these battery systems work properly and that their status is optimal. Testing the battery systems we make sure that the equipment is adequately backed up as we foresee its exhaustion and avoid unexpected failures (since the batteries are complex chemical mechanisms with multiple components).
Each type of industrial battery has several types of failure some due to use and others occur naturally. For example, in lead-acid batteries, the most common failure types are related to:
- Plaque sulfation: it is an electric step problem, it is the process of converting the active plate material into inactive lead sulfate. It is due to low voltage settings or incomplete recharging after a power failure. Sulfation provides a higher impedance and a lower battery capacity.
- Corrosion of the positive grid: expected failure since the grids are alloys that become oxide over time, growing the plate, reaching to open the lid at the end of the battery life. The impedance increases when the capacity decreases.
- Embedded sediment: function of the number of cycles the battery lasts, called polishing and defined as the detachment of the active material from the plates becoming lead sulfate.
- Corrosion of the upper conductor: connection between the plates and the terminals, difficult to detect even with a visual inspection.
The most common types of failures in lead-acid batteries (VRLA) are due to:
- Drying (loss of compression)
- Plate sulfation
- Soft and hard shorts
- Leakage from the terminal
- Thermal escape
- Corrosion of positive grids
Maintenance of industrial batteries
Maintenance and environmental conditions increase or decrease the risks of premature failure of the battery. There are several theories and levels of ambition regarding the maintenance and testing of industrial batteries that we explain the following article: How to test a battery
As an example, comment that you can replace the batteries only when they fail or run out, replace them after a certain time or perform a good maintenance plan including inspections and tests of impedance and capacity, as this will lead to degradations and failures before become irreversible. Obviously this last methodology has higher maintenance costs, but the necessary reliability in a backup system is guaranteed.
In relation to the best known standards we highlight: IEEE 450 for lead-acid flooded and IEEE 1188 for sealed lead-acid, which includes inspections under conditions of normal flotation (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual) and capacity tests or test of discharge (in the installation or acceptance test, in the first years of service, periodically at intervals not exceeding 25% of the expected useful life and annually when the batteries show signs of degradation or exceed 85% of the useful life of the Battery).
Both standards, the IEEE450 and the IEE 1188 recommend replacing the battery if its capacity is below 80% of that established by the manufacturer, with a maximum time of one year.
For more information see also the following article: Maintenance of industrial batteries
Evaluate your battery
The best way to test your battery is by performing test intervals. Measuring capacity and impedance when the battery is new (acceptance test to establish the reference values of the battery) and repeating this measurement every 2 years, in flooded cells perform an impedance test and every 4 years in VRLA, test capacity every 25% of the service life expected and annually when it is close to 85% of its service life, capacity test at each significant impedance change and finally follow the practices established in the IEE standards for temperature, voltage measurements , gravity, etc
From Amperis we recommend serious and active maintenance to maximize the life of your batteries. Amperis has products focused on regeneration to achieve greater savings for your company derived from possible failures that entail a premature replacement of the battery.
The new battery regenerative system of Amperis manages to return the battery capacity eliminating the sulfation that has occurred in it. Learn more about this team calling us without commitment:
Tlf. (+34) 982 20 99 20
GOOD MAINTENANCE MAKES YOUR BATTERY WORK MORE YEARS