Now’s the Time for Ultracap Industry to Adopt Common Standards

Ultracapacitor manufacturers are not required to follow any compliance standards, unlike manufacturers in other industries. Because there are no specifications, all companies test their products differently. Customers frequently ask about compliance standards, but because tests are not standardized, buyers cannot equally compare products. The ability to weigh different options should be an important factor in how buyers choose their products.

Ioxus already performs several standards tests on its products. For example, our 3,000F iCAP cell went through the following tests:

  • Restriction of hazardous substances directive (RoHS) – This is a European-specific test that ensures the product is not manufactured with materials restricted in Europe.
  • Chinese RoHS – This is a Chinese-specific test ensuring there are no materials restricted by China present.
  • European Conformity (CE) – Ensures the product complies with all of the European Safety Standards.
  • UL 810A – The requirements of this test cover ultracapacitor use in equipment such as electronic products, uninterruptible power supplies, emergency lighting, engine starting and power equipment.
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60068-2-6 – This tests the cell to determine its sensitivity to vibration and ensure it will perform reliably in use.
  • IEC 60068-2-27 and IEC 60068-2-29 – These shock tests make certain the cell is durable and can handle sudden applied forces.
  • United States Military Standard (MIL-STD) 202G, Method 203C – This random drop test drops the cell 750 to 1,000 times, confirming it can handle rough conditions. Ioxus’ iCAP cell is the only product on the market that has passed this test.

Passing these tests shows the end user that the cell is more reliable. It can be used in high shock and high vibration applications without the cell experiencing any worsened performance or damage. For example, a rugged cell can be used reliably in windmills which, over time, have a high number of revolutions. In automotive applications, ultracapacitors are exposed to wide ranging temperatures and high vibration conditions. Ensuring the ultracapacitor can handle these conditions and perform well over time is important to the user.

Agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) need to establish compliance standards for the benefit of both manufacturers and customers. Ultracap manufacturers should measure capacitance, equivalent series resistance (ESR), cooling requirements, cycle testing, maximum current, and duty cycles, which are all important to customers. Customers can purchase the product knowing it complies with these standards so they don’t have to do their own internal testing. Manufacturers would be able to better market their products against competitors, and could see better market adoption.

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