Critical batteries: unseen yet vital to smooth operations

By Jane Allman
Monday, 14 June, 2021

At this year’s Australian Healthcare Week, Procell ANZ’s Business Manager Daniel Goodman discussed the importance of using premium-quality batteries to operate critical healthcare devices.

Portable devices are an expanding market, facilitating healthcare delivery in more flexible ways. With devices becoming omnipresent in health care, so, too, are batteries. Batteries are powering blood pressure monitors, syringe pumps, door locks, hand-sanitiser dispensers, thermometers, smoke detectors and numerous other devices that contribute to the running of a facility and the delivery of care.

But not all batteries are made equal — and in certain situations, particularly in health care, the stakes are high. Depending on factors such as the presence of moving parts, devices have different power requirements. In the case of a syringe pump, reliability of performance is critical, as sub-optimal operation could result in a patient receiving an incorrect dose of medication, for example. This type of device needs nine volts to operate correctly.

The way that a battery discharges is critical to how effectively it will power a device. Many devices require a certain voltage to operate so it is critical that the power source is up to the task.

A good-quality battery will supply consistent power over its lifespan, plateauing across a trajectory before eventually discharging, a bit like falling off the edge of a cliff after traversing a flat plain. Power from a poorer-quality battery will gradually decline, meaning that, despite holding some charge, the battery is unable to meet the voltage requirements of many devices, such as those needed to power up, or operate moving parts such as valves. A good example is a hand-sanitiser dispenser. This device needs enough voltage and amperage to close the valve once sanitising fluid has been released into someone’s hand. If the battery inside the dispenser is unable to hold optimum power across its lifespan, there will not be enough power to close the valve, thus the dispenser will continually leak sanitising fluid.

Counting costs

There’s no denying it. Changing batteries is an annoying and costly task, so the fewer times this has to be done, the better, meaning that the best kind of battery is one that is long-lasting and consistent in its reliability.

The cost of replacing batteries must be considered in the equation. While premium batteries cost more upfront, they enable cost savings in other areas. Less total time is spent by staff changing batteries as devices are powered for longer, and there is less wastage in terms of the batteries themselves and associated products such as in the hand sanitiser example.

High performance and reliability

Procell has developed a range of premium-quality batteries for use in critical industries such as health care. Under a dual-brand strategy, Procell offers a general-purpose and intense range to cater to businesses that require quality and reliability from the batteries powering their devices. Procell has conducted extensive device testing and analysis to discover a way to dramatically extend alkaline battery life and cut replacement costs, and the company’s quality-control process ensures high performance and consistency.

Procell Australia Business Manager Daniel Goodman explained that the Intense range had demonstrated significantly improved longevity compared with previous Procell ranges.

“Our testing and quality control means we can offer our customers a premium-quality product that is consistent and reliable. The patented technology in our Intense range is designed for high-drain devices such as those used in a healthcare setting. Because the batteries don’t need to be replaced as often, the cost of replacement is reduced significantly.”

Goodman explained that organisations need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to considering battery purchases.

“We need to think about batteries, not just as office supplies, but as critical tools that are part of the operation of clinical settings. Currently we find that batteries fall under a mix of office supply or clinical tenders, and this even comes down to where batteries are kept. Are they in the stationery supply cupboard or are they stored alongside clinical devices?

“We can offer our customers a premium, professional product, including batteries for specialty devices, and this is something that healthcare providers and manufacturers support. Healthcare providers want the best out of the devices they have purchased and manufacturers want their devices to perform optimally — a premium battery plays a key role in ensuring that this happens.”

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