Comparing Lithium Batteries: Considering A Lithium Battery For Your Cleaning Machine? Here’s Some Facts You Need To Know

By Dan Sanchez, DS Media LLC

Over the past decade, there has been a push in the battery industry to be the first to have a deep-cycle Lithium-ion (Li) product for a variety of battery-powered industrial equipment and vehicles. For companies and individuals wanting to switch to lithium chemistry because of its maintenance-free operation and long-lasting advantages, it’s important to know that battery manufacturers utilize a variety of cell designs and construction that impact the quality and reliability of the battery. To make a wise choice for your particular application, it’s important to understand the different cell types, configurations, and construction used to create them.

Cylindrical Vs. Prismatic Cells

For cleaning machines, there are a variety of deep-cycle Li batteries on the market with good amp-hour (Ah) ratings. While power and capacities may be similar, the differences are internal. Some battery manufacturers choose to use cylindrical cells, primarily due to cost and availability. A cylindrical Li cell is similar in size and shape to an AA battery. Creating a cleaning machine battery using cylindrical cells requires welding hundreds of these individual cells in series/parallel to achieve the required voltage and capacity.

Prismatic cells are another popular type of Li battery cell. These cells resemble a small book or stack of index cards. Some manufacturers use prismatic LFP cells because they deliver more energy per cell. This design requires fewer prismatic cells to achieve the voltage and capacity needed to power a cleaning machine. A 24-volt Li battery, for example, may only require eight prismatic cells that are connected in series using thick high-quality materials. This creates a more robust mechanical design, allows for better thermal performance, and improves cell balancing control.

Manufacturers using prismatic cells typically connect them with laser welds. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Battery)

A cylindrical Li cell is similar in size and shape to an AA battery. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Battery)

Making Good Connections

How Li battery cells are welded together also makes a difference in the battery’s reliability, performance, and overall durability. Manufacturers using prismatic cells typically connect them using laser welds for precision and consistency. This provides high shock and vibration resistance, which is important for cleaning machines that can run over a variety of surfaces. By comparison, lithium batteries using cylindrical cells often have small spot weld connections with limited contact area, making them susceptible to detachment from consistent vehicle vibrations.

The thickness of the material used to weld cells also matters in the quality of construction, with some manufacturers using very thin metal sheets to connect the cylindrical cells. This can make them susceptible to over-heating during charging and discharging, which can impact battery life. The thick connections used for some prismatic cells are excellent for high amp loads, often seen when cleaning machines are used for larger areas such as arenas and halls, where they need to work longer over a single period of use.

If your goal is to take advantage of lithium deep-cycle battery technology safely, it’s important to ask your battery dealer about battery construction. If they are unfamiliar or can’t get you that information, research the battery info from the manufacturer’s websites. Then ask your dealer about the differences between battery brands and look for those that provide the highest quality and reliability for your money.

 

Dan Sanchez is an award-winning journalist, author, content creator, and content marketing professional with 32-years of experience. He has worked with U.S. Battery Manufacturing for more than a decade, providing numerous consumer and industry publications articles focused on deep-cycle battery information and technology. 

U.S. Battery Manufacturing began in 1926 and continually strives to manufacture the highest quality deep-cycle batteries that are known for their capacity and reliability. With three U.S. manufacturing plants in Atlanta, GA, Evans, GA, and Corona, CA, this global company powers industries including sweeper/scrubbers, golf carts, boats, RVs, renewable energy and more. For more information, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

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