San Diego, Calif. Expanding its line of standard battery-sized D cell BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors, Maxwell Technologies Inc. has introduced a new family of fully-integrated 15-volt BOOSTCAP packs and modules for back-up or pulse power in a wide range of automotive, consumer and industrial applications. Key benefits of the new devices include faster prototyping, shorter time to market and lower manufacturing costs.
The BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors have a 10-year life expectancy, deliver more than 500,000 discharge/recharge cycles and are resistant against reverse polarity, said the company. The cylindrical 350-farad BCAP0350 cells, each rated at 2.5 volts, are constructed of aluminum. They feature a round, double-ended design measuring 61.5 x 33 mm (L x OD), similar to EN 60086-2 and EN 60285 sizes, and weigh only 60 grams.
Designed for plug-and-play integration, the new 15-volt BOOSTCAP BCAP0350 packs and modules, each comprised of six cells in series, incorporate active or passive cell balancing and pack-to-pack or module-to-module balancing. The 15-volt packs are enclosed in lightweight shrink-wrap plastic packaging, while the modules are enclosed in a rugged aluminum chassis. Target applications include automotive subsystems, rail system power, windmill pitch control systems, wireless transmissions and fuel cell bridge power.
Richard Smith, Maxwell's executive vice president of strategic business development, said the new packs and modules give system designers "plug and play" 15-volt building blocks that can supplement or replace 12-volt batteries in electronic systems with varying voltage and current requirements.
Smith said the primary application target is the automotive industry, which looks for easy to use, plug-and-play products. These modules are being designed into high-end vehicles where energy and power are required for short periods of time, particularly as electrical loads to the system continue to increase with the addition of new comfort and control features.
Customers can put these packs and modules into their systems without having to buy several cells or figuring out what types of circuits they need to use and how to integrate them into their systems, Smith said. The devices are easy to understand and easy to implement, he added.
It also speeds up system development time and reduces manufacturing costs. "By adopting the industry standard D cell form factor for our 350-farad BCAP0350, Maxwell was able to reduce cell manufacturing cost by about 50 percent, and we are passing those savings along to our original equipment manufacturer customers," Smith said.
By using standardization, high-volume manufacturing and some of Maxwell's own techniques for developing materials and manufacturing processes, cost has decreased by a factor of ten over what it was a couple of years ago, Smith said. "As we continue to go down the cost curve with volume, the price points that we guarantee to our long term strategic customers make this a very competitive product versus any battery for short term power," he said.
Several additional 15-to-50-volt ultracapacitor packs and modules are under development for other applications ranging from fuel cells to automotive subsystems and hybrid vehicle drive trains.
The 15-volt BOOSTCAP BCAP0350 packs are priced at $127, and modules are priced at $200, in quantities of one to 15 units.
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