There is no doubt that batteries have taken over our world, both in terms of smaller consumer products and massive systems powering massive installations. It is only now that batteries are coming into their own as a real energy alternative in a range of contexts. In fact, battery energy is becoming so viable now and in so many areas that we are no longer even thinking of it as alternative energy. Indeed, it is very often employed as primary energy.
There have been a number of factors driving this phenomenon, but you just need to look to the electric vehicle revolution or small household products like the very advanced type B USB rechargeable smart batteries produced by Pale Blue Earth, batteries which, despite the advanced technology within, are simply doing the job of older household AAs. The key difference, however, is that they are doing the job better.
So there is no denying that batteries are proliferating into all areas of daily life, industry, and commerce. What this means is that we can expect many more of the aforementioned large battery installations – such as those used for alternative energy and power systems – to become much more common. This brings to bear all the standard power industry practices on battery technology, not least the principle of predictive maintenance.
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What Is Predictive Maintenance?
Smart battery systems are becoming ever more advanced and capable of not only reporting a battery’s condition to users but actively regulating it while it is in use. Complex software and smart battery management systems constitute the technology behind this. Even so, human monitoring of large battery systems is still necessary, though those humans are these days armed with powerful analytical and repair tools.
Such systems naturally require what is known as predictive maintenance. This is not a new concept and has in fact been a standard industry practice since the 1990s. It has a quite simple goal: predictive maintenance attempts to pinpoint the exact point – in the future – at which a system will fail. Regarding battery systems, this requires a lot of data input on the condition of the batteries themselves. Some of this can be gained from the smart battery management system; some of it has been determined by those conducting predictive maintenance.
Predictive Maintenance and Battery Systems
When it comes to predictive maintenance for battery systems, we are always talking about the large-scale installations that use batteries. One of the things driving the popularity of batteries has undoubtedly been the need to do something about global warming. And this has led to both large battery systems and power storage installations for storing excess power or collecting the output of solar panels and wind farms. These are massive – often government-created – battery installations, and so they make use of advanced predictive maintenance.
As mentioned, the predictive maintenance of the entire system has a significant role to play, and a good deal of the data needed will come from this. Certain things which are technically predictive maintenance can even be performed by the system automatically.
The result is that the most cost-effective and beneficial time can be used for a maintenance intervention. This is still a human task but, given the massive advancements made in battery technology, more and more of this could be given over to battery management software systems in time.
There is no doubt that the importance placed today on preventative maintenance (and the level of technological development involved) proves that it is just another arm of the widespread takeover of battery technology. For sure, many of the answers to our future problems lie therein.